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What's the best way to stop emotional eating?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 05/31/2021 at 8:18pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lisa Groesz, PhD


With evidenced based therapies, we find the root of the problem together to implement solutions. We all face crises, transitions, or disorders at some time.

Top Rated Answers
March 3rd, 2015 11:40pm
Well the first step is to realize WHY you are emotionally eating. The next step is to figure out the WHY, and work on it. When you stop trying to fill a hole with food, and start trying to figure out how to heal the hole, then you can stop stuffing the face. This is my experience speaking!
April 21st, 2015 3:17pm
The best way to stop would be to find another way to release tension and frustration. Easier said than done, right? I found that chewing gum can keep you from feeling the need to go on an emotional eating spree as well. If you like little mints, or something smaller too can help. The main point that I'm trying to make though is to convert your spree to smaller things (Gum, mints, etc.) and to go out and do something to keep your mind off of it, don't sit around all the time if you do because that'll keep your mind thinking about it. Do something, curb your cravings with smaller things, etc.! I hope I helped
January 25th, 2016 8:36pm
Well I think the best way to stop emotional eating is to keep yourself busy. Everytime you walk to the fridge just remember why you are getting food. Do you need it after those chips? No not really. Do you want it? Maybe. Is it worth it? No. Think before you eat.
November 9th, 2016 2:38am
for me ~ emotional eating happens when I am trying to fill my needs and or comfort myself with food. Instead,, before I eat, ask myself: what am I feeling? If I am trying to deal with an intense emotions or an emotional need - I make a list ( written down or mentally) of other ways I can get that emotional need met. Then, I try those options. If I am still hungry afterwards and my needs were met and if it is true physical hunger - I eat, knowing it is for nutrients and to fuel the body and not to deal with my emotions.
February 28th, 2015 6:48pm
Know your triggers, be able to identify your emotions, personal awareness. When I feel x it triggers my emotional eat. find other coping skills that work for you.
April 25th, 2015 10:02pm
Try keeping a journal of what you eat and drink, with a column to mark whether it was a binge/emotional eating. Along with it, write your feelings. Recognizing your own triggers is the beginning of stopping this behavior. Also, seeing a nutritionist and/or therapist may help.
June 5th, 2015 5:31pm
To be honest with you, I am unsure that any of us listeners would really know the answer to your question- Might be a good idea to speak to your local doctor or GP, see what they say :) sorry I couldn't be more help.
June 17th, 2015 3:17pm
Emotionnal support and activities. And cutting yourself from temptations but its not enought without the two ones
July 13th, 2015 8:47pm
To distract yourself with a variety of things such as hobbies, cleaning up, keeping yourself busy in general is a great help.
November 3rd, 2015 8:10am
Acknowledge the foods you;re eating, as if you select certain foods we associate those foods with that emotion. Learn to not eat during those emotional times, associate those foods with something new. For example, if you;re eating chocolate when emotional, eat chocolate when you;re happy. If that makes sense. Also, another good thing is to do is lock those emotional foods away.
January 26th, 2016 11:37pm
Distract yourself? Recognizing that you are eating not because you are hungry but rather to suppress your emotions is a good start. Instead of seeking comfort from food why not talk about your emotions to a listener on 7cups?
February 1st, 2016 12:25pm
From experience I've learned to cope with emotional eating by drinking a glass of water and doing something I love or going for a walk!
October 24th, 2016 6:00am
I always loved to chew on ice when I became too emotionally overwhelmed, thus not consuming massive amounts of food. Another option is channeling your emotions into something you love.
January 3rd, 2017 5:38pm
Ask someone around you for help. Ask a significant other, a friend, a family member - tell them that you're prone to emotional eating and that you want to stop, ask them if they can look out for you and tell them when you're feeling like eating so they can stop you. This is very hard to do on your own, asking someone to support you will really help.
January 23rd, 2017 11:30pm
Distraction! Although the best distraction would be to talk about the emotions you're trying to eat away, any other distraction works too. Polishing your nails, going to the gym, cleaning the house, taking a shower: whatever distracts you just enough.
October 24th, 2017 6:26pm
I often find chewing on something helps prevent me comfort eating. Chewing gum is a winner. Also, whenever you feel yourself needing something. Make a note of it and do something to distract you.
October 29th, 2017 3:10am
Hi, I am going to share what I have been doing to address the issue. (Disclaimer: this is what I am doing in my personal life, I am sharing this information to offer ideas to others, I am not endorsing or pushing any particular sort of treatment). Ok, so I see a therapist and a nutrition counselor (well, actually 2 but more on that later). I have anxiety issues and that often triggers the emotional overeating. So I am working on ways to manage/reduce stress and anxiety in my life. I am also working to find strategies to deal with my eating specifically b/c I think that would be helpful. I started with a nutrition counselor through a free program my job offers 2 years ago. Initially it was helpful but when my stress/anxiety levels went up, I had difficulty sticking to the program I kind of felt like this particular person wasn't as helpful as they could be. Since it's free, I stayed in communication and participate in the program at whatever level I am able to. I started with the 2nd nutrition counselor b/c my primary Dr. suggested it and the service is covered by insurance. I feel slightly ridiculous, having two of them. But I am hoping that the new one will have some insights the other one doesn't, and either way I feel I need all the support I can get. I use myfitnesspal to track my food intake. They have a food notes section, and I have been using that to document my feelings in regard to what I ate. So if I had a bad day, and ate a bunch of donuts I write about that. Or if I had a successful dinner out, where I didn't overeat, I make note of that. I am hoping that over time it will give me greater insight into my behavior so I can effectively modify it. On the advice of both my therapist and 2nd nutrition counselor, I am seeking out support groups. So here I am on seven cups of tea :-) I am also encouraged to exercise regularly, something I was doing and had gotten away from. Currently, I have added fitness activities to my calendar and now I just have to follow through. A lot of people find having and exercise buddy helps (myself included) but I also think it is important to find ways to stay motivated to exercise on your own as people's schedule/lives change and it's good to be comfortable working out/being physically active on your own. The big thing I am trying to work on right now, is having a better relationship with food. Nearly all my life, I have turned to food when things got difficult or I felt stressed/anxious/sad. I have other coping strategies to deal with my emotions, but time and time again I head back to food. And while it its all fine and dandy to talk about diet, avoiding "trigger foods", not keeping junk in the house, etc. the main issue is finding a way to not feel like I need to stuff a donut in my mouth everytime I get upset. As a side note, I will mention I am looking to switch to a therapist that specializes in eating disorders. All the therapists I have seen so far have been/are generalists that deal with a broad range of issues. I am hoping more targeted therapy will have better results. So that is something to consider as well. I am sorry if this post is rather long, I just wanted to share in the hopes someone will find the information useful, Thanks, and I hope everyone has a good night.
February 24th, 2020 8:12am
This is a hard question to answer, because... I’m not entirely aware of your history, or your circumstance in all contexts. One thing that really helps me? Having really healthy snacks that I can snack on if I’m feeling emotional, rather than keeping junk food nearby. I really love staying stocked up on grapes, tomatoes, celery, tiny halo/cutie oranges (they come in a big bag!).. that way, I’m not really depriving myself of food, but I’m also not giving myself something that will harm my health. You know? I hope this is helpful. ♡ If you’re eating 3 healthy meals a day, it’s healthy to snack in-between them too! So, if you’re hungry, that’s totally normal. It’s really all about what you eat, rather than if you eat.
June 23rd, 2020 12:05am
It can be very difficult to stop emotional eating. What can work is pausing before eating something. Think about why it is you want to have that food. Really focus on and think about the motive behind it. Once that is done, drink some water. If you feel like you actually are hungry, you may just be thirsty. It also helps you stay hydrated. Then, after a little bit of time, you can come back and determine if you do want the food. Remember that it is very okay to slip up and engage in emotional eating accidentally. That is okay. Forgive yourself, and work towards avoiding it next time.
May 31st, 2021 8:18pm
I wish there were a magic bullet for emotional eating. Truly. But until that day comes, we're going to have to tackle this one head on. Can you ever stop emotional eating? Does this mean we don't go out for the celebratory ice cream cone after a game? Maybe we try to manage emotional eating. Managing emotional eating starts with being aware of what triggers it. Often, we are already elbow deep into the bag of chips when we realize what we are doing. But sometimes we know in advance. When this is the case, it is time to turn to the alternatives. What are your alternatives? Call a friend. Hop on a 7 cups chat or community board. Literally leave where you are. Have a healthy snack - can you have baby carrots? Wash your face. But you need to know what your alternatives are in advance. I will never, ever (even in a zombie takeover) go for a run. But I will do other things. Have your list of alternatives ready and turn to them when you realize what you are doing.