How to Stop Emotional Eating

Trying to stop emotional eating can be challenging, especially if you’ve done it for most of your life. It can be tricky to tell the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger, because they both can feel the same.

When someone is experiencing problems with emotional eating, they often feel the need to eat to soothe negative feelings. Emotional eating doesn’t help a person with any permanent benefits. It’s only a short-term solution that can lead to very long-term problems.

What Causes Emotional Eating?

People of all ages and backgrounds can experience emotional eating. Emotional eating can be caused by a variety of factors, like hormonal changes, stress, family history, and a history of trauma. Emotional eating starts when the mind associate’s food with comfort. When negative feelings or difficult situations arise, an emotional eater might find themselves feeling hungry. Eating makes them feel better temporarily but makes them feel worse in the long term.

Cravings for food can develop if emotional eating remains untreated. The body can get used to the calories and sugar from the extra food, causing it to want more and more.

Signs of Emotional Eating

Do you wonder if you might be suffering from emotional eating? The following are a few symptoms that someone who uses food to cope with negative emotions might have:

  • Eating when you feel stressed, sad, or angry.
  • Eating until you feel stuffed and ready to burst.
  • Rewarding yourself with food.
  • Thinking of food as a “friend” or a source of comfort.
  • Hiding your eating from others.
  • Feeling powerless over your eating.

Ways to Stop Emotional Eating

You’re not bound to your emotional eating habits forever. If you take the time to implement the following changes, you can stop using food to deal with emotions. The following are a few tips on how to stop emotional eating.

Do you wonder if you might be suffering from emotional eating? The following are a few symptoms that someone who uses food to cope with negative emotions might have:

Learn the Difference Between Emotional Hunger and Physical Hunger

For people who are susceptible to emotional eating, it might be difficult to tell apart physical hunger from emotional hunger. However, there are a few significant differences between emotional and physical hunger.

  1. Emotional hunger is a sudden and overwhelming need to eat something. Physical hunger, on the other hand, is very gradual and often doesn’t require immediate gratification.
  2. Emotional hunger starts in the head. Physical hunger starts in the stomach. When you’re physically hungry, your tummy might growl or feel empty. When you’re emotionally hungry, your hunger starts as a desire in your mind.
  3. Typically, emotional hunger yearns for specific food. When you are physically hungry, your body wants to eat to give itself energy. It’s not ordinarily choosy about what it consumes. When you’re emotionally hungry, you crave foods that may connect to your emotions in some way. For instance, your favorite ice cream from childhood.

Start a Routine

Creating an eating schedule for meals and snacks can cut emotional eating out of the picture. Because emotional eating starts suddenly, it doesn’t fall into a pattern very well. Sticking with a schedule can help you recognize when you start to feel emotional hunger pangs. Once you recognize the start of your emotional hunger, you can deal with them another way besides eating.

Planning out your meals can also help to stop emotional eating. Planning out meals and snacks, and having them ready when the time comes, keeps you from submitting to emotional cravings. Prep most of your meals and keep healthy pre-planned snacks handy. It might keep you on the right track and curb your emotional hunger.

Be Aware of Your Emotional Food Addictions

Keep track of what you tend to eat when you’re emotionally hungry, then limit your access to those types of food. For instance, people who crave sugary desserts under stress at work may want to discard any sweet snacks from their office. Discard the cookies and chocolates on your desk and stay away from the break room.

Sometimes, just knowing what your food cravings are can help you manage your emotional eating. If you start to crave tiramisu, you can recognize that it’s a specific craving and ask yourself why.  If you know that you tend to lose control when you eat ice cream — and eat the whole tub—then it could be an addiction related to emotional eating. Once you can spot your emotional hunger, you can find the triggers and cope with them.

Achieve Balance

Finding balance means that you can manage your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs enough to keep yourself healthy. If your emotions are unbalanced, you won’t be able to keep yourself from emotionally eating.

You can achieve balance by learning how to cope with negative emotions in a healthy way. First, you need to acknowledge that your negative emotions exist. Secondly, you need to recognize how you respond to them by eating emotionally. After these two steps, you can substitute healthy behaviors to cope with negative emotions like anger, sadness, guilt, and stress.

Get Some Support

Therapy can help sort out your feelings and stop emotional eating. Talking to a counselor or therapist can provide you with the support and feedback you need to stop emotional eating.

Hypnotherapy can also help with conquering your emotional eating habits. The founder of the NYC Hypnosis Center, Eli Bliliuos says “Because emotions are often triggered in the subconscious, willpower alone can’t stop emotional eating. Hypnosis, however, gets to the root of the problem. By finding out what triggers your emotional eating, hypnosis gets to the source. Once you can identify what triggers your emotional eating, you can fight against it.”

Through hypnosis, a certified hypnotherapist can also reprogram your mind to respond to your emotional triggers differently — without food. By changing how you process negative emotions, hypnosis allows your mind to follow healthier ways handling stress. By changing your thought patterns, hypnosis offers you a way to change your behaviors.

Stop Emotional Eating for Your Health and Wellbeing

Emotional eating can hurt you, both physically and mentally. Although it may take some work and outside help, learning to stop emotional eating can lead you to a healthier and happier future.







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