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Why do we use emotional eating as a coping mechanism?

Emotional eating has been a part of my life since I can remember.

It is a relatively common issue among women of all ages, so don't you dare sit there and think you're alone in this.

Emotional eating can cause lots of problems, ranging from weight gain to psychological distress.

Despite this, many continue to engage in emotional eating because it provides them with some solace from their deeper emotional issues. Emotional eating might not be the healthiest coping mechanism, but for many, it seems to be quite effective.

There are a few reasons that emotional eating can be seen as a coping tool.

Eating can elevate your mood

Eating certain types of food can trigger a response in your brain and body that leads to a temporary improvement of mood. This is especially true for sugary treats or high-carb foods. Sugar is well-known for its mood-enhancing properties (which are so powerful, in fact, that some researchers have likened it to a drug rather than a food supplement!).

Unfortunately, sugary foods are just as well-known for the depressive crash that occurs afterward. This can make you feel even worse than you did before, which can lead to more binge eating.

Eating offers an escape

If you’re dealing with stress, a difficult relationship, or unhappiness, food can offer you a temporary escape from your problems. Food that tastes good can provide a distraction that allows you to avoid dealing with your issues for a little while.

Mistaking emotional hunger for regular hunger

Emotional hunger can feel similar to regular hunger. It feels like an emptiness, a void, in the same region as your stomach. It’s easy enough to mistake this feeling for regular hunger, but unfortunately, emotional hunger can’t be satiated with food.

Eating alleviates boredom

Some people enjoy binge eating simply because they have too much free time on their hands. Boredom is the bane of existence, and many find that it’s easy to fall into addictive behaviors like binge eating when you have nothing to do.

If this is the case, try to find some new hobbies and activities that bring you enjoyment. Start hiking, take up a new art form, start playing music - anything that gives you the same sort of dopamine rush that you can get from food.

Eating provides comfort

If you find yourself uncomfortable, for whatever reason, you may seek solace in food. Your favourite foods don’t change - you can always rely on them for comfort and support when you’re having a bad day.

There are lots of reasons that you might use emotional eating as a coping mechanism.

Unfortunately, it’s not a very sustainable one. More often than not, you’ll feel even more guilty or ashamed after you’ve finished your binge eating.

The most sustainable way to approach this issue is to figure out what emotional issue you’re trying to cope with. I know it can be difficult to pin point these, perhaps the above has triggered a light bulb for you?

Try and develop some healthier coping mechanisms and you’ll find that you’re no longer drawn to emotional eating. But the key is to find out your triggers first.

If you need help with this, please reach out in the support group and make sure you use the Emotional Eating guided meditations.


Top tips? ❤️

Have you got any extra top tips that you have found helpful? Share your secrets below and let's all help each other!

Or just drop me a comment and let me know what you thought of this.

Rosie ❤️


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