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Put a Check on Emotional Eating

The holidays are often stressful. Plus, sweet treats and rich foods come with the holiday season. This combination can really challenge the emotional eater, who reaches for food in emotionally charged times of need. The Mayo Clinic has created a list of tips for gaining control of your eating habits and here are highlights.


  • Know your triggers. For the next several days, write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal negative eating patterns and triggers to avoid.
  • Look elsewhere for comfort. Instead of unwrapping a candy bar, take a walk, treat yourself to a movie, listen to music, read or call a friend. If you think that stress relating to a particular event is nudging you toward the refrigerator, try talking to someone about it to distract yourself. Plan enjoyable events for yourself.

There are a few more tips so just read more

  • Don't keep unhealthy foods around. Avoid having an abundance of high-calorie comfort foods in the house. If you feel hungry or blue, postpone the shopping trip for a few hours so that these feelings don't influence your decisions at the store.

  • Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie food, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with fat-free dip or unbuttered popcorn. Or test low-fat, lower calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
  • Eat a balanced diet. If you're not getting enough calories to meet your energy needs, you may be more likely to give in to emotional eating. Try to eat at fairly regular times and don't skip breakfast. Include foods from the basic groups in your meals. Emphasize whole grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as low-fat dairy products and lean protein sources. When you fill up on the basics, you're more likely to feel fuller, longer.
  • Exercise regularly and get adequate rest. Your mood is more manageable and your body can more effectively fight stress when it's fit and well rested.
  • Fit's Tip: Most importantly, if you happen to give into temptation, don't beat yourself up about your slip. Try to learn from your mistakes and figure out a plan to deal with similar situations in the future.

amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 6 years
I am such a terrible eater! I frequently eat when understress. I will have to try new things. Movie/tv watching makes me hungry too - whenever I see someone eating I can't help but want to eat whatever it is they are eating.
onesong onesong 6 years
Also remember that if your body is craving something repeatedly for a long period of time (I usually give it a full day or two), you're probably needing a nutrient in that food. I'm not saying give into emotional eating, but pay attention to what it is you want and then look at your diet to see what's lacking. I always know when I've cut my fat levels too low--I start craving cheeseburgers like nobody's business. Luckily, I've realized this so I can satisfy my fat cravings with other, healthier options.
MyFairLady1203 MyFairLady1203 6 years
I used to be an emotional eater, but ever since I started exercising regularly, getting at least eight hours of sleep a night, never skipping breakfast, and eating all my meals at designated times, I havn't had any over eating spells. Most of the things I mentioned are on this list as well, so if this is somthing you struggle with, I suggest taking FitSugar's advice on the matter.
emalove emalove 6 years
I am so not an emotional eater. I've never associated my moods with food. If anything, stress and anxiety make me NOT want to eat.
MsWalton MsWalton 6 years
I know that I'm guilty of eating when I'm bored. So, I now drink water, or surf the web. Keeps me occupied.
puddinpie puddinpie 6 years
^missyd: If you're 5'8", 130 lbs. probably looks pretty perfect on you. =) If you were 120 lb., your BMI would classify you as underweight. If you're on such a strict diet and nothing's coming off, it might just be that your body is saying it's happy at this weight and unable to lose more. You might be killing your metabolism by only eating such low-calorie foods as well.
missyd missyd 6 years
Hey jkat how tall are you? Nah, I'm not a bodybuilder or anything by any means. I'm just having so much trouble shaking the last 10. I'm 5'8, btw. I tried strictly fruits and veggies for 3 days, then adding some protein in the mix, then eventually whole grains (but VERY little). Nothing is working. So I was thinking I was overdoing it on things like grapes, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, etc.
missyd missyd 6 years
Hey jkat how tall are you?Nah, I'm not a bodybuilder or anything by any means. I'm just having so much trouble shaking the last 10. I'm 5'8, btw. I tried strictly fruits and veggies for 3 days, then adding some protein in the mix, then eventually whole grains (but VERY little). Nothing is working. So I was thinking I was overdoing it on things like grapes, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, etc.
Ainsleec04 Ainsleec04 6 years
When I'm sad/stressed I lose my appetite but when I'm anxious/stressed (mid terms, hoiday preparations, etc.) I definately get the urge to steal away with some comfort food. I gained 30 pounds my first two years of college giving into these urges! I've lost most of it by trying to do something productive for 20-30 minutes when I feel overwhelmed and just want a bowl of mashed potatoes and the TV. I either work out a little or fold some laundry, unload the dishwasher, etc. And when I still feel totally frazzled I have a little glass of red wine instead of junk food. Its much lower in calories than half a box of cookies and has some health benefits- and it feels like an indulgence! I'm not suggesting the use of alcohol to calm your nerves, but every once in a while its okay to give into temptation :)
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 6 years
I have a few things to say about overeating (which is my NUMBER ONE problem that's keeping me from reaching my goals).1. My triggers tend to change all the time. I eat when I'm excited and happy with friends, I eat when I'm sad/depressed, I eat when I'm stressed. So I feel I eat for every emotion/event/situation in my life.2. Look elsewhere for comfort is easy for me. I dance. I've danced since I was tiny. I love music. I love yoga, but all these things don't work. I just end up eating AFTER going to my comfort place.3. Keeping unhealthy food around is just impossible because my family has snacks around like cookies and chips. The problem with this is that they want to have those things around (since they can control themselves), and think I should be able to control myself too. I can't though. 4. I do all the other things as well, it's just the overeating always gets me in trouble. (When I overeat, I usually end up eating like two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at like 8 at night, then go to sleep at 9). I tend to over do it at restaurants when I'm with friends. When I'm with family or my boyfriend I don't overeat, it's just with friends..hmmm...It's sooo frustrating.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 6 years
I have a few things to say about overeating (which is my NUMBER ONE problem that's keeping me from reaching my goals). 1. My triggers tend to change all the time. I eat when I'm excited and happy with friends, I eat when I'm sad/depressed, I eat when I'm stressed. So I feel I eat for every emotion/event/situation in my life. 2. Look elsewhere for comfort is easy for me. I dance. I've danced since I was tiny. I love music. I love yoga, but all these things don't work. I just end up eating AFTER going to my comfort place. 3. Keeping unhealthy food around is just impossible because my family has snacks around like cookies and chips. The problem with this is that they want to have those things around (since they can control themselves), and think I should be able to control myself too. I can't though. 4. I do all the other things as well, it's just the overeating always gets me in trouble. (When I overeat, I usually end up eating like two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at like 8 at night, then go to sleep at 9). I tend to over do it at restaurants when I'm with friends. When I'm with family or my boyfriend I don't overeat, it's just with friends..hmmm... It's sooo frustrating.
jkat jkat 6 years
I realized I eat to de-stress. I am always "good" during the day, but when I come home from work, all I want to do is be "bad" and eat a treat food. I attribute this to law school when at times the only breaks I was taking from studying (like the month before finals and the summer before the bar) was to eat and sleep. Eating became my relaxation time. Now I have a hard time relaxing without munching. I am really working to break this habit as I too am trying to get from 130 to 120!
MlleMLT MlleMLT 6 years
missyd, fruit is almost all sugar but it is stillr elatively low in calories, so unless you are a bodybuilder or osmething and need to get from 10% bofyfat to 6%, it probably isn't going to make much of a difference. You are most likely just eating more calories than your body uses. Or 130 is a good weight for you and maybe you don't need to lose 10 more pounds.
Marlovestar Marlovestar 6 years
Fruit is def high in sugar. But it's natural our bodies need it. Just substitute some of your fruit with veggies instead and eat whole fruits not juice. The actual fruit is filled with fiber and helps fill you up!
missyd missyd 6 years
Hey is it true that fruit is full of sugar and can make you gain weight if you eat too much of it? I always thought fruit was like a "free food" kind of thing but maybe I am wrong...and maybe that's why I cant get down to 120 from 130 :-p
aimeeb aimeeb 6 years
When I'm upset I just don't eat...
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