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April DBT Challenge: What's Eating You?

By Wesley Morgan, MA, LLPC

Have you ever considered food being a problem for you? How do you know if you’re eating emotionally? The last time you felt overwhelmed, was food involved? At the end of the matter, were you snacking? Do you wake up thinking about what you are going to eat? Do you have food all around you? (Work, car, purse, coat.) Do you depend on food to make you happier? What type of breakfast are you consuming? (McDonalds vs fruit or oatmeal) Take a moment and ponder on these questions.

Don’t feel bad about yourself. I’m a person who is also striving to improve their health, so you’re in good company.

If you’re like me, most of the answers to the questions above were a resounding YES. Well my friend, it’s time to do better. You see, a habit is something that you do consistently without thinking. Often times when we experience distress, we place blame on exterior factors as in people and or the environment that we are currently in. However, imagine your distress being caused by what you consume (chips, pop, cookies, donuts, candy). That feeling of fatigue, sluggishness and lethargy is as a result of our choices.

Let me say this for those of you who may be thinking, “Who cares that I eat emotionally sometimes? Why should I be worried about my mood state?” Anytime we do things in avoidance of our feelings, we should look closer. Our moods can cause us to develop poor habits which in return affects us mentally.

Food and Your Mood is an emotion regulation skill that teaches us how to notice our mood by our food intake. This skill is effective because research shows a strong correlation between food and our emotional state of being. We all have heard the phrase, “emotional eating.” What does that really mean? It does not mean that ice cream will better our mood. It means that we are using food to address our emotional state instead of other methods. However, our choice of foods (ice cream, pizza, chips, pop) can have negative effects. Do you know that soda and sugary snacks might make you feel tired and irritable? Whereas, complex carbohydrates and fiber give you slow and steady energy.


Your DBT Challenge:

I want to challenge you this month by observing your food intake with the goal of improving your mood. Notice when you are eating too much or too little. Think about how certain foods affect your mood both negatively and positively? What are some other things you can do to address your feelings other than running to something sugary?

Remember, “You are what you eat.” Your emotional state is depending on you to make the right choice.

Try some new skills out today! Send us an email ( or share with us on Facebook what skills your tried.


Wesley has experience treating anxiety disorders, depression, and domestic violence. He spent two years as a crisis counselor diffusing stressful situations, proactively resolving long standing issues, helping people set and achieve challenging goals and objectives, and steering people toward recovery from self-harming, suicidal ideation, and anger management issues. He has a seminary background which has also enabled him to address ethical and moral matters, including problems of conscience and family differences. His goal is not to change people but to help facilitate the change that they desire. Learn more about Wesley here.

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