The Connection Between People-Pleasing & Emotional Eating

Juanita Ecker


Do you ever feel like you’re obligated to say “yes” to every request? Does it seem “against your nature” to set boundaries with others? Does the burden of not wanting to disappoint people drive you to dull your emotions with habits, such as mindless eating?


If you answered yes to any of the questions above, I can only imagine how frustrated and exhausted you must feel! 


How can people-pleasing become harmful?

As a result of working with people every day, especially my emotional eating clients, I’ve noticed that some feel more obligated to others than most. The obligation they feel stems from not wanting to disappoint anyone. As the dominos continue to fall, you can then understand how someone dealing with this may also lack boundaries because they feel they need to always be accessible to everyone (or those they are closest to).  


Whether due to personality or past experiences, when this tendency is not dealt with in a healthy way, it can hinder one’s physical and/or mental health. Physically, I notice my clients are overworked by the constant tasks they’ve agreed to. Not to mention the fatigue and lack of nutrition from their emotional eating habit when triggered. Mentally and emotionally, these clients are exhausted and become vulnerable to other unwanted emotions such as resentment, guilt, and anger, just to name a few. Typically this opens new doors to annoying coping habits or it makes existing habits worse.


For example, one client felt overwhelmed by the constant requests from her recently widowed mom. The mom wanted her to come over every night and keep her company. So she did. My client didn’t want to disappoint her mom by saying “no” because she understood her mom was still grieving the loss of her spouse. Instead, she found herself turning to food to soothe the internal struggle, not wanting to go every night and being unable to set healthy boundaries.


The healing and growth process

So how do we get rid of this pressure of not wanting to disappoint others? Well, there isn’t one straight answer however I do recommend two very essential first steps that have worked well with my clients, including the woman mentioned above. 


Why the Emotion Code?

First, I recommend the Emotion Code. This technique gets down to the root of the issue by releasing the negative emotions that are holding you back. Before ever working with a client, I talk with them during our strategy session to see what type of session will work best for optimal healing and growth. Then, if it’s a great fit, we schedule our session(s) and tackle the issue. After completing the emotion code sessions with the client mentioned above, she was able to express her feelings to her mom without worry about the repercussions. She can say no when she needs or wants to and no longer feels compelled to shove down her feelings with food. Using the emotion code, I have been able to release the pressure of needing to meet other’s expectations in my clients and in turn, decrease my clients’ emotional eating habits. This is a huge win for these women!


Boundaries are essential for our wellbeing

The second recommendation is to create boundaries around the areas you are most vulnerable. Boundaries are made for our protection and are absolutely necessary. They help to maintain the progress you’ve worked so hard to make. You’ve heard the term “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”. Well, the same goes for building boundaries. Start small. Be gracious with yourself. If just saying “no” to a request is too difficult, try offering to help to find someone who will be a great fit to fulfill the requested task. After releasing negative emotions using the emotion code, you will be able to navigate everything through a brand new healthier lens.

If you’d like to see if the emotion code is a great fit for you, contact me at to schedule a free strategy session as mentioned above.