Emotional Eating

Emotional eating (sometimes called stress eating) involves using food to make yourself feel better. It is characterized by the act of eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. Food (either consciously or unconsciously) can be a source of comfort in stressful situations. Emotional eating is typically used as a way to numb negative emotions like fear, anger, boredom, loneliness or sadness.  Both major life events and the normal hassles of daily life can cause the types of negative emotions likely to trigger emotional eating. A therapist can help you understand the reasons behind your emotional eating and teach you tools to both recognize and cope with it. If you have been experiencing episodes of emotional eating, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s specialists today. 

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Often times if we struggle with managing our weight, we also struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety, or lower self-esteem. We often use food as a way to cope and deal with emotions that we struggle with, and we can also essentially become addicted to foods. One common method that I frequently use to help heal a relationship with food is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT). This technique has a great deal of evidence behind it as being effective in healing our relationship with food.

— Danielle Wayne, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Boise, ID
 

Who hasn't used ice cream to deal with a break up? What better to come home to after a horrible day at work, than a steamy bowl of mac n cheese? Food should be enjoyed. We celebrate milestones with sweets and we feast at holidays. Throughout history, food and emotions have gone together. And yet there are times, especially in our culture, when managing emotions by eating gets out of hand. If you are thinking about food more often or if you want to find other ways of managing stress, let's talk.

— Kathryn Gates, Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

People who emotionally eat reach for food several times a week or more to suppress and soothe negative feelingsTrusted Source. They may even feel guilt or shame after eating this way, leading to a cycle of excess eating and associated issues, like weight gain. Anything from work stress to financial worries, health issues to relationship struggles may be the root cause of your emotional eating.

— Courtney Cohen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
 

Emotional eating is a behavior that people engage in to cope with life stress and challenging feelings. The good news is that every time you are tempted to emotionally eat, your body is signalling you that you need another kind of attention. The only problem is that, on your own, it is so hard to pause before eating and pay attention to the feelings that want to surface. I would be honored to meet you there, right at that moment to support your unfolding story.

— Anat Ben-Zvi, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist in New York, NY
 

As a CBT therapist I explain to you that your binge eating is based on emotional reasoning, and, although eating might make you feel temporarily comforted, would not help you feel better about yourself. Overeating typically has the opposite effect and actually makes you feel worse about yourself. This would then worsen your overeating. Together, you and I will plan a different approach to handling disappointment. With practice, you will be able to interpret people’s responses more realistically, so you are not constantly feeling inadequate. Together, you and I will also work on ways to improve your self-esteem. As your self-esteem improves, you will became more able to refrain from snacking and binging and began to eat more nutritious food.

— Amy Castongia, Counselor in Huntersville, NC

I have worked with many clients over my years in practice with issues related to emotional/disordered eating. Disordered eating is a metaphor for what is unspoken.Together we will look at the purpose the emotional eating serves for you and what is going on in your life that the eating may be expressing. By exploring the stressors in your life we can look at those underlying causes, give them a voice and help you work toward resolving them in a healthy manner.

— Joan Tibaldi, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Saint Augustine, FL
 

Lindo Bacon mentions in their Health at Every Size Book that almost all people who classify as "emotional eaters" have a history of dieting or restriction somehow. Through Body Trust, Intuitive Eating, and Health at Every Size work we will use tools to figure out what this pattern looks like for you, what you could be needing, and what your eating patterns might be telling you.

— Mekenzie Sutton, Counselor in Seattle, WA

I am a "certified Intuitive Eating Pro", and have trained in Health At Every Size and Mindful Eating approaches to healing. I'm an active member of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and try to attend their conference yearly. Finally, I am co-author of "Mindful Eating Moms", forthcoming book about mindful eating while parenting. Read more here: https://mindfuleatingmoms.com/

— Jessica Foley, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Waltham, MA
 

As a CBT therapist, I explain to the client that their binge eating is based on emotional reasoning, and, although eating might make them feel temporarily comforted, would not help them feel better about themselves. In fact, overeating usually has the opposite effect and actually makes them feel worse about themselves. Together, you and I will plan a different approach to handling disappointment. With practice, you will be able to interpret people’s responses more realistically, so you are not constantly feeling inadequate. We will also work on improving your self-esteem. As your self-esteem improves, you became more able to refrain from snacking and binging and began to eat more nutritious food.

— Amy Castongia, Counselor in Huntersville, NC

I have experience supporting people who have used eating to cope with stressors and would like to develop more adaptive coping skills.

— Sally Stone, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Brooklyn, NY
 

There are so many messages about food and and what it means to be healthy. In all the confusion, figuring out the most helpful messages on your own is nearly impossible. Chronic dieting/emotional eating can be ways that we try to help ourselves feel better. What you may have thought is a weight problem can actually be rooted in mental and emotional dissatisfaction. Together, we can sort through these troubling thoughts/feelings to help you to discover messages that bring you peace and freedom

— Shylah Blatt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Alameda, CA