Have you found yourself munching on snacks all day long? Or snacking on foods that you don’t even like, just for the sake of snacking? You might be emotional eating.

What Is Emotional Eating?

In simple terms, emotional eating is eating when you’re not hungry and when your body isn’t asking for more food. It means you’re eating for another (emotional) reason. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re feeling emotional. In fact, many people don’t even recognize their snacking is a result of an emotion, and do it subconsciously. 


What Causes Emotional Eating? 

There are many emotions that can cause emotional eating. Some examples of emotional triggers include,

    • New or continuing health problems or diagnoses 
    • Personal or professional challenges 
    • Financial trouble 
    • Tension or changes in relationships 
    • Big projects or assignments 
    • Moving 

Is All Snacking When You’re Not Hungry Emotional Eating?

Nope! There are so many factors that can influence our decision to eat, including social situations such as parties. When we’re in social situations, we often mimic the eating habits of the people around us. For example, accepting an hors d’oeuvres after watching people around you do the same.  

Hors d'oeuvres. Image from Pexels.

How Does Emotional Eating Affect Our Eating Habits?

Continuous emotional eating can have an effect on eating habits. Prolonged periods of emotional eating can cause us to misinterpret our natural hunger signals. Without a proper understanding of hunger signals, we will miss cues that signify hunger and fullness, allowing us to easily over (or sometimes under) eat. This can cause many people to feel out of control around food. Additionally, misunderstanding of our hunger cues can contribute to weight gain and the development of a negative relationship with food.

How Can I Stop Emotional Eating? 

Putting the breaks on emotional eating can be hard. Especially when you don’t know what emotions or situations are triggers and do not have the tools in place to make adjustments. However, there are many resources available to you, as well as dietitians trained in addressing this concern. 

In recent years, nutritional therapy programs have been incorporating cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to successfully help stop emotional eating. CBT is a structured therapeutic approach that emphasizes understanding and implementing changes to how you think and react to situations. 


Take Away

We all experience emotional eating at one point or another in our lives. However, prolonged emotional eating can become hard to control. Emotional eating can become associated with many negative feelings towards both ourselves and food and can have a negative impact on people’s relationship with food. Developing an understanding of your emotional triggers (and hunger cues) and breaking the emotional eating cycle is crucial for regaining your sense of control around food.


Ditching Your Emotional Eating

Ready to ditch the emotional eating and be confident around food again? Enrol in my Craving Change program, beginning on September 15th. This program incorporates CBT to help you understand your emotional eating and identify your triggers. Additionally, the program will provide you with the tools to conquer emotional eating while incorporating healthy alternatives to manage emotions. If you’re looking for more information about the course, check out the FAQ post!

There are a limited number of spots available, so save your seat today and don’t be left out!