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Emotional Eating: Feeding Your Feelings


It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you.

Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, an emotion will trigger eating.

There are several differences between physical and emotional hunger. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly; physical hunger occurs gradually. Emotional hunger usually feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly, and is often a craving for a particular food, while physical hunger can wait.

How to recognize emotional eating?

  • Preoccupation with food

  • Depressed mood

  • Concerned about body image

  • Difficulty identifying feelings and needs

  • Binge eating

  • Isolating

  • Experiencing difficulty in social situations

  • Disconnection from signals of hunger/satiety

  • Constant dieting or yo yo dieting

Emotional eating is not about food. What to eat or not to eat. Most of us know how to eat healthy meals. It’s about feelings. It’s about coping with life’s challenges by not using food for comfort. Instead of attempting to try another diet program, change your focus. Look within. You can overcome your addiction and preoccupation with food. Learning to process your feelings is the first step in recovery. You can start by journaling. Keeping a diary will help you explore the motivation underlying the emotional eating behavior.

At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we have a team of licensed professionals who can help with issues such as over-eating, weight, self esteem and addictions. We will help you identify your emotional triggers. We are available day, evening and weekend hours. Visit or call 908-322-0112.

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