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The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management, a program of the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management – teaching you the psychological and emotional skills you need to keep the weight off forever!

Emotional Eating

  1. What is emotional eating?

When we eat in response to an emotion – rather than because we’re hungry – that’s emotional eating.

    2. Is it necessarily a problem?

Most people engage in some emotional eating from time to time. Sometimes we do it in small ways, like treating ourselves to ice-cream after a stressful day. A little bit of occasional stress eating isn’t necessarily harmful, but it will become harmful if any of the following applies:

  • It has become a habit – we are doing it on a regular basis
  • We do it mindlessly rather than consciously and mindfully
  • It’s our main (or only) strategy for calming and soothing ourselves, and for dealing with our feelings
  • Our portion sizes are out of control – and we’re not even thinking about portion size!
  • We are not planning for it and building it into our meal plan for the day

These are the circumstances under which it becomes a problem, leading to weight gain or preventing us from losing the weight we want to lose.

    3. How can I tell if I’m an emotional eater?

        Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I eat when I’m not hungry – or even when I’m already full?
  • Do I regularly eat until I’m feeling “stuffed”?
  • Do I eat more than usual when I’m feeling stressed?
  • Do I eat to make myself feel better – to calm and soothe myself when I’m feeling anxious, angry, sad, bored, afraid, ashamed….?
  • Do I reward myself with food?
  • Do I crave specific foods?
  • Do I feel out of control around food?
  • Do I consistently eat things I don’t even like, just to feel “full”?
  • Do I eat mindlessly and mechanically, without really tasting my food?
  • Do I feel guilty, ashamed or regretful after eating?

I’ll be discussing emotional eating much more in future posts.

Dr Susan Albers, author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food, recommends using soothing affirmations and encouraging words to cope with emotional eating urges.

Here are a few that she recommends:

~~ Eating won’t resolve this problem.

~~ I can do this. It just takes time.

~~ I deserve respect. When I take care of my body, I’m respecting myself.

~~ I enjoy being healthy.

~~ I’m on the road to feeling calmer.

Here are some others that I also like:

~~ My health is my wealth.

~~ I love myself, I take care of my body, my body will take care of me.

~~ Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one – Astrid Alauda

With your continued health in mind,

Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.

Director, The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management

Creator, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management

The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh™ is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.