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What Is Emotional Eating And How To Stop It?

Emotional eating is not ideally wrong, as it satisfies a person's immediate emotional impulse. But, regular emotional eating can jeopardize your diet cycle and cause various health problems.

What Is Emotional Eating And How To Stop It?

Emotional eating is when you resort to comfort food for coping up with stress or anxiety


  1. Emotional eating may be because of relationship turbulence
  2. Being in constant stress can make you resort to emotional eating
  3. Irregular sleep patterns can make you resort to emotional eating

Emotional eating or stress eating occurs when we turn to food for comfort that we seek out of emotional despair. There are times when we are emotionally in a bad space and we crave foods that we love the most. One might turn to donuts for emotional warmth or cheeseburgers or even choose to cook. Food does not only satisfy our hunger and give us the energy to get through the day; it also has the power to light up our moods. So, a person indulged in emotional eating will eat the food they like (mostly unhealthy items) in times of sorrow, loneliness, boredom, and even in anger. Emotional eating is not ideally wrong, as it satisfies a person's immediate emotional impulse. But, making stress eating a regular part of your life can jeopardize your diet cycle and cause various health problems.


Emotional eating is when you resort to comfort food to relieve stress
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It is important to understand that eating comfort food during stress can provide only temporary gratification. It will not fulfill your actual emotional needs.

Also read: The Tell-Tale Signs Eating Disorders

What causes emotional hunger?

The basic causes of emotional hunger remain overwhelming stress, sadness, anger, and boredom. These feelings are triggered due to some specific circumstances. We often indulge in such deep emotional eating drills that choose to comfort our every emotional instinct with the comfort of food. This again may be temporary and may have grave consequences on your health in the long run.

Also read: Top 5 Facts About Eating Disorders

Let's take a look at the circumstances that trigger emotional hunger and eating:

1. Relationship turbulence: Emotional eating is common when you are going through relationship crisis with your parents, siblings, friends or loved ones. In these situations, the brain releases stress chemicals which make you feel lonely and sad.

2. Workload: Stress eating may be seen as a solution during work pressure. If you have a hectic routine and you find yourself reaching out for junk food every time you take a break, it might lead to a pattern of emotional eating.


Increased amount of stress can lead to emotional eating
Photo Credit: iStock

3. Irregular sleep patterns: Emotional eating may also be ignited if you are facing interrupted sleep patterns. Your body needs sleep to be able to function properly for a vivid thought process. If you are suffering from insomnia or are unable to sleep on time or sleep for adequate hours, you might start to eat unhealthy food at irregular timings. You may want to make up for the stress of not sleeping or for the inadequate energy and motivation in your body.

Also read: Binge Eating Disorder: Symptoms, Causes And Tips To Stop

4. Financial crisis: Any ups and downs in your financial balance can trigger a lot of stress. This might lead to eating unnecessarily at irregular timings.

How to stop emotional eating?

The most suggested solution to stop emotional eating is dealing with stress, anger, and boredom is try out things other than eating. You need to look for recreation techniques and involve yourself in activities such as - reading, cleaning your wardrobe, watching television, going for a jog etc. Other ways of stopping emotional eating are:

1. Eat adequate food at regular timings: Take your meals at regular timings. There are five ideal meals that you are supposed to have in a day - breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea, and dinner. Eat your food in accordance with the time of each meal i.e., keep the breakfast heavy and as the day descends, your meals should also keep getting lighter. This will make your stomach full and your hunger satisfied hence preventing unnecessary munching.


Exercising can help you get rid of emotional eating
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Did You Know Why Men Don't Seem To Suffer From Eating Disorders?

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3. Avoid drinking or smoking: Alcohol can make your body feel tired and restless. This can make you resort to unhealthy food items. Not only can alcohol and smoking be responsible for one's unhealthy diet cycle, they are also extremely harmful to health in the general.

4. Think about yourself: Yes, it is most important to be kind and loving to yourself and think about the repercussions overeating can have on your mind and body. You should be your highest priority.


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