Search & Replace S02E08: Kristin Jones

As a result of her emotional eating disorder, Kristin Jones faced a lifetime of struggle. Although Kristin’s unhealthy focus on image and weight has been a constant challenge, it has given her the drive to help others facing body image issues. As a Life Coach, she assists professionals in addressing and managing their issues with emotional eating by understanding how thoughts impact choices in all aspects of their lives. Find out how Kristin was able to conquer emotional eating and help others do the same on Search and Replace.

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[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialists at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode. 

[00:00:10] Joe Taylor, Jr.: What if the problem you think you’re trying to solve is really the symptom of something much bigger? I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace.

Kristin Jones faced some questions about her emotional connections to food. Working with therapists, she started focusing on behaviors that filtered down from her extended family at a young age. 

[00:00:36] Kristin Jones: I have been an emotional eater. I never liked to bash my family, but I grew up – and I think everyone can own this in my family – that I grew up in a family that was very conscious of physical appearance. There was a lot of judgment about people’s weight. And I remember it from being very, very young that there was always this, almost this big brother type of, like, watch. Like every time we went to a family event and it was with the, my extended family. Every time you went to an ex a family event, you knew you were being looked at and that you were gonna be talked about afterwards if you had gained any weight or if your weight had changed.

And so I always grew up very self-conscious about my weight. I always knew that I had a very odd relationship with food. That I did not eat like normal people. It was all or nothing. I was either not eating at all, or I was eating everything in sight. 

[00:01:26] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Over the course of a few years, Kristin dug deeper into the connection between her family’s fixation on weight and her relationship with food.

[00:01:34] Kristin Jones: There were a couple of epiphanies that I had, and many of them took a long time to get to. With anything, sometimes you uncover a little bit and then you back up and you’re like, okay, I can deal with that. And now I’ll dig a little deeper and a few more years will go by and then I’ll discover something else. And then I’ll dig a little deeper and then I’ll pull back a little bit. 

So I always knew that I had a very odd relationship with food and I knew that I had, what I would consider, an obsession with food and with body image. And it wasn’t until I was running a half marathon in Denver. I had some time after my race and I went to a Barnes and Noble and I was looking in the self-help department and I came across this book, ‘Understanding Ed’.

And I was like, understanding Ed, what’s Ed or who is Ed? Ed was an eating disorder. And it was like, like the skies opened and a lightning bolt hit me and I thought, oh my God that’s what’s been wrong with me. Like, I have an eating disorder. And it really hadn’t hit me until, again, I was probably in my early thirties and I thought, oh my gosh, I have an eating disorder. That’s what’s going on with me. 

I went home and I told a couple of friends and said, I think I have an eating disorder, but I don’t really know what it is. And because I knew I wasn’t Anorexic, I knew I wasn’t Bulimic, but I knew that I had a very odd relationship with food. 

[00:02:52] Joe Taylor, Jr.: As her journey progressed, Kristin discovered more about where her issues came but still struggle to reveal a path forward. 

[00:02:59] Kristin Jones: Probably saw three different therapists and try to resolve this situation. And I would learn a lot about myself. I learned a lot about my background. I learned a lot about my family and my family dynamics. But I never learned what do you do – like how do you become aware of when you’re eating, why you’re eating, why you are treating food like your best friend. Why is that happen? 

So it wasn’t until I quit my teaching job. I was a teacher for 17 years. I’d always been active. I wanted to get into health and fitness, and I wanted to do an online business. I got my personal training certification and I started doing online, personal training. And did that for a couple of years.

And, so I went to a business conference and they did a guided meditation about finding what you were meant to do in this world. The facilitator had us with a piece of paper, have a pen. We did this, you know, closed eyed meditation. And he had said at one point, okay, now write whatever’s on your heart.

And so I just I wrote some words on the piece of paper. My eyes were closed and I wrote some words on the piece of paper. And I opened up my eyes when he told us to open up my eyes and the words, emotional eating were written on my paper. And it was, like, all of a sudden I was like, oh my gosh, that’s who I’m supposed to be serving. I’m supposed to be serving emotional eaters. 

I made the decision to actually address what my issues were and really look deep within me to figure out what I needed to do to help myself. And then in turn, decided to then help other people. Cause I never wanted other people to be suffering the way I had been suffering. Cuz there just isn’t a lot of help out there for people who are emotional leaders. 

[00:04:38] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Kristen says she had to transform her approach to changing her behavior. 

[00:04:42] Kristin Jones: You can never make change from a place of hate. Change can only happen from a place of love. We will never be able to make that shift until we love who we are exactly as we are right now. Even though we wanna change, even though we wanna grow, even though we wanna create a life that’s different than the one we have to accept where we are and love all parts of ourselves, because until we do that, we won’t be able to make that change. 

Accepting myself and accepting who I was. And then that’s when change started to happen. And that’s when I was able to then release the hold that those expectations had on me. And in reality, I think it freed up a lot of members of my family to be able to just like, oh, we don’t have to, we don’t have to keep up this facade anymore. Okay. We can just like it’s okay. It’s okay. The way we are it’s we don’t have to live up to these expectations. So I’m hoping that’s what it did for my family. I believe it did. 

[00:05:39] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Today, Kristin coaches, other people on their personal journeys through weight loss and acceptance.

[00:05:45] Kristin Jones: I always want people to understand, and what I coach on, is really understanding what’s gonna make you happy. I feel that weight is the symptom and there’s something much deeper that needs to be addressed. And so I would encourage people to seek out services that will allow them to be able to look and see what’s really going on. Because the weight is just, that’s the surface. We gotta go deeper than that cuz it’s, there’s something else going on. 

If we’re eating it for the right reasons and we can listen to our bodies and take care of our bodies and give our bodies just the amount of food that we need and not what we need to make ourselves emotionally feel better.

And I always tell my clients this, that they come to me to address emotional eating and to work on their weight, but what they end up getting is an entirely different way of looking at their lives. And it’s a completely different way of accepting and being comfortable with who you are. 

[00:06:41] Joe Taylor, Jr.: That’s wellness coach, Kristin Jones. We’ve got links to Kristin’s work and to other resources about dealing with emotional eating in our show notes and over on our website at 

Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard. With support from Christine Benton, Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April Smith, and executive producer, Lori Taylor. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr.

[00:07:05] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production.

Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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