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How An Emotional Eater Lost 125 Pounds

I’m Brittany and I used to weigh 260 pounds. I’m just about 5’3 so that was really heavy on my frame. I am a chronic emotional and over indulgent eater. It’s something I still wrestle with. A pitfall of my personality, upbringing, our societal norms or maybe a combination of all three. 

I’m the oldest of seven. With a full time working mom we grew up on heavily processed, cheap, readily available food. Food was a reward, a celebration, and something we used to comfort on bad days. Family feud? Time to have a carpet picnic and fill our bellies with pizza, candy, and ice cream. Did well at a recital? Slurpees and Taco Bell! Family party? Drink as much soda as you please!

Back then we didn’t know that food could hurt us. Food was simply, food, right? But it was in those early years that I began to form some very dangerous habits. Habits that would stay with me for quite some time. 

How An Emotional Eater Lost 125 Pounds
(Teenage me, I’m in the green sweatshirt.)

I was classified as obese at 15 years old, over 200 pounds by my late teens, and tipped the scales at 260 in my twenties and graduated to the morbidly obese category. 

I tried many diets throughout the years. Read lots of books, binged health documentaries on Netflix, and actually succeeded in losing a bit of weight several times but it was always the same story. After a few months I’d fall off the wagon and after I fell off it no matter of willing myself to get it together could get me back on. 

I Stopped Letting My Emotions Dictate My Choices

Like everyone else I’ve been through some rough patches. I lived states apart from my family, I went through hardships in my marriage, I lost three babies, I battled depression and isolation. Then there were the in’s and outs of every day life, 6 pregnancies in 5 years, losing and gaining large amounts of weight continuously, and trying to keep the house clean and keep my sanity with three tiny humans running around.

I could maintain any diet throughout the day but after I put the kids to bed all bets were off. Ice cream, soda, chips, candy, fast food, frozen pizza, things I kept around the house “in case of emergency”… I knew it all had to go because every night became an “emergency”. I was an emotional binger. I’d eat my feelings instead of talking about them. 

How An Emotional Eater Lost 125 Pounds instantloss.com

Food made me feel better, but did it really? Can something that makes you feel better in the moment but makes you hate yourself the next day really be making things better? 

I wish I could tell you that I have some quick and simple plan that you can follow and be rid of your emotional eating but this disease is so much deeper than some quick blog post fix-it.

In January 2017, I resolved to start making meals at home, stop eating processed foods, and simply eat real food. No counting calories, no macros, or Keto, or whatever the next fad was. People lived for thousands of years just eating real food without suffering the obesity epidemic that we have today. It made sense to me that if I just ate stuff from the earth, in modest potions, I could lose weight. 

And I did. 

How An Emotional Eater Lost 125 Pounds instantloss.com
Left: 260 pounds Middle: 165 pounds Right: 135 pounds

But there’s an emotional aspect to weight loss that gets overlooked in a pretty before/after photo. Everyone wants to know what you’re eating but the more important question I think is “how did you break the strongholds and addictions in your life, concerning food?” 

Breaking the Addiction 

I was a sugar addict and by sugar, I don’t just mean ice cream. Sugar is in EVERYTHING processed. Bread, chips, salad dressings, diet bars, meal replacement shakes, heck, even in PROTEIN POWDER. 

I knew that in order to be successful, I needed to have a safe zone. A place where I could go and not be tempted. I made my house my safe zone. Anything that was a stumbling block, even if it was a healthy item, it was not allowed in my house. My husband wasn’t even allowed to hide stuff for himself because I would go looking for it. It’s embarrassing, but I would! I would look for his hidden stash and then I would sneak some or sometimes just eat it all. You guys, I was an ADDICT!

You wouldn’t keep heroin in the house with a heroin addict. So for me to beat this, I got my whole family on board and we kicked processed food together. 

How An Emotional Eater Lost 125 Pounds instantloss.com


In January 2017, I dedicated myself to this lifestyle change whole heartedly. I had a planner where I wrote down my weight each day, what I was eating, and how much water I was drinking. I also wrote down my weekly goals, monthly goals, and six month goal. This helped me stay accountable to myself. 

But ya’ll, I had some NIGHTS! I generally did fine throughout the day but nighttime was hard. I was conditioned to eat while we were watching TV after the kids were in bed. There were evenings where I had to have my husband turn off the show and I had to go to bed early because I could not stop obsessing over food. I don’t have any easy remedy for this. It’s something you really have to white knuckle. Drinking water sometimes helped but sometimes it didn’t. 

I’d complain to my husband about how I was starving after just eating a snack thirty minutes before. I wasn’t really starving, it was just the conditioning. It was just the withdrawal. They say that sugar is 10 times more addicting than heroin. And I can attest ya’ll, I went through WITHDRAWAL. 

How An Emotional Eater Lost 125 Pounds instantloss.com

There were tears, there was anger, I remember trying to bargain with my husband one night telling him that if he really loved me he’d run out and grab me a cheeseburger and a milkshake. I actually got so angry with him after he told me no that I refused to talk to him the rest of the night and went to bed early. 

As humiliating as that is to share, I want to share because I want you to see. This was an addiction. I would not behave that way, I don’t behave that way, I had to learn different coping mechanisms, different ways to handle my emotions because food was no longer an option. 

A Different Way to Cope

I am not an emotional person outwardly. Big emotions are difficult for me to process, so I didn’t. I’d eat them instead. When I was twenty-one, I got “let go” from a job that was very important to me. Outwardly I was fine but inwardly I was devastated. I didn’t talk about it, I just accepted it and “moved on”. But not dealing with those emotions left my body to manifest them in other ways. 

“Brady, the kids are driving me crazy. Bring home pizza.” Translation, ‘I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t think I can make dinner tonight.’

“I’m really sad tonight. I need a milkshake.” Translation, ‘I miss our baby and I can’t handle this grief.’

I was fully aware of what I was doing. I just couldn’t articulate myself. It was easier to say that I needed food than to say that I needed help. When I really really needed help. 

How An Emotional Eater Lost 125 Pounds instantloss.com

Part of my weight loss journey was figuring out new ways to deal with my emotions. Being more transparent about my feelings with my husband. Figuring out new ways to handle stress and feeling overwhelmed. Surprisingly, a lot of my anxiety, exhaustion, and stress began to fade after I altered my diet. I can actually feel a shift in my temperament if I begin to eat poorly now. 

Processed food alters your brain and hormonal chemistry. For me, it makes me feel more anxious, tired, and angry. 

Poor food choices were actually making me more emotional. 

Emotional Eater

Something that has really helped me in having lasting success, is not completely ignoring my cravings. In the past, when I attempted diets that were severely restrictive, I’d fall off the wagon in a big way. After falling off, I didn’t really feel like there was any reason to get back on because it wasn’t sustainable for me. 

This time I allow myself to have sweets in modest portions. There were weeks where I’d eat a handful of chocolate chips mixed with a handful of nuts every night and I’d still lose weight consistently. Friday nights are our dessert night and I make some kind of yummy, healthy treat, that satisfies that “treat” craving.

Peanut Butter Protein Truffles

I’d like to say that now that I’ve found better ways to cope with my emotions, I don’t have the desire to eat my feelings anymore but that’s just not the case. It’s something that I have to be mindful of continuously and now that I’m in a healthy weight range, I do indulge from time to time. But I’m always careful because it’s a slippery slope when you begin adding tigger foods back into your diet. 

I experienced this last year during the holidays. I put on 10 pounds of holiday weight and just thought “Who cares! I’ll take it off in January”, but it wasn’t that easy. It’s hard to get back on track when you hit a detour. It took me till March to get my act together and finally take off that ten pounds. 

I’m glad for the experience though. I’m much more weary of indulging like that now. It’s just not worth it. 

Are you an emotional eater? What are some of the things that you do to refrain from eating your feelings? 

To read more about how I lost 125 pounds click here!



  1. First thank you for sharing. I eat my feelings ALL THE TIME. It is so hard and I try and try and I see myself fail and fail. I tell myself(you deserve to celebrate, or it’s ok to indulge once in a while, or it’s all about balance) then I look back and the balance cost me six months and 20 pounds…plus uncountable moments of heavy condemnation that just spirl me into depression and more eating. I don’t know what the answer is either but it must stop. I have to get to the place where I am done listening to everyone else including the devil on my shoulder and purge all sugar from my life.

  2. I have an autoimmune disease that has caused permanent nerve damage and have been told by more than one dr to go on a mostly plant diet. But I am so addicted to food…I fall off the wagon an hour after my resolve. I don’t know what to do anymore. I bought your meal plans and stuck to it 1 day. I hurt all the time and give up making food because it is physically hard for me. I need help!! My family needs help, my 12 year old son just got put on a diet by his dr. I don’t want my family getting sick from my poor habit. I have taught them to be emotional eaters. Thank you for sharing your story! You are so inspiring. I

  3. Thank you for being so open with us! I’m definitely an emotional eater and self-medicate with food. I just wrote about this topic on my own blog. I’ve just started a 40 day Bible study that is for overcoming emotional eating and boy, is it an eye opener! I highly recommend it. As far as avoiding my habit of eating at night or eating my feelings, I write, color, or crochet. I’ve found that if my hands are busy, I’m less likely to eat anything. Thank you for being such an inspiration 😊

  4. Oh my gosh, this is me. And I keep talking myself out of eating better because I already feel overwhelmed and I don’t want to add extra food prep to my day. It’s encouraging to read that you’ve noticed a difference in yourself mentally when you’ve been eating right!

  5. I don’t think I have ever related more to anything. I have always thought it was “just me” thank you for sharing with us (always!). You help me to feel less alone. I am a huge emotional eater and I am addicted to all sugars. I have watched your story for a while and you are a big inspiration to me. I just haven’t found courage/ motivation to start or maybe that’s my food addiction and anxiety speaking. But I know I need to and seeing this post has helped me to get closer to the starting line.

  6. Its nice to read that it was a struggle for you too. I am just like you, outwardly, not a big emotional person, but that is because I can just eat the feelings away. Sugar is SUPER addictive, and the emotional/mental coping of eating your emotions is an everyday struggle.

    I was an athlete and always ate big, but then the pounds started hitting me in high school and then college it really packed on. I have done every fad diet there is, and just like you had ups and downs. Keto did do well for me, dropped 45 lbs, however I feel like its not sustainable. I want it to be but its just not cutting it. I found your blog a few months ago and now after the stress of wedding/honeymoon (Got married 04/21/18!) is over I feel that we can now focus on healthy eating! My husband and I plan to use your meal plan and give it a shot! I can’t wait!

  7. Thank you so much for once again being vulnerable so others can allow themselves the same gift. Sugar is my crack. I am on the road of success thanks to your motivation & my new resolve. I’ve dieted countless times; now I’m approaching my change in eating as a holistic one. I am learning to look within for the means to heal the way I see everything in my environment; not just the way I use food. I’m learning we all have the power to do this in us. But there are many different ways to open that door. You inspire people to open that door within & listen. We all have triggers other than food… music, dance, reading, taking 10 minutes each day to just gaze at your world & name what you love in it.

  8. Did you speak with a counselor to help you sort through all of the emotions? Or read books? This is impressive you and your husband were able to tackle this on your own. I have a 15 year old daughter who has gained weight over the years and is now in the “obese” category and I desperately want to help her the best I can. We have just started talking to a nutritionist and counselor but as her mom and someone who has never been overweight, I struggle with knowing the best way to love and support her without being controlling. I would appreciate any insight or advice on what to do or not to do. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I didn’t formally but I have several women in my family who are church counselors that I spoke with frequently throughout my journey who guided me and brought things to my attention that I didn’t even realize I was struggling with. I really feel for you. It’s so hard to help your child when there’s such a disconnect. It sounds like you’re doing exactly what you should be doing.
      It’s really hard to struggle with weight as a child. There’s a lot of “this isn’t fair” emotion and lots of comparison. My other siblings were always thin. It was so confusing how we’d all eat the same things but I was big and they weren’t which made me feel like “why should I even try? I guess I’m supposed to be this way.” Not true but those were the thoughts that teenage me struggled with.
      I actually had undiagnosed hypothyroid disease, my body chemistry was different than theirs, which is why the struggle was so hard for me. I love that you’re dedicated to getting her help.
      She might be interested in watching some health documentaries on Netflix. You guys could watch them together and then talk about your thoughts! Those grabbed my attention much more than books. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Food Matters, Forks over Knives, Hungry For Change, What the Health, it helps when you understand the why behind what’s happening. 🙂

      1. Thank you, Brittany. And thank you for allowing God to use you to help so many people. He’s doing some amazing things through you!

  9. As usual, your story hit me right where it hurts. There are so many that grew up this way, myself included. I turned to anorexia & bulimia and when I thought i could control THAT without fixing the emotional component i instead became a binge eater and began my steady climb. My entire family is overweight/obese. I did everything i could “not to end up that way”. It takes so much self reflection to break free and for me i had to hit rock bottom (like an addict) before i could change. More importantly i think for me it took OUTSIDE HELP (like counseling) etc to get to the root and be set free. I am proud of where i am today (even though i am not all the way there!) and stories of others that have been there and triumphed are so important for healing so we don’t just give up. Thanks for sharing more of your story. You are an inspiration!

  10. Hi Brittney, Your story is so inspirational! I have a question which is a bit of a conundrum for me. What do you do when you aren’t feeling well; a cold, flu or other? Sometimes all I could stomach or even sounds good, let alone have the strength to make is; toast or crackers or a can of soup. What do you eat when you are sick? I look forward to your reply.

  11. I think that this is an amazing piece. I really admire your bravery in writing it. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my struggles with this and that some of the things I have done, others have too.

  12. I can definitely relate to this. I suffer from depression– something I’ve come to accept may be an omnipresent part of my life, and a lot of how I coped with that was by eating. I didn’t have an understanding family. My mom only knows how to deal with it by saying “snap out of it”, so yeah food became my comfort and i gained nearly 50lbs in 3-4yrs as a teenager. Nonetheless, I’m proud to say I lost and have been sucessfully keeping off 40lbs by changing my relationship with food. Instead of eating my feelings, I do something active, write, watch videos, journal, talk to someone, drink water, chew gum, brush my teeth or go to bed early. It’s certainly not easy, I don’t win every day but I’ve come a far way. It’s not easy but it’s doable.

  13. I keep coming back to this as a source of strength. I really appreciate you sharing what you went through. It is hard to talk about and explain the struggle to someone not going through it. I really hope that by starting this year off right and returning to this post to see that other people are going through the same thing as me, I can conquer my issues with food. Thank you for creating a safe environment for us to come to.

  14. Hi Brittany!
    Thanks for this inspiring article! You are a lovely gal inside and out and I applaud your victory over your food demon! 🙂
    At 56 years old I am still an emotional eater 🙁 As the oldest of three children and living in a home with emotionally vacant parents was always difficult and it lead to my eating disorder. My mother especially is still emotionally cold and has deep seeded anger and hostility that she still shows towards a select few people. I especially have always been her emotional punching bag. My younger, prettier, slim, tall and elegantly blonde sister has always been the apple of her eye. I guess my point is that parents should be mindful to remember that each child is different and unique and being loved no matter their size will help them to grow up to be healthy in body mind and soul. My parents disgust in me because of my weight will always stay with me (I see it in their faces) eventhough I am now trying to live healthier and give my life over to God. So maybe if my parents can’t love their fat middle-aged daughter maybe the Lord will!
    Thanks for this wonderful web site and may God bless you and your family Brittany.

  15. Thank you so much for this honest account . I’m 365 pounds at 5 ft 10 and I got here by my emotional eating .Im committed to getting this weight off and your article has really given me hope. Especially with just eating real food , not worrying about calories and fads . I feel I’m such a shadow of my former self and want to get back to being the happy vibrant person I once was .

  16. I felt like you were talking about my own life while describing your struggles with emotional eating! Why does food have to be so addicting?!
    Thank you for your transparency!

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