Getting Emotional Eating Help: How Chris Ditched Diets and Lost Weight | TMOHP Episode 119

Have you considered hiring a coach for emotional eating help or considered joining an emotional eating program like Your Missing Peace? Have you wondered what it would be like or how a coaching program is different from the other things you’ve tried? Has the idea of ditching diets and doing things differently appealed to you - but you can’t quite picture what this would look like? Or, are you like many women, afraid that if you step off the diet and deprivation hamster wheel you’ll have to abandon any goal that’s related to weight loss?

Years of dieting, fighting with the scale, obsessing about the scale and feeling like success always came down to the daily weigh-in. That’s where Chris was, and her decision to pursue private coaching and work with me to change her overeating wasn’t one she made lightly. “I had tried everything… all of the traditional things that women do… it wasn’t working.” In this episode we have a candid conversation about her experience with working with me. What coaching for emotional eating help was like, the parts that were dissatisfying, her growth and wins, and where she is now.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why it took years before Chris made the decision to work with me
  • The dissatisfying answer I gave Chris after our second session that had her rolling her eyes and when things started changing
  • When things started changing
  • Weight loss results and the growth that happened
  • Wanting to hide and what helps
  • Why Chris felt like she was always letting herself down with food even though everyone else thought she was incredibly trustworthy and how she built her trust and confidence back

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody today is going to be a different kind of podcast episode. Today I want to introduce you to Chris. Chris is absolutely a smart, talented, high achieving woman. She's a retired attorney. And honestly, I think that's selling you short, Chris. Because calling you a retired attorney sells short. You've done so many amazing things in your life and in your career. And we can talk about that. She's a former coaching client of mine. 

And here's what happened. So I was talking to someone who was interested in working with me one on one, and we talked about what that would look like. And she said, "You know, this sounds really good. This sounds like what I'm looking for. And I'd really like to talk with somebody who has worked with you in the past. I'd really like to hear about their experiences. That's something I could do?" 

So I reached out to Chris, who was happy to do this. And Chris said to me, she said, you know, she said, you know, I should come on a podcast episode and I should talk about what it was like to work with you. I should talk about what it's like to be coached. What it is like to make the decision to work with you what kind of changes I made. And she's made some significant changes. 

She said, you know, I really should do this because there are questions. People have questions. I had questions before I made the decision to invest in coaching. And, I think a lot of people wonder. I think I could share my experience, which is something that you can't share, Melissa. You know, you've coached people, but you have not been the person who has experienced your coaching. So. I liked that idea. So we looked at our schedules and here it is a few days later.

And we're going to talk about these things. We don't have a script. We haven't talked about what we're going to talk about really. So if you have questions, like what it is like to work with a coach, what it is like to work with me. What it is like to change your relationship with food without dieting. What it is like to get outside that lifestyle when you've spent your life inside diet mentality. What it's like to make those changes, how you change your eating without dieting, and probably a bunch of other things. That is the ground that we're going to cover in this episode, and I think we're going to have a lot of fun. 

Thank you, Chris. I'm so glad that you that you agreed to do this. Well, I'm glad that you suggested we do this. 

Oh, I'm excited to be here with you. 

Is there anything I said about, you know, in that introduction? That wasn't accurate. Or is that kind of how this all came to be that? 

That's very spot on. And that's, I probably had thought about doing the one on one coaching for a long time. So I was trying to think about where other people might be and the thoughts and questions they might have and what would have been helpful for me before I made the decision.

So can you, what were things like for you before we worked together? 

I think things were pretty typical based on the podcasts I hear from you and the things I know about just other women. And years of dieting and fighting with the scale and obsessing over food constantly. Whether I was being good, whether I was failing, all those kinds of things.

Was today a good day or a bad day? And that was always based on what I ate and what the scale said. It was never based on anything else. So the way, no matter how successful I was, no matter what I was doing professionally or personally or anything else, the way I judged myself every single day, even if it wasn't the first thing, it was the underlying thing was how good I thought I was doing with food or how bad I thought I was doing with food.

Yeah. You are, I mean, it comes across so loud and clear in just one conversation with you. You are clearly somebody who makes things happen. When you set your mind to do something, it's probably, I think I said that to you once when you set your mind to do something, it is 95 percent done by the time, you know, by the time you say the words. Right?

So, okay. So tell me about this thing that you, that you thought about coaching for a long time. 

I Had tried everything. I mean, not dumb stuff. I never went on starvation diets. I didn't eat just grapefruit or anything. I've always been a real health focus person I work out a lot. But I'd done all of the traditional things that women do to try to develop a plan and a lifestyle. I was a Weight Watchers lifetime member for many years. All those kinds of things and just knew it wasn’t working.

I mean, I now know I wasn't getting to the heart of the issue, but I didn't know that. Because like you said, I'm the person who, when I set out to do something, it gets done. And this was just something that was never getting done in my whole life. It was not something I could resolve. It was not something I could fix.

And so I knew I had to do something different, and I had followed you for a number of years, did some of the online courses, loved when you came on podcasts, so I knew that the things that you said resonated with me. And at that point, I was like, I need to do something different, and maybe this is it.

Okay. What held you back? Because you were you were kind of in my universe for years before we worked together. I recognized your name when you, when you said, Hey, I'm interested in working together. What, what held you back before you've made that decision? 

I'm not good at asking for help. And. 

No one. No one listening will be able to relate to that.

Exactly. Exactly. And I wouldn't have identified that either. I would not have said that. One of the big steps in all of this process for me is me recognizing that I wasn't good at asking for help and getting better at asking for help. So I, I just felt like this was something I should be able to figure out.

I should be able to read enough books. I should be able to do it. I just need to buckle down more. I just need to do it better. So it just I knew there was something not working, but kind of what held me back was I should just be able to do this. 

I remember the first conversation that we had. And I always, you know, before I work with anybody one on one, I, we have a conversation about what, to make sure that we're aligned and it's a fit. And I remember you saying a couple of things. I remember you saying, you know, I think this is maybe the thing I want to do, but I'm not exactly sure. 

I'm not sure yet. And you also said and you always speak the truth. You said, this is really hard for me. This is really hard for me to have this conversation.

Even just talking about this, I have tears in my eyes. As I was thinking about what we were going to talk about and making some notes for myself, I, I got teary eyed. It's looking back at the whole process and the progress that I've made and the things that I've gone through, because it's been about eight months since we stopped coaching and I was in coaching with you for a year.

So it's been going on two years here and looking back and just kind of digging into where I was then and what I went through. It really does get me kind of choked up. Yeah. 

Wow. Well, do you want to share what your experience was like? And yeah, 

Yeah, I, I will do that. I have no problems doing that. , the coaching process was completely different from anything I'd ever done before. I was used to rules. I was used to metrics. I always made plans. I set specific goals for food, for fitness, for weight. Some of the plans I went on had me counting points or getting up every morning and saying everything that I was going to eat and putting it down on paper. 

And so I'm a person who does well with plans and metrics and goals and things like that. , so I have, we started the coaching. And there wasn't going to be any plans. And there wasn't going to be any metrics. And the first thing I could think of was, well, how do I know when I'm winning? And how do I know when I'm failing? 

And the after the first meeting, we started the second meeting, and I have went through my journal notes. And you said, do you have any questions? And I said, yes. What does progress look like? 

Because what are we doing here? 

Yes, I don't, I don't know what I'm doing. And what does progress look like? Because now I made a decision to stay off the scale for a little while to kind of focus on some other things, but I didn't really know what I was focusing on.

And so here I am going, what, how do I even know if I'm winning? How do I know if I'm winning? And if I don't know if I'm winning, then how do I know when I'm failing? Because I'm really good at telling myself when I'm failing. And that was one of the biggest things for me. , because knowing when I was failing gave me permission to go off the rails with my eating.

And then I would say, okay, now I'm going to be winning again and I would get back on track. And it was that constant thing. And if I wasn't winning and I wasn't failing, I, I didn't know who I was. So your answer to my question of how do I know what progress looks like? You said it was messy and imperfect and I'm going to tell you that is a good thing we weren't on zoom because I probably rolled my eyes.

I was like that. That is not an answer. That is not a good answer. , you were absolutely right. Of course. And I now understand that. But that was really challenging for me. And I was kind of confused. 

Without plans and rules, I started looking inside myself for probably the first time. I started asking myself what I was feeling and needing and wanting and I had absolutely no idea. Absolutely no idea. I mean, here I am over 60. I can't even answer basic questions that you would ask me about. Were you hungry? I don't know. I don't know what hungry feels like, except for like starving. , had I eaten enough to be satisfied? 

Was I enjoying the foods that I was obsessing over and, and binging on? I, I had no idea. So there were so many questions. I felt really, really stupid for a person who's not used to feeling stupid. I felt pretty stupid. , but that was exactly what I needed to start understanding my relationship with food and to develop a new way to live.

It's not a fast process. It is messy and imperfect and it's complicated. , you were absolutely right about that.

I'm so glad we're doing this episode because Wow. I mean, the gift that you just gave by sharing that. So honestly it is messy, but, but also it's really hard to step outside our comfort zone. Especially if we are somebody who is used to making things work and getting A's and most of the time being in our comfort zone or creating, Things in a way that they are comfortable.

And I feel like just listening to you, you also just highlighted one of the big reasons that it is so easy to stay stuck in this way, which doesn't work because stepping out of it is so unfamiliar and it feels so awkward and graceless in the beginning. Yeah. Yeah. 

And when I didn't know how to say was I even succeeding. Because I didn't know what succeeding was and on a day to day basis, it was really hard. But I knew something was different. And I knew that I needed something different so I, I stuck with it. And I took a lot of notes I did a lot of journaling. I did detailed notes before each of our calls that I would send to you. I just was trusting the process. And I'm so glad I did. 

Which I just have to share with you because I looked through my notes before we did this call. And 1 of the things that you put in the, in the paperwork, and when we started working together, 1 of your goals was, you said, I'm just, I'm not a very thoughtful person. I don't mean thoughtful toward other people. I mean, thoughtful in terms of thinking things through and being thoughtful. And you said, I really want to be thoughtful.

And I'm, I'm looking at this folder. I have that is just full of notes that you sent me and. Thoughtfulness. I mean, you spent the whole time we worked together being incredibly thoughtful about the process and about what you were learning. And I think you, I think you can cross that one off your list. 

I think so too. And in my entire career as an attorney, I was paid to be really quick on my feet and have answers right away and to be ready to go all the time. And that's the way I'm wired. So you would ask me questions and I would literally sit there and I've never done that before, but I told myself to do that. I told myself, don't make it up. If you don't know the answer, just stop and write it down and think about it. And I did that. And probably on every call, you would ask me a question and there would just be silence.

And that is not what I'm used to, but I needed that. And I would just write that down in my journal and I would say, I'll think about that and we'll talk about it next week. , those were the things that I needed to really get deep to the heart of my relationship with food and what I was trying to stuff down.

And what I realized was all the things that were coming up especially in the beginning had nothing to do with food. And I guess that doesn't surprise me, but it surprised me at the time. Is that all of these issues were coming up. And I was saying, why am I thinking about this? Why is this coming up? That happened 10 years ago. They were the kinds of things that clearly I was ignoring. Hadn't processed, hadn't dealt with stuffing down with food. They were way, way in the recesses. But a lot of that came up with me and caused me to have to deal with those things. 

Okay. So we've now made this process sound really, really pleasant. No, I think it's great because there, it is murky and it is when a part of how I talk about it is we've got to shift the whole framework. Because the framework, the diet mentality, the deprivation thinking is not working. But it is weird to step outside of what's familiar. 

And the reason we do it, we take a risk, we take a belief, we invest our hope. Right? Because we want something different. And I would love to hear like, what, what kind of changes did you, I want to hear the big picture, what has changed for you, but when did you become aware that things were changing? Is that something you could pinpoint? 

Oh. I certainly knew that things were different, even by like the end of the second call. Because we weren't talking about any of the kinds of things I was used to focusing on. At each call, if I would have been asked so what did you accomplish? I don't know that I could have listed anything. But that's the way I operate is I set the goals and I accomplished the goals and, and all of this was a lot fuzzier.

But then as we were going through things more, I could clearly tell that I was approaching things differently. I would think about things differently. And then that would also cause me to think about food and why I was wanting food or thought I needed food. 

My husband has been a wonderful support for me in this process. But I was very clear about not wanting him to ever try to help me. He's a wonderful listener, and he knew that this was a process I had to go through by myself.

But we would sit down each night and I would talk about how I had done something different that day. And how in the past I might have Asked myself this or done this and, and what I was doing differently. And that allowed me to kind of articulate the successes that I maybe wouldn't say that I saw at the end of each call.

But then as I was going through my week and trying to do things differently, then it became obvious to me. 

Okay, so now, 8 months after, tell us, tell me what's different. People want to know.

Well, first of all, what everybody wants to know is have you lost all the weight. I have lost all the weight and a lot more weight than I thought I would lose. But for different reasons.

A lot of it was this. But along the way of learning to ask for help. I went and got some different specialty medical advice. I'm diabetic. There's been some issues I've been dealing with pretty much my whole life. And I went to see a new doctor and really dug deep into some medical issues. So the combination of getting a handle on when I eat, why I eat, what I eat, as well as getting some new and much more quality medical advice, those things made a big difference in my life.

But I tie it all together as saying. Because I was now able to ask for help. I was able to reach out in a number of areas of my life and seek that kind of help. And so all of that put together is what allowed me to lose the weight. So some of it is medical and some of it is behavioral and some of it is mental.

Yes, I've lost all the weight. I weigh less than I can ever remember weighing in my adult life. , so from the physical outward perspective that has happened. I am super healthy. I'm super strong. I'm a big fitness person, and that hasn't changed. I enjoy fitness. I don't use it as a punishment for eating or anything like that. I never have. So that's a really enjoyable part of my life. 

But the other thing is. I approach challenges differently. I generally don't tell myself I'm failing anymore. I don't judge my days based on what I've eaten or decisions that I've made, because I think I know that just isn't helpful. And if I'm not using those same metrics, then it's, it's kind of hard to decide what that is, so it isn't a helpful analysis.

I had a recent situation where there was going to be about a week that I know was going to be really challenging for me. And in my past would have led to a lot of overeating and a lot of binging and a lot of discomfort. Or else it was going to be just buckling down and bearing through it. So I sat down ahead of time and I got out my journal and I started making notes. And instead of saying, what was I going to eat and going out and buying all the healthy food or all the bad food, one extreme or the other?

The first thing I said was, how do I want to feel at the end of this week? How do I want to feel during this week? And I was able to come up with words that had nothing to do with food. And so then I was able to focus on, well, what are the steps that I can take that will help me to feel those things during this week?

And the week wasn't perfect in air quotes. , I wasn't perfect. I'm really learning to give myself a lot more slack about things. But if I don't judge that I'm a failure, then I don't go crazy. And I don't go off the rails and I don't eat everything in the house and go back to the grocery store for more. I just say, okay, is this helping me be where I want to be? Is this helping me get to the goal of what I said I wanted to feel by the end of this week?

And it was easy to sit down and refocus over and over again, based on the analysis that I made as to what I wanted to feel. 

My heart is just going pitter pat because I haven't talked to you in eight months. , you know, I've an occasional email, but I haven't, I haven't heard this. And one of the things, as you know, that I, that I say to people when we're talking about working together is I, we have to work together for at least six months. And part of that is because this stuff, because you deserve better than temporary fixes. And this, we want this stuff in your cells.

We want this stuff to be a part of you so that you do it without thinking about it. And, or, or you think about it and you just naturally. And you just gave such a beautiful example of you're coaching yourself now, Chris, like it's not. Yeah. 

And you need that time because there were a whole lot of times in the beginning where I just didn't know where we were going with something. I didn't know where I was going with something and I didn't doubt the process. I just didn't understand where I was. And if I would have had to put a dot on a map and say, I'm here and I'm headed this way, I couldn't have done that. I had no idea. But I knew that the next week we would talk about it again.

And I'd write down what my concerns were and what my thoughts were. And we would talk about it. And I think. Not to take away from anything that you do, I think a lot of it is us coaching ourselves, is me coaching myself. Is you listening to me articulate these things, and then just asking the next step question, which allows me to then articulate further down the road something I maybe wasn't able to put together beforehand. 

It's a, there's so much of a piece of this in my mind. That's about getting your confidence in yourself back. Right? How can I, how can I trust myself? How can I start making promises to myself that I will keep? And that I want to keep because they feel good. They don't feel like I'm beating myself up all the time. Right? 

My journal before coaching was always that I could not trust myself. I knew I just knew I couldn't trust myself. And it's funny because a whole lot of people trusted me and I never let them down. And I was very, very good at the things that I did. So why did I feel like I was always letting myself down? And I just didn't feel like I could ever trust myself to be alone with food to respond to things properly. And as I went through my journal, I would you find that I was saying things like I'm beginning to think I can trust myself.

And then eventually getting to where yeah, I can trust myself. I know that I can and I know that I can take care of myself. And if I make a decision that maybe isn't the best decision for me today, that doesn't mean that I failed. It doesn't mean I can't be trusted. It doesn't mean any of that. It just means I made a decision. 

Which, which brings me back to, I, I've really, I, I have a crystal clear memory of our first conversation and you made it very clear to me that this was a big decision for you because the conversation was, is this a good fit?

And this is what coaching looks like. This is what's involved. This is the cost. This is the time investment. , and you were very clear. Like, I want to check this out. I have some good vibes about this. I have some good thoughts about this. I'm also have some trepidation about this. , what inspired you to say yes? Do you know? 

Knowing that it was time to do something different. And for me, I think some of the whole being retired helped. Because I wasn't wrapped in my work persona all the time, which was very hard for me to take off. I've worked at some very, very high level organizations where it becomes who you are.

So retirement was an opportunity for me to rethink what I looked like and how I live my life and how I define myself. And so at that point, my personal story is that I was able to say, well, this is something new in the, how you define yourself part of the program. And I just thought, well, I've tried pretty much everything else. And I can always go back. To all of these other things. 

I didn't delete my Weight Watchers app and all of these other things until probably quite a while after we started coaching. But that was when I knew I could trust myself and I didn't need apps to tell me if I was succeeding or failing anymore.

So at the beginning, yeah, it was just the, I've tried most of the other things and this is very, very different. So maybe very, very different is what I need. 

Yeah. Okay. What I, as you said, you have a perspective I don't have. And here I am asking you questions from my perspective. What, what haven't I asked you about? What do you think is important? Or what do you want to share or say? Take it away, Chris. 

I want to, I think that one of the things that you and I talked about just deciding if this was a good fit was you did ask why now why this. And I think it came down to that I was just ready to take this next step. I think if someone is trying to decide if one on one coaching is right for them, they need to know that it is a serious investment. It's an investment in time. It's an investment of money. It is an investment in yourself in the fact that you believe that change is possible. 

But what I would say is that you have to be ready to approach it differently from everything you've ever done before. And for me, that meant just being wide open and receptive, and listening. 

And that is very different because I'm used to somebody telling me this is exactly what you should do. This is what you should eat. This is how you should add your points. This is how you should do this. And I like that because it made a lot of sense to me and I did it every single day, but things didn't change.

So, what I think someone needs to ask themselves is, are they ready to make that investment in time, in money, and in giving up the other stuff? Because, at least for me, I sure couldn't do both.

Yeah. Well, okay. So that brings up another question for me, because sometimes what you just said triggers, I think a different line of thinking than maybe you were referring to giving up some stuff because it is not unusual for me to talk with somebody about working together and their first thought, because we're all steeped in, in deprivation thinking and diet mentality, their first thought is, okay, am I ready to give up everything?

Because I'm going to invest, this is going to be a big deal. And so, you know, I better, you know, should I, should I just go all out and eat all the things? Or should I, like, should I, should I do this? Because on Monday is our first call and it's all going to be over after that. That's not what you're referring to, is it?

No, no. What I was referring to was giving up the count for me, giving up counting the points. Giving up stepping on the scale every day. And I, I, now I weigh myself again and I have. I can eat anything that I choose to eat. These are all decisions. I did not have some big splurge and eat everything before you and I had our first coaching meeting. So no, I don't mean that. I don't mean giving up all the food. 

For me, it meant giving up the tracking and the metrics and the things that the things that I thought were telling me whether I was a success or a failure. Just pushing that off to the side and saying, there are other ways that I should decide whether I'm succeeding.

And a lot of that has to do with me and how I feel and how I'm thinking. And it was making the decision to stop letting other things, whether they were apps or programs or other types of diet experts or whatever, tell me whether or not I was a success or a failure. 

Ooh, wow, that's big. Right. 

It was. 

And you used, you also, the other word that struck me is you talked about making decisions about what to eat. And I, I feel like that is something I know that is something that comes up a lot in coaching, , because we've been conditioned to just follow a bunch of rules and not know how to make our own decisions. 

And I know that you did a podcast and it may have been based on one of our discussions during that time, but it's probably based on other people too about how do I eat on vacation? What do I do on vacation? 

And that was one of my wild success stories while I was in coaching with you was I went to London for eight days. With my family and extended family. And I was in charge of everything, all of the planning, all of the timing, all the dynamics, all of the things, lots and lots of pressure.

And I made a lot of decisions of how I wanted to feel and what I wanted to think and how mindful I was going to be while I was eating and choosing food. And I, in fact, lost weight on that trip. , that was amazing to me, and I didn't feel deprived, and I didn't feel like I'd been on a diet or anything else. I was just learning to think of things differently. I was learning to look at things differently. I was looking at menus differently. I was able to ask myself, Are you hungry? And have an answer. I was able to ask myself, what would be satisfying? 

And maybe all I ate was a side order of fries. Which I would have never eaten before, but they looked good and I wanted them. But I didn't need a bunch of other junk to try to justify why I was eating the fries or whatever. It was being able to look inside myself and make the decisions for what made sense for me in that moment. 

And I remember what I remember about that trip is how happy you were when you came back. And actually like you, I think there was a bit of, I can't believe I did this. I'm so proud of myself. Look what I did. Look at like, look at how this all went. And I lost weight. Which was kind of this cherry on top because that wasn't your goal. You didn't go to London. Thinking you would lose weight. 

That wasn't my goal. And I honestly didn't care. I didn't want to feel obsessive. I didn't want to feel deprived. I wanted to enjoy the time with my family and my friends and not always be thinking about food. I was starting to notice that when I went out to dinner with someone. 

Early on in the coaching, I would notice this. I was so focused on the plate in front of me and what I was eating or not eating that I wasn't noticing the person I was there with. And I started saying, pick up your head. Look at this person. You came out to eat with them. You want to enjoy their company. Stop focusing on your food all the time and just making decisions to do things differently and be mindful of where I was and what I really wanted in a moment.

I'm so thrilled to be having this conversation. I, and, and, you know, for me, this is like this secret way to, to show the world, the amazing people that I get to spend time with. 

Thank you. 

Yeah, anything we didn't cover before we close things up here? 

Nothing I can think of. There's so much. There's so much in my journal. There's so much in my head and I'm not a person who gets teary eyed and my hands are even shaking. Just thinking about where I am now compared to where I was then is just deeply emotional for me. 

And I now realize that this is a process, it's not over, I'm not done. But I have the tools and I know how to think. I know how to ask myself questions. I know how to sometimes just say you know right now I don't care and, I make a decision that maybe isn't the best thing for me and I don't go crazy. I just have like, nah, whatever. That's, that's okay. It's all okay. And it's very different. 

I'm in a very, very different place right now. And I thank you for everything. 

Oh. I, it's my pleasure. It's absolutely my pleasure. Well, thank you, Chris, for joining us today. And you all who are listening, I hope this is, I hope this was interesting for you. I hope it was useful. , if you have questions, you should hop on over to the Facebook group. Make sure you join over there and we can continue the conversation. 

And I'm there too. 

So Chris is there too. That's right. And I hope it's not another eight months before we catch up. 

I hope not. Yeah. Thank you.

Thanks, Chris.

Enjoy the show?

If you love this podcast, will you take 30 seconds to leave a review? It makes all the difference in my ability to share this information!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

You may also like