Battling Emotional Eating and 5 Ways To Gain Control

Getting fit can be a challenge for people who struggle with emotional eating.

Coming from me, someone who struggles with this currently, it’s really hard to fight it some times.

I wasn’t always an emotional eater though.

Actually, growing up I usually would eat maybe once or twice a day on average, and I’d be fine.

For me it started in college.

During that time I had gotten really depressed, and  eventually after trying other terrible methods of coping I ran to food. That was around the time I started gaining weight too.

Even now I still go through phases quite often, maybe once a week, where I feel the urge to eat because I get sad. 

And honestly, I also like to eat when I’m happy, so really for me any kind of emotion can trigger it.

Sometimes I can fight it, sometimes I can’t. 

Now, this isn’t an uncommon issue.

Many people struggle with this for different reasons, including trauma, financial issues, and stress.

According to the American Psychological Association 32% of adults stated that they engaged in unhealthy eating habits due to stress.

 About half of these people also stated that afterwards they felt guilty about it.

Emotional eating can be a vicious cycle which includes feeling guilty, then eating because you’re upset, and repeating. 

I can definitely relate to that myself.

depression and anxiety

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love watching My 600 Pound Life. Lol

The thing that stands out in the show is that most of the people on that show say that they got to their current size from emotional eating.

They dealt with some kind of traumatic experience and food was what they turned to.

I never shame anyone for the way they deal with their emotions because life is fucking hard, but for people like us in fitness we have to find another way. 

If you’re trying to lose weight while binge eating constantly or at random times due to your emotions, your progress can be stunted.

Trust me, I’ve currently been In the same place because of this, and have not made any new progress for the past 4 months, and I hate it. 

It’s very important for us to recognize what our triggers are as soon as possible, and find ways to work towards getting better. 

I know you don’t want to be stuck in the same place for too long, so let’s go over some things you can try to improve In this area so you can reach your fitness goals.

gain control of your emotional eating

Find Another Coping Mechanism

There are other things that you can do in place of eating when you get overwhelmed. 

I don’t know what you like, but you do, so think about the things that make you happy. 

Do those things when you start feeling urges to eat. 

You could try exercising  if that’s relaxing for you, painting, meditating, or even going for a walk in the park. 

Whatever it is, the more you enjoy it the more likely you won’t fall victim to eating during that time.

Talk To Someone Or Write

If you have someone you trust it may help if you talk out your feelings with them. 

Maybe a close friend or a family member.

You could also try going to therapy once or a few times a week.

Another thing you can do is get a journal and write when you get upset.

Write how you feel, and why you feel that way and anything else just to get it all out.

This can be good if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your business with others.

Keep Yourself Occupied

For some people they simply eat because of boredom. 

Others eat because when they aren’t doing anything their thoughts go crazy, and they’re reminded of all the things that aren’t right in there lives, and that makes them emotional.

If that’s you try to keep yourself occupied.

This doesn’t have to be with busy work though.

I personally would recommend it be something that you enjoy doing.

Eat Healthier Snacks

Now who the hell wants to eat carrots when they’re sad?

Not me lol

never have, never will!

But really though, if you try to find healthier snacks to binge eat you won’t feel as guilty, and you won’t take in as many calories as if you ate a whole pan of brownies. lol

So if you have some healthy snacks that you really love keep those on hand for when you get those urges to eat, or do some research and find some healthy snacks you might like.

Try not to take this out of context, and also don’t only use this way, because technically this isn’t changing your bad habit,

But when push comes to shove this would be better than eating junk.

Eat More Frequently Throughout The Day

Lots of fitness professionals recommend eating 5-6x a day when trying to lose weight. 

That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2-3 snacks.

If you make sure that you are staying on top of your diet, and eating your meals every few hours it may help you not feel the urge to eat if things go left that day.

Your stomach will still be full and satisfied, so it’s possible that you won’t have an appetite, which in turn could stop you from bingeing. 

Check out this video from Dr. Joey on emotional eating.

I’m not gonna lie to you and say that I do these things every time I get emotional.

I don’t

I am human.

You are human.

We slip up sometimes.

That’s okay.

We have the ability to decide to change and be better, though.

Emotional eating can really fuck your fitness journey up if you don’t get a handle on it, so work on it everyday if you have to.

If you get to a point where you just don’t know what to do and nothing is working, reach out to me using my contact page, or reach out to National Eating Disorders. They have a Helpline – (800) 931-2237 – that you can call or if you prefer to chat visit their website here.

Also check out these great articles!

Emotional Eating and How to Stop It

Weight loss: Gain control of emotional eating

monday motivation and fit Friday



January 20, 2021 at 5:48 pm

I’m so guilty of this!!!!!! Thanks for the tips

February 18, 2021 at 11:34 pm

Hi Eish, thanks for sharing your article. Emotional Eating is called emotional eating because the root cause is emotional here, meaning we have an unfilled void in us which we do not understand completely and instead of filling it appropriately, we take to food and try to fill it with eating. The cure is simple but needs realization and requires effort on the individual’s part.

    February 23, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Dr. Shazia! Thank you for that information! It’s something I have struggled with for years, but I didn’t quite realize it until recently.

      February 24, 2021 at 6:53 pm

      Yes, it can be challenging especially with the social distancing that has become a new norm. I am so glad you have won the battle. Emotional eating is one of the areas that I help my patients/clients to overcome.

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