Emotional Eating: Causes, Symptoms and 6 Ways to Stop It

Emotional Eating: Causes, Symptoms and 6 Ways to Stop It

Human Beings need food to survive. We all love binging food when we are in a good mood or a bad mood. This is known as emotional eating. In other words, we do not always eat just to satisfy our physical hunger.

That is to say, sometimes people eat food for comfort, stress relief, or to reward themselves. Most of the time when we are upset, we reach for junk foods, sweets, or other unhealthy foods.

When we talk about emotional eating, we refer to the act of eating food to make ourselves feel better and happy.

Emotional eating is a way to fade negative emotions. For example, stress, anger, loneliness, etc. Negative emotions may be evoked by daily life stress, competition, peer group pressure, etc. It leads to emotional eating.

However, you should not forget that emotional eating is not going to heal your issues. On the other hand, it will surely impart more issues such as obesity or overweight. So, you must stop emotional eating immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Eating:

  • Eating abruptly due to stress.
  • Relief from stress after eating.
  • Gaining more and more weight due to overeating.
  • Haphazard eating without any regulation.
  • Starts eating to feel happy.
  • Eating without being punctual, i.e., having food at any time.
  • Even though the stomach is full, a person craves his/her favorite food.

How to Avoid Emotional Eating?

  1. Rules to Follow to Avoid Emotional Eating:

  • You should not eat late at night. Eating late at night will only add problems to your lifestyle.
  • If you will continue to eat while being upset, you will end up being obese. As a result, it will increase your problems.
  • Eating unnecessary will not help you anyways. It will only add problems. Moreover, you now have the problem of feeling physically uncomfortable.
  • Additionally, you are going to ruin your appetite by taking more meals than your body needs.
  1. Deal with Negative Emotions:

When It comes to food, negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. Food is believed to be a way to fill that space. As a result, it will create a false feeling of fullness or temporary wholeness.

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Causes of Emotional Eating:

  1. No awareness about physical hunger vs. emotional hunger

That is to say, physical hunger develops slowly over time whereas emotional hunger comes about abruptly.

Emotional Eater may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness. On the other hand, physical hunger gives the feeling of fullness. So, the person will take it as a clue to “stop eating”!

A major difference between physical and emotional eating is that in physical hunger you have no negative feelings about eating. However, after emotional eating, you feel bad about eating abruptly.

How to Stop Emotional Eating:

  1. Divert your mind away from food:

Emotional hunger cannot be stopped by just eating. So, you need to discover another way to deal with negative emotions. It is often the first step toward overcoming this issue.

Reading a book, writing a journal, listening to music, and cooking your healthy meal may help to a greater extent. Or else, finding a few minutes, to relax from the long or hectic days.

It is not easy to engage yourself in alternate activities to burst your stress when comp[ared to binge eating. So, find different ways and experiment with a variety of activities that works to deal with this issue.

  1. Exercise and Meditation:

Exercising is the best way to find relief and fight emotional eating.

Meditation aids to reduce stress. Also, it calms the mind and the soul. As a result, it leads to mindfulness.

In addition to meditation, simple deep breathing can be done. It is because deep breathing is the most convenient method to meditate.

  1. Switch to Healthy Diet:

Make sure you eat a healthy diet. Get enough nutrients to fuel your body. If you eat well throughout the day, it may become easier to spot when you are eating out of boredom, sadness or stress.

  1. Keep Track of Quantity of Food Intake:

You must pay attention to the quantity of food you are taking. That is to say, resist grabbing a whole bag of chips or other food to snack on. Also, measure the portions you eat. Most importantly, choose small plates.

  1. Seek Support:

Resist isolation in moments of sadness or anxiety. Instead, talk to your parents, friends or cousins. Share what you feel and think with them.

  1. Positive Self Talk:

Feelings of guilt are associated with emotional eating. In addition to guilt, loneliness and lack of self-confidence lead to a cycle of emotional eating behavior.

Food may help ease emotions initially. However, addressing the feelings behind hunger may critically affect the body. So, talk with yourself positively while keeping the above things in mind. This will surely help to stop emotional eating.


In the conclusion, emotional eating often manifests as a craving for high calorific or high carbohydrate foods with minimal nutritional value.

These foods are also known as comfort foods which include ice cream, cookies, chocolates, burgers, pizzas, noodles, and shakes. So, do not surrender yourself to negative emotions. As a result, you can avoid or stop emotional eating.

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