Facebook Pixel

Why Smart, Successful Women Struggle With Food, Weight and Emotional Eating

Rate This

As we all know, Oprah Winfrey isn't the only smart, successful woman who struggles with food, weight and emotional eating. I work with many clients who have accomplished tremendous things but who see food as the one place in their lives where they can't seem to take control. Frustration, self-blame and self-consciousness can make the problem even worse and lead to more stress or comfort eating, another binge or a sense of hopelessness and despair.

What's a smart, savvy woman to do?

Here are some areas to pay attention to if you'd like to get back in the driver's seat with food and weight.

1. Are you paying yourself first?

Where do you fall on your priority list? Many of the successful, hard-working women I know and work with juggle multiple projects and priorities. Sometimes they make the mistake of believing it would be easier just to put themselves to the side – have one less thing to juggle. Do you even show up on your priority list or have you fallen into a pattern of attending to your own needs last – if there's time? If the latter sounds like your pattern, then you probably know that the to-do list can be never-ending and if you come last, it's too tempting to resort to food as an easy, "quick fix" for comfort, stress-relief or even a reward for that day of hard work.

Learning to prioritize and budget for your own needs, wants and dreams(and learning to identify them in the first place) is more important for ending battles with emotional eating than any nutritional advice.

2. Are you holding yourself to impossible standards?

Do you have an inner-perfectionist, dooming you to failure before you even start? High-achieving women can be incredibly hard on themselves. The truth is, nothing will derail an emotional eater faster than unrealistic, impossible expectations. Learn to do your best – and to keep doing your best even when it doesn't work out. That will pay off far better than shooting for perfect.

3. Are you a hard worker?

Hard-working women often fall into the trap of believing that the way to resolve their problems with food is to "get tough with themselves and just work harder.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I enjoyed the article and can relate. For me and my clients this is a struggle that we as women need to come to peace with. Food and eating would then naturally balance out. I find life coaching for myself and other women most beneficial.

May 19, 2009 - 7:19am
EmpowHER Guest

When working at home I do so in blocks of time. 2 hours, then a 10 minute break. On my break I do the extra household stuff if I want to. I do something similar when I don't work at home, only my breaks don't consist of house duties. - sourpanties

May 18, 2009 - 10:37am

Melissa, what a wonderful and timely post.

I wonder if your advice would even branch out a little further for women who work at home? I do, and it seems that I fall into all of your traps -- and one more, that being that it's just too convenient to eat when you work at home.

Priority lists get all mushed together when a person works at home. Does a person get "dressed" for work, or not? Do they put in a load of laundry while they do your work, or not? In some ways at home, work habits slide; in others, they focus more. But I've noticed that when my work life and my home life get so firmly enmeshed, my eating tends to get worse and worse.

If I used to have a small problem putting myself first when I worked outside the home, I believe I have an even larger one now that I work at home. Everywhere I look, there are things waiting to be done that have nothing to do with my work. This, of course, isn't the case in an office -- I don't sit and think about the laundry when I work outside the home. Or the dishes. Or whether the dogs need in or out. I also don't have access to an entire refrigerator and pantry when I work outside the home.

Hints? Help? Advice? I wait, eagerly, here at the dining room table, working at the computer, the dog at my feet. My inner perfectionist is having some difficulty, I have to say.

May 18, 2009 - 8:52am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)


Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Yes, I agree that working from home adds an additional set of variables to this struggle--so many responsibilities to juggle, and many of them are in one place! I actually specialize in working with self-employed women business owners (many of whom work from home) with this issue. Being clear on priorities and how you intend to spend the next hour (or fifteen minutes) can help, but that's just the beginning. I'd love to invite you (and anyone else who is interested) to sign up for a free teleclass I'm giving on this same topic. The call will be recorded, so if you can't attend, you'll get a copy of the recording, but I'd love for you to come and ask your questions! The link to register is: http://www.enduringchange.com/free-teleseminar/.

Hope to hear you there!

May 18, 2009 - 10:56am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Weight Loss

Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!