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I get lots of emails from people recovering from compulsive eating asking me for help. Sometimes, I’ll get an email that really stands out. Yesterday, I got an email from a young lady named Rita, in response to my guest blog post on Ezine Articles. The topic of my blog post was “How to Take Care of Yourself Emotionally While Recovering From Binge Eating”.

She gave me permission to post her question, so here it is:


“I’ve been abstinent from sugar and flour for two weeks and I really need some advice. I’m feeling emotions I’ve never felt before – like anger and rage. Is this normal? I’m afraid I’m going to beat the crap out of someone and get arrested. – Raging Mad Woman

Here’s my response:


Congratulations on your abstinence – and for not killing anyone!  It’s quite normal to feel your feelings once you’ve put the food down. Certain feelings, like anger and rage, can be scary to acknowledge – let alone feel.  The good news is that you’re aware of your feelings because you’re not stuffing your face. Now it’s time to give yourself some TLC.

Here are a few suggestions on how to take care of yourself emotionally while recovering from binge eating.

Stop People Pleasing

As a compulsive overeater, I didn’t know how to take care of myself emotionally. I ignored my own feelings, and so I became insensitive to them. I was a people pleaser. I didn’t know how to say “No”. Naturally, when I put the food down, I realized I had to either acknowledge my feelings and continue to recover, or ignore them, and continue to eat.

I chose not to be a people pleaser. And I learned how to say “No”. Saying “No” to people helps you to respect your own limits. When you learn how to say no to others, you train yourself to be sensitive to your own feelings, and you begin to respect yourself.

Resentment often comes from not speaking up and allowing others to treat us badly. That’s no longer an option.

Put Your Bedroom Slippers On

You’re in the beginning of abstinence. So, the only thing you need to focus on is going to work, going to your recovery meetings, going home and going to bed. Well, actually, you can do more than that… a little more. Here are a couple of more things you can do:

Pick Up The Telephone

These days, with cell phones, it’s super easy to make a phone call.  If you’re angry, it’s important that you make program calls. Anger and resentment make me want to eat. You can’t afford anger right now, even if the other person is at fault – or you’ll eat. Right now you need the love and support of your 12 step fellowship. Call a few program friends and tell them how you’re feeling.

Having a network of people to talk to who understand that you’re newly recovering will do wonders. They’ll also give you perspective – like feelings aren’t facts. And that this too shall pass!

Take a Bubble Bath

Learning how to take care of yourself emotionally, means doing nice things for yourself, like taking a long hot bubble bath. Hot bubble baths are soothing to your body and your mind.

Write in Your Journal

Write about the incident in a private journal. Be really honest about how you feel. After all, you’re the only one who’s going to read it. Oftentimes, writing about my feelings gives me clarity on the situation and calms me down.  I hope that helps!

Here’s an email from Gail in New Jersey:


I’ve been abstinent 6 months. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and I’m expected to attend the usual family Thanksgiving dinner. My mother is an abusive, controlling bully. I dread going home. I’m thinking about not going, but the family would be pissed if I didn’t show. Would it be cruel if I told them I’ve decided not to go? – Feeling Guilty


Thanks for reaching out to me. It’s perfectly alright for you to decline this year’s Thanksgiving invitation. If your mother and other family members are mean and abusive, there’s no reason, nor is there a law, that says you need to subject yourself to their behavior!

Stay Away From Toxic People

Learning how to take care of yourself emotionally means you’ll sometimes have to stay away from certain people – especially family members who don’t respect you. It doesn’t matter if the holidays are coming up.

Don’t Put Up With Bad Behavior

In fact, I remember last year I had volunteered to bring the pumpkin pie over to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. We got into an argument the day before. She said horrible things to me. I told her that was unacceptable – and I didn’t go.

Chose Emotional Recovery Over Family and Friends

Your abstinence is too important to lose by being around people who don’t treat you well. When you learn how to take care of yourself emotionally by setting boundaries and extricating yourself from toxic situations, you give the message to yourself that you’re important. And you are!

I hope this helped.

To all of my fabulous readers, I’d love to hear your comments or any questions you have on how to take care of yourself emotionally while recovering!