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094: Emotional Eating and Healing Yourself with Amber Romaniuk

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Is there a link between emotional eating and healing yourself? Our guest says yes and has invested years of her life and thousands of dollars uncovering it.

Amber Romaniuk is an emotional eating, digestive and hormone expert who helps professional women achieve optimal health through mindful eating and self-care. Her podcast “The No Sugarcoating Podcast” has over half a million downloads, over 200 episodes and is listened to in over 82 countries.

Amber overcame her own emotional eating after gaining and losing more than 1000 lbs and spending over $50,000 on binge foods and 5 years balancing her hormones and digestion. She cycled her way through countless fad diets, skipped meals, caloric restrictions and endless workouts in an endless attempt to achieve her ideal weight. Even when she reached the body size she wanted, she couldn’t sustain it. And in the process she hurt her body, blowing out her adrenal glands and messing up her hormones.

Now that she overcome those challenges, Amber helps other women avoid the same pitfalls and mistakes she made like self-sabotage through emotional eating.

On this episode of Awesome Health Podcast, Amber first explains what emotional eating is. She says it is eating for any reason other than physical/nutritional nourishment. This can look like everything from eating a few bites of chocolate because you had a bad day to a full-on eating binge as a way to numb yourself from everyday life.

Amber goes on to share her personal story of this as well as how a difficult breakup led her to understand she needed better ways of coping with stress and had to learn how to fulfill her own emotional needs rather than look for love outside of herself.

She tells us the breaking point for her and why her cravings were so severe she removed all gluten and sugar from her life (something she doesn’t necessarily recommend for everyone). And once she stopped using food to deal with stress, she took up journaling, meditation, yoga and breath work to take care of herself. She also read more self-help books, especially those on the subject of the connection between our bodies and our mindset.

We dive deep into those topics, plus some of the more common challenges she sees that hold women back. You’ll also hear Amber’s suggested first steps you can take if you think you’re an emotional eater. Be sure to listen in and hear her answers on episode 94 of Awesome Health Podcast.

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. It's Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers with another edition of the Awesome Health Podcast. And today we're going to talk about a topic that is really close to my own heart and probably a lot of people listening. It's all about emotional eating. Yes. I'm an emotional eater. You might be too. Yes, we can all relate, but we're going to talk about that. The ego mindset, body image, the reason the body hangs onto weight, AK protection, gut hormone connection. And we have an expert.

Wade Lightheart: Amber Romaniuk is an emotional eating digestive and hormone expert who helps professional women achieve optimal health through mindful eating self-care and overcoming self-sabotage with food. I know this I've been there. I get it. Her podcast, the No Sugar Coating Podcast has over a half million downloads, over 200 episodes and listeners in over 82 countries. She was featured on TV personality, Whitney Port's podcast. Amber has also appeared on local TV 50 times in the last three years alone. She's a fellow conduct like myself. Here's some interesting info about Amber. She overcame her own emotional eating after gaining and losing more than 1000 pounds and spending over 50 grand on binge foods and spending five years bouncing her hormones and digestion. Now she helps others achieve body freedom, TM trademark. So they have the confidence and health to create amazing lives. Bottom line, she said, I tried everything or restricted calories, skip meals, try the latest fad diets worked out six days a week, blew up my adrenals, but guess what? She got to her ideal weight felt great, but it wasn't sustainable. However, that's all been corrected now and Amber is going to share her secrets. Amber, welcome to the show.

Amber Romaniuk: Oh, thank you so much for having me Wade and like epic intro. That was so good.

Wade Lightheart: Well, you know, I'm super excited about this because I think a lot of people almost everybody, probably the large portion of the population is an emotional eater. Now a lot of people think it's kind of on the depressive side, I'm actually an emotional eater on the happiness side. Like for me, I eat when I'm really, really, really happy, really, really in social conditions or environments and things like that. It's like a party. Right? I do notice I will sometimes eat too if I have a challenging emotional piece, but this is an area that I think is a huge topic. And why people self sabotage?

Amber Romaniuk: A hundred percent it's like, because for what I know the stats is about 90% of the female population and about 45 to 50% of the male, correct me if I'm wrong or if you have another stat on that, but struggle with some form of emotional eating, eating disorder, body image issue, like that's significant.

Wade Lightheart: Yeah. I think men, the other half of men just didn't answer the thing honestly. So what is emotional eating and how would you categorize emotional eating off the bat? Let's talk about that first.

Amber Romaniuk: So for me, emotional eating is any reason for eating other than for physical nourishment. And it's not necessarily just emotional, like I'm sad or I'm happy, so I'm going to eat. It's like, I'm fatigued. You know, I feel like I got to a situation where I'm building the same habit where every night after dinner I eat while I watch TV, I eat while I work. It's really that lack of awareness with body and feeling hungry and just eating and mindlessly numbing out and distracting yourself from reality and feeling your emotions. And I think there's different levels of emotional eating. And I really experienced all of those. I think, for some people it's minor emotional eating, where you may have a bad day and you want to eat a half a chocolate bar and then there's the next phase, which is you binge and eat to the point where you're so full, it's horribly uncomfortable and you're so bloated and you feel so, just in pain and frustration.

Amber Romaniuk: And then there's the next phase, which is full-blown food addiction, which is, I'm thinking about food all the time. I'm obsessing about food all the time. I don't want to binge, but I am not doing well on my diet. And so, because I failed on my diet here, I'm falling way the other way. And you were probably like me speeding to the store 10 minutes before it closes. So you can buy your basket full of binge food, go home, put on a movie check-out and keep repeating it day in and day out, hence the 50 grand in five in the loss and gain of a thousand pounds. And then of course we get into like bulimia and other things, but I think there's different kind of spectrums of it. And for some people it's less invasive, in some people it's very in their face and very destructive.

Wade Lightheart: So someone's going to sink right off it, like you gained and lost a thousand pounds. Wait a minute. How's that even possible? Like, did you weigh like a thousand pounds at one time or did you actually like gain 20 pounds, lose 20 pounds gain 50 pounds lose? What was the swing that you experiment or when did you start to discover that you had an emotional based eating channel?

Amber Romaniuk: Oh gosh. I think that was actually a couple of years into like really, really bad binge eating. So the weight fluctuation, I think started in my early teens. So I probably gained and lost more than a thousand pounds, but when I was about 21, I went through a bad breakup and I was like, Oh, I'm going to get the revenge body and like, look perfect in that really triggered quick, fast weight loss, heavy restriction over exercise. And so I reached quote unquote my goal weight at the time. And thenabout a month after that, I couldn't maintain it. And so that's where the switch flipped and I started to binge. And so that gain was about 60 pounds. And so it was like every other month or every few months I was up 30, down 20, up 40 down four. Like it was just honestly, every other month I swear I was up and down with my weight and couldn't maintain.

Amber Romaniuk: And so I didn't realize I was struggling with binge eating probably until at least half year and a half or two years. And when I started to realize, I'm always thinking about food, I have all sorts of cravings, I'm dieting, or I'm like completely going off the other way. And, you know, bingeing and just sitting at home in, self-loading, shoving all this food to shove my emotions down. When I went through a phase of about six months of bingeing and purging, that's when I also really realized like this, not that I wanted to say, this is a problem, but I'm really struggling. And I think I'm starting to put together that I don't know how to cope with stress. And so I'm using food to try and cope. I'm using food to shove my emotions down because I'm afraid to feel, I don't love myself.

Amber Romaniuk: I hate my body. I want to be thin that's the epitome of happiness. And so I think all of that accumulatively as I was learning that made me realize that I was struggling with like full blown food addiction. Right. Like my sugar cravings were so bad that I swear to you, there was nights where I would be at a social event and go make up an excuse so that I could leave, get to the store before it closed and like sometimes speeding. Right. Cause I'm like, I need to get that food. And you know, it's kind of crazy to think how addiction can drive people. And I just always say, thank God I wasn't addicted to drugs because I likely probably would not be here. Just with the faith, the fatal attachment to that.

Wade Lightheart: Could describe something. I think that a lot of people have experienced at some point to varying degrees, but I want to talk a little bit about the background. I think a lot of the men's world, there's a bustle thing called muscle dysmorphia. Men who think that they're too small. And I think on the other side, it's women who think that they're too big and the comparison analysis and many of this is traced to developmental times, was there a time maybe early on in your life as you became a developing woman in your teens or whatever were you start to get into that comparison or feeling self-conscious about how you looked and do you think that was maybe one of the things or is that just something that developed after the breakup?

Amber Romaniuk: So for me, I was five and it was my first day on the bus and the older boys called me fat and ugly. And that really hit home for me. And I took it on and believe them because I didn't know what confidence was. I didn't know how to brush off a comment when half the bus is laughing at you, it was a very hurtful and mortifying experience. So that coupled with my mom, really struggling with body image, her whole life, being overweight, having multiple sclerosis, always talking about how she hated herself and hated her body like hearing that regularly. And also then seeing her eat all the time. And revolve life around food. I think I just took that on too and thought, well, it's normal to be insecure and it's normal to talk negatively about yourself. And then the third thing was that conditioning I received from TV, music, videos, celebrities, magazines, like all this stuff that's tells you, you need to look this way and fit into this box to be popular, rich loved. And so I really believed that, wow, like I need to look like that. So how do I get there? Well, diets exercise restriction. So for me, those were kind of the accumulative. And then the breakup was finally like the way that I get there.

Wade Lightheart: So there's a gap though, between when you're five and 21. So was this kind of just an ongoing thing, but 21 was kind of the breaking point?

Amber Romaniuk: Totally. Because I was subconsciously emotionally eating, like all through growing up. I just didn't know that I was because I thought it was normal to sit down and turn on the TV. You need half a box full of cookies and chocolate bars, et cetera. Cause my mom was doing the same thing. So I really inherited the food addiction from a very young age, but didn't realize until I was looking back and going, wow, that wasn't normal. But because there was no like portion or like any talk of anything like that, it just is the way that I grew up. And then it was when I restricted and that switch flipped. And I was like going to the bakery to buy like 10 cupcakes and eating Costco sized, pumpkin pies that I'm like this is not normal. This isn't healthy, obviously I'm not feeling well. But I dieted at all through my teens anyway and had those ups and downs, but I just was so unaware of any of it until that switch flipped.

Wade Lightheart: There's some really great stuff. I want to share for you as a woman, because I think a lot of times in our early relationships, men can act or say things that are very insensitive to a female and vice versa. It can go by vice-versa. But can you talk about, was there anything particularly that happened within the relationship? Was it just that you felt that he left you for somebody else or he wasn't attracted to, or he said something too. Was there a trigger point for our male listeners to say, Hey, look what you need to be mindful of what you say, his words and what you can say or the impact, or was there just a general overall thing that you came to this conclusion yourself?

Amber Romaniuk: What's so interesting about it is it was never about the weight for him. And when I lost the weight and we had a conversation about it after we'd broken up and he's like, it was never about the weight. What had happened in the relationship is because I didn't love myself. I started to essentially like become obsessed with him and him needing to love me and him needing to fix me and fill my void. And I was very controlling because I was so insecure. It created a lot of conflict and obviously he had his own stuff, like some and just the fighting got more and more and more and just, it got so unhealthy. Like it was making me sick, but I didn't realize that the stress from the relationship was like my face was going numb.

Amber Romaniuk: Like I had all these weird neurological symptoms coming up and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. And as soon as the breakup happened, all the symptoms went away. I took it to me and like, Oh man, it's because I'm not good enough. That's why he's breaking up with me. But it was just such an unhealthy dynamic because I lost myself because I didn't know who I was in the first place. I think for me, the one thing that I could have wished for at that age was more transparency, you know? So instead of the breakup just happened, he was like, let's just go on a break and like have hope, like everything will work out in a few months. And then like in a few months down the road, having that second breakup, like just be transparent with the person. Like don't lead them along for X amount of months after you already hurt them because when you're 21, you're just so in this denial. Like, Oh yeah, it's totally going to work out. Cause I'm going to look perfect. And I'm glad it didn't because it wasn't meant to be, and it's fine, but it's so interesting how that experience completely shaped and set up my future road, which has been incredible. But stuff has to happen.

Wade Lightheart: These are really good points. And as a guy, that's in his middle-age now,I've learned something and that is the quality of your life is determined by the amount of difficult conversations that you have with people. And I can't emphasize that enough to people within relationships and wanting to get in relationships is to really get down to the conversation and have an open and honest conversation. And that is really, really hard in today's world. I think there's a big variance in the ability of number one, emotional awareness. And there's a big variance in articulation. And I think typically a lot of men and I know myself would fall in that categories would struggle with expressing emotions that you might feel and a woman who might be more versed in sharing their emotions or talking in that thing, what happens is the guy shuts up and feels inadequate in the communication.

Wade Lightheart: And it comes out either as he shuts down, he gets angry. And then the woman's like, what the hell is going on? And he just doesn't have the language and he doesn't know how to do it. And that was a pattern that I noticed in my own stuff. And in relationships, what is it for the female side? Just not to put words in your mouth, what is it for a woman when, who she wants to communicate things are men, what holds a woman back, you would say, or with your girlfriends yourself. And of course it's going to vary from person to person, but what are some common elements?

Amber Romaniuk: The fear of being rejected that shut happening. I think that's a big one. Or like not wanting to push them away. I dealt with that in the beginning of the relationship I'm in now where my boyfriend be like, Oh, there's a conflict here. Let's talk about it now let's resolve it now. And he'd be like, no, I'm not ready to talk about it yet. And so I would be like, Oh, I'm getting rejected when it had nothing to do with me. But I think one of the things that really helped with that is just holding space and like allowing for the emotional exchange to happen. Like naturally when it's meant to versus like the woman being like, well, I'm more emotional and I'm a talker, so let's talk it out now, knowing that men more naturally maybe need to just go and process their emotions.

Amber Romaniuk: So that you don't end up getting so fired up and saying something you're going to regret. Cause I know that's what he said to me is like, I just need some time because I don't want to say something that's gonna upset you. And I'm like, Oh, that makes sense. So, but I think that was my big fears in the past. And I'm like so good with it. And so neutral. And we have such an open communication and he now feels so safe sharing all of his emotions and vulnerabilities and like struggles. And it's so great, but it's because I have held a safe space, judgment free space. I totally used to experience that. And I feel like because your ego takes over because you want to have control and you want to have it be dealt with in the moment. It's the ego that then pushes the conflict further and can shut the other person down further because you're trying to control them. They don't want to be controlled. So their ego takes over. And that's for me intuitively where the shutdown comes along.

Wade Lightheart: Beautifully said. Let's talk about going through your series for listeners where you're on that rollercoaster. What was the point? What was the breaking point for you to get off it? What happened?

Amber Romaniuk: Yeah, so a few things. So I'm like a crappy retail job. I'm alone. My health is continuing to get worse. I'm more bloated, more inflamed, like literally have no money in my bank account. And I had just finished a binge and I was sitting on my couch and I was, I was crying because I was just thinking, I don't know if I'm going to make 30. If I keep treating my body this way, I'm causing so much destruction, physically, mentally and emotionally, how can my body possibly keep up with this, but I don't know how to stop. Then I had finished the binge and thrown the food in the garbage. And about an hour later, I was like, well, if this is the last time I'm going to do this, I might as well eat a bit more.

Amber Romaniuk: And so I dug through the garbage, felt really ashamed. And then I'm like, I'm going to go throw it out in the garbage outside. And then I went back later and ate from the garbage outside. And I was like, wow, this is seriously a problem. But I needed that to happen because what was blocking me was the fear of the unknown. Who am I going to be without food? Who would I be if this wasn't a problem, right? Who is this person? If she deals with this and overcomes it and can I do it? And what if I fail? And so the fear of that, all of that unknown was blocking me and keeping me in the suffering. And in that moment, the suffering got bigger than the fear to want to change or the fear of the unknown. And I'm like, I have no clue what this is going to look like, but I'm done suffering. And I just envision myself with like this little knife in the midst of like beginning her journey in the Amazon jungle with no path. But I was just determined. I'm like, obviously this has happened for a reason and I need to figure it out now.

Wade Lightheart: What did you do?

Amber Romaniuk: At first it was just like blindly trying to find a trail. And so the first thing I did was I really started to learn about sugar because for me, like my refined sugar cravings were through the roof and I always lost control with it. And I just couldn't understandwhy can I just have a little bit, why do I start eating this feel high and then eat way too much. And so when I started to understand that sugar was 10 times more addictive than cocaine and that it excited the same part of the brain as heroin does. Andit was feeding my candida, like my horrible, like bad candida imbalance and making me crave it and throwing my blood sugar off. I've started to become fascinated with how it was impacting my physical body and my mood, because when I would try to cut it out, I would just essentially feel like, so in the dumps, like just be so down, like going through a withdrawal.

Amber Romaniuk: That led me to the gluten because I was noticing, okay, I'm not just eating sugar, but the baked goods are all gluten based. And when I learned that did the same thing to the brain and like my gut and the bloating. And I'm just like, what? And then I'm thinking, why is this even allowed in food? As I'm discovering this stuff, like why would they put this in food? Knowing that it's like harming our health? So I went through this kind of like anger, frustration, like period, because I just couldn't that this could be allowed. Then dairy was the third thing. And it was for all the same reasons, the digestive issues, the candida, the neuro-transmitters and the KCN, you know, in the case of morphine's that do the same thing as the sugar and the gluten exciting the brain and causing that high.

Amber Romaniuk: And so after dozens of attempts, I cut them all out because for me, I needed to do that to help with the addiction. I don't suggest everybody do that. A lot of my clients don't have to do that. However, it was just so severe for me. I'm like, I need to cut all these out. I think this will help me in my progress. So I went gluten and dairy and refined sugar-free and like really got good at making recipes and just like being in the kitchen more and making alternatives for everything that I wanted. But it's when I still wanted to binge on like bananas and a whole jar of peanut butter that I realized that it went a lot deeper than food and that I was just using food as a coping mechanism. And so that's when I got into the emotional part of the journey. So it was like, I don't love myself. I'm still wanting to be a certain weight. I'm obsessed with the scale. I'm still in assumption that a diet is going to fix me. I don't know how to feel my emotions. I don't know how to handle stress. So that was that whole discovery of all of these things that had created this void within me, this lack of self-love. And I'm still trying to fill it with food.

Wade Lightheart: Beautiful. Beautiful. How long did that whole journey take to kind of get to the point where you recognize, okay, there's an emotional issue here that I've got to deal with about two years, and then what was the trigger point for you to say, okay, there's an emotional side of it, did you go anywhere? Did you find info or what did you do at that point?

Amber Romaniuk: I read Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life. And that really helped me to understand. That really opened me up, not only to like the emotional, but like the emotional manifestation of physical imbalances and how our cells are listening to our thoughts and like the manifestation side and energy. And so that for me was a big part and I really realized I don't have any healthy ways to cope with stress. So that's where I started a self-care routine and I took up meditation and yoga and breathing and got a journal and really got into reading self-help books because it fulfilled me. And it was just like lighting me up to learn all these things about the mindset and the body and how they're connected. So essentially what I did was I started to make a list of all the different things that I was noticing would trigger me to binge.

Amber Romaniuk: And so I had this list plastered all over my apartment to remind me, okay, before you leave to go to the store and buy your binge food, look through this list and try and figure out what's triggering you. And then depending on the trigger, what kind of self-care can I go into to help calm me down and prevent me from continuing to repeat this pattern. And so, as I got into this routine, the urge to binge reduce, because I was unwiring this neuro pathway in my brain and creating a new one that is it's okay, it's safe to feel, and I can handle this in a healthy way. And that was so empowering, like to drive to the store and sit in the parking lot even, and then go, I don't need to go in there and then drive home. Like it was those kinds of wins that really just helped me to push forward and go, I can do this.

Amber Romaniuk: That self care routine was really important and starting to catch the negative. Self-Talk recognizing I had an ego and my ego didn't have my greatest good in mind and recognizing what it felt like to be in my power versus giving my power away, learning how to say no set boundaries, stop being a people pleaser, stop being a perfectionist, because that was all the insecurity, right. Me wanting to prove and over-give. And so the more I went on these deeper layers of the journey, the more I discovered all these disempowering parts of me that when were in serving me and I started to deal with them. And it was scary at first because it's uncomfortable when you're a people pleaser and you start saying no, but it got easier. So dealing with all that really ended the food addiction and I filled the void. And I no longer wanted to diet or to be on the scale every day or hurt myself with food because that's what I realized is I'm hurting myself with food and I'm punishing myself.

Amber Romaniuk: And this bingeing is an act of self hate, and I don't want to do that to my body anymore. So that was very powerful because the last gift that gave me other than, of course my business was me discovering, I had this intuition. It's not just certain people who are special and are intuitive and can feel stuff like I have this. And that was incredible because obviously since 10 years ago it's grown exponentially and it's such a great tool in my life and in my business now, but it was just scary as heck at first to be like, Oh my God, I can feel. And I can see things that are coming and that shut me down for a while. And it did trigger some bingeing cause I was so scared of that coming up. But then once I embraced it and started to use it to my favor, so many good things started happening in my life because I was in alignment.

Wade Lightheart: Beautifully said and great journey. And then how long did you say it would take you to kind of figure out all those components as well? So this is a long journey that we're having here, but I think it's relative for people to listening that, Hey, it's not necessarily an overnight thing. You could get there a lot faster, but you're just figuring this all out on your own.

Amber Romaniuk: Exactly. Like I, there was one time I was like, maybe I'll try to see a psychologist. They don't really have the money, but I'll just give it a go. So I went to the one session and I'm not gonna say they're all like this, but I had a really poor experience. And essentially out of the hour and a half appointment that I went to and the $300 I spent, she said, you just need to not drive to the store and you need to learn how to love yourself. And here's like the pyramid of like how you're going to come down the mountain. And I'm just thinking, you have no idea. Like you have no idea what I'm going through, maybe you have an education. And like I said, everyone has their place, but it was just so disappointing to feel the lack of empathy and understanding because she hadn't gone through it herself. So that was my sign that I needed from the universe. That's like, no, you need to do this on your own because obviously I just didn't know what the time was going to be helping other people. But I just always felt I need to do this on my own for whatever the reason was at the time.

Wade Lightheart: You know, I find the people that have had the greatest struggles in life often become the greatest advocates and educators for whatever that solution is. And I would encourage all our listeners out there that if you're struggling with something, consider the possibility that what you're struggling with is actually potentially your greatest asset. There I've read a book on my shelf. The obstacle is the way, and that was the case in how I ended up starting our own company, it was a crisis in my own life. I'm curious so once you solve this problem, you realize that other people had this same problem, because once you kind of solved the problem for you. So if you kind of get out of your own story, it's like, okay. And then all of a sudden you start to recognize it in another people and you want to help them. And sometimes they're not ready to get help and you want to be like, I can fix everybody, but somehow you created this whole business and a podcast. And I was like, what happened after that transformation? If you figured this out, you follow the patterns, you solve the lifetime of what could have been permanent struggle. And even an early untimely death, you overcome it, you figure it out, you solve it, then why?

Amber Romaniuk: So it was in the midst of me really filling the void and healing, that emotional part that people started to ask me, because I was talking more about food and health. And then they're like, what are you doing? You seem to know a lot and you healed that gut thing. Like, how did you do that? And then, as I started to share that I was struggling with emotional eating all my friends and like every woman I ever came into contact with opened up and started to share her story. And it blew my mind. Cause I'm like, you struggle with this or you struggled with this as if you did, seem the perfect clarified cause that's the assumption. That really inspired me because I thought if I struggled with this in the way that I did, how many other people are struggling with this, whether it's on a lower level, the same or a higher level, obviously there's a lot of people that need help with this.

Amber Romaniuk: And I just knew right away that's what I wanted to do and that I wanted to specialize in the body image, emotional eating piece, and then like really got in hormone health because I had the worst hormone issues. Like my cortisol was six times higher. My estrogen was 10 times higher. My progesterone was too low. My thyroid was underactive. I had high homocysteine and high C-reactive protein. And I was 25 when I was working on this stuff. So it's 25 and my blood works just horrible. It was great because I got to learn how to really find these sweet and what it feels like to be symptom-free and how it looks on the blood work. And so I think going through all of that, it was just such a sign for me that I knew I wanted to specialize in that stuff. And that's what really started my business. And it's been seven and a half years now, which is so awesome. I'm always working on myself, the journey never stops. And it's great though, because the more I work on myself and deal with my, you know, in the next layers that come up, the more I can benefit and help my clients and just people listening to the podcast. But that's how it really shifted because people were interested in what I was doing and asking.

Wade Lightheart: I think there's a big news flash out for there for people because I coached hundreds of fitness competitors, we're talking national champions, international champions, girls who were on the cover of magazines and also men in the same level, particularly. And I think it was extraordinarily shocking. How many of the quote unquote women that people aspire to look like if they actually knew the struggles that that person was having both psychologically, emotionally and their relationships, their body image, their self love and all that stuff, be frightening to how many of those girls were actually struggling or masking behind a perfect body some deep emotional components. And even with the who's that I coached back in the day, people that had that at all, what I call, they lived the life with the golden handcuffs. They had the houses and the cars and the family and the country club and you know, the cottage in the country and all that sort of stuff.

Wade Lightheart: And they would come to me because they had these weight issues. And I said, well, we can solve that. But what we really need to get to, and this is going to be the journey is what you think you're going to get from having that body. That's going to be the part that's going to be the real journey here. And I've never lost sight of that. So many people think that everybody else has got it figured out in the room and I'm here to say, I don't have it all figured out. Nobody has it all figured out. We're all just struggling along the planet. And finally, we can kind of get to an age where reading a scalp. I'm working on it. I'm working. So let's talk about your podcast. Let's talk about your business. So what is it that your podcast does in your business and how does that help people who might be struggling with emotional eating?

Amber Romaniuk: The podcast is great because it really allows people to get a feel for me, my energy, what I've been through. I always share like stories of my past experience, sharing observations of clients and similar struggles in a mindful, confidential matter. As I continue to grow and deepen my relationship with myself and gain more freedom from my ego sharing, those experiences, those thoughts, learning about all the conditioning, the psychological that has been put on us, since we've been young and helping people understand, like, this is not your fault, like we've been set up to fail on every level from the big systems. And so, as I learn, I share,and then from there, what I find is a lot of people who listen to the podcast, if it's resonant for them, then they'll reach out and they'll book in and we'll connect one-on-one and we'll explore private coaching or group program.

Amber Romaniuk: And I have an online program coming out soon too, but that's really a big part of my business is supporting my clients one-on-one or in one of those levels and helping them with the things that we're talking about. It's very rare that I get someone who it's only a gut issue, or it's only a hormone issue. It's usually all of the above. Also with a podcast, it's about education. It's about empowering. It's about bringing on guests like yourself who have very powerful, personal experiences themselves that can share and provide so much value. That's just really important for me. And it's also about community because I'm all about supporting like-minded businesses and people who also have other humor, humanity's greatest, good in mind and your health and mind versus the opposite.

Amber Romaniuk: That's another part of my business in podcasts that I love is just having that space for other people as well and I do love podcasting. It's like, it's been so cool. I've had some really cool interviews last year, traveling to LA with Whitney and then another woman in Malibu's just having that kind of exposure. I'm just very grateful for it because I've gotten so many women coming forth who want the support and just hearing the story. It's so relatable for them. And I think that's been so important for me to be super authentic and transparent. I have nothing to hide. If it's going to help someone, let them know they're not alone. Like that's a huge goal for me because whether or not they come to work with me, if they just know that I've done my job, right.

Wade Lightheart: What are some of the challenges or obstacles that you see that women have, which holds them back from getting the assistance they need in this area, common elements that you've noticed?

Amber Romaniuk: Fear of failure is a huge one, because they're all perfectionist all or nothing kind of people, because they've been conditioned by diets that you have to follow it like this. You have to go XYZ. You can only eat these foods. And then every time they fail, they lose a bit more hope and faith in themselves that they can heal and overcome. So by the time they get to me, they're kind of on their last leg. They've tried all the diets, they've taken thousands of dollars worth of supplements. And while we know supplementation's important, if you're bingeing every day and you're just have expensive pee, right. So they've gone and gotten all the testing done, but the testing doesn't help them understand their inner, emotional struggles and all that stuff. So it's fear of failure. Yt's not, not knowing if I'm going to have enough time to dedicate to the journey because again, the perfectionist and the overbook schedule. That's another really limiting belief and fear of the unknown. So who will I be without these things? Then the last one is, I don't know if I'm worthy to have this. I don't know if I'm worthy to heal. I don't know if I'm worthy to overcome emotional eating. And I don't know if I'm worthy to love myself and deal with this diagnosis and empower myself from it or overcome it.

Wade Lightheart: What are some common elements that women or men… Because I think there's men in this category and I don't want to make it all dominant to women cause there's a ton of men suffering out there who might not realize it. What are some common indicators that you may be an emotional eater or have an emotional issue that's triggering you to have these type of binges or whatever?

Amber Romaniuk: And so it's, and cause for some people that say, well, I don't binge and for some they go, I don't even know if I emotionally eat. So I think it's so important to get clear. So if you're finding regularly that you are finishing your meal, and then you're still drawn to the cupboard because you know, there's some trigger food in there that you love and you just can't keep food, certain foods in the house. Like that's a sign of emotional eating. If you can't keep, I have some people that can't keep nut butter in the house because they'll eat the whole jar, let alone ice cream and like really processed foods. So if that kind of stuff's happening and that's a struggle with emotional eating definitely as well, if you can't stop thinking about food, it's kind of like the ego versus yourself in your head going, Oh, you should go and eat that.

Amber Romaniuk: And then the other part of you going, no, don't eat that. You shouldn't have that. Like you need to follow your plan and lose this weight. So there's that like Jekyll and Hyde going on back and forth, it gets really exhausting food fears. So maybe you've done different diets that are really restrictive and now you're afraid to eat an apple or a carrot, or maybe you're afraid to eat sugar because in the past just had so many negative experiences where you've lost control. So that's another sign of emotional eating. Thenreally people who've tried diets and think, and are convinced that the diet is going to fix everything. It's going to fix the weight. It'll help me have the willpower. I won't have the cravings anymore. You know, sticking to this diet means I can't eat any of these foods.

Amber Romaniuk: So that should resolve all the other issues. That's another sign and then being as fixated with weight and the external body image in the scale, because I often find, obviously there's a struggle with self-worth and then what's happening is when either man or woman is getting on the scale and they don't like the number they see, well, then that's triggering them to self-sabotage with food. Cause what's the point I don't care. And that all or nothing mentality, that is a huge part of emotional eating because the person's either all in with their diet plan, their exercise plan. And as soon as one little thing happens and it interrupts that progress, they think that, I failed this isn't gonna work anymore. I'm so screwed. I'm just going to go all the way, the other way and eat whatever I want because I've been restricting myself. I find those are some of the more common signs, like maybe you emotionally eat and then you feel insecure in your body and you don't want to go out and be social, right? Because you feel ashamed or maybe you are afraid to go to social outings for fear of being tempted. And you know, you're going to lose control stuff like that.

Wade Lightheart: Really, really great information for people. Let's say you kind of heard this podcast and you said, I think I might be an emotional eater. I think I might be struggling here. What are your suggestions or steps that a person needs to take and what are the consequences if they don't?

Amber Romaniuk: Great question. So number one, try to not be hard on yourself, have shame or embarrassment because so many people struggle with it and there's so many layers to it. It's just such a complex thing that it's just to fault yourself. It's not fair for you. I think the next thing that's so important is to actually start to become aware of the difference of physical and emotional hunger. Because it's a very different feeling, but a lot of people don't even know what physical hunger feels like. So how can you possibly know what emotional hunger is? Before you reach in the cupboard or even before you have any snack is just to check in and go, is this physical or emotional hunger? Okay. Physical cues, my stomach scrawling, my blood sugars dropped I'm dizzy, I'm lightheaded, I'm hangry, I'm tired.

Amber Romaniuk: I look at the clock. I haven't eaten in three hours, five hours, however long. So I physically likely do need to nourish my body, versus the emotional hunger like I'm stressed, right. I always associate eating and working or watching TV. I'm rushed. I'm on the run. I'm overwhelmed, I'm tired. I haven't drank enough water. Like there's so many, you know, emotional reasons. So I think asking that question and starting to explore that answer for yourself is important because I find 90% of the time, the answer is emotional hunger. It's very rarely that it's actually physical hunger. And if it is, I always encourage people to get into a good food prep routine where you're prepping really good quality, nutritious meals and snacks to help set you up for success through the week and allowing for indulgence. But if you don't have good food available, it's really hard to set yourself up for good food choices.

Amber Romaniuk: As we know from there, I think it's really important to start to make note of different things. You notice trigger you. So is it the news? Is it a friend or a family member? Is it work? Is it your overbook schedule? Are you not drinking enough water? That's a huge trigger for a lot of people. Same with fatigue, same with over exercising and not eating enough or overeating and then needing to go and punish yourself in the gym. Negative emotions. That's another big one. People do not know how to feel their feelings or they're afraid to write. We've been taught to just shove that down. So make a list, start writing them down and explore, my finding continues to come up for me. Also you stop trying to buy diet programs to fix this because it's just not going to work because the diet doesn't help you learn to love yourself or help you identify what's triggering your helps.

Amber Romaniuk: You define the difference between physical or emotional hunger. It often fuels more of a perfectionist mindset, all or nothing, more fears around food. And so I always encourage people. Yes, I want you to nourish your body, but anything that's restrictive, it's very important to wean off because I believe there's such thing also called diet addiction where people get, they thrive off of like, Ooh, I failed, but this one, this one looks great and there's a serotonin dopamine high. And then they pull out their credit card and they buy that next program. They're like, this is going to be the one. And then they get all excited and then they get a week or two or a month in and they fail again. And then there's the drop and Oh, not right. Like that's an addiction in itself. So for some people starting to break apart, that diet addiction dynamic is really important too.

Amber Romaniuk: Then the last thing is honestly, and you know, whether or not, you come to me or you listen to my podcast, it doesn't matter, but it's yet help. Like if you've been struggling with this for years or decades, likely I would highly encourage you to get help because it's a very complex journey and it is hard to figure it out on your own. It's totally possible. And if you're meant to do it on your own, you will. But what if investing in your time and your money and your yourself in this with people or someone that can really help you, you know, gives you such a life of freedom and being able to live a full life moving forward, because let's face it, the costs or consequences of not doing anything about this impact every area of your life.
Amber Romaniuk: So you spend a lot of money on clothes and multiple clothing sizes in the closet on diets, personal trainers, quick fixes testing, and maybe trying to see doctors and that may help one aspect of your health, but it's not addressing the emotional eating. It costs you relationships, potentially. It costs you advances in your career. It could cost you starting a business or taking your business to that next level because you don't feel worthy and you don't want to be seen. So you're not going to take that speaking gig gig or that TV gig or whatever it is because you're so ashamed of your body. And also from a manifestation standpoint, if you're energetically at such a low vibration, because you feel so insecure with your body, it's really difficult to manifest what you want, relationships, abundance, business.

Amber Romaniuk: Like I swear to you, your health really dictates the health of your business on all levels. So it's so important to be in a balanced place because I can tell you when I'm on point I'm manifesting and in the past. When I started to articulate, wow, that the way I'm showing up really indicates how much is coming into my world. It really made me realize how important that part was. And then of course it costs a lot with your physical health. Like I have so many clients that literally have admit to me, they go, I know me struggling with this for years is why I have, you know, IBS or cancer or arthritis or whatever it is they just know. And they're so devastated because they let it go for so long and just thought they'd be invincible forever. Right? So it costs you your health. That's out of all of it. That's the biggest one because how can you show up and live a full life if you're not well.

Wade Lightheart: So well said, can you share with our listeners…I'm going to just do a plug look, they need to contact you. They need to get ahold of your struggling out there. There's help. There's places you can go. Can you share with where people can reach out to you and kind of find out, dip their toe in the waters if you will, that they can find out the service that you offer and the group and all that sort of stuff.

Amber Romaniuk: They can go to and have a free emotional eating quiz there. And once they take that, it sends them some really awesome videos and just like tidbits to help plant seeds. I offer 30 minute complimentary body freedom calls. So people can book in on my website and pick a time and we'll talk through, what's holding you back. What are you struggling with? What are your goals? You know, what are your health complaints and just really have a great conversation. It's a safe space for you to feel comfortable and come in, maybe for the first time share with someone that you've been dealing with this and even that in itself, and being able to get it off your shoulders is such a healing opportunity. Then with the podcast it's the No Sugar Coating Podcast, it's available on my website and all podcast apps over 260 episodes now. So there's lots of content for people todip their toe in and listen and see if it's resonant. But those are some of the best ways to check things out. And then in the new year, again, I'll be, like I said, I'll be getting an online program for people who just want like a little intro and a taste. But yeah, it's all about seeing if it's in alignment, that's the key.

Wade Lightheart: And for this podcast has been really awesome and I've seen so many people struggle, and I really want to honor you and thank you for sharing your own stories and these types of things, and also creating a space and an opportunity for people tomget the help they need. You're doing a great service in the world. It's so much alignment with what we are our mission at BiOptimizers. I want to thank you so much for being on our podcast for our listeners. We have any show notes, any closing words for our listeners before we go.

Amber Romaniuk: Just that everyone's worthy to heal and learn how to love themselves and have optimal health. It's not, again, just special people. Everyone has the opportunity. If you show up and you do the work at your pace and just be patient with your journey, you will totally get there. And you will be grateful that you did.

Wade Lightheart: Beautiful words from a truly beautiful woman, helping so many people live a beautiful life. Amber, thank you so much for joining us today and for all our listeners on the Awesome Health Podcasts. All of the links that Amber talked about today is here in the show notes, go over, please check out podcast. The No Sugar Coating Podcasts, join her group, take the quiz, get a consultation. It might just change your life. Thanks so much for joining us. And we'll see you on another edition of the Awesome Health Podcast. I'm Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers. See ya!

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