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The 11 Feelings That Trigger Overeating

by Matthew Anderson, D .Min. - January 09, 2014 - with 0 Comments


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The 11 Feelings That Trigger Overeating

Why are we so unaware of what we are feeling if feelings are such a regular part of our daily existence? There are two reasons.

1 – We have not been taught to identify what we are feeling.

2 – We are afraid of our feelings. 

Reasons 1 and 2 are caused by our families of origin and our culture. They taught us that certain feelings are “bad” feelings. These are the ones that are so painful or difficult to face that we do whatever we can to eliminate (kill) them

For many of us, food is the drug that does the killing. We start to feel the “bad” feeling, we eat, the feeling subsides, the feeling comes back, and we eat again. Then we get fat.

A significant step in feeling management that often leads to eating management is learning to identify the feelings we eat to kill. To help you get started, I have listed 11 powerful feelings that most people have difficulty handling. Take a look and see if you can identify the feelings you most often eat to kill.

The 11 Most Powerful Feelings You Eat To Kill

  • Anxiety
  • Anger/rage
  • Sadness
  • Hurt
  • Disappointment
  • Loneliness
  • Self-hate
  • Deprivation
  • Emptiness
  • Guilt
  • Shame

If you don’t find your “favorite” feeling on the list, add it. The important thing here is to identify them. Yes, I said “them.” The truth is that many feelings come in bundles, powerful bundles that are extremely difficult to manage.

The “bad bundles” of feelings are usually combinations of the 11 listed above. For instance, guilt, self-hate and anxiety are a common bundle. Deprivation and emptiness frequently happen simultaneously. Disappointment, hurt and sadness are also common partners.

No wonder you have so much trouble controlling your eating! No wonder so many diets have not worked for you. If you have little or no ability to identify and manage these powerful feelings, you are often at their mercy.

What can you do about this?  Is there a way to stop these feelings from controlling your eating habits?

Yes, there is!

In the coming weeks, I will be writing more about how to manage these 11 powerful feelings. For now, you can begin your own personal work by trying this simple exercise.


A) Pick a feeling from the list above. Don’t start with the most difficult one.  Close your eyes and remember a time you felt that feeling. Remember as much about what happened as you can. Then open your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Let yourself relax. Breathe some more.

B) Pick a feeling that you enjoy feeling (not on the list). Remember a time you felt that feeling. Remember as much about what happened as you can. Enjoy yourself. Don’t forget to open your eyes.

Repeat steps A and B as many times as you like. Always finish with step B. 

Powerful feelings are difficult for all of us. With a little compassion for yourself and a lot of practice, you will make substantial progress – and you will also lose weight!

Matthew Anderson, D.Min. is a nationally recognized weight loss coach, columnist, motivational speaker and author of The Prayer Diet, Eating to Kill, and Why You Want to Be Fat. He also specializes in helping individuals survive and thrive during major life crises and can be contacted at www.DraUSA.com  or (561) 362-4049.

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