What is eatonomy?

eatonomy: the ability to make decisions about what, when and how much to eat based on personal instincts and preferences, independent from external influence, direction or control.

I started turning to food when I was around 12 years old. My emotional attachment to it had begun before that but I was about 12 when I started to binge habitually, in secret, to the point that I felt sick. As a result, I began to put on weight.

At 19, I did what we’re told to do if you want to lose weight – I started dieting. The restriction of dieting only served to ramp up my binge eating. With every diet, I’d lose weight and put it back on, and a bit more besides. As my weight increased further, my self-esteem, which had always been really low, plummeted even further.

It’s my belief that you can’t achieve a sense of personal agency by following someone else’s instructions.

After years of distress, I realised the only way to navigate through my issues was to find personal autonomy with food.

Instead of listening to everyone else about what I should eat, I started listening to myself about what I wanted.

I learned to shut out the noise, stop judging what I was eating and enjoy food. I also worked on healing from profoundly negative experiences, and handling challenging emotions I’d been avoiding for years.

Gradually, I developed a self-trust that influenced positively not only how I ate but every other area of my life.

eatonomy is a word I came up with many years ago to describe that self-trust – the ability to decide for yourself the right way to eat for you. It’s about working with yourself – emotionally, psychologically and physically – rather than against.

That doesn’t mean life is suddenly perfect. You still have stresses and worries the same as anyone. It just means you no longer turn to food to deal with them because you have a much more compassionate relationship with yourself.

You can’t achieve a sense of personal agency by following someone else’s instructions – it just doesn’t work. So eatonomy isn’t a hey-just-follow-these-10-miraculous-steps-and-your-problems-will-be-solved approach, it’s a stop-looking-outside-of-yourself-and-pay-attention-to-your-thoughts-and-feelings kind of thing.

What I write here is intended to aid self-awareness and self-reflection, to help you connect to that authentic inner voice that knows what’s best for you. In order to find that voice you need to be willing to have a conversation with yourself.  That’s why many of my blog posts are questions – questions intended to prompt that conversation within you.


Posts are grouped into different categories, such as “Defining your boundaries”, “Meeting your emotional needs” or “The dangers of dieting” – feel free to look under “Explore more about…” to find what you need.

Expert Insight posts are short excerpts from the vast array of literature I’ve read over the past 20 years or so in my quest to understand emotion-driven overeating. These are thought-provoking words from authors, researchers and practitioners about overeating as well as related issues such as body image, feelings, relationships and personal boundaries.

Food for Thought feature enriching reflections from people who really have a way with words. These are offered to uplift and reassure you, and to encourage you to reflect and stay connected to the part of you that says “it’s OK, you can do this”.

Gentle Reminders are prompts about an aspect of the process of making peace with food and yourself, and often include a link to a previous post you might have missed.


I hope my words might help you move towards finding your personal autonomy with food and freedom from emotion-driven overeating. As Oliver Wendell-Holmes Snr. said, “A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.”

I know how lonely and shameful it feels to be trapped in a binge eating cycle. I also know how liberating and empowering it is to make peace with food.

It’s my dream that everyone struggling with the former can experience the latter.

©️ Julie de Rohan 2018.

19 thoughts on “What is eatonomy?

  1. Hi Julie, what a great post! I loved it! I am truly disappointed that I live too far away from Norwich to be part of the Community but I am already looking forward to the new subject areas you will be blogging about in future. And fair play to you for embracing social media – I have tried and failed many times 🙂 Also, I love your new word, very clever indeed! Lxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lol! Your support means a great deal to me. I’m not great with the whole social media thing, but I’m learning – am finding Instagram quite creative. Glad you like “eatonomy” – it’s a word very dear to my heart. Many thanks for your comment.

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    1. “Escape” is the word, isn’t it? That was definitely my experience too – a need to get away from feelings I thought I couldn’t handle. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  2. Oh I love this so much, Julie! I am jealous that I am not closer to Norwich so I can participate (maybe someday you can do “virtual” groups) but I hope to read about your insights and reflections as you get the group started. I truly enjoy your work and look forward to each of your posts. “eatonomy” is a brilliant concept and I’m excited to see this launch. 🙂

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    1. What a lovely comment, Cristy, thank you. I’ve been working on eatonomy for some time so it feels a bit weird that it’s finally here. We’d love to see you at the Norwich group but I appreciate it’s a bit far to come! I’ve been facilitating groups for many years at the charity I work for but this is the first time I’ve done one privately so it’s very exciting. A virtual group sounds like a great idea, I may look into that in the future (one thing at a time…)


    1. You’re very kind, thank you. I’m afraid I don’t participate in blogging awards but I’m very touched not only by your nomination but by your thoughtful comment. Many congratulations on your award, very well deserved.

      Liked by 1 person

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