Emotions and Food: Why We Eat Is as Important as What We Eat



Why do we eat when we are not hungry? Using food to feel better is very common, however, it causes unwanted weight gain, feelings of guilt and a sense of losing control. Sometimes it may be very difficult to feel painful feelings, and reaching for food represents a “quick fix” - thereby providing immediate yet short-lived comfort. The emotional eater is left with the original feeling plus the added guilt of eating. The therapeutic goal is to change this behavior over time by addressing the true underlying emotions that trigger emotional eating. Emotional overeaters can learn to separate physical hunger from their emotional needs.


When you reach for food and aren’t physically hungry, pause and ask yourself: “What am I really in need of right now? How am I feeling? What challenges do I face? Am I angry? Do I feel lonely? Am I sad? Am I bored? Am I feeling unappreciated?” You may want to start making entries into a Food & Mood journal in order to keep track of which specific feelings cause you to eat at a specific time. How and when has food served as a mood regulator?

It takes courage to take a "deep dive" into your emotional world and to revisit emotional wounds from the past. Exploring your true feelings will help you break the vicious cycle of eating instead of feeling - over time.


Helpful tips:

  • Focus on your overall wellbeing. Eliminate chronic stressors and negative influences in your life. Seek professional counseling or coaching if necessary.

  • Add positive things to your life, like gentle yoga, meditation - or try a new hobby. Give yourself the gift of self-love and treat yourself with kindness, patience and compassion.

  • Discover when you feel most alive and energized. Follow that path. Trust your intuition. Put things in perspective.

  • Read inspirational literature. Trust that you can handle all your feelings, and in time emotional eating will be replaced by self-nurturing and life-enhancing rituals.

I am here to support you on this journey! You can be at peace with food and your body. Reach out to me to schedule your complimentary initial consultation. We will assess whether my treatment model is right for YOU.


With compassion,

Petra