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


Having a healthy relationship with food is hard when it's always been a comforting friend! It's not something we can cut out of our lives completely, so how do we learn to come to terms with it as fuel instead of a coping tool? Let's figure that out together and develop strategies to regain control.

— Amanda Dutton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Stockbridge, GA

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

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

Reclaiming a relaxed and healthy relationship toward food by ditching dieting and relearning to trust the body.

— Sydney Bell, Psychotherapist in ,

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

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

I love to help people reacquaint with the notion that food is designed to be comforting and is ALWAYS emotional ... and that's a gift!

— Alison Boeke, Counselor in Seattle, WA