Eating Freely

by | Jan 29, 2022 | Articles, Conditions, Nutrition, Weight loss

The Root Cause

Oftentimes when working with patients, we uncover that difficulty with weight loss is rooted in stress eating, emotional eating and/or binge eating. This recognizable pattern typically goes from dieting to “falling off the wagon” to feeling guilty to dieting again. Patients have often tried everything under the sun, but none of it lasts. This pattern is not only discouraging, but it can lead to increased weight gain – the opposite of what one is looking to achieve.

The Program

Because I observed this recurring pattern, I decided that I needed more resources to support patients. That is why I became a certified Eating Freely Practitioner and now offer a 12-week program to address the root cause for difficulty with weight gain. Within 12 weeks of working together, we focus on implementing practical tools to address behavior patterns (also known as Cognitive Behavioral Techniques), heal the foundation of health – gut health, utilize neuroscience to rewire the brain and implement mindfulness and self-compassion practices. Each of these four pillars are instrumental for addressing the root cause of stress, emotional and binge eating. This award winning program is not a weight loss program, it is a guilt loss program with proven success.

The Four Pillars

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT)

First, we will practice curiosity while implementing CBT’s. We have to learn as much information about the recurrent behaviors before we can change them. New tools are introduced for the first 2-3 sessions. I have found that these techniques are complete “game-changers” for individuals who have been struggling for years (often decades).

The Foundation of Health – Gut Health

Next, we need to address nutrition and gut health. The gut is the foundation of health. It is where all of our nutrients are obtained to keep us functioning and well. If something is amiss, it will impact us as a whole. 

Thirty-nine trillion microbes make up our microbiome – that’s more non-human cells in our body than human cells! It is imperative that we care for these microbes, similarly to caring for a complex ecosystem. If we keep the good microbes in high amounts and the not so great microbes in check, we can cultivate a thriving ecosystem that gives us essential nutrients in return. 


The brain was once thought to be set for life once a person reaches adulthood. Neuroscientists have debunked this and coined the term, “plasticity,” to describe how the brain is moldable throughout life. We will utilize these concepts to reshape the brain – and subsequently, behaviors. Certain parts of the brain automate behaviors for efficiency. This is adaptive and beneficial in some settings – like being able to get home safely when fatigued. However, it is maladaptive in other scenarios – like emotional and binge eating. 

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Realistically, emotional and binge eating will never disappear completely. It is something that can be managed so effectively that one does not constantly perseverate on it nor experience regular episodes. One marvelous patient in the program went from experiencing daily binges to experiencing a few binges a year. 

Because infrequent episodes are still likely to occur, it is imperative to practice mindfulness to learn more about why they occurred and self-compassion after they occurred. When patients get down on themselves or beat themselves up, it aggravates the episodes and makes them worse. With mindfulness and self-compassion, one starts the recognizable pattern of “falling off the wagon.” Then, they are able to dust themselves off and jump back on the wagon. The “wagon” being a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle and not a restrictive, unsustainable diet.

Learn More

In addition to the in-office or phone-appointment 12-week program, there are options to have additional resources available online, including participation in a study. To learn more about our program, we offer a complimentary 30-minute appointment to discuss it in more detail and for me to learn more about you. 


Brooke Kollman, BS, RYT, is the Nutrition & Wellness Coordinator at the Integrative Medicine Center.  Born and raised in Minnesota, Brooke moved to Colorado to obtain her B.S. in Integrative Health Care at MSU Denver.  She is a board certified Health and Wellness Coach specializing in emotional and binge eating and is a registered Yoga Instructor.  Call (970) 245-6911 for an appointment with Brooke or more information.


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