Emotional eating? 6 key questions

emotional eating cupcakesI found myself prowling through the cupcake aisle at Whole Foods.

I walked slowly around and around the glass case, checking out the beautiful decorations and the different flavors.

Perusing cupcakes is nothing extraordinary, people do it everyday, but the thing is that my body is very sensitive to wheat and refined sugar. I get super sleepy when I eat wheat, plus agitated and cranky when I eat refined sugar. The combination of sugar and wheat is certainly not optimal. Basically they make me feel awful.

So it was a bit surprising that I was prowling the cupcake aisle, because it’s not somewhere I usually hang out.

I know I’m not alone with this type of behavior – being drawn to something that we know doesn’t truly support our body.

So I asked myself a few powerful questions that brought me to a different internal place and helped me make a more nourishing choice.

Before I tell you what I chose to get myself..and yes it was a sweet treat (but not a cupcake), first let me tell you the questions I asked myself, because they are powerful and helpful questions that you can use when you find yourself walking towards food or behaviors that you know won’t really support your body and soul.

My questions….

  • What am I feeling?
  • What happened?
  • Was there a trigger that brought me to my current experience?
  • What do I want?
  • What do I need?
  • How can I get my needs and desires met in a way that deeply support and nourish me?

I really want to acknowledge that sometimes it’s hard to create a pause to ask ourselves these questions. That’s why it’s helpful to get support and have someone else hold the space for you and ask the questions.

Here’s what I discovered when I asked myself the questions:

What am I feeling? 
  • I was feeling vulnerable, fragile and very small.
What happened? 
  • I had just been at the dentist!
Was there a trigger that brought me to my current experience?
  • Being at the dentist makes me feel scared and I had experienced an uncomfortable procedure.
What do I want?
  • I want a reward, I want a sweet-treat. I want a CUPCAKE! (screams my inner child!)
What do I need?
  • I need comforting!
How can I get my needs and desires met in a way that deeply supports and nourishes me?

Hail Merry

What’s cool about this process is that it is based on the truism that we have an inner wisdom that will guide us towards nourishment and healing. We don’t have to fight ourselves. What we want to do instead is to listen to ourselves, honor our knowing, and join ourselves.

Again, I truly understand that moving through this kind of process on your own takes practice, patience and inner-trust. But this is something you can learn to do. It really is easier to do with support, so if that feels right to you, let’s talk.

I hope these questions are helpful to you and support you on your self-nourishing journey!



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Nina Manolson, MA, CHC, certified Health Coach and Psychology of Eating Coach believes that every woman deserves to feel good in her own body. She helps women create a healthy and positive relationship with their food and body so they can love their body and life!  She’s the founder of NinaManolson.com and NourishedWomanNation.com 

She helps busy women look and feel their best. She specializes in working with women over 40 who have tried other diets and approaches but are still struggling with their body and food. She helps women step into a new wellness paradigm that makes self-care real and do-able and turns it into sustainable healthy habits that

She’s the author of “Feed Your Kids Well In A World That Doesn’t: an everyday guide to make healthy food happen in your home and beyond”. She’s also the recipient of the prestigious Health Leadership Award from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

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