Healthy Living

How To Stop Emotional Eating

You can learn how to stop emotional eating. But first you need to know what it is and then you have to find out how to stop it.

how to stop emotional eating
Do you eat out of boredom or when you feel sad?

Emotional eating is just what it sounds like.

You eat when you feel some emotion instead of eating when your stomach is growling.

As I started thinking about emotional eating I thought “Isn’t it funny that the word “food” rhymes with “mood?” Is that just a coincidence?”

You probably wonder why you turn to food when moodiness strikes you. It may have something to do with how you grew up. Your parents may have fed you when you cried or just to keep you quiet. They may have offered you candy when you fell down and skinned your knees. Heck, the damn doctor probably gave you candy after a needle.

Or, your parents maybe took you to M’cdonalds to reward a good report card. Like mine did.

What this means is that you may have learned emotional eating as you grew up. Yet nobody showed you how to stop emotional eating now that your an adult. It is one of the big causes of weight gain, but the least dealt with.

Even if you did not grow up this way, you likely found out all by yourself that eating can provide comfort and soothe negative feelings.

The very first step of a do it yourself diet is getting a handle on your emotions. This applies for any weight loss diet as well as any diet you may go on for other health reasons. You must get a handle on and learn how to stop emotional eating.

The big question is exactly how to stop emotional eating.

How Do You Know If Your An Emotional Eater?

Take the following 10 question quiz to find out.

Get a piece of paper and a pen. As you read the following statements make a tick for each question that you can answer “yes” too. Then check what your score means below.

1. When I feel happy I eat more because it makes me feel even happier.

2. I will often eat even when I am not hungry.

3. Food is my best friend. I eat to feel comforted, to escape or when I am lonely.

4. When I want to reward myself I eat.

5 .I eat to calm my jittery nerves.

6. When I’m angry I turn to food for comfort.

7. When things seem out of control, I eat.

8. If someone dislikes me or I am feeling low in confidence, I eat.

9. I eat when I’m bored.

10. When I feel overwhelmed by work, family or life, I eat.


Count up the number of ticks on your page. If you answered yes to five or six of the questions, food is fairly important to your emotional life. If you have seven or more ticks then food has a very central role in your emotional life. You are probably eating to keep your unpleasant feelings down. You eat to substitute for something that is missing in your life. This could be love, sex, a bad self image or poor self-esteem. On the other hand you could be eating just for fun or to reward yourself to often.

A good idea to help you stop emotional eating is to keep a mood journal or diary as it relates to your food intake. During the day jot down your feelings, along with what you eat, when you are eating it and for what reasons.

How To Stop Emotional Eating

Learning how to stop emotional eating means you should write down such things as:

  • Am I physically hungry?
  • What am I feeling at this moment?
  •  What words are in my head?
  • Who am I with?
  • What has been going on in my life in the past few hours or days?
  •  What do I want to eat?

Stop and think for a moment before you eat. Try to identify your true needs. Are you going to start eating out of emotion or because your stomach is truly grumbling? Once you find out what emotions are driving you to eat, the long term strategy is to find new ways to cope with these emotions.

Keep a one week journal and review it after the week is up. Search through it a identify your emotional eating triggers. This is one way you will learn how to stop emotional eating. You will identify your foods and moods! What moods seem to make you eat and what foods you are running too.

Use other tricks and tactics on this site to help you stop or control your emotional eating episodes. The more you realize which emotions are making you eat the easier it is to figure out how to stop emotional eating and to meet those needs in ways other then with food.

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