Why Healing Your Relationships Will Heal Your Overeating

Why Healing Your Relationships Will Heal Your Overeating


Why Healing Your Relationships Will Heal Your OvereatingEven if you figure out how and what to eat in ways that best support your individual body, and even if you learn how to better nurture yourself physically, you won’t be out of the woods around out-of-control eating…yet.

Because most of the binges or emotional distress and energy that gets expended around any kind of disordered eating has to do with how you navigate relationships. How safe and secure you feel with other people, knowing how to express yourself comfortably, knowing how to set boundaries that serve you, knowing how to hold yourself in relation to all of the people in all of the places in your life.. well that is where you usually need some shoring up.

My clients come to me for support when they know they can’t manage the feelings of self-loathing around their bodies anymore. They come because they feel like they don’t know how to take care of themselves around food or how to nourish themselves in ways that feel balanced and sane.

And yet underneath the body-as-battlefield is always always the struggle around relationship dynamics. How to find ways to comfortably get your needs met. How to ask for what you want and say no to what you don’t. And doing all of this without the crushing shame or guilt or self-doubt that so often accompanies these negotiations. Or without blowing up.. or without retreating into isolation while trying not to need any others in your life. While trying not to invest too much in a relationship so that you won’t be hurt or disappointed.

Instead of learning these skills and feeling all of the vulnerability and pain that not knowing how to manage relationship dynamics in fully adult empowered ways.. people turn to addictive patterns. Trying to numb out and block out the sense of helplessness or anger or self-loathing that gets stirred up in simple daily life.

When somebody comes in with any form of disordered eating that is causing them pain, of course we look at those pieces. But the real work tends to be around these relationship tracks that were never laid down well enough that somebody feels emotionally safe in the world.

People tend to use food and overeating or binges in response to feelings that feel unmanageable. And learning both to self-soothe in ways that don’t add to the hurt, plus learn ways of being in connection with other people in more balanced skilled ways is part of the ways we create freedom together.


If you’re interested in how this all might work for you.. set up a complimentary consult with me.. what I call the “Illumination Round”.. about 20 minutes by phone, just you+me.. equals a little bit of clarity and vision for what might be right for you.

With love from my heart to yours..


  1. says

    Cutting out food as a “comfort” or emotional response has been a big part of my journey to a healthier life journey. Thanks for the inspiring words.

    • Lisa says

      Jackie.. you’re an inspiration.. making food be “food” is not an easy switch for anyone, including me. Plus it changes our chemistry so it actually can make us feel differently, and our brain and body learn how to reach for things for the desired effects. Anyways.. you know how to do it.. xox Lisa

  2. says

    “The body as battlefield” is an image I am going to carry with me for the rest of the week I am sure–how thoughtful and profound. It makes me want to be a bit kinder and a bit more gentle to myself, I suspect that in so doing I might reflect those qualities to those around me too–thank you Lisa!

    • Lisa says

      Bri… yes.. glad that you can feel the intuitive shift towards more tender dealings with your body. It’s not a separate entity.. love it all baby!! xox Lisa

  3. says

    A dear friend of mine struggles with anorexia, and this gives me a new way to understand her. I’m forwarding this to her, since I think her current treatment is really only looking at a piece of the puzzle, instead of the whole picture. Excellent – thank you.

    • Lisa says

      Hi Jessica.. glad this helped you see your friend differently. Anorexia is a complex disorder and lots of new theories emerging.. very scary to watch somebody struggle with starvation, just try to love her. Thanks for reading.. xox Lisa

  4. says

    Oh, Lisa! Gorgeous!! I totally get this – when I am feeling stressed and out of bounds with what I’m giving my daughter, I eat cookies. It’s taken me years to recognize this and start to heal it – I love how clearly you make this connection. Thank you!!! xoxo

    • Lisa says

      Nona.. so glad, thank you! It’s all very chemical in addition to the other pieces. We play with our blood sugar, our hormones, our brains when we reach for different foods. Our brains remember very well what “clicks” for us.. the foods that will bring on the relief, our brains remember that connection. Breathing through it.. stepping outside.. anything to “break the trance” as I call it, can help.
      Love to you- lisa

    • Lisa says

      Hi Amy- thank you and let me know how I can support you.. sometimes easier with another perspective.. xox Lisa

  5. says

    I am easily triggered to eat or feel angry when I
    am not listened to or when I walk away from a conversation and I have not been heard
    or I have not allowed myself to be heard.
    I am the listener role in most of my relationships. Part of me loves it, as I want to know almost every detail of someone’s story and life, but I’m beginning to realize how unsatisfying this role really is.

    • Lisa says

      I…hear you(!). It’s definitely a challenge for those of us who are great listeners and nurturers of others to sometimes figure out how to get those needs met.. as you said it becomes a role and a really unsatisfying one. Now that you’ve named it, I’m betting you’ll be able to begin to shift it. The best relationships are balanced and you deserve to have that. Good luck! xox Lisa

  6. says

    Honestly, I don’t know what else to say but “Brilliant… Just brilliant”. In so many ways, it’s not about the food, it’s about relationships with others and with self.

    • Lisa says

      Sue.. thank you for this.. really. Sometimes it’s about the food, but the compulsion and that driven out of control feeling that overrides our sensibilities.. then it’s not about the food..Love to you, LIsa

  7. says

    There is so much goodness in this post!
    I used to reach for the sugar when ever I felt lonely, or rejected. It was a big moment for me what I finally got what was going.
    I just finished a 21 day cleanse and I feel like I finally let go of the sugar!!! Funny enough I also feel more open, present, and connected.
    Rock on!

    • Lisa says

      love what you said “so much goodness in this post”, Leah! like a little treat..vs some of what we pursue when we need an emotional boost. So impressed that you made it through the 21 days… and it’s no coincidence that you are feeling lighter and more open as a result.. Having done similar cleanses on my own, my advice is to PROTECT the changes you’ve made as much as you can.. so much easier to protect and claim them then to try to recapture them. THis is grace on so many levels.. let it fill you up!! Love and blessings, Lisa

  8. says

    It can be pretty surprising to find what’s really driving our behaviours, can’t it?
    So cool that you’re focused on the drivers and not just the actions. Well done!

    Hugs and butterflies,

    • Lisa says

      Hi Teresa..the actions are not particularly powerful without tracking back and shifting the source, right? xox

  9. says

    Thank you for explaining so clearly why we use food as a crutch. I know I do this, particularly when I’m stressed or unhappy and know it’s not the best way to handle things. You get taught these coping strategies; but they don’t help in the long run. I’m going to start paying more attention when I feel the need for junk food so that I can use it as an indicator that I need to deal with the current issues. Thank you.

    • Lisa says

      hi Claire- it’s important to have some clarity but also another “compulsion” to turn to!! I believe that it’s ok to substitute other behaviors when we are feeling emotionally challenged, writing is one of the most powerful ways to move energy so you might want to keep a journal handy to “purge” whatever is making you feel like reaching for food… it helps.You might want to read this post also! Let me know if I can support you. Love and blessings, Lisa

  10. says

    I’m doing my best to protect them Lisa! Now that I am back to regular eating, I’m really being conscious of what I choose, and I’m protecting how good and clear I feel.

    • Lisa says

      good good good!! so much easier to just continue on.. and to find more beautiful ways to fill up.. am betting you are on top of that part too, Leah. xox

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