Emotional Eating : A Binge Eating Disorder - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Emotional Eating : A Binge Eating Disorder

Dr.Sheila Addanki profile Authored by Dr.Sheila Addanki on 2 Jan 2015 - 14:31.

The practice of eating large quantities of food in response to feelings or emotions, is called emotional eating or binge eating disorder. Usually one tends to take junk food when in an emotional state of negativity. This eating is due to feelings and not hunger. It is estimated by experts that emotions is the cause for 75% of overeating done.

It is a usual thinking of people that eating food brings comfort on a short term basis. This is the reason why many people eat food to heal some emotional problems. This becomes a habit and prevents from learning skills which can help resolve those emotional problems.

Some of the emotional situations which can lead to overeating or emotional eating include depression, loneliness, boredom, chronic anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, interpersonal relationship problems and poor self-esteem.

Eating more due to emotional problems can surely cause weight gain. It can be a problem if the person is suffering from diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure. Weight gain due to emotional eating can be managed by identifying the emotional problems which are triggering eating and can be substituted with appropriate techniques.

Identifying emotional triggers:

Emotional situations which usually trigger the people to eat can be divided into following categories:

  • Social: Eating when other people are around. This can be seen when other people encourage the person to eat or eating in competition with other people.
  • Emotional: This type of eating is done to heal the emotional distress. This is seen in emotional problems like stress, boredom, fatigue, depression, tension, anger, anxiety and loneliness.
  • Situational: This type of eating is done when an opportunity to eat is there, like eating excess at a restaurant, eating while watching television, eating while watching movies at a theatre etc.
  • Thoughts: Negative thinking can make people eat more.
  • Physiological: This type of eating is done in response to physical changes in the body. This is seen when the apetite is increased due to skipping meals or eating to relieve headache.

In order to identify the emotional eating cause, one must maintain a food dairy and record what is eaten and when it is eaten. This can help to identify the emotions which are responsible for overeating.

Tips to stop emotional eating:

  • Manage stress: If stress is the cause of one’s emotional eating, then it can be managed by some techniques like meditation, yoga and relaxation.
  • Check hunger cause: The cause for hunger should be checked whether it is physical or emotional. If the person has eaten just a few hours ago and still feeling hungry, then it is an emotional cause and can be managed by letting the time pass and eating on proper time.
  • Maintain a food dairy: Maintaining a food dairy helps to see the patterns of one’s eating and establish a connection between mood and food.
  • Support: Lack of good support from family and friends can trigger a person to eat more. This can be solved only by getting support from family and friends.
  • Fighting boredom: Eating to fight boredom leads to overeating and can be tackled by adapting to other activities such as going on a walk, watching a movie, playing with pets, listening to music, reading books, surfing on internet to fight boredom.




*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.