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Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Isabel Foxen Duke. Isabel is a certified health coach and emotional eating expert. For more articles by Isabel, visit

Most of my clients think that emotional eating is a curse. That it’s an unfortunate defect they’ve been blighted with, and they were dealt a bad hand in life when it comes to food and weight.

“Poor me! I’m sick of this! Will this food problem ever not torment me?!”

Or something along those lines.

But here’s my take on it…

I’m not sure that emotional eating is a bad thing. In fact, I think it might be my guardian angel. 

I know this is the part where you think I’m a crazy person, but hang on a sec.

Emotional eating is an attempt to deal with a tough problem, feeling, or situation we don’t otherwise know how to deal with. In fact, we often don’t even know that it’s happening without some kind of symptom to remind us. 

That twitchy feeling that makes us want to go shove brownies down our throats is like a genius alarm bell that, if responded to appropriately, reminds us to clue into what’s bothering us before it becomes a more serious problem.

When we strip away the judgment of our emotional eating and stop calling it a disease, a defect, a problem in and of itself, we can finally see it for what it is: an alert that something in our life needs our attention. Something completely unrelated to food or our weight. 

Some people never deal with their problems, because they’re never forced to do so.

They never leave the job they hate, because it’s easier to stay.

They don’t have the tough, but necessary conversations with their partners, because things aren’t “bad enough.”

But emotional eaters have a gift, a unique opportunity to recognize when some aspect of their lives needs some T.L.C. A.S.A.P.

Emotional eating is a reminder to love yourself harder, show up for yourself more, and give yourself what you really need. 

Be grateful for the reminder. It might be saving your ass.  

For more of Isabel’s approach to emotional eating, check out her blog at

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