Help for Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is when you eat in response to your feelings instead of hunger. A common example would be that you reach for something to eat every time you feel lonely.

From my experience, I believe this is one of the biggest problems contributing to people being overweight. So I wanted to share ideas to provide help for emotional eating.

Am I an Emotional Eater

The first and most important thing to do is to identify if you fall into that category. When you saw the title of this article, your first thought was probably, “Am I an Emotional Eater?”

I found a quiz by the Mayo Clinic that is free and doesn’t take long that will tell you if you tend to be an emotional eater. If you want to take it, click here!

Strategies to Stop Emotional Eating

So hopefully, at this point, you have an idea if you are an emotional eater. If you are, I’ve provided some strategies to help you overcome emotional eating below:

  1. Most importantly, you have to decide that you are going to follow through on these strategies. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well of course I’m going to decide to do it!” But I really want you to think about it and make a commitment to yourself that even if it gets difficult, you have decided to do this.
  2. Figure out what your triggers are. It will probably be different for everyone. Some examples are: When you feel angry, you eat; When someone hurts your feelings, you eat; When you’re tired or sad, you eat; or yours might be another emotion.
  3. Once you figure out your triggers, plan for them and have an alternative action other than the eating. Some examples of this could be: Your trigger is feeling lonely so you plan to write a letter to a friend when it hits or you could become a pen pal to someone in prison and write that person when you are lonely; Your trigger is when you get angry so get a punching bag and use it when it happens or plan to go for a walk when you get angry.
  4. Another strategy is to find other things that you find pleasurable. The first thing I think about is a bubble bath. Another relaxing and fun thing to do is coloring. You might think that’s just for kids and sounds crazy, but it’s actually very relaxing, and they even have coloring books for adults out there now. You can find another pleasurable activity like cross-stitching or refinishing old furniture. Think of whatever you enjoy doing and take time to do it.
  5. This last one is just as important as the first one. If, after you have prepared for it and even been successful a few times, you give in and eat in response to your emotions, FORGIVE YOURSELF immediately and just get right back on track. I want one of the mottoes for to be:


So if you have discovered that you are an emotional eater, begin to practice those strategies to help stop your emotional eating. Make a firm decision that you are going to do this. Figure out what triggers your emotional eating and be prepared for them. And remember to not be hard on yourself! If you slip and fall, forgive yourself, get right back up and get back on track.

Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you have at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

Best Regards,

Mandi S. Griffin, M.Ed.

Founder of


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5 comments on “Help for Emotional Eating

  1. Nijole Debartolo

    What a great topic I found about eating
    I always think about why I would like to eat too much after coming from work.
    Never thought that is could be from emotions and that’s true when you feel upset for something you suddenly feel you want to grab
    something to eat the piece of chocolate or heavy dinner. After all, we gain weight and no time you again feel depressed then spring comes after winter you are not happy. From now on I will follow your advice thank you for sharing

  2. Derek Marshall

    Thank you kindly for this article. I, when piling on the pounds tend to be an emotional eater – when…still when really happy..I have this tendency to treat myself…
    Not good for the waist line!

    Hoe do I best deal with positve emotional eating in this manner?

  3. Jon

    I offer nutritional counseling as part of my health and wellness business and confront a fair amount of emotional eating among my clients. In fact, I fall prey to it myself from time to time, so I can certainly relate.

    I love that you are careful to make sure people understand it’s okay to slip up now and then. Forgive yourself and move on. For long term success, I don’t think there’s anything more important than that!

    Thanks for the tips, I’ll be able to make use of these for my clients.

  4. Suzanne

    I don’t have to take the Mayo Clinic quiz to know that I can be an emotional eater. Mine comes from anxiety related to different things. My anxiety will just come, but I can recognize it for what it is. You’re right, there are strategies I can employ – like coloring, gardening (weather permitting up here in the Pacific Northwest), writing a good old-fashioned letter, or opening up a Word doc and just writing it out. Thanks for just putting it in front of my face. I’ll remember this next time I reach for that box of mac and cheese.

  5. Kelly

    What an informative article! I would think that just about everyone would fall into this category in one way or another. Food equates to comfort, comfort reminds us if our moms who are our biggest comforters. I sure miss my mom, who passed away several years back. Thank you for the insightful info. Looking forward to future articles!


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