Ep #189: The Key to Overcoming Emotional Eating with Dr. Melissa McCreery

By: Dr. Sherry Price

The Key to Overcoming Emotional Eating with Dr. Melissa McCreery

Do you struggle with overeating or emotional eating? 

If so, you’re not alone. This is something I see so many women struggling with, and it can be a huge barrier to your ability to reach your health goals. 

Often, emotional eating and overeating stem from unmet needs that cause one to turn to food for comfort or stress relief instead of addressing the root causes.

If you’re ready to retrain your mind and change your relationship with food, this episode is for you. 

This week, I am excited to welcome Dr. Melissa McCreery to the podcast. She is a psychologist, an expert in emotional eating, and the author of a book on overcoming overeating. She also hosts the “Too Much on Her Plate” podcast and created the “Your Missing Peace” program, which helps busy women break free from overeating and find peace with food.

Join us as Dr. McCreery shares what “hidden hungers” are and the shame cycle that often accompanies overeating. We also discuss how small, meaningful changes can make a big difference in our relationship with food.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • The primary driver for overeating or emotional eating
  • How to shift from feeling shame about your eating habits to embracing self-compassion
  • Ways to create lasting changes in your relationship with food

I hope this episode inspires you to break free from the cycle of emotional eating and move toward a healthier, more fulfilling relationship with food.


I’m launching a new program, Mastering Menopause!  If you want to learn how to make the second half of your life the best half, click here to learn more about Mastering Menopause!

Featured on the Show:

[00:00:00] Hey friend, if you’re wanting to stop overeating or stop emotionally eating and change your relationship around food, then this podcast is for you today on the podcast. I have Dr. Melissa McCreery joining me. She is a psychologist and emotional eating expert, author, host of the too much on her plate podcast and creator of the your missing piece program that supports smart and busy women in creating freedom from overeating and peace around food.

She’s helped thousands break the cycle of overwhelm, overload, and overeating without feeling deprived and without depending on ridiculous amounts of willpower participants in her signature program. You are missing piece, lose their cravings and their overeating habits. Her approach has worked for busy mothers.

Busy professionals, stressed out business owners, because she emphasizes leveraging your unique strengths, ditching diet culture, mentality, one of my favorites and using the power of psychology. [00:01:00] Her perspective has been featured in the wall street journal, CNN health, weight watchers magazine, good housekeeping, working mother, fitness, women’s health, real simple and self.

I McCreery today on the podcast. Now onto the show. [00:02:00] 

HHEL 189: Well, hello everyone. And today joining me on today’s podcast episode, as you heard from the intro is Dr. Melissa McCreery, and she is an emotional eating expert and psychologist and want to welcome you to the [00:03:00] show, Melissa. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here. Yeah, I’m very excited because I feel a lot of what we talk about overlaps and I love getting other professionals opinion in this space.

And so I want to start off by, , talking about overeating. And we talked a lot about that as the podcast has pivoted here, we talk about over drinking and how a lot of those patterns and behaviors overlap. And I just want to start with talking about what do you find when you work with women as the primary driver.

For that emotional eating component, what’s one of the primary drivers you find for emotional eating? Well, I’ve actually coined a term for it because I think there’s a conglomeration of factors, particularly for women, particularly for, smart, busy women who that’s who I tend to work with. And the term I use is hidden hungers.

We have things that we are hungry for, that we need in our lives, that we want in our lives, that food becomes a , [00:04:00] really easy mechanism for replacing these things or for bypassing these things or for compensating us when we don’t get those things. So things like needing stress relief.

Things like being overwhelmed, being exhausted, being too busy being out of bandwidth. I think that’s a big one that, we take for granted, but we don’t put it into words. So that many times we have the skills. We’re just too tired to use them. We know, okay, I can name five things to do instead of eating chocolate right now.

And I’m out of gas. , I don’t have the energy or the motivation left to do it. So food is such an easy, convenient, inoffensive thing that we can use to give ourselves kind of stopgap or a band aid when we’re not getting what we really need. And that can become a really complicated cycle.

Very much. And I love how you said, cause I’ve asked this around the drinking arena as well and working with so many women is like, what are you hungry [00:05:00] for? And my equivalent to that in the drinking space was, what are you thirsty for? What are you seeking, right? That alcohol becomes this solve or the salve that, you know, just bombs us with what we think we’re thirsty for.

And it never really fulfills the thirst, right? Just like emotional eating probably never. Truly fulfills the craving of what we’re truly hungry for. And I think just for the listeners to have that. Question, right? What am I hungry for? Why am I reaching for this food or what am I thirsty for? Why am I reaching for this glass of wine can really help them stay present to stay in that mindset to really say, okay, if I am doing this behavior, why is it that I doing this behavior?

Cause it’s not necessarily the behavior. I know we want that to change, but getting ahead of the behavior is where we’re going to really help. change. And so when you are looking at overeating and helping women, what are some of those hidden hungers you [00:06:00] mentioned the wanting to relax or take the edge off or, Being out of bandwidth now, once we determine what those hidden triggers are, then what would be like some of the next steps you would help women with, that is an obvious question.

And it’s also a really good question, because part of what I do and the work I do with clients, well I, focus obviously a lot on psychology and the psychology of change and the psychology of overeating and how those things work together, we are hardwired to get really focused on, okay, so what do I do?

What do I do? I want to stop overeating. So what do I eat? Right. Or I want to lose weight. What do I eat? What do I, how do I, what give me the three steps or the, you know the five week plan or whatever it is, what do I do? And so much of change. Is about what we do, but also part of it is about how do we be right?

How do I be with this stuff? And so I want to back up just a [00:07:00] little bit, because I think that question what am I really hungry for? What am I craving or what am I thirsty for? It’s such a powerful question. And it’s a powerful question, not just because of the answers that we get, but it is a really powerful question to get, even if you don’t know the answer.

And I think for a lot of people, Something that gets them stuck in a cycle with a habit. They don’t like is knowing that they’re using it for something, but they don’t know what to replace it with. Right? It’s not an easy. Oh, I’m really hungry for, you know, the joke is bubble baths, right? I’m really hungry for a bubble bath or a hot shower.

Or, that’s probably not it. But, we judge ourselves and then we feel a lot of shame and guilt if we don’t know the answer to what we’re really craving or what our hidden hunger is. It is really powerful to identify what your hidden hunger is. And first of all, it could be a lot.

You could have all the hidden hungers, right? They get all tangled up and they tend to build on each other. [00:08:00] And it is very powerful when you can identify, okay, I have a hidden hunger for stress relief. And here are three things I could do to relieve my stress. And. It is also really powerful to start to identify that you have a hidden hunger, and maybe there is nothing that you can do about it right now.

And that is why you as a smart person are using food because you don’t know what else to do. And you can start to have compassion for that hidden hunger. So our brain is always tangling with what do I do? What do I do? And by the way, if you’re overwhelmed and that’s the reason you’re overeating, that mechanism just creates more.

Overload, right? It’s like, okay, let’s just add 12 more things to the to do list that you can feel bad about that. You’re not doing. The first step really is compassion. Okay. Wait a minute. There’s a reason I’m eating. There’s stuff that’s going on. It’s hard and I’m feeling stuck and compassion can take us a long way.

It’s incredibly undervalued. [00:09:00] Yeah, I believe that wholeheartedly myself, and I want to come back to compassion. So I’m going to put a pin in that for now, because something else that came into my mind as you were speaking, and you said it in the beginning, which sometimes it’s tangled up because we can’t get to compassion because I feel this could be in the way.

And I would just love to get your take on it is it’s almost like we can’t. Find the compassion when we’re stuck in the cycle of shame, guilt, feeling bad about ourself. And I’ve seen so many women continue to beat themselves up and continue to feel these emotional cycles because they just become so normal.

They just become the way that we are. And they feel so automatic that we don’t know What to do with those feelings to go get out of it, to go to the self compassion and go to find that piece of like, okay, I don’t know how to not beat myself up over this. I don’t know how to do it. And that, you know, we get tied up in that, like how, what do I do?

And I love that you brought this, you [00:10:00] know, just part of just being. And not doing can really release us from feeling like more to put on that to do list and more of that overwhelm. So giving ourself that permission to just be with whatever is showing up, but then what shows up for a lot of people, if they’re just being where I feel that they.

Feel uncomfortable being is this guilt, the shame. Why do I still want this food? Why do I still have this behavior? Why haven’t I gotten past this over drinking or over eating thing? I know all the detriments it’s causing to my life or to my body or to my health, but they still stay in that shame cycle.

That’s such a great point. And I think that is, A lovely illustration of where it becomes so powerful to start doing work on retraining your brain and using psychology because, let me back up, you know, I think that the first takeaway if, anybody’s listening to this episode and [00:11:00] they are taking notes and you only write down one thing for me if I got to choose, it would be that there is always a reason that you eat.

There’s always a reason that you eat. Sometimes it’s a reason, you know, it’s fuel. Sometimes it’s because for a celebration or you’re bored or you’re stressed or whatever, but there is always a reason. And it is not that you are lazy, that you don’t have enough willpower, that there is something completely wrong with you.

And here’s where we get to retrain your brain because even if it is. Well because I know many people listening are going to argue, but I am lazy, but I don’t try hard enough, but I just need more discipline. Okay. So let’s just go with the assumption that what you believe is true about yourself.

It is not serving you. It’s not going to allow you to get anywhere because the way you start to heal the reasons that you are eating. Is by getting clear on these hidden hungers and learning how to respond to them. And nothing shuts down your ability to [00:12:00] be curious and think creatively faster than guilt and self blame.

You know, what I always tell people is that guilt and self blame are like this dead end street, because once you’ve decided it is all my fault, there is something wrong with me. I blew it. I didn’t work hard enough. I didn’t follow the program. I just, this is always going to be an issue for me. Whatever the words are.

Once you decide that you have closed the door on being curious. And once you have closed the door on being curious, there is no room to learn anything. So you’re stuck. You are just stuck in a place where you are mad at yourself. And even if you want to go with the belief that is true, that you have reasons to be mad at yourself, it’s just not helpful.

, so what I really encourage people to do is, you know, if you can’t let go of it, Experiment with just putting it over in the corner for a little bit and just being curious. What else do I know about why, did the chocolate call to me today and not [00:13:00] yesterday? What, other possible explanations are that?

What, do I know about that? What was different about my life today? What am I feeling? Right. Taking a pause to just be present and consider, what do I know about what’s going on? Because guilt dumbs us down. It really does. Right. It’s just one answer. It’s beautifully stated. And I like how you said it kind of backs you into a corner where it doesn’t really serve you.

then you don’t find answers, right? The true answers of. What is going on inside of us or why we are choosing what we’re choosing in that moment. I love how you explain that. Yeah. I feel the shame comes up around a lot of things and specifically something that maybe we’ve tried to change for a long time.

Right. I know people like, oh. Want to go to the gym, but just can’t seem to institute that as a habit or want to start eating healthier. But yet they find themselves, you know, still in unhealthy ways or unhelpful ways of eating that’s doesn’t [00:14:00] serve their higher goals. And so that shame is something that really comes up.

And as I talked about on the podcast before I use the word shame, but I wouldn’t have used the word shame around my drinking in the past. It was more embarrassment. Like that was so. Feeling that probably is similar, however, that was just the way I phrased it. That made me feel like not so much shame, but just really embarrassed about the way I’m acting because it felt like shame was one piece, but embarrassment also brought in more judgment.

In that I know better, I should do better and I’m not, and that felt embarrassing. Maybe as the healthcare practitioner and me too, knowing all the stats about over drinking and why was I doing it. . Can I ask you a question about that? Yes. We’d love to. , did it help you with the shame once you understood the cycle of why you were stuck?

I needed the right teacher to explain it because I’ve heard it in books. I’ve read it in books. [00:15:00] And like I mentioned, when I saw it in books and I saw it as shame, I’m like, I’m so proud of that. I drink, like I go out and I don’t hide it. Right. It’s not like I’m. For me, I wasn’t drinking in a closet or anything, or closet drinking as they say, the literal term.

I was out in public with it. So it was just like embarrassing that it was too much. And it wasn’t well controlled, and that could be the type A personality. But once somebody explained it to me in a way that made sense to my brain, you’re right. It started to like set me free. What I see in the women in my program is that once you start to see, Oh, wait a minute, there’s an explanation for this.

Yes. There’s a reason this is happening. There is a reason it has been that I have been stuck in this cycle. There’s a reason that I’m starting over every Monday and this, and also there’s a reason that this is never going to work no matter how hard I try, which is what the diet industry has made billions of dollars on, right?

It’s just telling you it’s all your fault. And if you didn’t succeed, you just didn’t try hard enough. And [00:16:00] so , either try the plan again or pay money for another plan, right? But once you can see that’s broken. Think it really is an accent ramp for embarrassment and shame and the self blame and for some people, not everybody, but it also kind of excites a curiosity, like, okay, wait a minute, if that makes sense.

You know, what’s the next step? Like, I can out game this thing. I can figure this out. And, the really cool thing is once you understand what a trap it is and you take yourself out of the trap, I often think of weight loss. It’s just this hamster wheel and the diet industry just teaches you to run faster on it until you burn out and quit.

Or buy more of their meals and supplements. Yeah. We’ll try it. We’ll try the next thing. Cause you never have to quit cause there’s always something proven that’s better. Right. But once you get off that hamster wheel, you can start curing the reasons. You know, or responding differently to the reasons.

And when you do that [00:17:00] what is so exciting to me and what I just love seeing on the, because you can literally see it on people’s faces is when food and the cravings and the hungers lose their power and you’re not feeling really strong today. And that’s why you’re doing really well because you don’t have to feel strong anymore.

You just don’t want to overeat anymore. . So empowering. It is so empowering and changing the brain is the way I healed and yeah, I could be around alcohol now and not crave it. Like that just is wild to me that I’m still the same person with the same brain just repatterned and it just doesn’t have the pull it used to.

And you don’t have to fight a pole. That’s the other thing that’s really hard to describe to people, right? Like when you can have, chocolate in your desk, I pulled out this bar of chocolate. I was doing a training the other day and it was like, Oh, look at this. This is from last Christmas. I forgot about it.

I mean, when you can have something like that and it doesn’t pull at you when you’re not thinking, okay, I will not drink the wine tonight. Right. It [00:18:00] just, you’re just not drinking it. The energy that gets freed up. . For, life is so incredibly wonderful and powerful. Yeah. Yeah. You have, you’ve, right.

You said you have more energy. You’re just, you’re not mentally wiped, constantly fighting something or thinking about something and telling yourself you can’t have it. Like there’s just no mental struggle. It’s a really wonderful thing. I love that. , well, let me dive into first the diet industry.

Well, you talked about it a little bit, how it sets us up on this cycle of just do this just follow this. And I also think that ties into like, you have to do all these things. And if you’re not doing all these things or following this program a certain way, like that all or nothing mentality.

So I think the diet culture gave us a little bit of this all or nothing or perfectionism way of following a certain pattern, right? That purports that it’s going to set us free. . And so we start believing that and start [00:19:00] thinking we have to be more perfect or all or nothing. I see this around alcohol, food, diet.

And I really think that sets us up for more failure. What are your thoughts around that? Yeah. Yeah. And I also there’s two pieces to it. The one is that it’s all or nothing. And we are also to just keep going back to the brain. We are wired to see. What we haven’t done and our imperfections so much more easily right than, the good and what we have accomplished and the wins.

And so when it’s all or nothing, your relationship with food is always going to be that area in between. It is always going to be that gray area. And when it’s all or nothing. When you’re set up to believe that you can only succeed if it’s all, and you’ve completely failed, if it’s nothing, you get in that hole, I need to start over again, I blew it, might as well eat all the brownies because I’m going to have to, you know, on the first of the month, I’m going to start again.

And that’s demoralizing and [00:20:00] exhausting and it leads to weight gain. And. The other piece of it is that there’s this whole ideal that gets created that when you solve this thing, which, by the way, is all about food, you’re supposed to focus on the food. And somehow that is going to solve all these hidden hungers and all these things that are causing you to eat in the 1st place.

But when you solve this thing, you will be perfect. Right. So I asked lots of people about what’s the thing that , triggers overeating the most for you? What is this situation that just is so problematic for you? And then, okay, now imagine yourself at your goal. What will that be like?

And the most common answer I get from people is, well, that won’t bother me anymore. Right? Like I won’t, get mad when my boss yells at me, or takes credit for my project, or I’ll never fight with my spouse again, or dating will be easy or, and no. The kids will never act up. I will never need it. I will never be sitting there at the [00:21:00] end of the day thinking, Oh my gosh, I haven’t had a moment for myself and I’m exhausted and I’m stressed and I just want a little treat.

I’ll never feel that way. Yes, you will. And that’s another way that the diet industry and diet culture fail us. They don’t give you coping skills that fit with real life. The situations that actually lead to feeling the least in control and the most like overeating are not ever going to be addressed by a food plan, no matter how perfect that food plan is.

And if you follow it perfectly too, you’re not even, you know, noticing if you’re going to get the same results that are purported as well. Exactly. Yeah. And especially when people do it for weight loss, there’s so much more that goes into weight loss than a food plan. In the way that it’s sold to us, that kind of food plan, you know, there’s just so much hormone talk between the food and the connections once we swallow it.

And once it’s in our body and what does that [00:22:00] signal? Does that signal us to store the fat or to lose the fat or burn the fat? And yeah, there’s just so much more that’s missing in terms of, you know, this diet culture. And sometimes I see that people will restrict calories so much and they, still won’t move the scale.

You know, because their bodies in starvation mode, so it wants to retain , all of those calories. So yeah, there’s just such misinformation and misalignment with what the diet culture is teaching. bodies are complicated and unique too. I mean I feel like just about everybody I work with, could probably write a book.

On with all the weight loss advice that they have involuntarily stored in their heads. Right. But you, alluded to this. There is no one way of eating that works for everybody. And if you’re not connected to yourself and filtering all that stuff through your own wisdom, and if you’ve lost your confidence in yourself because of what it’s like to be on this rollercoaster it’s really hard to make [00:23:00] decisions that are going to work for you.

Yeah. And I’m sure a lot of people feel in that space, right? I’ve tried so many times, you know, maybe. So many different diet plans, their heads all confused. Now there’s Instagram and Facebook and people telling us, and you know, they’re not really experts or they’re just influencers in this space. And maybe they have, you know, a hidden agenda for saying things a certain way.

And is it really truth? , there’s just so much. Information out there. You don’t know which is good, which to follow, which is bad. And I love how you’re saying, filtering it through your inner wisdom and knowing what’s right for you and what has worked for your body and what hasn’t worked for your body.

And then different phases, our body changes as well, as we go through different times in our life and different stress and dealing with that stress. So now I want to come back to what we put a pin in earlier was this, what I feel, and you were saying as well, just. How to evolve past the diet culture and how to evolve and moving into healing from emotional based [00:24:00] eating or overeating.

And you alluded to compassion. Can you talk about more how that would look like moving towards compassion to find healing and not overeating? I can, that’s such a big question, but it’s such an important one. You know, actually in hunger system, the hunger for compassion is actually one of the hidden hungers.

And it’s, one that we don’t talk about. if I say, Oh, you have a hunger for rest, you’re exhausted, right? Or you, Have a hunger for self care in the meantime, we know what that means, but a lot of us have a hidden hunger for compassion and it is the primary driver in overeating.

So just to say what that looks like, if you are doing a lot of mindless eating, Or eating on autopilot or eating just to numb. First thing I would encourage you to go take, I have a quiz on my website that’ll help you identify what your primary hidden hunger is, but [00:25:00] that one is really important to ferret out because , if that’s the kind of eating that you’re doing, you are probably eating to make things stop.

Because you are overwhelmed and you’re exhausted and all of these other things. And you don’t know how to intervene with compassion for yourself. You probably do for the rest of the world but, you’re pushing through. Right. The message in your head is , I need to do more. I can’t stop, or I should do the laundry before I go to bed or, you know, just one more thing, or I got to get that perfect.

And , Your coping mechanism is to just make it all stop by using food. So compassion and how to build self compassion, we could do four episodes on, but I think it starts with being present and it can start really with , a breath. I mean, it really is as simple as stopping and taking a deep breath and saying, okay, I don’t like what’s [00:26:00] happening, but there’s a reason.

And I may not even know what it is, but it’s a reason. And if it feels like not too much of a stretch you can take me at my word and you can go with, okay, there’s a reason I’m eating. And it’s not that I’m lazy and it’s not that I lack self control and discipline. And if you can’t do that, look at the rest of your life.

And I dare you to find the evidence that you really are this Disciplined, slovenly, lazy person, because it is almost certainly not true. Right. But compassion can start with okay, there’s a reason. I don’t know what it is, but I know there’s a reason. Compassion can start with just putting your hand on your heart, which I always like to do when you take a deep breath, because we know from science that just feeling your pulse can start to relax you and make it help you to be more present but just saying out loud.

This is really hard, or I don’t know what to do, or I’m listening to this podcast and Melissa’s asking all these [00:27:00] questions, like, what are you feeling and what do you need? And I don’t even know the answer to that. And that sucks. Compassion is, being kind to yourself, but it is not necessarily stopping everything and taking a bubble bath, which is, I think the road.

thing that we get, you know, that gets thrown out there all the time, right? Just do nice things for yourself, right? Get a manicure, get a massage, do the bath, the bubble bath, but I agree. They’re just another to do, but they may not be getting at the root cause. And I love how you’re talking about getting at the root cause, which is, you know, We are doing this behavior, but why are we doing the behavior and looking at the root cause of that connecting with yourself?

Because those answers are there. We just aren’t trained to always slow down and be still enough and stay mindful to actually find those answers, especially for type a driven perfectionistic, right? Running all the time, got the kids. It’s jumping in the car to do that and [00:28:00] making sure dinner’s on the table and all that everybody’s got clean clothes and all the schedule’s done.

And like the mom becomes the CEO of the household, the social CEO and so many ways holding it all together. And when we don’t create that time for ourself just to make space of like to let down. And stop being in the pressure cooker, because I think there’s also a lot of myths that you’re supposed to have it all figured out.

And it’s not supposed to be hard. You’re not supposed to be tired at the end of the day. You’re not supposed to resent the laundry. You’re not supposed to write. And so, What happens and if you have this pattern in your life, pay attention to it where you’re barreling through and you just keep going and you just, and you say things like, well, I can’t be tired, right?

I can’t be tired. So I need to eat something to perk me up. And I can’t do this right now. And so, and you’re eating to push it down or to push it away or to just blot things out for 30 minutes so that you can just have some peace and quiet. There’s compassion missing. And [00:29:00] when you start to put that back in, even though it will feel impossible, it is game changing.

It really is. Agreed. So once compassion is started, and I know this is a process and it takes, A different amount of time for different people, depending on what’s going on for them. What is a tenant that you feel because, you know, unlike alcohol, which we could cut out because we just don’t need it in our lives.

Some of us may choose to, you know, imbibe here and there still, but it’s not a necessity. Whereas food is a necessity for human life. And so it’s even more important, right. To build that healthy relationship. What is the key tenant do you feel? In helping people go from feeling bad around food or having an unhealthy relationship around food to one where they have a healthier or healthy relationship with food. I think the key tenant. Is that , it [00:30:00] has to become your relationship with food. Just about everybody. I think this is true. I think just about everyone I’ve ever worked with. And I’ve been doing this work my entire professional career. So I’ve worked with every combination of eating and weight and bodies and women that you can, any way you can put it together and it’s.

And for so many people, it isn’t their relationship with food anymore. It’s this list of rules and shoulds and beliefs that were imposed on you, or that you thought people would love you more if you believed, or you, are scared not to have it is beliefs about what you have to eat, what you can’t eat and what it’s going to take to change.

There are a lot of people walking around with these very. Strict and also sometimes conflicting ideas of how they, they have to eat if they want to get to their goals. And some of those rules if you could step back and look at them and I actually have members in [00:31:00] my group really do this, you’ll be rebelling against them before you even start.

They are so misery making. And so we actually start with a mental detox and, then figuring out how to pick through all that stuff. Take your wisdom. I always say you’re the only one who’s lived inside your body your whole life. So let’s take your wisdom about what works and let’s couple that with the fact that you hate boiled skinless chicken breasts and you don’t want to eat them, you know, let’s put this stuff together and start to experiment with what is going to work for you and start making choices instead of following rules.

So you talked about being the CEO of the family, but I, really talk about being the CEO of your wellbeing. Right. So you’re saying, you know, I’d like to try this, or I choose this, or I’ve decided not to eat this, or I’ve decided I like to eat snacks or putting yourself back in the driver’s seat.

So important. So important [00:32:00] because we could just keep following other people’s advice. And I see a lot of people do that around drinking food, a lot of things, and it may not work for them. So I love how you said that. And I also believe in when a transition to like, okay. We know there’s several modalities to lose weight or to decrease the relationship of food, you know, food amount.

Let’s just say, if we’re just looking on the amount of food or the amount of time we’re eating, what are some of the ways you find that create lasting results for changing the relationship with food or in, even in weight loss?

I think what I said earlier is it really has to be your choice. And I cannot overstate that all the shoulds and rules and I have to, but starting to make choices. I think . If you had recordings of all of the coaching sessions in my program, and we could pull out one of the things that is [00:33:00] said the most often, it would be, I cannot believe how much impact the small changes had.

Your brain is going to tell you again, back to the, I need to do things, right? I need to change my eating. I need to do things. Your brain is going to tell you that you need to do big, dramatic things. Diet culture teaches, I mean, all these before and after pictures with the people with the giant pants, right?

You have to do something big and giant and dramatic, and you need to create big changes really fast. That does not create lasting change, right? And small changes disrupt an entire cycle. So like when I talk about hidden hunger, sometimes people get overwhelmed because they say I’ve got all the hidden hungers.

I’m just going to have to quit my job and rehaul my life. And you know, I have to get rid of everything in the pantry. And no, if you are stuck in a cycle and you make one little pivot. It changes the whole trajectory, right? And so our brains don’t believe this high achievers don’t tend to believe this.

We’re used [00:34:00] to doing big, dramatic things. But it’s taking small steps and making small little changes and experimenting with them, giving yourself permission. And to go back to what you said, Sherry, it’s being imperfect. Like learning that you can blow it, whatever that is. And guess what? You’re going to be blowing it for the rest of your life.

You can blow it and keep going. And instead of you blew it and now you’ve ruined it. And now you have to start over. I think that’s a huge one. Yeah. Did I answer your question? I think so. And then in the tiny, changes is really. You’re right. That’s how we begin to trust ourselves. That’s how we begin to face the fear that we may be finding a lot of people find.

You know, all kinds of narratives of why they can’t change or why they feel stuck. And when you do those little things, or I’ll call them Haven habits, and you make that something you can focus [00:35:00] on and you’re right, it sets you up a little differently. You start feeling a little differently, maybe at first.

And then that becomes like the thing that kind of just woke you up or made you realize something else. And change the way you thought about yourself or change the way you thought about your eating pattern or eating habit, or you identified a feeling that, Hey, now I’m going to change to this coping skill.

And I’m finding that works. And it could be just, you know, something that doesn’t even take that long, like five minutes. Yeah. And it just starts to transform their life. And yeah, to your point, I think that so much of the time, those little small changes that impress people and make the most dramatic impact have nothing to do with food.

The other thing that I love that happens and we just, it’s kind of like a running joke in the program now is people get focused on working on compassion, right. Or , being less hard on themselves and giving themselves more, a little bit more self [00:36:00] care. And then they’re going through the process of what went well this week.

And, Oh my gosh, I haven’t binged in three weeks, you know, so what happens is you take the focus off food. You start addressing the reasons that food has the power, food loses the power, but it’s not through efforting. You’re not sitting at home thinking, I’m not going to binge tonight. I’m not going to binge tonight.

And then marking off X’s on your calendar. What I love is when members of the missing piece program are like, I didn’t even realize it till I looked back at my calendar, but I haven’t binged in four months. I didn’t realize it. That’s the kind of freedom that, and diet mentality does not provide that.

Yeah. That is amazing. When you see those ahas and you get that kind of results in your clients, just beautiful. I know when I first started my program, I used to hand write a note and there was a Chinese proverb I used to love. And I used to put in all the notes was whatever you resist [00:37:00] will persist.

And it’s kind of like just focusing more on like, yeah, Focusing on not drinking or focusing on not binging, right? Just creates more resistance inside of you and your focus on what you have to resist. And then you feel like more pressure inside. And then all of a sudden you came into the pressure and you go for it, right?

You go all in, you go hard, you binge. And it’s, it just doesn’t set you free. So I love how you said just these other habits and these other coping ways that we focus on that could just heal us from inside, heal our minds, which can transform the relationship we have with these external substances.

Totally. Yeah. So beautiful, Melissa. So as we close out the podcast, I’d love for you to. Let my listeners know if they’re interested in working with you, what you have available and how to follow you and find you. Well, I’m pretty easy to find. So my website is too much on her plate. com T O too much on her plate.

com , those are most of my social media handles. So too much on her plate. [00:38:00] The way to work with me is in my, I have a six month program called your missing piece. And that’s where we work together to take your power back and figure out how to eat that doesn’t include diets and then use psychology and mindset and, you know, brain retraining to make that stuff permanent and imperfectly permanent.

We do a lot of work on the you and I are singing the same song. We do a lot of work on imperfection. So the best way I think to get familiar with me would be to download. There’s actually a roadmap that I’ve put together. That’s got kind of a starter guide to some of my podcast episodes. The podcast is too much on her plate as well.

So it gives you a guide to the podcast episodes and it will also give you information about how to take the hidden hungers quiz. So you can figure out the, your primary hidden hunger. And then most importantly. doable, small steps to start shifting that [00:39:00] pattern, which then will shift all the other patterns.

That’s wonderful. I love your work so much, Dr. Melissa McCreary. And thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. Thank you for having me, Sherry. This has been so much fun.


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