To cope with stress and regain a sense of comfort for a while, many people resort to emotional overeating. But this kind of eating disorder has nothing to do with true hunger.

What Are the Dangers of Food Addiction?

The desire to eat is a natural response to emotion, and everyone has it. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional hunger caused by worry or a bad mood.

Problems arise when every time, getting into a difficult situation, a person drowns out the experience, habitually turning to food. And if only it had been healthy food. But no! There is no room for broccoli or carrots on the table of the emotional eater. He prefers to bury his emotions in sweets and fats, foods that promote obesity.

Food for such a person, it’s a way to escape from reality. He psychologically depends on his favorite foods. Subconsciously switches his attention from the source of irritation to the food. Moreover, he overeats, both when he feels bad and when he feels good, like after winning while enjoying sports betting online or meeting someone he hasn’t seen for a while.

Indeed, for some time after eating, the emotional eater feels satisfaction. Physiology works – the body releases endorphins and the person is practically happy. But then comes the payback – the eater is overwhelmed with guilt – he ate too much again! The body immediately and readily activates the mechanism – are you nervous? Eat!

Compulsive overeating in the long run does not just lead to weight gain. The problem is deeper than that: a person loses the ability to control himself, to cope with his emotions, to cope with stress. Uncertainty emerges, self-esteem falls, and as a way out of the situation, emotional overeating occurs.

3 Factors in the Development of Emotional Overeating

Experts put forward several versions of this type of eating disorder.


If there is a hereditary predisposition, one of the relatives suffered from an eating disorder, there is a possibility of transmitting this feature to descendants.


As a rule, most eating disorders originate in childhood. Growing up in a problematic family, the emotional coldness of parents, difficult relationships with significant adults – many as children, not having received support from parents, are used to binge on negative emotions.


In today’s world, a slim and thin figure has become the ideal of beauty and success, while fullness is an occasion for ridicule and dislike. Because of such stereotypes, feelings of inferiority and guilt grow, and negative emotions are eaten up with sweets and fatty foods.

Triggers of Emotional Overeating

Those who like to multitask are prone to emotional overeating. For them, socializing with friends, going to the movies is unthinkable without consuming sweets, chips, coffee or cola. They simply find it difficult to limit themselves to just watching a movie or talking – they don’t get the pleasure they expect.

Many eat “for company,” and some have developed emotional overeating into a steady habit over the years.

Sometimes it can be a disguised unwillingness to do something. It’s a kind of procrastination: first I eat, then I do. The brain calms down – since a person is busy with something, even with food, he isn’t a slacker. But the reason is quite different – the unwillingness to do unpleasant work.

5 Tips on How to Deal With Emotional Overeating and Control Your Appetite

First, admit that there is a problem. Stop criticizing yourself, stop thinking of yourself as a loser who can’t even cope with his own stomach. To overcome emotional overeating, in many cases, self-control and awareness are enough.

Keep a Diary of Food and Emotional State

This will make it easier for you to keep track of what psychological moments triggered the emergence of emotional hunger.

Plan Regular Meals

Scheduling will help you get through the first stage of the transition to a healthy lifestyle easier and less painful. Include healthy snacks, along with them, you should have 5-6 meals a day at first. Later on, if you want, you can switch to two meals a day – interval fasting. This method has its undoubted advantages.

Decide Exactly What You’re Going to Eat

Do it in advance, at least a day in advance. Try to eat only what is planned. If you cannot follow the plan, make a conclusion – what products are missing in the diet. If you’re constantly thinking about sweets, allow yourself a favorite dessert on specific days of the week.

Buy Groceries When You’re Full and in a Good Mood

This will keep you from buying unhealthy and unhealthy foods. And don’t keep high-fat, high-calorie foods at home. That way you won’t have a choice between a muffin or pizza and yogurt and fruit.

Write a List of Activities That Make You Feel Good 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and inexorably drawn to the fridge, open your list and start doing things point by point. Mandatory conditions: the activities must be active (and not looking at news from the social networks), and achievable in reality. Sometimes it is enough just to call a loved one and share the news instead of munching on another cookie with a cup of coffee.