Emotional Eating Triggers
What Drives You to Eat?
There are many reasons why people eat more than they should, and many of those reasons will be individualized
according to a person's underlying beliefs, fears, life conditions and habits, which can be inherited and/or
developed over time.
Generally, we overeat because of emotional upset. We feel nervous, eating soothes us. We feel angry, eating
soothes us. We feel bored, eating soothes us. We feel fat and unattractive, which makes us feel depressed, and
eating soothes us. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Almost all emotional eating reveals a need to be comforted. Understanding this is one major step in changing
your emotional eating habits.
The next important step is to start paying closer attention to how you feel when you start eating, and why you
are eating in the first place.
If you aren't eating in response to physical hunger, you are probably under the spell of emotional eating
The next time this happens to you, pause for a moment and consider what caused you to start eating. Did someone
upset you? Do you feel stressed or anxious about something? Are you eating because everyone else is? Or is it a
scheduled meal time so eating seemed to make sense even though you weren't hungry?
Once you understand why you're eating, you've got an important choice to make: continue eating anyway, or stop
eating and meet your emotional needs some other way. This is not an easy choice to make because your emotional
eating habit may be deeply ingrained so you feel panicky at the thought of not eating to ease your turbulent
However, you may not realize yet that nothing bad will happen if you stop eating in response to emotional upset.
That may seem hard to believe because it can often feel as though you MUST eat to deal with these unsettling
feelings, but the feelings themselves can't harm you. Most of the time, if you stop trying to run away from them,
they simply wash over you and dissipate and you realize that you're still okay.
Try it some time and you may be pleasantly surprised just how easy it is to disengage from those emotions, come
back to full awareness of what you are doing, and make a firm decision to put down the food.
It does, however, take a lot of practice to fully master the ability. Go easy on yourself in the meantime. Don't
expect yourself to be "perfect" and transform your entire eating habits overnight.
Take it one day at a time and be patient as you learn to reconnect with your natural hunger cues. Your body will
speak if you will pause and listen!