“Positive vibes only” is a catchphrase that has created a toxic environment both on and offline. We’ve created highlight reels of our actual lives on social media, and as a result, all we see are the curated images and words of others. We don’t always see the raw, negative, or mundane sides of other people’s lives, leading us to believe that those parts of our lives aren’t normal or necessary.


This dissonance between what is real and what we see has caused an increase in emotional dysregulation, stress, anxiety, and depression. And as a result, instances of eating disorders, disordered eating, and “emotional eating” have also risen.


By Alana Van Der Sluys

Negative Emotion Avoidance

Often, as children, people tell us that negative emotions are “bad.”  Many people receive advice to avoid negative emotions and suppress them without processing them. Whether somebody told you, “It’s okay. Don’t cry,” or, “Get over it,” these are unfortunately common narratives. One way or another, the message became that those negative emotions are wrong, should be dealt with privately, and make others uncomfortable.


Refusing or feeling unable to acknowledge and process negative emotions sometimes leads people to turn to food for comfort. This response does not address underlying emotional concerns and can erode your body’s internal hunger and fullness signals. Connecting to and feeling a wide range of emotions can help you eat intuitively and appropriately respond to your body’s hunger cues.

Here are four reasons why feeling all emotions is crucial to progressing on an intuitive eating journey.

Emotional Awareness

Allowing ourselves to feel and acknowledge our emotions helps cultivate a deeper understanding of our internal experiences. Emotional awareness is crucial for recognizing emotions’ role in our eating habits and patterns. Suppose you can identify and acknowledge the feelings that lead you to eat past fullness or to restrict food intake. In that case, you can learn what triggers those emotions and how up mitigate and navigate those triggers more supportively.

Mindful Decision-Making

When we allow ourselves to feel all emotions, we can make more mindful and intentional choices regarding our food and eating habits. This empowers us to make decisions based on our physical and emotional well-being rather than reacting based on emotions. By remaining mindful and aware of our emotions, we can better connect to our hunger and fullness cues.

Emotional Resilience

By actively feeling and processing emotions, we develop emotional resilience, which allows us to navigate challenging situations without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms. This resilience helps us cultivate positive coping strategies and supports our intuitive eating journey.

Self-Compassion and Acceptance

Embracing all emotions fosters a practice of self-compassion and self-acceptance. By allowing yourself to experience a wide range of emotions without judgment, you cultivate a nurturing and supportive environment, promoting your overall well-being. Breaking up with diet culture is a complex process, but it is so worthwhile. There will be ups and downs throughout. With self-compassion and acceptance, you can process feelings of shame, guilt, and frustration in a way that supports and furthers your journey.

Redefine Wellness is excited for its coaches to begin working with clients looking to heal their relationship with food and their body. Our four levels of client services allow people to receive support that best fits their budget and needs. Click here to learn more about the Redefine Wellness programs.

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Meet Alana

Alana Van Der Sluys is a TedX speaker, entrepreneur, author, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and the founder of Freedom with Food and Fitness. As a personal survivor of eating disorders, she is dedicated to empowering women to heal their relationship with food and their bodies to step into their potential, take up space, and improve their lives. Her debut book, Freedom with Food and Fitness: How Intuitive Eating is the Key to Becoming Your Happiest, Happiest Self, releases on November 7, 2023 with Urano World USA, Inc. She is a contributing writer for several national publications, including the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) and Best Holistic Life Magazine. She was, most recently, a panelist and speaker for the Speak Up Women’s Conference in April 2023.