Wellness Coaching Advice for a healthy life

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

Feet on a scale


Hi, my name is Candice and I’m an emotional eater.  I have struggled with this condition for nearly 25 years of my life.  It took me a few years to realize that something was wrong when I started gaining more and more.  It took me a few months of self awareness to find the triggers.  I am by nature an emotional person.  I used to skip meals when stressed or upset by someone or something but now I eat too much.  Currently I am stressing over finances, losing sleep and eating a whole box of organic macaroni and cheese for lunch.  Trust me, I have work a 9-5 job for 10+ years in my current career working with the public and each time I got stressed or pissed off over something that I have no control over, I  eat donuts and chocolate.

The new Stressbuster you don’t know about

Emotional eating is a disorder that millions suffer from, men, women, children, and elderly.  Stress in the number one key factor that drives us to these poor health decisions.  The horrible thing is that some of us, like me, know better.  We may have the education in the field of nutrition, nursing, healthcare etc and still let our emotions drives us to immediate satisfaction.  The pursuit of happiness chasing the almighty dollar is running us ragged.  Some people may work several jobs just to get by and therefor are not only stressed but time restricted.  The key to understanding emotional eating is to observe your emotional state of mind when you go for the food.  Believe it or not, eating food is quite psychological.   Are you eating because you are bored, sad, mad, happy, depressed or anxious?  We don’t always realize it when it’s happening, all we know in the moment is we want cake or whatever it is that you crave.  It is not easy but you are not alone.  The APA reported in 2013, “Thirty-three percent of adults who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say they do so because it helps distract them from stress.”


Triple scoop ice cream


Losing weight is not only about dieting and exercise or taking a “magic” pill that melts off the stubborn fat. Diets don’t work because they rely on restriction.  Cutting calories is not the healthy way to get to your goal.  Learning to transform your unhealthy behaviors into healthy ones take time.  If you don’t know the reasons why you over eat, you can ask a friend to help.  Some questions  you may want to think about to help you out are:

  1. Will this solve my problems?
  2. Will I feel better or worse?
  3. What does this prove?
  4. Is my health worth the risk?
  5. Am I in the best shape?
  6. What sense does it make to eat this and suffer because that person made me mad, sad, depressed, hurt etc?

One of the goals should be to find an outlet to our emotions.  A healthy way to deal with it.  We can’t change other people’s behavior but we can change how we react to them and harming ourselves doesn’t work.  I have a saying on my desk at work that says “Nobody makes you angry, you choose anger as a response”, this resonates with me and maybe it will resonate with some of you.  Stress is everywhere but we can manage how we deal with it, try meditation, yoga, or tai chi.  Create healthy habits to replace the old unhealthy habits one step at a time.  Click on the link below to start your yoga practice today!

YogaDownload.com – Stream at home, and Download when you’re on the go!

People performing tai chi

If you are ready to lose weight and keep it off for the long run then you need to figure out the root cause of your eating habits and weight gain.  I understand that there are genetic conditions that affect our weight fluctuation.  I also understand that certain medications we take affect our weight.  My goal is optimizing your health to create a better quality of life for you.





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20 thoughts on “How to Overcome Emotional Eating”

  • Yes, You are right. I eat a lot during my work due to stress and emotional pressure. I will just open the fridge and keep consuming the ready chocolate.

    I know this is not healthy but somehow I just can’t get rid of it this habit.

    Now I am trying to slow down the consumption in order to lose weight and moving forward better healthy life.

    • Our bodies cravings are usually a good indicator that we are low in a vitamin or mineral. When we crave chocolate, we really need magnesium. Try replacing the chocolate with almonds. Not all chocolate is created equal, a small amount of dark chocolate will give you the magnesium you need and satisfy the sweet tooth. If you prefer eating greens as a snack, that is great, add some avocado to the salad with either spinach leaves or swiss chard (has a peppery flavor).

  • This is an interesting way to think about weight loss and I don’t think it gets talked about or credited enough. I believe and I honesty think everybody stress eats from time to time.

    I think understanding how we truly feel when we “think” we’re hungry is key and could be a turning point for most people on their journey as it makes managing your diet easier, for example if you’re bored during work instead of grabbing a muffin from the canteen go talk to a friend for 5 minutes.

  • Good post on curbing ones eating. Many years ago I was told the same thing. Now when I want to lose weight I change the time I am eating, meaning I eat every 21/2 – 3 hours. I also eat smaller portions. I also try to be happy when I get ready to eat.

  • Great post Candice. Being a personal trainer I find that emotional eating is the biggest problem people have when trying to lose weight. They get so frustrated because they’ll put in a great effort during their workouts only to spoil it by succumbing to their cravings. Once this is sorted though (by working on the mental side of things like you mention), that’s when they see the big changes in not only their weight but also their mood and energy levels.

    • Thank you Darren, this means a lot. I’ve had a personal trainer and enjoyed the strength I gained along with the confidence. If only I knew then what I know now, my success would have soared.

  • I’m an emotional eater and it’s so hard to control, I know it’s from stress due to being self-employed. And construction has its ups and downs put a financial stress on me as well. Very interesting way to weight loss, Great post, thank you

    • Same boat Darin. Stress is a big killer and we have control over it. Our ego self is the part of our brain that says negative things and drives our stress higher, you can tell it to go away and focus on breath. I have been so stressed lately that I wanted to do more than eat but found my self going to bed earlier for extra rest. Glad you like the post, thanks for the comment.

  • I can so relate to this article. I have now formed a habit of mindless eating at home. I can just eat a whole block of chocolate without even noticing I’m doing it.

    Thanks for providing this information, I will try to implement some of your tips.

    • I’m glad you like the article. I am an emotional eater and sometimes it’s a struggle. One day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. Keep positive my friend. Let me know what works for you.

  • This was a great read. I have had problems like this in the past, and what you said about stress relief through meditation and changing your own reaction to how other people treat you (good or bad) really resonated with me.

    Doing meditation and adopting this mindset was what really changed things for the better for me. So to anyone reading this, I want to emphasize what Candice wrote here is some powerful stuff!

    • Marcus, Thank you so very much.  I am glad that I can reach people.  I wouldn’t suggest something that doesn’t work and that I haven’t done myself.  Many people may hear it’s good but until they try, they won’t understand the effects of meditation or yoga.  I really believe in finding the root cause of a problem instead of masking it.

  • Candice great article! I am so guilty of emotionally eating when I am stressed. I know it can be hard to control those cravings when they kicked in. Besides using meditation or yoga to deal with emotional eating, what other methods can you recommend to curb cravings and overcome emotional eating?

    • Thanks Sara.  I fight with this daily sometimes.  I have chosen to stop stressing over a few things that had such a grip on me for years and I accept what will happen.  As far as curbing cravings, is it salty foods, sugary foods or other?  Drinking more tea with honey works for me, fills me up for awhile.  Some cravings show up due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency.  Try a multi vitamin made from whole foods, most multi vitamins have a lot of fillers so look at the label.  Be sure to drink plenty of water, try lemon water to replenish the electrolytes.  Give it a try and let me know.

  • Hi Candice,
    Good on you for being so open and honest with your readers about your personal challenges. Congratulations to you for being the lightest you have been in 6 years.
    I really like how you are sharing your knowledge with others. Well done to you and all that you do.
    Good luck to you and your daughter and husband.

    • Thank you so much.  I know it’s not an easy topic to talk about or face but it is important.  I struggle daily and I may always but the pointers help out.

  • You have hit the nail on the head, Candice. There is a thing called emotional eating and it’s a massive problem for 90% of us . Liked it when you said that we must be aware of our emotional state when we “run” for that food fix !
    Emotional education should be a fibre which runs through the fabric of all school programs in my opinion.

    • Thank you so much Roy.  I deal with it everyday and I feel alone but I know I’m not.  One of the biggest obsticles is realizing it.  Most people don’t understand why but they have to look inside themselves and be their own psychologist. 

  • Great post, Candice!

    Emotional eating is such a common problem these days, especially as the cost of living and rate of unemployment are increasing and people are facing many problems at work and in their personal lives.

    I admire your openness regarding the way you dealt with emotional eating. Indeed, emotional eaters need to identify their relationship with food and how this can help them to solve the problems stirring their emotions in their first place.

    As you may already know, some emotional eaters justify their need to eat food. Some give excuses such as deserving food because they had a good a bad day. Do you have any advice/recommendation for friends and relatives who have to deal with emotional eaters who always have an excuse to justify their need to eat?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Thank you for the comment. I would advise facing that person with the truth and be there for them. Show them that you support them emotionally but will not help them feed themselves to death. It’s a harsh reality and a bitter pill to swallow but food can kill and so can toxic emotions. I’ve done this same thing with having a bad day so i’ll eat cake, it is like an alcholic drinking to “solve” thier problems. The food or drink does not fix the problem, it is still there and maybe worse in the morning. I understand it’s easier said then done when people say “let it go” but it’s true, it’s over and in the past. Emotional eaters think they are fooling the people around them but excuses are a defensive mechanism. They often don’t want to face the truth. Fear is another emotion I will add to this. What is the person really afraid of ?

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