Episode #102: PCOS and Emotional Eating Awareness

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PCOS and Emotional Eating Awareness

What you’ll learn in this episode

In this episode, let’s dive deep into a topic often mentioned but rarely explored in depth: the complex relationship between emotional eating and PCOS. Understanding and managing emotional eating can play a significant role in improving PCOS symptoms and make PCOS health so much easier to achieve, this a crucial discussion.

Identifying Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is a common response to stress, anxiety, or even habitual cues that we might not be aware of. For those managing PCOS, discovering their emotional eating triggers is the first step towards healthier eating habits. We’ll explore how emotional states can drive us to seek comfort in food, often leading us away from our dietary goals. Learn practical strategies for increasing awareness and transitioning towards mindful eating.

The Impact of Emotional Health on PCOS

Emotional well-being significantly affects PCOS by influencing hormonal balances, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation. Improving your emotional health can lead to better overall management of PCOS symptoms. We’ll discuss the importance of creating an environment that supports both emotional well-being and nutritional health, offering tips that help integrate these practices into everyday life.

I invite you to dive deeper into the topic of emotional eating and its impact on PCOS by tuning into today’s episode. Tune in, learn, and start transforming your relationship with food and emotions today.

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the PCOS Repair podcast, where today we’re going to get into a topic that, although often talked about, tends to be superficially glossed over. Today we’re going to get into really becoming aware and some practical tips on PCOS and emotional eating. Oftentimes, we eat because we’re hungry, because the food tastes good, but sometimes we don’t even realize how much we’re trying to fill an emotional void and how to become aware of that and some practical tips for assisting us in moving away from emotional eating and more into mindful eating and with that, let’s go ahead and dive into this topic for today.

You’re listening to the PCOS Repair podcast, where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to repair the imbalances in your hormones naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek, and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindset, and our environment, and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.

Welcome back to the PCOS Repair podcast and I’m really excited to be diving into a topic today that I think is an underlying thing that we don’t become aware of, and we feel like, as women with PCOS, specifically, that we just must not have the willpower, or maybe we don’t have the motivation, or whatever words we use but we feel like there’s this block. Maybe we make a little bit of progress and then we have a slip, or something comes up, or life just gets in our way, and we get tripped up, and we feel like, well, we didn’t have enough motivation, or we didn’t have the willpower, we didn’t have the time, or some reason, an excuse, but really a It feels like a reason to us and oftentimes it comes down to we fall into some emotional eating, or it could even just be where the storm of life swept and took us over.

So first of all, what do I mean by emotional eating? Now, as if you could tell there, maybe I’m using a little bit of a broader term here. So some people will think of it as stress eating or eating from a place of feeling down or sad or pressed or anxious and sometimes that does trigger the need to do something. If you ever watch someone who’s anxious, they’ll fiddle with their fingers or they won’t be able to sit still. Sometimes when we are feeling all these emotions in us and we haven’t processed them, it’s just this emotional storm, we’ll turn to food. Sometimes it’s very subtle. Sometimes it’s just that when we feel tired, when we feel a little bit stressed, when we feel like we have a lot going on, or maybe we’re a little under the weather, or sometimes it is the weather, sometimes if it’s cold and rainy, different things will cause us to want and crave certain It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with having un dealt with emotional trauma, or it doesn’t have to be big. It can be little things that add up to deviating from how we want to be running our life, both with, I don’t feel like I have the energy for exercise because I feel weighted down. I feel heavy, and I don’t know why, but I just do and sometimes just becoming aware of those things are very helpful and here’s why. When we’re having small, it’s dark, rainy, wet, cold outside, or big, where we really have a big stressful event in our life or a big emotional event in our life that we’re trying to work through, Maybe hopefully we’re working with someone to help get through those type of bigger events but wherever it falls on that spectrum, it can really weigh us down. It can cause us to crave highly sweet and processed foods. It can also lead us to craving foods that are high fat and salty and then it can also disrupt our sleep, lack of sleep also creates those cravings. It also creates almost a malaise in our appetite so that we can almost feel constantly hungry, not ravenous. We don’t feel like, I need to go eat something healthy to sustain me. We feel like grazing and picking. We don’t feel like grazing and picking at protein and vegetables. We usually feel like grazing and picking at processed snacky foods. That type of emotional eating, that leads to consuming a large amount of calories in a very short amount of time and not really having them fill us up so we keep eating. It also leaves us feeling even more lethargic and laid down. We’re doing weird things with our inflammatory and insulin markers. Then if we don’t feel like moving, we slow down even more and so, yes, you could talk about it from a metabolism standpoint but if you think about it from an emotional and self-care standpoint, essentially what we did is we just dampened our energy.

Whereas instead of turning towards certain foods that are less healthy or sitting down and watching Netflix, if we made ourselves get some fresh air, go a walk, if it’s really rainy, dreary outside, even just going for an indoor workout, listening to uplifting music, taking a bath, taking a shower, something to help break that cycle, something to help us take a deep breath, to calm down, to get centered, to become aware of what is it that I really do want to do in this moment. We can, again, expand this definition of emotional eating all the way to It’s just being emotionally unintentional. Sometimes we come home from work and we’re exhausted, and it can take us, say you got home at 6:00, it can take us almost 2-3 hours from 8:00 till 9:00 to start settling in. Then we almost get this second wind, and then we don’t get to bed on time. Whereas what if we came home at 6:00? and although we are tired, although we don’t really want to put our shoes away or put our bag away or eat a healthy dinner, we just want to debrief. Well, what if we created an intentional debrief that really catered to that emotional, drained self because part of that doesn’t have to be emotionally anxious or revved up. It could almost just be like, emotionally depleted from working all day, from talking to people all day from doing whatever it is we do all day and so that can really create a cycle of not being intentional with caring for ourselves because we feel almost too tired to.

Now, for those of you that have children or who have been around small children, there is something that happens where kids will get so worked up that they can’t calm themselves down, and they almost need an adult to pull them aside, help them calm down, take some deep breaths, remove them from the stimulus that’s creating their emotions to be too extreme, and help them to recenter themselves and that’s what we want to do for ourselves in this type of a situation is we can break that cycle and then go forth and be more intentional about how we want to care for ourselves and it has It has a lot to do with being able to follow through with our health plan but it’s even more just being able to, even if we’re going to go and have a meal that’s a splurge meal or maybe we’re not going to exercise.

That’s our intention, then there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like our intention always has to be driven or our intention always has to be task-oriented or health-oriented. Our intention could be, I’m going to go and relax. I’m going to go and enjoy Netflix. I’m going to enjoy my dinner and it’s this specific dinner that I that was appropriate for what I wanted to accomplish with my health and it has nothing to do with living in a place of the next task, the next task. Maybe the next task at hand is to be done with the tasks for the day. Sometimes we get to that point and we’re so burnt out from keeping up all day or keeping up all week, if we’re heading into the weekend, that we forget to fully decompress intentionally, and we drag the decompress depression out, become unintentional and lethargic. We’re not really even present and enjoying and soaking in our downtime and our relaxed time, which is equally as important.

Okay, so how does this impact our PCOS? Basically, how does our emotional health impact our PCOS? If we’re feeling like we are not at ease, if we’re feeling on edge, we are in a little bit, even if it’s not full-blown, in a small degree, constantly staying in a fight or flight place, this is constantly stimulating a spike in blood sugar because we’re spiking our cortisol and our body is ready for a potential threat. Now, we don’t have a lot of potential threats per se. We think about why our bodies were set up this way but if we are in a location, back in the day, where we needed to be ready in case a lion, tiger, or bear was going to attack us, and we needed to be aware of that, even on a small degree, it was good that our body would be ready but when we’re home for the day and we’re trying to come down from that and let our cortisol calm down for the day, we don’t need that anymore. It’s really learning how to allow our hormones to have the correct daily 24-hour cycle, as well as to allow us to start calming down so that we can get that good sleep that we need. That sleep helps us to renew all of our cells so that they can be healing. It helps us to recover from our workouts. It helps us to wake up more refreshed with better energy so that we have less cravings and less fatigue and energy crashes throughout the next day.

These are all things that really become important as we look towards maintaining that emotional health. Now, on a larger scale, of course, we may need to seek help for our emotional health. If we have things that are severely stressing us out, what I’m talking about here is your typical daily things that make you frustrated. You realize something on your baked statement and you can’t get through, where you realize, Okay, I need to pay my bill. This happened to me last night, I need to pay my bill and you’re going to pay your bill, and you’re like, Okay, I know I cut it close, but I knew I was going to do it, and here I am and then all of a sudden, you realize, for some reason, I’ve been locked out of online banking and I have to call and because for whatever reason, I put my husband as the primary on the account, now I have to get him on the phone, which that’s a whole other ordeal and you just start having these frustrations, especially at the the day when you don’t want to be dealing with this anyway, and you’re frustrated at your sofa putting it off to the last minute and those type of things lead us to grab a bag of potato chips and so those things happen. We can’t cut those out of our life but when we are able to look at those and just take a deep breath, work through them, and intentionally know, Okay, I had a stressor. So instead of reaching for the potato chips, potato chips are fine. I’m not saying you can never eat potato chips but ideally, we don’t reach for them because we had a frustrating encounter with the Internet, our online banking or our online whatever, where we had to meet a deadline and something was not quite working. We had a tech problem or something like that, or traffic was bad, or we got a frustrating phone call from someone that’s being difficult to work with, or whatever the thing was. When that happens, if we can find our ways, whether it’s taking a step outside, like last night happened to be one of our first in several days of horrible weather. It happened to be one of our first days where the sun was out. It was a beautiful sunset. My kids were out playing in the yard, and it was just a nice setting and just stepping outside on my porch and taking a deep breath and remembering that, you know what? Everything’s fine, that is taken care of, everything is fine. Back to enjoying my evening, back to doing what I need to do for the evening, back to making dinner and so forth and just taking in those moments to calm down. All of a sudden, it’s amazing how you don’t need the thing that was supposed to kinda bandaid that we reach for to try to make us feel better all of a sudden because we felt stressed, we felt frustrated, we felt out of control of our environment and our situation.

When we’re beginning to practice removing emotional eating, so back to, we’ve talked about a little bit bigger scale here but if you’re trying to adhere to a healthy eating, if you’re in that healing phase of trying to heal your PCOS root cause hormones, you may need to be fairly strict and a bout of emotional eating, even just once a day, can keep you completely stuck. It’s like you didn’t even eat that much. It wasn’t that many calories, but it’s just enough to put you over the tipping point of instead of making progress, you may not be worsening. Maybe you are, but at the very best, you’re staying stuck.

When it comes to breaking the habit or the knee-jerk reaction to eat from an emotional place. Again, this has nothing to do with amount of food, what you’re eating, or calories, or anything like that. This has simply to do with breaking that cycle of eating for emotional purposes and for emotional comfort. Is only eat when you can do so mindfully. So don’t eat while you’re driving, don’t eat while you’re watching TV, only eat when you can gather your food, not picking through the kitchen while you’re cooking. If there’s something that you want to eat, you can always set it on your plate but create a plate, sit down, and eat without your phone. If you’re alone and you want something to enjoy, at the very most, I would say, listen to something, But try not to watch something, try to be mostly present with your food. I would recommend even not listening to anything at the beginning so that you can really look at, taste, and acknowledge what you’re eating. This is really helpful because what happens is that you no longer walk around and just put things in your mouth.

So you remove the mindless eating and you become very intentional about when you’re putting food in your mouth so that if you’re trying to adhere to a certain plan, you’re able to adhere to it and then you actually may find that you’re able to be a little bit more lenient because you’re sticking to it so well, you’re not having to keep some wiggle room in there and then the other part of it is incorporate some practices for emotional wellness. From a small standpoint, this could be journaling and by journaling, this is your journal. It’s not for anyone else, it’s not to share with anyone else, it could be on a post-it note, it could be on just a notebook, it could be on, I like to use an app on my phone where I just put a new date and I just literally write down thoughts. This was hard for me today, or this was a really good idea, this worked for me and it’s almost just a check-in with myself to be bringing it all the way from vague thought in my head all the way to, I wrote it down and it became a thought, I thought it succinctly, I’m going to remember it. I have it written down if I don’t but usually, I don’t go back and really read through my thoughts in my journal but I do find that just the act of writing it down, taking the time to open it up on my phone, writing it down, makes a big difference. It could be something from, I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I’ve been dragging all day and it has created this domino effect of this was harder, that was harder. This may be more frustrated and I think looking back and evaluating my day It all came down to I stayed up an extra hour last night, and then I just didn’t ever get as good as… I didn’t get to sleep as well. I didn’t sleep as deeply and then when my alarm went off this morning, I felt completely unrested. I struggled to get my morning routines done. I felt behind all day, and it just dominoed into all these things. By writing that out, one, we release it. When we write it out, we let it go, and we’re able to shake it off a little bit, learn from it that, you know what, staying up an extra hour really isn’t worth it and then also, we don’t sit and hang on to it in a frustrated state where we’re just bugged it ourselves for setting ourselves up for not doing as well.

So in closing today, I want to just recap a few things. We’re not trying to lose a few pounds for a vacation here because what we’re trying to do with our PCOS is really create health from the root cause of our hormones and where the imbalance lies and that comes into play with our nutrition, it comes into play with movement, it comes into play with our mindset and our emotional wellness, as well as our self-care, our sleep, and learning how to create an entire environment for our body to thrive in. A big component of that is to both handle our emotions in a way where they’re not leading us astray when it comes to the foods that we’re eating. They’re not weighing us down when exercise and movement would be hugely beneficial, but we feel too drained from these constant emotions inside of us to get out there and do it, even though, honestly, they’re a really good way of flushing out all those emotions is to get out and move and get some fresh air.

Also, when we have these emotions that are pent up and we’re not dealing with them and not releasing them through journaling or through therapy or through getting together with friends and remembering that, You know what? Everyone struggles with these things. I’m not alone. This is normal. This is life. I need to not take it quite so seriously and remember to laugh at myself and remember to celebrate that I’m human and I’m not perfect and so as we do those things, all of the plans that you have for yourself, all of the goals, all the amazing goals and things that you’re trying to accomplish with your health become lighter. When things become lighter, they become more doable, they become more enjoyable, they become something that we can really accomplish and celebrate and move forward with and not feel so stuck.

So with that, I would love to hear over on Instagram. I love the weekly conversations I have over there in my messages. I would love to hear from you, you can find me @Nourishedtohealthy and I would love to hear what is one of the things that you caught yourself doing this week that had an emotional tie to it. Keep your eyes open for it, pay attention to it, increase your awareness of what was something like you were going on your day, you were doing great, you were on track, and then all of a sudden you weren’t. What was it that happened? That’s what I want you to notice. Where was that spot that all of a sudden you were going through your day? Did you get a phone call? Did you get a text? Did you hit a certain time of the day? That’s a big one for me. I hit a certain time of the day. It’s like if I had anything else that I wanted to accomplish, I just am not as productive after 3:00 PM. So everything I try to do that’s important is before 3:00 PM. After 3:00 PM, I try to find the lighter, fluffier things that I can do, like loading the dishwasher. That’s when I can still do after 3:00 PM but I don’t want to have something that needs to be creative or that’s going to take a lot of thought process. I want something that is more just going through the motions, being present with the evening, starting to think about the next day, wrapping it up.

That’s what I like to have my afternoon be. But everyone’s different. Some people find their most creative and their most productive time to be in the afternoon because they’re more of an evening person. So play to your strengths, find your sweet spot of what works for you. And with that, I’ll say bye for now.

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About Show

Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!

I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.

If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now