7 Signs You’re an Emotional Eater


Your boss was a bear today and you are buried under work that will take you days to finish. All you can think about is getting home and chilling out with a pizza and some beer. Or maybe you and your husband had a nasty argument. You both said hurtful things in anger. You’ve had time to calm down and think it over. Now the tears are flowing and that bowl of ice cream is so soothing.

We all soothe ourselves occasionally with food; that’s why it’s called comfort food. Although food’s main purpose is to provide nutrition to our bodies, at a very young age, we learn that food can make us feel better.

Read about Motivation to Eat Healthy

But when we start using food as the sole comforter, rather than other healthier techniques or strategies, weight gain can be the result as emotional eater. The following 7 signs will help you to identify if you are eating in response to emotional hunger, rather than physical hunger:

  • The hunger comes on suddenly
  • You feel it above the neck (mouth hunger)
  • Unrelated to mealtime- you may have eaten your last meal an hour before
  • You crave specific foods, especially comfort foods like ice cream, cookies or pizza. Carrots or an apple just won’t do
  • It’s tough to fill up
  • Even if you overeat, you don’t feel satisfied
  • You often have feelings of shame or guilt after eating

To contrast true physical hunger that fuels our body with nourishing food:

  • The hunger comes on gradually
  • You feel it below the neck (belly hunger)
  • Occurs several hours after your last meal
  • Can be satisfied with an apple, carrot or any number of foods
  • You stop eating when you are full
  • You feel satisfied after eating
  • Does not leave you feeling guilty or ashamed

So where do you fall in your eating response? Are you an emotional eater or do you eat to fuel your body? Life comes at us every day with all of its demands, so having a toolbox of self-soothing techniques is important to our health. How do you soothe yourself and relax?

Tag: Emotional Eater

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