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What exactly is Emotional Eating?

Mar 14, 2023

Everyone thinks that emotional eating is eating bad food when you sad. Yes, this is a form of emotional eating but emotional eating comes in many other forms.


The role of food in our lives

Now for most of you reading this blog, the primal need to avoid starvation is not something that we consciously focus on. Most of us eat for a plethora of reasons other than hunger. Much of our modern society is built around eating - when we celebrate birthdays we eat, when we spend time with friends we eat - eating and food have many more roles in our lives than that of keeping us alive.


What is emotional eating?


Besides event-based eating, we have  emotional needs that we often satisfy by eating. The dictionary definition of emotional eating is,  “using food to make yourself feel better – eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger.” And these needs  can be vast – some people eat out of boredom, anger, reward, guilt, happiness. The list goes on. I always say to my clients that emotional eating is eating something that isn’t intended to nourish our bodies – its intended to boost or dampen an emotion that we are feeling.


Why is emotional eating bad?


Emotional eating is very often the cause of weight gain in people who try to follow generic type diets or eating plans. Emotional eating can lead to an excessive amount of calories being eaten in a short space of time, which can put severe pressure on vital organs like the liver and colon.  .




My job is to help people understand what emotions make them eat poorly and then how to manage the emotion that in turn manages the eating behavior. The next time you eat something you know won’t nourish your body, try and identify what emotion you are eating from, this is a powerful lesson in conscious eating and self observation.

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