Lesson 7.2: Are Your Emotions Dictating What You Are Eating?

Food is often linked to an emotional experience. If you can identify and understand your emotion, you can break the link with food. Emotional eating is sometimes also called “stress eating”. It means that your emotions, not your body, dictate when, what and how much you eat.

Man eating lemon

Some people binge and overeat when they are sad or anxious. For others, turning to food can be a way of avoiding thinking about problems or avoiding confrontation. Why do we do this? For most of us, food is not just a form of nourishment but it also offers us comfort. Unfortunately, it is the least healthy foods such as ones which are highly processed, high in sugar, salt, fat and carbohydrates that offer us the most comfort. If we reached for vegetables in times of emotional need, stress eating would not be such a problem. But how many of us turn to celery sticks when we are feeling down, stressed, angry or anxious?


Some people when they are affected by their emotions may be “grazers” meaning that they just continually eat over a long period of time until that emotion disappears or is addressed. Binge eating is another form of emotional eating and can be defined as eating a large amount of food, in a short space of time and feeling out of control. The amount eaten and the time taken is considered to be outside of what most people would say is normal. When this is severe and happens on a regular basis, medical help from a doctor or psychiatrist may be needed.

Cake Pacman

Please do the quiz to explore your relationship with food and your emotions

Back to: Redefine™ CBT Weight Loss Program > Module 7: Tackling Emotional Eating and Binge Eating