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The One Assumption I'm NEVER Afraid to Make about My Emotional Eating

As a therapist and coach trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), I’m well-versed in all the ways in which we can think that have an impact on our emotions and behavior. 

Cognitive distortions, as they’re called, are all the pesky thinking errors we might fall into. 

For example, 

  • We might think in a black-and-white, all or nothing way. 

  • We might maximize or minimize.

  • You might recognize how you catastrophize sometimes. 

  • Or jump to conclusions, blame, or personalize.

  • Or make assumptions…

What I don’t ever recall learning when we were trained to recognize these “distortions,” and I’m putting that word in quotes for a reason…

Is that...

The parts of us who think in these ways, have REALLY GOOD REASONS for doing so. 

First, let me clarify what I mean when I say “parts of us” think in these ways. 

Let’s do a thought experiment. 

When you’re cuddled up with your best fur friend, are you thinking in a black and white way? 

What do your thoughts sound like? 

Mine sound like this:

I’m so lucky to have you as my little buddy. 

You’re so cute. 

I love your little smooshy face. 

A cat and two dogs laying with their favorite person

Now, think back to the last argument you were in with your partner.

In this case, you might have noticed black-and-white thinking. 

You never take out the trash! 

You always disregard my feelings. 

It’s always been this way, where I have to initiate the conversations and you never share your feelings. 


Different parts of us think in different ways, at different times, under different circumstances! 



Just like I’m not a SAD PERSON.



I am a person who experiences anger! And when there is anger present within me, if I checked in, I’d also notice that there’s gratitude, purpose, some sense of agency, and different energies besides anger. 

There are parts of me that think in black-and-white, AND…

If we were to get to know them, I would bet EVERYTHING (how’s that for black and white 😁) that they learned to do this for some really, really, really good reason. 

Let’s look at Suzie...

who shared when she first started coaching with me, that she didn’t believe that anything she did in my program was going to make a bit of difference. 

Now, I could have personalized her statement.


I could have taken this as a testament to my lack of capacity as a coach, or my inability to provide a worthwhile and relevant service. 

And if that were the case, I’d have something to explore within myself. 

But I took it as an opportunity to get to know the part of her that was showing up with such skepticism and disbelief. 

And because I was able to do that, guess what we learned? 

We found out that this skeptical part of her doesn’t want her to make the same mistakes she’s made in the past. 

This part of her was concerned for her wellbeing, her money, and afraid of her being taken advantage of. 

This part of her shared that it’s trying to protect her from the same thing happening like when she was little. 

This part reminded Suzie of the times when she was younger that she’d come home, all excited about something she’d learned at school. 

And she’d go to share it with her dad!

He would just give her a nod. 

Barely looking up from the newspaper he was reading. 

And say, “Good. I’m not sure that will make much of a difference as you get older and you’re in the real world. But glad you’re trying.”

Suzie’s excitement turned to invalidation. 

The person she looked up to more than anyone, neglected the beautiful curiosity she displayed. 

And so Suzie grew up with this, learning that it wasn’t safe to feel excited or curious. 

Those feelings were associated with a feeling of neglect and longing. 

And a part of her made sure that she’d not feel those emotions anymore, by shutting them off and responding to anything she might learn with extreme skepticism and negativity. 

What an elegant protective system, right? 

This black-and-white approach, from this part of her that wanted nothing more than for her to feel safe in the world with a parent who couldn’t meet her in her lovely innocence and exuberance for learning… 

Was doing exactly what it knew to do, in her best interest. 

My friends, you can take any part of you that shows up with one of those “cognitive distortions” and absolutely know that there is a really darn good reason why it reacts that way. 

I’m never afraid to make the assumption that every single part of me, even my emotional eating part, is operating with my best interests in mind. 

It’s the one assumption I’m never afraid to make. 

And it’s the one assumption that will be crucial for the healing of YOUR relationship with food and your body. 

👇Don't take my word for it. Reflect on how it’s worked out for you to assume the opposite– that the parts of you that make you eat, restrict, or body-check or compare are bad and awful.

And if you are ready to heal your relationship with food so you can feel confident, trust yourself again, and spend your time, energy, and money on what you truly value, then click the button below to schedule your complimentary discovery call!


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