Emotional Overeating – Identify The Causes and Effects and How To Overcome Emotional Overeating

by Daniel Michaels

Weight gain can be quite frustrating, especially when you can seem to determine the cause; as if the weight gain is not frustrating enough in itself. One common sneaky and often overlooked cause of weight gain is emotional overeating.

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What Is Emotional Overeating?

It is the powerlessly turning to food cravings as a source of comfort, relief or reward, rather than to satisfy hunger. It’s so strong that when the urge to eat comes, it can’t seem to be denied. It seems to be all the individual can think about. This is totally different from overeating.

If you seem to be adding up in weight, and you can quite figure out what’s responsible, then it could be as a result of emotional overeating as opposed to just overeating.

In this article, we will have a look on solid tips to identifying emotional overeating.

Solids Tips To Identifying Emotional Overeating

  • Seemingly Unexplainable Weight Gain

Gain in weight that you can’t seem to explain or figure out even while working out is a sign that the problem might lie with emotional overeating. Fact is, you might not even know what you are doing. You may even be preparing healthy meals alongside your regular workout but still be gaining weight because you are eating mindlessly when you have feelings of negative emotions.

  • A Sudden Hunger for Food

When you experience sudden urges of “hunger” usually in the form of an irresistible craving; especially for a certain kind of food, then it could be a sign of emotional hunger. On the other hand, true hunger usually comes gradually except for cases where the person has low blood sugar, or has gone without food for a very long time.

True hunger doesn’t take the urgent form of the need to eat a whole lot of a specific food right away. This is often a sure sign of emotional hunger.

  • Feelings of Depression

It has been discovered that there is a strong connection between depression and overeating. Do you often feel depressed? How do you handle depression? When you do experience depression, does the picture that often comes to your mind include a big serving of your favourite meal? If so, then this is a sign that your overeating is based on emotions.

  • When Passing Through Stress

If you are going through a stressful time, accompanied with a significant increase in weight gain, and it seems to be a pattern that has occurred before; then it could have been triggered by stress and its accompanying anxiety and other negative emotions that could most likely trigger overeating as a response to those feelings.

  • Feelings of Guilt

Do you feel guilty after eating? Do you feel swallowed up by guilt or feel ashamed after consuming your favourite meal or delicacy?

Then these feelings could all be a sign that you have a problem with emotional overeating. You should be aware that normal eating to satisfy normal hunger pangs does not come with feelings of guilt.

  • When You Have Specific Cravings

For normal hunger, the person is usually open to a variety of food choices and options. This is not so with emotional overeating where the cravings is usually for a specific food that can only quench such a “hunger” with no alternative. The person feels that he needs that particular food to get satisfaction.

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So, emotional overeating can be quite a serious issue that needs tackling. There are ways to battle emotional overeating and come out triumphant.

How To Stop Emotional Overeating By Eating Right

Stopping emotional overeating always seems an impossible task.

Does this seem like you?

Then you aren’t alone on this.

Many folks who have this problem don’t just seem to know how to handle it. They feel totally helpless and imprisoned. It appears as if it’s an insurmountable problem that just can’t be handled.

Well, here is the good news.

Emotional overeating can be treated. Start with being totally honest with yourself, but don’t be too harsh in judging yourself. Emotional overeaters tend to judge themselves rather harshly.


You are not alone in this. You are not some freak from krypton.

The fact that you have been honest in seeing that you have the problem is strength in itself.

If you are living with this problem, there are certain steps you can take to put things under control before seeking professional help.

Here are some tips or putting over eating under control.

Change Your Grocery List

Now ask yourself. When an emotional moment hits you, and you head for the pantry or refrigerator, what foods do you normally go for?

Well, emotional overeaters usually go for high-calorie comfort foods like candy bars, chips or ice cream.

It’s instinctive!

However, you can’t eat these foods if they are not in the house. What this means is that it’s time to change your grocery list. Instead of buying high-calorie foods, make the following list your priority.

  • Brown rice (instead of white rice)
  • Millet (instead of or in addition to rice)
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (rather than canned)
  • Low-fat, low-calorie yogurt (rather than ice cream)
  • Popcorn kernels for air popping (rather than chips and fatty snacks)
  • Lean protein like fish, turkey, and chicken (instead of deli meats and processed meats like hotdogs and bologna)
  • Natural, healthy cooking oils like olive and safflower oil (instead of shortening, lard, or unhealthy oils)

Avoid Crash Diet

Taking decisive action in solving problems is a good thing, and emotional eating is no different. If you are prone to crash dieting, you may discover that you eat even more after then.

Instead of not eating the very foods you love, here are some cool tips that will help you.

  • Give yourself a treat of frozen yogurt every single week. This seems a better approach than just cutting off frozen treats. You could also use similar approach with other “naughty” foods.
  • Give an added boost to your nutrition with some dosage of vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • Boost up your intake of nutrient-rich foods.

Eat Regular Meals

Taking regular meals is advised by experts as a way of fighting emotional over eating. If it’s not yet your meal time, then it’s best you hold off.

In addition, regularly meal times is suggested as a way of being conscious about your intake of nutritious foods.

In conclusion, regular meal times tends to make for a more relaxing eating experience, which is the very opposite of anxiety-driven overeating.

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