How Sexual Abuse May be Contributing to Emotional Eating

Juanita Ecker


Emotional eating isn’t a habit that forms on its own overnight. In my experience of working with many clients over the years, there is always a root cause (or two) that contributes to an emotional eating habit.


If you’ve experienced sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape, this article is for you.  The terrible reality is that many women have had the tragic experience of being forced to have sex against their will – and this experience is commonly a trigger to emotional eating. Know that I have worked with many clients who suffer from these horrific events. My goal is to offer you hope!


A client of mine who was struggling with emotional eating had been raped when she was eighteen after she missed the bus for work and accepted a ride with a man. As you would expect, she had a tremendous amount of lasting trauma that surrounded this event.

The Emotion Code

Using the Emotion Code, we were able to clear several negative emotions around this incident.  For example, we released the initial anguish of the event and all of the negative emotions directly associated with this tragedy. We also had to release the negative emotions around not being able to forgive herself for missing the bus, not being able to forgive her mom for not getting her professional help, not being able to forgive the person that raped her, and not being able to forgive the police department for failing to arrest the perpetrator.


Her emotional eating struggle was a symptom of her trauma and pain, letting her know that these issues needed to be addressed. After releasing these issues, she no longer had the need to binge eat at night.

Emotional Trauma Can Leave Scars

Just as it does for adults, individuals who are sexually abused as children experience emotional trauma that can leave scars that last for years. Often women in this situation have many unresolved emotions around the event, even years later. These unresolved emotions are significant triggers for emotional eating. If the abuse continues for years, it compounds the negative impact it has on the individual.


Another client was sexually abused by a family friend when she was four until the age of seven when she was big enough to run away and hide. When she finally had the courage to report the incident, no one believed her. The abuser was a family friend and her parents thought she was lying.


As a child, her parents’ reaction made her believe the incident was her fault, that no one cared for her, that she was not worthy or that she deserved this as punishment for being bad.


During our sessions together, we were able to use the Emotion Code to start to unravel all the emotional stress she had been dealing with relating to this terrible situation. We also cleared the unforgiveness she had towards her parents for their response, as well as not being able to forgive the family friend for what he repeatedly did to her. Imagine how long she had to carry the weight of this emotional baggage?

Mending Old Wounds

Like so many women, she had to live with this issue and was never given the opportunity to mend those old wounds. This experience deeply affected her well-being and self-esteem. After many sessions, everything shifted for her. Her need for emotional eating went away, she started liking herself more and she started treating herself better than she had ever done before.


Removing all of these layers for these women took time. Yet the results were astounding. None of these women made the connection between the sexual abuse and their need to turn to food to soothe their uncomfortable feelings. Their need to engage in emotional eating drastically reduced because the impact of their inner turmoil had been removed.


Keep in mind, it is the trauma that is triggering this behavior, it is not because you are weak or you lack willpower! When we release the deep-seated emotions of anger, pain, sorrow, resentment, betrayal, and sense of abandonment (to name just a few), the behavior disappears as well.


If you relate to my clients’ experiences in any way, consider the Emotion Code!


Maybe you’ve attended therapy for years yet still struggle with emotional eating. Or, perhaps you’ve tried everything in your power to control your bad food habits, but have had minimal success. The good news? You don’t have to do it alone anymore. Let’s talk about how I can help you by contacting me at to schedule a free 20-minute strategy session today.