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

I am a certified Body Trust Provider through the Be Nourished Institute and have experience running an intensive outpatient program to treat binge eating disorder at a local eating disorder treatment facility.

— Liberating Jasper, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Tacoma, 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 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
 

I work with my clients to develop a balanced approach to eating. I come from an "all foods fit" and "health at every size" framework. As a result, our objective will be centered around developing a new relationship with food, stress, and shame - rather than counting calories and weight loss. I teach my clients how to eat intuitively and listen to the cues in their body. I also incorporate mindful eating strategies so clients feel connected to the flavors and textures of their food. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is supported by body shaming and guilt. By shifting the dialogue away from dieting behavior, my clients learn to eat normally, stop when full, and replace emotional eating habits with alternative behaviors that are more consistent with their longterm goals.

— Samantha Winton, Clinical Psychologist in Saint Petersburg, FL

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
 

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

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 am a certified intuitive eating counselor and a certified body trust provider (tm). Both of these certifications are holistic and social justice oriented in the foundations of Health at Every Size (tm). I do not approach emotional eating as pathology, it is often a wise choice given a person's circumstances and the fat phobic culture we live that promotes restrictive dieting which thrusts a person into a weight cycling hell they never consented to.

— Jennifer DiGennaro, Licensed Professional Counselor in Grand Rapids, MI

I help clients overcome Binge Eating Disorder using mindfulness techniques. I am also trained and experienced in providing evaluation and treatment for clients who are seeking bariatric weight loss surgery.

— Amita Ghosh, Counselor in Cincinnati, OH
 

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
 

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 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
 

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

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
 

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

— Sydney Bell, Psychotherapist

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
 

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 believe that there are many ways we cope with hard emotions. For me, emotional eating has always been a struggle. I've worked hard to learn how to manage my emotions with other skills and would love to support you in your journey. Whether your desire is to lose weight or just feel healthier where you are, we can work together to develop a strategy to face your feelings with strength and compassion.

— Amanda Dutton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Gainesville, GA
 

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

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 at several eating disorder treatment centers and am a past president of the South Florida Chapter of the International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals.

— Laura Kreiger, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Boca Raton, FL

Emotional eating is a coping skill. You often don’t realize why you are eating. Learning mindful techniques can help you become more aware of what you are doing while helping you to discover why you are doing it.

— Michelle Stroebel, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor in Granite Falls, 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, Mental Health Counselor in Brooklyn, NY

I help people understand why they are emotionally eating and feel more in control of their lives and eating behaviors.

— Rebecca Leslie, Therapist in Chicago, IL
 

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