Emotional Eating: How to Manage It?

emotional eating

Do you find yourself drawn to the fridge or “the cupboard” when you’re feeling down, stressed or otherwise upset? Finding comfort in food is common, and if done occasionally would not be an issue.
But emotional eating can leave people feeling locked in the cycle of excess eating and associated issues such as weight gain, or even feelings of guilt, shame or depression.

What is emotional eating?

Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. It can be conscious or unconscious, a habit or a response to deeper unresolved emotional needs.

It may manifest as

  • Overeating and continuing eating beyond satiety without any real pleasure
  • Binging on a particular type of food, often until starting to feel uncomfortable or sick
  • Constant grazing throughout the day
  • Simply reaching for food without any real hunger

How to change emotional eating?

Figure out what's triggering emotional eating

The first thing anyone must do in order to make any effective change is becoming aware. Completing a food diary and making note of the circumstances and environment, in which you eat emotionally can give very useful insight on your personal triggers. These can be external, such as the stress of commuting, or internal, such as specific thought patterns or emotions. Next time you reach out for comfort food, ask yourself “Why do I want this food? Am I really hungry?”

Find satisfying alternatives

Once you figure out why food makes you feel better, you can come up with alternative behaviours that can help you cope instead of emotional eating.

If you are stressed, try some stress management techniques such as breathing exercises or going for a walk.

If you feel lonely, call a friend for a chat and think of ways you could have more social interactions in your life, perhaps by starting a new leisure activity or hobby.

If you feel tired, give yourself a break, plan some daily “me” time and make sure you get plenty of sleep.

If sleep is difficult, review your bedtime routine and check out other ways to get better quality sleep.

There will be many different reasons why people eat emotionally including past traumas, our upbringing environment, the relationship we have/had with our parents or even limiting negative beliefs. All of which drive those unwanted unconscious patterns.

Don’t beat yourself up.

If you had a bad day or moment do not let it leak into the next. This will only make emotional eating more likely. Start again from the moment you realise you slipped into emotional eating.

Come up with your own daily mantra

Throughout the day remind yourself of the healthy choices you are making. Create your own daily mantra to support your decision to change your behaviour and achieve your weight loss goals. This could include things like:

  • "I love and honour my body and my health"
  • "Taking care of my body gives me great confidence"
  • "I am worthy of a slim and healthy body"

Make sure to use words that feel right for you.

Get professional help

Whatever the cause of emotional eating, will-power alone is rarely enough or long lasting. Using hypnosis, NLP, EFT and other powerful techniques, I can help you

  • Break the unconscious patterns of emotional eating
  • Continue to enjoy food without being controlled by it
  • Get confident again

If you would like further advice or find out more about the type of help available, click the button below to request a FREE discovery consultation or click here to contact me.