What Is Emotional Eating and How Can You Overcome It?

At some time in their lives, 20 million women and 10 million men in the U.S. will experience a clinically significant eating disorder.

Do you eat when you’re stressed? Do eat to reward yourself? Do you eat when your heart breaks?

You may use emotional eating as a primary coping strategy. This is classified as one type of eating disorder.

Would you like to find healthier ways to manage life’s ups and downs?

Find out If You Are Engaged in Emotional Eating

Emotional eating provides soothing and comforting feelings. Negative emotions occur with major life events or with day-to-day stresses. Answer these questions to see if you may eat in response to emotions.

  • Do you often have the sudden feeling that you are VERY hungry?
  • Do you crave unhealthy, junk food over healthy alternatives?
  • Do you eat when you’re bored?
  • Do you eat when you’re sad?
  • Do you eat when you are angry?
  • Do you feel out of control while eating?
  • Do you feel guilty after you finish eating?

If you answered, “yes”, to many of these questions, you may want to examine your eating patterns further. Do these habits interfere with weight loss goals? If so, it may be helpful to talk with your healthcare provider.

How Are Emotional Eating Disorders Diagnosed and Treated?

The first step includes a physical examination and blood work to check for genetic or other medical problems. A mental health check often involves completing a standardized questionnaire or self-test. These assessments and tests help your practitioner develop a comprehensive picture of your mental and physical health.

If you have an emotional eating disorder, your practitioner will develop a plan of care with you. Treatment may include the following:

  • Learning a different way to view the role of food in your life
  • Working on healthier eating habits
  • Learning what triggers your unhealthy desire for food
  • Learn new ways to prevent and decrease stress in your life
  • Develop a physical fitness routine to help decrease depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping
  • Practice meditation and relaxation techniques
  • Avoid recreational drug use and limit alcohol as these may increase your body’s stress response
  • Participate in counseling to learn healthier ways to recognize and respond to stress
  • Medications may help with psychiatric problems, such as depression and PTSD
  • Overeaters’ Anonymous is a self-help group that can provide support and education
  • Nutritionists and Dieticians help with developing healthy meal plans

Weight Loss Programs in Today’s Market

Over the years, many different weight loss plans have come in and out of vogue. Consumers have a wide range of plans from which to select.

  • Bistro MD
  • Diet to Go
  • Jenny Craig
  • Mayo Clinic Diet
  • Medifast
  • Noom
  • Nutrisystems®
  • South Beach Diet
  • Weight Watchers®

How can you choose one that best suits you? Start by looking for reviews of about different weight loss programs. After you have read review after review, you will gain a broad knowledge base to make the best choice.

Learn More About Emotional Eating and Healthy Eating Programs

If you are having trouble reaching or maintaining a healthy body weight, re-evaluate your current approach.  There may be other factors hindering your progress.  Ask your healthcare provider for help.

Read more great articles about children’s, women’s, and men’s health by visiting our site. For more information about emotional eating and healthy eating programs, visit our website today!