Hi friend. I want to know—do you consider yourself someone who diets? This can mean many things. Of course, the word “diet” actually just means the types of foods you eat, but it’s come to imply a more specific method of food restriction with the intention of losing weight.

A lot of people tell me dieting isn’t their problem, but that stress/emotional eating are.

I’ve been thinking about this, and what the difference between the two actually is. I ended up with this: perhaps, they are two sides of the same coin.

Undoubtedly, following a diet determined externally is going to be restrictive in some sense for obvious reasons.

Less evidently, though, I suggest that stress and emotional eating are rooted in just as much restriction.

Stress or emotional eating is when we consume food in response to our feelings—especially when we aren’t hungry. Our emotions are dictating when and how much we eat, rather than our body. Why, though? What are our feelings trying to tell us?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

What void are we trying to fill when we eat emotionally and mindlessly, rather than with intention?

Void—meaning empty, or lacking.

When we emotionally eat, we’ve restricted ourselves of something much needed; Some emotional pain is not being addressed, and rather, is being ignored.

While our experience with food may look different whether we are dieting or emotionally eating, our relationships with food may be quite similar. In either case, it is not balanced, healthy, or sustainable.

Both are striving actions, desperately seeking acknowledgment or validation in some form.

Why does this matter? I think a lot of people get caught up in details when it comes to “fixing” these problems within themselves; thinking that people who diet need one solution and people who eat emotionally need another.

While, undoubtedly, different solutions will resonate with different people, I think the truth of the matter is we ALL need a little more patience and understanding with ourselves, and a lot less judgment.

Rather than trying to “stop” dieting or “stop” stress eating because we “should” (a word rooted in judgment, by the way), what if we looked inward and asked “why” we are turning to these actions?

This deeper truth will often reveal something to us.

It may be a painful truth—likely it is, or we wouldn’t be avoiding it or turning to dieting or stress eating as a solution.

But if we are willing to face that fear, we can feed our emotional self what it actually is asking for.

What do you think? Are you a dieter or stress eater? I’m going to be chatting more about this all month long, so let me know what your biggest challenges are.

Light and love,