The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a coach as someone who instruct or trains another. Emotional eating, on the other hand, is a disorder where you eat for other reasons than hunger. As the name suggests, emotional eating is dependent on what you feel – if you are happy, you might eat ice cream; if you’re sad, you might eat a Quarter Pounder or pack in a carbohydrates-laden diet. You can, therefore, infer that an emotional eating coach is somebody who guides or instructs someone who binge on food according to the dictates of his or her emotions.
Just like a regular coach who helps his team towards victory, an emotional eating coach does the same except that it is not difficulties in sports they have to battle against, but on clearly and specifically identifying which emotions trigger binge eating on his client’s part. Once the problem becomes clear, the coach will formulate a strategy with his or her client to achieve both short-term and long-term goals steadily and successfully.
Goal setting also includes removing barriers, real or imagined, in his client’s life that are hindering the success of the plan, change destructive emotional habits that lead to binge eating, and look for creative step-by-step plans which are both feasible and reasonable. Once these initial steps are done, the work isn’t finished yet because there is also a follow-through that happens until complete victory and healing is done.
Looking at the responsibilities of an emotional eating coach, his role is very crucial. Therefore, someone who wants to pursue a career in this path should be discerning and empathetic. Discernment is needed because he must know when to show empathy towards his client and when to let go so as not to encourage dependence. The greatest accomplishment of a coach is to bring them into a realization that empowers them to make decisions for themselves and trust the decisions they have made.
Coaches should not give in to the temptation of spoon feeding solutions to his clients. Empathy is important but he should be careful that it does not encourage anything except freedom. The job of an emotional eating coach is one of paradox, therefore – in order for his clients to trust and open up to him, he must develop a sense of trust and confidentiality. On the other hand, he should also put a limitation between his client and himself to discourage any bond that might happen other than a coach-client relationship.
This alone can be emotionally draining to the coach. That is why emotional eating coaches approach every session with clear goals in order to maintain the balance throughout the whole counseling session.