How To Overcome Emotional Eating and Gain Control of Your Life (Part1)

Emotional Eating

Is Emotional Eating Making You Stressed and Overweight?

(Part 1 Click Here for Part 2)

The phrase “eating your feelings” can conjure up a funny image of someone eating a giant heart shaped cookie. However, emotional eating is not only a significant factor towards being overweight or obese, but it can also take a real toll on your mental health and wellbeing.

In this article, we will take an “Honest” look at the reasons behind emotional eating as well as the related signs and symptoms that you might be missing. Also, we will give you some easy to follow steps and suggestions so you can beat this demoralizing and destructive behavior to achieve fast, healthy weight loss.

Emotional EatingStress Eating

One of the biggest contributors to emotional eating is Stress. Stress eating wouldn’t be such a big deal if you craved a healthy kale salad when you were feeling overwhelmed. However, stress changes your body chemistry in a such a way that makes you more likely to reach for sugary and fatty foods.

Ghrelin, often referred to as the “hunger hormone” is more abundant during times of stress. High ghrelin levels make you feel hungry. But just being hungry doesn’t necessarily mean you want to raid the vending machine for all the salty and sugary snacks you can get your hands on. Other things are going on that are influencing these feelings.

Cortisol Hormone

Let's take a look at another factor to stress eating which is a hormone called Cortisol. Aptly nicknamed the “stress hormone,” it is released in times of danger. In the short term, cortisol increases your heart rate, diverts blood to your muscles, and prepares you to face the stressor.

Cortisol’s effects on the body made sense back in the day when we were going to be eaten by a dinosaur (or big animal of some sort), other than are going to miss our flight or an important work deadline. When we experienced stress, cortisol helps us deal with it; then it shuts itself off so we can return to normal.

In today's living environment we are in a constant state of stress. Our lives are hectic, and we rarely have time to unwind. That leads to prolonged bouts of high cortisol levels. Our bodies believe we need more energy to deal with constant threats and our craving for calorically dense foods increases.

It also doesn’t help that sugary foods dull the stress response. These so-called “comfort foods” make you feel physically better, which makes such foods harder to resist.

Signs of Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

So there are some straightforward reasons why we overeat when in distress, but most of that happening behind the scenes. Here are some real-life scenarios that can help you distinguish between emotional hunger and what is a healthy appetite.

Sudden Onset

A Healthy appetite increases with time. You eat breakfast in the morning, then slowly get hungrier throughout the day. Emotional hunger, on the other hand, shows up seemingly out of nowhere. Possible after an uncomfortable meeting with your boss, fight with a friend or from feeling exhausted.


H.A.L.T.  is a simple acronym you can use to assess your emotional state and see if your hunger is healthy or being triggered by something else, it stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely Tired. Are you feeling any of these? If so then your hunger may be emotionally charged.

We will cover more on H.A.L.T. later in the article so keep reading.

Causes Specific Cravings

When you’re hungry, you have the ability to be rational about what you are going to eat. You may want a particular meal because you like that food, but the desire won’t be overwhelming or uncontrollable.

Emotional hunger, on the other hand, makes you crave specific foods that are high in sugar and fat. If you feel hungry, but you’re not willing to eat something healthy, you again may be dealing with emotional hunger.

Doesn’t Satisfy Hunger

Normal hunger goes away after you eat. Your ghrelin levels drop after a meal, and you no longer feel the drive to eat. However, emotional hunger does not come from a physiological need for energy. If you are still feeling hungry after you eat, or much sooner than you’d expect, is a sign of emotional hunger.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself about Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating


Emotional Eating Test

Over Eaters Anonomys

Food Addicts Anonomys

Suggested Reading

Next, Let's Look at “How to STOP Emotional Eating.”

Emotional Eating

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