Deb's Reviews > Stop Eating Your Heart Out: The 21-Day Program to Free Yourself from Emotional Eating

Stop Eating Your Heart Out by Meryl Hershey Beck
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Apr 28, 12

Read in April, 2012

*Start filling your heart up*

Do you identify with any of these statements?

--I am preoccupied with food, eating, and weight.

--I am aware that my eating patterns are not normal.

--I eat when I am not physically hungry.

--I eat very little in pubic and binge in private.

--I eat to comfort myself and relieve distressing feelings.

--I tend to eat more when I am stressed, anxious, or depressed.

--Food has become my friend, my lover, or my drug of choice.

--I feel ashamed of myself due to the quantity of food I consume.

--I feel powerless over my eating behavior.

(The complete list of statements can be found on pp. 16-17 of Meryl's book.)

If so, then you may very well be an emotional eater.

Although that reality may be hard to accept, the hope that Meryl's book offers is undeniable. As she states:
“The goal of this book is for you to have freedom from emotional eating. This means that your relationship with food will change; it will no longer be your best friend or your worst enemy—food will just be food, used for pleasure, at times, and for nourishment. Being freed from emotional eating also means you are able to feel your feelings and deal with them rather than numbing yourself with food...And the more you come to love, accept, and appreciate yourself, the more food will just be food—rather than your drug of choice.” (pp. 76, 160)


And, she delivers on this hope with a 21-day plan to help you break free from the trap of emotional eating. As a recovered emotional eater, she's made it though this process herself, and as a therapist and author, she now shares this program with others. You'll have to get your hands on your own copy of this book (I highly recommend it!), but until then, here's a quick sampling of what the 21-day plan involves:

***Becoming Self-Honest***

Day 1: Eating History—Taking an honest self-inventory to determine how you have used food in the past.

Day 2: Food-Mood Diary—Exploring the connection between food and feelings by tracking emotions and triggers associated with every bite you take.

Day 3: Personal Journal—Using writing as a tool to identify, process, explore, and release feelings as well as gain increased awareness and insight into your eating behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, and habits.


***Finding Support***

Day 4: Creating a Support System—Developing a support system (of friends, family members, support groups) to help sustain you through the process.

Day 5: Self-Care—Identifying and implementing ways to nurture yourself—and put your own oxygen mask on before helping others!

Day 6: Therapy—Exploring therapy options for additional support in your growth and healing process.



***Spirituality and Spiritual Growth***

Day 7: Higher Power—Connecting with a source outside yourself (be it God, nature, a spiritual connection, a Higher Power, or any other source of connection that feels right to you).

Day 8: Prayer and Mediation—Decreasing the need for food compulsions by filling yourself up with prayer and/or meditation practices.

Day 9: Creative Visualization—Manifesting your dreams and goals with specific techniques to envision freedom from emotional eating and a newfound ability to eat for pleasure and nutrition.


***Energy Techniques***

Day 10: An Introduction to TFT and EFT—Dealing directly with cravings and emotional discomfort by tapping on acupressure points to help release feelings, stress, anxiety, and trauma.

Day 11: Rapidly Integrated Transformation Technique (RITT)—Integrating energy techniques with a spiritual component to decrease the intensity of overwhelming emotions.

Day 12: Personal Energy Work—Monitoring how your energy levels rise and fall throughout the day in response to particular people, situations, activities, and foods.


***Going Within***

Day 13: The Inner Child—Breaking free from the shackles of your past by developing the Healthy Adult part of yourself to work with your Inner Child.

Day 14: Right-Hand/Left-Hand Dialogue—Accessing the subconscious feelings and needs that have led to emotional eating.

Day 15: Parts Work—Embracing the Inner Critic—Using self-compassion and parts work techniques (ex: Chair Work, Two Hands Talking, and Right-Hand/Left-Hand Dialogue) to create a dialogue between your Inner Critic and Healthy Adult to better understand and address your unmet needs and desires.


***Personal Housekeeping***

Day 16: Mini Inventory—Increasing your self-awareness and accountability by taking an inventory of your shame-based past experiences, character traits, and personality vulnerabilities.

Day 17: Giving It Away—Sharing the results of your inventory work with someone else to help release the associated shame and guilt, and ultimately find compassion and empathy for your past actions.

Day 18: Making Amends—Taking responsibility by acknowledging the hurt you may have caused others, making amends, and adjusting your future actions.


***Conscious Living***

Day 19: Forgiveness—Letting go of toxic resentments and grudges by forgiving yourself and others.

Day 20: Gratitude—Shifting your attitude from noticing what is wrong to appreciating what is right. (As Meryl notes: “When we are feeling grateful, we aren't reaching for that first compulsive bite.” p. 178)

Day 21: Healthy Eating—Becoming more mindful of your eating practices, habits, and triggers and learning how to feed your your body what it actually wants and needs.


If you're ready to stop eating your heart out, then open it up to this book. You may very well find yourself—that is, your *true* self—on the journey towards a truly satisfying and nourishing life.

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