Understanding Emotional Eating

Understanding Emotional Eating

If you really want to conquer emotional eating and lose weight, the first thing you need to do is start to understand the issue and why you are doing it. When we don’t like ‘something’ we generally try to ignore it, push it away or pretend it isn’t a problem.

Emotional eating is basically our way of tranquilizing a negative emotion or feeling. We have been trained to reach out and get something to ‘treat’ ourselves and we do this as a reward, a punishment or just not to ‘feel’ how we feel.

And what we reach out for is foods with high sugar content and carbohydrates. It’s hardly likely you’d crave a bowl of grapes or an orange unless you are pregnant of course.

Emotional eating is totally different from physical hunger and once you start to recognize the difference, you are on your way to making different choices. You can recognize emotional eating because it comes on suddenly and you feel you have to ‘have something’, whereas physical hunger is more gradual and natural without the cravings and need to eat quickly.

Once you have recognized the difference in yourself, it’s a great idea to start to notice when you think about food, where you are, what time it is and how you are feeling at the time.  If you do this for a few days you will see a pattern emerge and that pattern gives clarity and with clarity comes understanding and understanding brings control and choice.

It’s also helpful to remember, our bodies produce excess cortisol when we are in a stressful situation and cortisol is a hormone that increases the appetite. This is important to know because sometimes when you feel excessive hunger, you will understand it is often due to the cortisol flooding into your system and you could choose to do something to manage your stress rather than eating to suppress it.

Make a list of nurturing things you can do when this happens and be ready to take control of the situation.

It is important when you start to make these changes that you learn to be patient with yourself and acknowledge yourself every step along the way.

Focus on what you do get right rather than what you don’t.

Enlist the help of a friend to support you or join a group where you feel comfortable and supported.

Whenever you think I can’t just ask yourself ‘Is that true’.

Don’t make your goals too big; you’re setting yourself up to fail.  Sure and steady are what work for you now, as well as forgiving yourself when you fall off the wagon.

Do not think you have to get it all right all of the time or cut all the good stuff out. Anyone who does that is destined to fail since you will drop into feeling of being deprived and that leads to self sabotage of what you want to achieve.

Make your changes do-able and decide every week what it is you want to achieve ‘this week‘.

Give yourself a realistic deadline so you have something to go for but aren’t setting yourself up to fail.

Evaluate each week whether these deadlines are realistic because often they aren’t due to holidays, birthday and things that just ‘pop up’.  Be flexible with yourself and your body and ‘it’ will be flexible with you.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a very powerful technique which is easily learned and will support you in your changes.  This is a simple tapping technique which allows you to releases blockages in your system caused by stress and trauma and the ‘real reasons’ why you are emotionally eating.

EFT is simple to do and one of the reason it works so well for reforming emotional eaters is because it gives you permission to say exactly how you feel (usually negative in the beginning) and get positive results. It can be hard, in the beginning, to believe you can change yourself and positive affirmations often don’t feel true.  But if you can state  (while tapping) Even though I don’t think I can change or Even though this is so hard for me right now or Even though this isn’t working and it’s taking too long, I accept myself and how I feel.  This connects to a truth you have inside and, once you have tapped into that the blockage or resistance releases easily.  What you will discover is the negative statement no longer feels ‘true’ and you are able to choose to behave differently.


EFT has helped many people gain control of their eating as well as their self esteem. What’s more, when you use EFT to help yourself with this issue, diets are no longer necessary and your weight stabilizes because you are becoming more stable within.

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