7 Signs You're An Emotional Eater (And Don't Even Realize It)

Once you're aware, your life can change

7 Signs You're an Emotional Eater (and Didn't Realize It) getty

Emotional eating is a problem that millions of overweight and obese folks are struggling with right now. Statistics even show that 49 percent of adults with these challenges are engaging in these types of unhealthy eating habits weekly — or more.

This doesn't necessarily mean these folks realize they are emotional eaters, though. Many simply think they can't control themselves, that they are "stress eaters" and that there's something "wrong" with them because they aren't able to stop overeating, keep to a diet, lose weight, and keep it off.


If you feel the same way, you're definitely not alone! I've been through the same struggles with emotional eating myself. But do you want to stay in that camp of the millions who are suffering from emotional eating and overweight?


I hope not! And you definitely don't have to.

I've had several of my coaching clients who, when they initially asked me to help them end their food and weight struggles, didn't realize they were emotional eaters.

Sure, they knew they couldn't stick to a healthy diet plan and they were aware they would "cheat" on their diet regularly, but they didn't identify as being an emotional eater.

Mainly, they just wanted to lose weight, but they didn't understand (yet) what was really causing the symptom (their overweight body) and when they actually healed the root of their emotional eating, then they set themselves free. 

All of this started with them raising their level of self-awareness, this is a critical step many folks unknowingly bypass when trying to reach their goal weight.


Bypassing this critical step of up-leveling your self-awareness only leads to extra years of struggle on that treadmill-o-diets, and it doesn't fix the real problem.

As Abraham Maslow said, "What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. Maybe you're in the same boat they were. The thing is, you cannot change what you are not aware of.

All change is preceded by awareness.

Since ya gotta first be aware that you've got a problem with emotional eating in order to change it, in the spirit of helping you raise your awareness about your eating habits, let's check out the following 7 signs that you're an emotional eater and might not have realized it.


If you find yourself in any of these signs then this will be a great first step for you!

1. You can't remember the last time you felt physical hunger. 

Emotional eaters do not eat for physical hunger. In fact, I've had several of my weight loss mindset coaching clients who had not felt physical hunger since childhood — and they were in their 40's.


If you cannot recall the last time you ate food for physical hunger, more than likely you're an emotional eater.

The thing is, though, you won't be able to lose weight and keep it off without healing your emotional eating.

The human body simply does not require fuel when the tank is already full.

2. Your first thought is always food. 

When you experience any kind of conflict or uncomfortable situation in life your first thought is always "where's the food?", and then the behavior of emotional eating easily follows right after.

Whether you're unconsciously eating to try to avoid uncomfortable emotions or you're eating in a conscious effort to try to feel better, these are common symptoms of an emotional eating problem.


The problem is that attempting to stuff down your uncomfortable emotions doesn't make them go away. In fact, they remain "stuffed" and then "appear" on your body as the excess overweight or obesity.

Always remember: the way out is through.

3. You feel anxious if you're not full all the time. 



If you feel high anxiety whenever you get close to feeling physical hunger and you feel better by staying full 24/7 (even before going to bed) then this is a sign you've got an emotional eating challenge on your hands.

When you can use other ways to soothe your anxiety such as deep breathing or even going for a 30-minute walk each day, then you'll be able to start moving out of the emotional eating habit and into healthier ways of dealing with your day-to-day anxieties that may pop up.

4. Even when you're happy, you overeat. 

This is an interesting one: many folks who are emotional eaters don't just eat when they feel bad, but they also eat when they feel happy.

This is a tricky thing to unravel though and while I'm thinking about it, make sure that you get a results-proven emotional eating coach in your corner to help you unravel this stuff to truly break free of your emotional eating.


The reason I suggest this is because I've had several weight loss coaching clients who when they first started working with me, they thought they were happy, positive women.

What you cannot see right now though, is that feeling depressed, worried, or frustrated on a regular basis becomes "your normal", and until you do the core healing steps to fully break free of the emotional eating, you don't really know what happiness feels like. This is something that words cannot explain, only in experiencing it will you truly know.

Another way to explain this is that once you move out of your comfort zone where emotional eating thrives, then you'll have something to compare to.

Once you truly break free of this stuff you'll know that what you currently think of "happiness" isn't anything near how good you'll feel once you do the right kind of healing steps to fully step into your power and leave emotional eating behind you.


RELATED: 10 Critical Lessons I Learned From Having A Binge Eating Disorder

5. Food is your number one fun in life. 

When food is your number one fun in life and on top of this, you do not eat purely for physical hunger, then this is another sign you have an emotional eating problem.

This is a super common issue for folks struggling with overweight and obesity: something happened in their past and they retreated in their life from that pain or trauma, turning to food for their number one Fun and Joy in their life.


As long as food remains your number 1 fun, not only will the emotional eating continue, but also it will be a major struggle to lose weight and keep it off.

Here's the reason: Just ask yourself...why would you want to let go of your only enjoyment in your life? You fear feeling even more depressed and hopeless, which makes this a tricky trap to break free of.

You can step out of this emotional eating trap though. While it won't happen overnight, not even with the proven steps I coach my clients through in The Inner Self Diet (there is no such thing as instant transformation) a simple step to start with is to examine what you loved doing for fun when you were a child.

After you identify that, the question to ask yourself would be, "When was the last time I did that?"


6. You feel depressed at the mere thought of changing your eating habits. 

The reason that 99 percent of emotional eaters want to stop emotional eating is because they want to lose weight.

These are folks who are already aware they are emotional eaters, however here's another sign you're an emotional eater and you didn't realize it:

You know you're overweight, you want to lose weight, and you know you're going to have to change your eating and exercise behaviors in order to reach your weight loss goals. When you only think about making those changes to your eating habits though, you feel depressed and don't know why.

Just the thought of changing your ways of eating sends you into the "doldrums" and actually drives you to eat more food, maybe even sending you on an all-out binge. 


If you feel depressed at the mere thought of changing your eating behaviors in order to lose weight, this is a sure sign you've got an emotional eating problem.

Start by making peace with where you are because you will never ever be able to reach your goals by hating your emotional eating or hating your body. Many are stuck in that place and it only holds you stuck.

7. You always reach the "snap back" point when dieting. 



Maybe you've had the "snap back" experience before. Here's how it goes: You resolve to do another diet on Monday.

When Monday comes, you get yourself going, you make yourself do it, you really don't like it but you make yourself stick with your diet.

You stick with your diet for a few days or a few weeks, maybe even a month, but what eventually happens, what always happens, is you reach the "snap back" point.


The "snap back" point is the point where you simply cannot stand your uncomfortable feelings anymore, and since you haven't healed the root of your emotional eating, and since no food diet can ever do this for you, you cannot stop yourself from "snapping back".

You end up going ballistic in the kitchen, eating everything you can find in the pantry, the freezer and those sneaky hiding places where all of that food is that you've been holding strong and avoiding eating on your diet.

You "snap back" into frenzied eating because doing a food diet doesn't fix your emotional eating.

And then, the way this cycle goes, is that you feel super bad about your "snap back", which drives you to more emotional eating to try to feel better and eventually leads to another Monday of strength and willpower, and the whole cycle starts all over again.


The problem with this cycle is that:

  • You won't be able to lose weight and keep it off.
  • Continuing with this pattern won't fix your emotional eating.

If you recognize yourself in any of these 7 signs you're an emotional eater then now you have the awareness of the problem that has been holding you back from living the life of your dreams, while in the body of your dreams.

Awareness is where all change begins. Remember: "The only way out is through," as Robert Frost would say. 

Food diets are only band-aids on a symptom.

To truly break free, you'll want to heal the root of your emotional eating and then you'll finally break free of those unhealthy, upsetting, frustrating emotional eating patterns. This is the level of transformation I coach my awesome clients through, to get to the other side where it really is "No Big Deal" to drop the fat and keep it off.


Stop putting a band-aid on the symptom, fix the real problem, and then you'll finally be able to lose weight, keep it off, and actually wear that super cute pair of jeans you really wanna wear that your current emotional eating is stopping you from wearing now.

RELATED: I Eat My Feelings — Nothing Will Ever Make Me Feel As Good As Food

Grab JoLynn's free emotional eating tips to start breaking free of the emotional eating trap now. Learn more about what's really going on with this wide-spread problem, along with the secrets to fixing it, so that you'll finally be able to live IN the body of your dreams...while living The Life of your dreams. Get started now!