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. 

Meet the specialists

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 licensed counselor and board certified health and wellness coach, we will work together to identify healthier coping strategies for emotional eating.

— Carrie Company, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bloomington, IL

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

First of all, emotional eating is nothing bad or wrong. It is a NORMAL stress response, a normal way to celebrate occasions, a normal way to soothe ourselves, and normal way to feel pleasure. It’s a 100% natural and valid way to do these things. It works!! It is simply not the ONLY way we can go about doing these things. I help women and femmes explore their coping skills to see what works for them, and to simply add some to the list.

— Emma Doerner, Counselor in Seattle, WA
 

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 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
 

As a licensed counselor and board certified health and wellness coach, we will work together to identify healthier coping strategies for emotional eating.

— Carrie Company, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bloomington, IL

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
 

Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental and physical illnesses that can affect all people. If you find that you are preoccupied with your body, food, weight loss, dieting, control of food, restriction or binging, it is time to seek help. If you are struggling with disordered eating and/or body image concerns, it would be an honor to guide you on your healing journey.

— Elisa Mott Jones, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Intuitive Eating is a non-diet, weight-neutral approach to health and wellness. It has ten principles that help individuals get back in touch with their bodies' needs. Eating is more than just fuel and most people eat emotionally at times. However, if it's your only means of coping with your emotions, we can work together to develop additional coping strategies and self-care techniques that will help neutralize your relationship with food and allow you to identify and meet your true needs.

— Liz Wienke, Mental Health Counselor
 

Our relationships with food are complex and layered and often have less to do with just eating emotionally or out of hunger. *Most* eating is a combination of these two things! We may eat together in session, unpack your beliefs about food and your body, or teach you skills to pause and notice what's happening for you when emotional eating starts. I am confident that you can have a better relationship with food *and* emotions, and that they don't have to be tied together so painfully.

— Summer Forlenza, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

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
 

We all need soothing and comfort. Life is stressful, even in the best of circumstances. These days, that stress can be overwhelming. But eating can only offer the distraction of pleasure (followed by the distraction of body shame or worries about health). You can learn to give yourself the exquisite comfort and soothing you really need by listening to your feelings and being gentle with yourself. As you do, the need for medicinal cookies will likely abate.

— Julie Levin, Marriage & Family Therapist in Pleasant Hill, CA