Emotional Eating: Why It Happens & How To End It In 7 Steps

If you feel that you eat not because you are hungry, but you are emotional, you are an emotional eater. People who run down to the pantry whenever they are feeling low or upset are emotional eaters. These people find comfort in food.

Most people feel guilt and shame after emotional eating. It also leads to a cycle of other issues like weight gain and feeling bloated.

What leads to emotional eating?

Anything kind of emotional upheaval can cause emotional eating. But, most often, people face emotional eating due to work-related worries, health issues, and relationship struggles. Emotional eating affects men as well as women. But, as per a study, emotional eating is more common in women as compared to men.

Negative emotions and feelings can lead to feeling empty and having an emotional void. Food helps in feeling that void, and people get a false feeling of “Fullness.”

Some of the major factors include:

  • Not trying to get social support during the emotional phase
  • Not engaging in other activities can relieve sadness and stress.
  • When people don’t understand the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
  • Using negative self-talking can also cause a cycle of emotional eating.
  • Changing cortisol levels due to stress can also cause cravings.

How to end emotional eating?

Following are the major tips that you can use to stop the cycle of emotional eating:

Get support and assistance.

If you are prone to emotional eating, make sure that your family and friends are aware of the issue. Try to stay with people who can keep you positive. Many research shows that people who have stressful jobs are more prone to get into the cycle of emotional eating. But, getting support and assistance from people can help in getting rid of emotional eating.

Write a food diary

Keeping a check on what you eat and when you eat can also help you in identifying the triggers. You can use your diary or apps to jot down why and when you ate. Sometimes, it can be difficult to write down everything that you eat. But, try to record the emotions that you were feeling while eating. This way, you will come to know about the major causes of emotional eating. If you are unable to do this, you can also try to get medical advice about your emotional eating. A food diary will also help your doctor in identifying the cause behind your issue.

Eat balanced and healthy eat

Most often, people get into the habit of emotional eating when they don’t get enough nutrients in their bodies. For these people, it can be difficult to differentiate between emotional hunger and true hunger. If you eat a balanced diet, it will be easier for you to identify when you are eating out of hunger or out of stress and emotions.

Refill your pantry

The first step to avoiding emotional eating is by getting the common offender out of your pantry. Try to donate the food in your pantry that you eat in moments of emotions. Throw away food items that are high in fat, sweets, chips, chocolates, and ice cream. In addition to this, try not to visit the grocery shop when you are upset or emotional.

Keeping the food items that you crave the most will help you in tackling emotional eating in a better way.

Get rid of the distraction

Most people like to eat when they are watching Netflix. If you want to get rid of the cycle of emotional eating, the first major point that you need to keep in mind is to switch off your phone and the TV when you are eating.

Try to focus on the food that you are eating, the bites that you eat and the level of hunger you feel. This way, you will be able to discover whether you are out because of hunger or emotion.

Separation of hunger cues and emotional cues

For emotional eaters, it can be quite difficult to distinguish between eating in response to hunger and eating in response to emotions. With practice, you need to differentiate between these two cues. Pay attention to your hunger signals. Make a hunger scale and know-how hungry you are. Wait until you reach the scale of five. To stop emotional eating, you need to stop eating unless you are truly hungry.

Find a balance

Having a balanced life basically means that you are satisfied with all aspects of your life. Thus, try to satisfy your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Imbalance will cause you to eat more than you need. An imbalance in other aspects of your life can also cause emotional eating.

We hope this article will help you in getting an understanding of emotional eating. Try to follow all steps mentioned above to end emotional eating. All the best.


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