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From Scientist To Emotional Eating Coach – Exclusive Interview With Rita May

Rita May is a scientist turned Emotional Eating and Health Coach. She helps driven professionals and entrepreneurs who are successful in other areas of their life but struggle with their weight because of emotions and stress-eating.


Her coaching method is based on three pillars: the science of nutrition, psychology, and a bit of spirituality.


She doesn’t believe in the one-diet-fits-all approach. Instead of giving you a diet plan, she helps you choose a way of eating that you enjoy because that’s the one you will be able to sustain in the long term.


However, nourishing your body is not enough. Our well-being is also affected by stress, relaxation, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, joy, self-awareness, our personal history, and so much more.


Using her Mindfulness to Food Freedom method and How to stop eating your feelings workbook, she helps her clients eliminate emotional and stress-related overeating or binge eating. She designed her Healthy Habits for Permanent Weight Loss program to help busy professionals and entrepreneurs lose weight and improve their health with just a little time investment per week so they can focus on their work, business, and family.

Rita May, Emotional Eating and Health Coach


Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.


I‘m Rita May, an Emotional Eating and Health Coach. I help driven professionals and entrepreneurs who are successful in other areas of their life but can’t solve this one challenge: emotional and stress-eating.

I wasn’t always a coach. After graduating from university in my native Hungary, I worked as a busy postdoc researcher and scientist for about 15 years in the UK and Switzerland. It was my personal journey that inspired me to learn about nutrition and the psychology of eating so that I could help myself and then others too.


While I worked as a scientist we had our 2 sons and after the very short periods of maternity leave, I continued working.


It was a very exciting but exhausting time of my life. Our work with my colleagues was featured in the media multiple times, we were also chosen as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers in the category Innovators by Foreign Policy (an American political journal).


It looked like the perfect life but I felt like there was too much pressure on me.


I found myself eating to relieve stress while balancing demanding work in a competitive field, travelling, looking after our small children, and attending to all the other responsibilities.


I was constantly stressed, I started to have anxiety, and I was impatient with our little boys.


I felt like a failure at work, as a mum, as a spouse, and as a friend since I couldn´t give my best in any of those areas. Sometimes the feeling of I would never be good enough drove me to eat emotionally, other times exhaustion and feeling stressed.


I realized that eating healthy food and moving regularly isn't always enough to live a balanced and healthy life.


Because when we don't have the tools to deal with our emotions and stress, eating can quickly become a comfort or reward after a tiring day, or a distraction from our uncomfortable feelings or problems.


Then we repeat this behaviour multiple times and overeating becomes a habit like smoking, drinking, gambling or other addictive behaviours.

To learn how to break free from emotional eating I chose an Integrative Health Coach training that included the psychology of eating. This enabled me to get me unstuck and later help my clients do the same.


I have also read many books and taken many courses to have a comprehensive view of the subject. I learned about limiting beliefs, mindfulness, neuroscience, habits, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and more.


I'm glad my journey led me here, to share with you that there's a better way.

I don't make food choices based on my emotions anymore. I don't use food to relieve stress or make myself feel better.


Now I want to help other people who are struggling with emotional eating issues.


What kind of audience do you target your business towards?

Busy, successful people, who despite all they’ve accomplished, can’t figure out how to stop overeating.

They know how to solve complicated problems, lead the work of other people, save lives, or solve legal issues but they feel powerless around food.


They’re always busy, their job is stressful, they may also travel a lot, plus they may raise a family. The eat-to-soothe stress habit became their release.


As high-achieving people, they believe they have to work harder and harder to maintain their success, but if stress and overwhelm are not addressed, this overload leads to exhaustion, food cravings, overeating, and weight gain (or even burnout and depression in the long run).


Then usually they try to lose weight using the latest popular diet. However, even if they lose weight, they gain it back because the emotional component is not addressed.


When life becomes too hectic they turn to food again.


Busy people often don’t take their relationship with food seriously. They think it’s only an inconvenience. What they don’t realise is that it affects not only their weight but their health, their confidence, and their self-worth too.


They’re often not even aware that a coach could help them find out what triggers them to overeat and teach them how to react to those situations differently so they can disconnect their mood from food.


As smart, busy people, they have so much on their minds and have no time to take care of themselves. They need someone to keep them accountable until their new habits become ingrained and automatic.

And this is where I can help.


How do you help your clients?

My 1-on-1 coaching method is based on three pillars: the science of nutrition, the psychology of eating, and the neuroscience behind habit change.

I don’t believe in the one-diet-fits-all approach. Instead of giving you a diet plan, I help you choose a way of eating that you enjoy because that’s the one you will be able to sustain in the long term.

However, nourishing your body is not enough. Our well-being is also affected by stress, relaxation, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, joy, self-awareness, our personal history and so much more.

Therefore, we also focus on what triggers you to overeat, I help you learn and implement simple and effective emotional management tools, update your mindset and belief system, learn to accept and trust your body, and incorporate more pleasure in your life so you don’t need food to feel better. By practising these skills, you’ll change your responses to situations that would’ve led to emotional eating in the past.

My approach considers every aspect of your life and is entirely personalized to help you in the areas where you need it most.

In this post, I talked about the 6 levels of change: environment, behaviour, skills, beliefs/values, identity and vision.


If you want to stop emotional or compulsive eating for good, you need to change on all levels. If you only change your environment and behaviour, which is actually what most people do, you won’t have long-term transformation.

With my 1-on-1 clients, we go through all these levels and make the changes needed for each of them. Of course, the lower levels are easier to change (that’s why most people only work on those), but the higher the level, the greater the influence it has (on the lower levels).


It’s important to explore all levels because the solution is often not at the level where the problem is discovered, and the levels also depend on each other.


Do you have self-study courses too?


To overcome emotional eating the How to stop eating your feelings workbook and the Mindfulness to Food Freedom course are good starting points.


However, emotional eating is a complex issue and sometimes it’s difficult to find your blind spots. It can also be hard to keep yourself motivated to do the work (which can be uncomfortable as we are dealing with difficult emotions) on your own. Especially when you’re busy anyway.


Therefore, I highly recommend working with me 1-on-1 to discover what you’re really hungry for and break free from emotional and compulsive overeating. I can quickly recognize your blind spots, give you personalized tasks that fit your lifestyle and keep you accountable to do the necessary steps every week for 3 months.


If you can cope with your emotions without food and want to lose weight without dieting and feeling deprived I recommend taking the Healthy Habits for Permanent Weight Loss program. It is available as a self-study course or also on a 1-on-1 basis.


With the help of this program, you´ll shift your Mindset to rewrite your body image and disempowering beliefs by reprogramming your subconscious mind.


You will have control over the voice in your head screaming at you to overeat. You will be able to indulge without overindulging.


You´ll upgrade your Skillset by learning about advanced eating and lifestyle strategies that will work specifically for you. The skills you need to have inner motivation and to stop self-sabotaging yourself.


You´ll develop your Action-set by building and sticking to powerful eating, exercise, thinking, stress releasing and sleeping habits that you love and they will take you towards your weight, body and health goals.


Do you have a free resource for the readers so they can learn a bit more about your method?


I have multiple free resources, you can check them out here.


One of them is a free training for people who want to learn a bit more about emotional- and stress-eating, as well as compulsive overeating.


This 49-minute training

  • helps people understand why they feel out of control around food,

  • shows the mistakes they're probably making that amplify the problem, and

  • gives solutions to fix these mistakes.

You can access it here.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!




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