Why do I binge or emotional eat?

Do you find it hard to have a healthy eating pattern, to control your eating when you are feeling more emotional or stressed than normal? Do you suffer of digestive problems, mood swings?

Then read along!

  • I stay long hours without food, because I am busy, than I get home and eat the whole fridge out. I grab the closest the easiest and quickest food to ease my hunger
  • I can’t have sweets, biscuits, crisps, fast food, ice cream, cake or anything in the house, so I can avoid to eat them.
  • I often find myself uncomfortably full, then I feel quilt for overeating again.
  •  I eat out of emotions and not because I am hungry, like when I am stressed, sad or even when I  feel a deserve a reward after a hard week at work.
  • I can not sit anymore front of the TV and not eat and snack on anything. By the time a realize my comfort eating I finished a whole bag of crisps or a full bar of chocolate or both.
  • I consume more then the recommended amount of the treats or alcohol.
  • I feel bloated and experience digestive problems quite often.
  • My mood is changing too quickly and I often try to avoid being around people.

Any of these are familiar to you? Then you just made the first step towards a change.

Emotional eating effects both men and women. However it is more common in women. Hunger doesn’t come from our stomachs alone. It comes from our heads, too.

Let’s first see what Binge & Emotional Eating is:

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a severe, life-threatening, and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating

Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food — usually “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings instead of hunger. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. .

What can cause emotional eating?

Stress – When we are stressed our body starts to release more cortisol hormone (stress hormone). Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The result will be an increased appetite and can cause cravings for sweet, high-fat, and salty foods.

This can also lead to several health problems like type 2 diabetes, under active thyroid, poor metabolism, IBS and Obesity, Weight gain and even mood swings, anxiety or depression.

Sedentary lifestyle – We all heard exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and reduce stress. It helps with our blood circulation, cardiovascular health and to feel better about ourselves. Helps with healthy body image, self-esteem.  Exercise can help control our emotions, stress and sadness. By sitting all day or front of the TV makes us eat out of habit, comfort and not hunger.

Lack of knowledge – We do not sometimes know the difference between physical hunger or emotional hunger. We also are using negative self-talking that’s related to binge eating episodes. This can create a cycle of emotional eating

Tips and Solutions to avoid emotional or binge eating

Binge eating and emotional eating can be more serious, which sometimes even requires a professional to sort it. It is also good idea to look into our lifestyle, emotions, stress and heel ourselves from the inside out. Sort out the emotions, anxiety which can also help with emotional eating or healthy relationship with food. Take time to thing how serious your emotional or binge eating is. What is coursing it and do not be afraid to ask for help, if you feel it is out of your control.

Do not follow a diet plan.

It will only make you feel more stressed or guilty for not eating exactly what is on your paper.  Dieting simply do not work. For example your diet plan has banana to eat but you want to eat water melon. It is still full of nutrients and should not make you feel bad.  I always say: Everything in moderation. Portion control, using a smaller plate can trick our brain. You can certainly eat chocolate, just learn how to control not having the whole bar and it won’t do any harm.  We need to reprogram our mind how we think about food, so we can develop healthy relationship with it.  Food is associated with emotions, therefore we tend to think about it as a reward.

Learn the difference between Physical Hunger and emotional eating.

While physical hunger develops slowly. You desire a variety of food groups and You  will feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating. You have no negative feelings about eating but feel satisfied and good. When emotional eating comes more suddenly, You crave only certain foods. You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness. Than it will end up feeling of guilt.

Find ways to cope with stress and get moving

As mentioned above, physical activity – including moderate exercise has good effect on our health and the way we cope with stress. Walking, hiking , walking the dogs also counts and can help release symptoms of stress. However it may require more effort. Change your focus, learn about self – development, do more things which makes you feel good and find ways that can help you. Talking to someone is also very helpful and spending time with our loved ones and reducing long stressful working hours.


Others are calmed by turning inward to practices like meditation. There are a lots of studies that support mindfulness meditation as a treatment for binge eating disorder and emotional eating. Try Insight timer for guided meditation and yoga

Deep breathing is meditation that you can do almost anywhere. Sit in a quiet space and focus on your breath.

These are few ideas that can help you recognize Emotional eating and the way to treat it. If you find it really out of control, ask for help and dig deeper to find out what’s the reason of this unhealthy relationship with food or your emotions.

I hope this helps,

Alexandra xx



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