Stop Emotional Eating

How often do you find yourself reaching for food when you are frustrated, stressed, scared, angry, sad and even happy?  If you know what I’m talking about, then I am here to tell you that you are not alone.  Millions of men, women, and even children reach for food when they are feeling an uncomfortable emotion.

Food has become the drug of choice for many people.

While it may seem that the core problem is that you are powerless over food, emotional eating actually stems from feeling powerless over your emotions. You don’t feel capable of dealing with your feelings head on, so you avoid them with food.  It’s a never ending cycle that causes self-esteem and body image problems. The good news is, the cycle can be broken.

  • To begin, allow yourself to feel the uncomfortable emotions.

At first this will be scary – you may fear that like a Pandora’s Box, once you open the door you won’t be able to shut it. But the truth is that when we don’t obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this, you need to become more mindful and learn how to stay connected in the present moment. This can enable you to rein in stress and repair emotional problems that often trigger emotional eating.

  • Start a journal.

Writing down your emotions and the event or situation that triggered that emotion will help you see a pattern in your feelings and responses. Once a pattern emerges you can work to break that pattern.

  • Take a walk and allow the feeling to begin and end – let it run its course.

This will allow you to understand feelings are temporary – they are not facts.

  • Practice self-care.

When you’re physically strong, practicing relaxation techniques, and well rested, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way.  When you’re already exhausted and overwhelmed, any little hiccup has the potential to send you off the rails and straight toward the refrigerator. Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating.

  • Create a comfort list.

A comfort list is a list of things that are non-food related that you can do instead of eating.  Some examples would be, get a massage, read a book, take a nap, listen to music, or work on a craft.  It can be anything, so long as it is not food, just make sure it is something comforting for you.

It may be tough at first, but with practice it will become second nature.  Keep in mind, your life will be richer when you open yourself up emotionally.

Our feelings are a window into our interior world.  They help us understand and discover our deepest desires and fears, our current frustrations, and the things that will make us happy.


Expert Coach Center is a Virtual Wellness Coaching Certification Program, composed of a 6-course curriculum series in Coaching Foundations, Nutrition, Fitness, Stress Management, Relationships and Life Balance.

Article provided by Guest Blogger, Lisa Rice.

Share to
Back to posts