top of page

Are you an Emotional Eater?

If I had a dollar for every person who believes he/she is an emotional eater, I'd be a very rich woman. BUT, if I had a dollar for every person who actually is an emotional eater, well, then I probably couldn't quit my day job just yet...

Why the disconnect? Well, first let's talk about what emotional eating is.

Emotional eating is, quite simply, eating for an emotional reason instead of eating for hunger. This can mean eating due to loneliness, excitement, celebration, anger, procrastination, boredom, etc. Although our society often pushes the idea that eating should be a purely biological, almost robotic, process, that's not actually very realistic. In fact, it's very normal for eating to have an emotional component because eating is emotional!

Crying babies are soothed at the breast, winning goals are celebrated with ice cream, families come together for holiday meals, and university students find motivation in a well-placed candy at the end of every paragraph they study. It is extremely uncommon to find someone who never eats emotionally.

That being said, people are often distressed by their emotional eating. These people tend to fall into two categories.

The first category is quite rare and is what I consider to be true emotional eating. This type of emotional eating can certainly be problematic. Sometimes it is a person's only means of coping with intense emotions. Sometimes it is even used as a method of self-harm. Sometimes people identify it as a reaction to extremely negative events in their lives. In these situations, a mental health therapist is much better equipped to help than a dietitian.

The other type of emotional eating is much more common and is more likely to be a (normal) response to the physical and/or psychological deprivation of dieting!

In these situations, strong emotions are often used as a way to permit oneself to eat things that are typically off-limits. This can look like "I shouldn't eat chocolate, but I had a really hard day at work so I deserve a treat" or "I just broke up with my boyfriend,so I deserve to have ice cream for a change".

This looks like emotional eating, but it's actually driven by a person's food rules.

The way to eliminate this type of emotional eating is to eliminate the physical and psychological deprivation of dieting. Eliminate the food rules, eliminate the emotional eating!

By granting yourself unconditional permission to eat what, when, and how much you want to eat, you will no longer need to use emotions as a way to gain permission to eat forbidden food! You won't need to have a hard day to have chocolate, you can just have chocolate because you want to.

If you would like some help with this, send me a message! I'd love to help!

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page