Are you on a diet roller coaster and you’re never able to get off? Have you been trying to lose weight, but after losing it soon find yourself adding the pounds back on? Chances are you’re suffering from emotional eating problems. Emotional Eating Emotional eating happens when you eat in response to feelings instead of hunger. According to, “experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is caused by emotions.” A variety of things may trigger you to overeat. Some examples are stress, anger management, anxiety, boredom, loneliness or low self-esteem. In order to identify what triggers your overeating, it may be helpful to keep a food diary of what you eat, when you eat, and what you’re feeling or thinking as you eat it. Once you identify what triggers your overeating you can develop strategies to deal with it. Strategies One strategy is to develop a list of activities you can do whenever you catch yourself reaching for food you don’t really need. Some suggestions are:

  • going for a walk
  • doing deep breathing exercises
  • playing cards
  • doing housework
  • starting a hobby
  • calling a friend
  • reading a book

Choose activities you find pleasurable so they’ll provide enough distraction to quell your urge to eat. Here are some other strategies for dealing with emotional eating: Manage stress A good way to manage stress is by starting an exercise program or taking up yoga. Meditation is also an effective stress reducer. Practice mindful eating When you eat to provide a distraction for yourself, you often don’t pay attention to what you’re eating. This causes you to make unhealthy food choices and eat without enjoyment. Learn to be present with your food and you’ll feel more satisfied after eating. Reward yourself Don’t deprive yourself of all the high calorie foods you love. Reward yourself with occasional treats. Overzealous dieting while trying to lose weight can backfire and cause you to crave high-calorie foods more. Seeking Help Maybe you’ve tried these strategies, but nothing seems to work. You can’t seem to break your habits and your emotions are too complex for you to unravel on your own. This is when you should call for help. A skilled therapist can help you explore the reasons for your emotional eating and why you may be using food as a coping skill to manage feelings such as sadness or stress. A therapist can provide you with needed support and feedback and educate you on how to reduce stress and build your self-esteem. The two of you can work together to develop a behavioral plan that changes the habits that led to your weight gain. Don’t suffer on your own trying to lose weight any longer. Please contact us for help.