5 Imbalances In Your Body That Lead To Emotional Eating

Dec 08, 2021


17 days ’til Christmas…

Let’s be honest, one of the BEST things about it…is the FOOD.

Am I right, or am I right?!

Now for many people, Christmas feasts are looked forward to with joy and excitement. But I know a lot of mums and women we work with (and many others out there), are also quietly getting anxious about blowing up all their healthy eating intentions, this Christmas season.

And if we’re honest, it’s not just around Christmas time. Battling emotional eating, food addictions, binge-eating, starvation, feelings of shame and guilt around food choices, self/body-hatred, and OCD/anxious ‘healthy’ eating, is a constant battle for many women - all year round.

If this is you - I see you! I wanted to write this article especially for you, right now, to give you more insight, understanding, and compassion about your beautiful self. Especially leading up to Christmas, when it should be a time to be jolly, not riddled with anxiety and guilt. 

(p.s. Stay tuned for the end of the article, where you’ll see an invite to our FREE live webclass we’re putting on, to help you with emotional eating).

Emotional Eating: Not Just Psychology, But Also Physiology

Emotional eating is incredibly common. One survey showed that 83% of Australians who struggle with their weight emotionally eat. Another study showed that 27% of adults say they eat to manage stress, and 34% of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods state that they stress-eat out of habit.

Historically, emotional eating, food addictions, and eating disorders have sat in the realm of psychology - i.e. that eating behaviours all come back to the way you think and feel the way you were brought up, and the relationship you have with food. Historically many people have also argued that it comes back to a lack of willpower and motivation. While I agree that all of these things influence eating patterns (and it’s something we unravel with our clients in our Root Cause membership), psychology or mindset is not the only influence.

Physiological imbalances - or body system burnout - also affect the way you eat, and sometimes in a very major way. This is something many people miss, when they are trying to create healthy eating habits. Even many therapists and coaches don’t understand the way physical imbalances sabotage your healthy eating intentions.


The Top 5 Body Imbalances I Have Seen Clinically That Cause Emotional Eating

  1. Sex Hormone Imbalances - Let’s start off with an easy one because I’m sure many women can agree that their eating habits go pear-shaped leading up to and/or during their period. Sugar cravings, carb munchies, salivating for salt and fatty and crunchy stuff. Ladies, am I right?! PMS binge-eating is not (I repeat NOT) normal. It is a sign that your sex hormones are imbalanced. Either you’re producing too much or too little oestrogen or progesterone, producing too much or too little of the sex hormones at the wrong time, or the ratio between the two is really off. Until your burned-out, the whacked-out cycle is balanced, you may lose control of your eating patterns every single month, as I recently saw with one of my clients, who was scoffing down a block of chocolate every day, a week leading up to her period. Clearing her oestrogen excess really did wonders, and now she is able to make healthy, conscious, loving food choices all through her cycle.
  2. Stress Hormone Imbalances - Hello hormones again! They really can make you feel cray-cray and out of control, if they are burned-out. Stress hormone imbalance occurs when cortisol and DHEA are depleted or out of ratio. It’s what I call ‘adrenal fatigue’. It can absolutely affect eating patterns because of the way cortisol interacts with blood sugar levels. Any time cortisol is acting dysfunctionally, it can cause a sharp rise and fall of your blood sugar levels, leading to sugar and carb cravings. People with adrenal fatigue often crave salt as well, because their body burns through minerals. And often adrenal fatigue leads to energy crashes, which can cause you to reach out to sugar and caffeine as a pick-me-up. This was definitely my case prior to restoring my adrenal function - always craving sugar, especially in times of stress or fatigue.
  3. Candida Overgrowth - Let’s chat about microbial pathogens. Candida is a fungal microbe, and is part of our normal flora, in small amounts. It is, however, opportunistic, and can quickly overgrow when given the right environment. Candida LOVES sugar, starchy carbs, gluten, and alcohol. When candida has taken over your microbiome, it literally sends signals up to your brain - “eat more sugar, eat more sugar, eat more sugar” - because it thrives on these foods. A few years back I had a client who tried so hard to eat healthy, yet by the end of the week, she couldn’t resist the call for sugar and carbs any longer, and would literally eat a week’s worth of calories in one day. We detected in her stool test that she had candida overgrowth, and within three days of treating her candida (yes three days!) she felt her brain fog lift, and she experienced for the first time in her life complete control over what she ate. It truly was amazing, and felt like a miracle to her!
  4. Dopamine Deficiency - Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is all about energy, joy, creativity, and motivation. When dopamine is low, it can absolutely destroy your motivation to stick to healthy eating goals. Low dopamine has also been associated with addictive-type tendencies (including full-blown OCD) and is something I see very often linked to food addictions. One Mumma we worked with in the past had been struggling with binge-eating/bulimia for 20+ years of her life. She thought it was just ‘her’. But when we addressed her low dopamine, her obsessive eating patterns slowly started disappearing. Life-changing!
  5. Vitamin B Deficiency (especially B6, B12 & folate) - If there was one supplement I just love to bits, it would be vitamin B’s. They truly affect everything, especially mental health. I had a client who had addictive patterns run in her family, and for her, it was emotional eating when she felt stressed and anxious (which was happening very regularly). When we did her labs, she had a few imbalances going on - one thing that made a big difference to her mental health and eating patterns was restoring her vitamin B’s. Interestingly her mother also recovered from alcoholism, when restoring very deficient B’s. Imagine if her ancestors - who had struggled with addictions - had had functional medicine back then!


Join Us For Our LIVE Emotional Eating Webclass (free!)

If you’ve tried to establish healthy eating patterns, but you just keep failing, there may be some serious imbalances in your body that are affecting your food choices. Ending your body burnout is a crucial step in gaining control of your eating habits, your health, your life, and essentially your happiness.

If you’d like to dive deeper into the imbalances in your body that lead to emotional eating, we’d love to gift to our community this Christmas season a special LIVE “Imbalances In Your Body That Lead To Emotional Eating” Webclass. 

We’d love you to join us live to get the most value. But we’ll also share the recording with all registrants if you can’t make the time. You can register here.


Filipa Bellette is Co-Founder of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine. She is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is also a Ph.D. thought-leader, award-winning writer, and regularly published as a guest blogger & in the media. Together with her husband Chris Bellette, Filipa has worked with over 2,000+ busy, burnout clients in the last 10+ years, and specialises in producing healthy, balanced, and happy Mums & Dads...or as she calls it, a Power Parent! Filipa’s own passion for producing high-performance Power Parents came from her own personal experience of Mummy Burnout, after having babies and juggling the demands of business, family, and her failing health.

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