What Is Emotional Eating?


People ask me all this time, “How do I know if I am an emotional eater?” I tell them this is a question that is personal and individual. It can be hard to know. Emotional eating as a puzzle with many pieces and in broad terms the pieces are: physical, emotional, mental, lifestyle, mindfulness and self-love. When any of those six are out of balance there is emotional eating.

Here are some of the clues for you to see if you are an emotional eater. Do you find you:

  • Eating when you are not hungry?
  • Use food to comfort yourself?
  • Use food to help with situations that feel uncomfortable?
  • Eat to overfull often?
  • Feel bad about what you eat and your overeating?
  • Call food good and bad?
  • Feel bad about your body and your weight?

Any of these signs by themselves are not necessarily indicative of emotional eating. You might be someone who engages in emotional eating, at times, and it does not cause you a problem. It is socially acceptable to overeat at holidays and family celebrations that happen sporadically. There are people whose overeating is the exception rather than the rule. They may find one or two of the above questions are a yes, but not many more than that.

Knowing if you are an emotional eater or not is helpful, because then you can begin to get a direction to end the emotional eating. It is important to know if you are an emotional eater, because many emotional eater are prone to join on the diet bandwagon. I have seen this happen over and over again. Dieting is the socially acceptable way to manage food and weight issues. Right? The problem is if you are eating for emotional reasons, a diet does not help you.

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If you find the answers to many of the above questions are a yes, you might be an emotional eating. If so, you do not need to worry. Now you have a name to the problem and that can lead you to a solution. Many of us have the same problem and there is a solution. Knowing there is a problem and naming it is the first step to the freedom that I know you are looking for.

This article was originally published at my website. Reprinted with permission from the author.