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What Everyone Needs to Know about Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is a coping mechanism where one will eat as a way to contain or relieve negative emotion. Stress, anxiousness, sadness, boredom, anger, loneliness, social anxiety and lack of confidence can trigger emotional eating. Emotional eating can lead to over–eating and ultimately, feelings of guilt. But you are not alone. In fact, many people suffer from emotional eating.

Symptoms of emotional eating:

- Your appetite gets larger when you’re sad, angry or stressed. - If you’re eating just to comfort yourself but not because of feeling hungry. - If you feel guilty after eating a lot which causes you to eat even more. - If you’re overly obsessed with eating.

How you can combat it:

1. Notice and track how you feel when you’re hungry and jot it down in your food diary. 2. Pay attention to which emotion can trigger you to eat more: boredom/ anger/ stress? Jot it down. 3. Find something else to replace food. For example: when you’re stressed, try talking or texting to friends, listening to music or dancing instead of eating; basically anything you can think of and easy to do. 4. Emotions can come quite suddenly so you have to prepare yourself. Do not try using junk food and desserts to relieve stress. Instead, try to use the right ways to do so.

Ways to relieve stress:

- Talk to or text friends who care about you - Read old emails or letters from friends - Clean your closet - Pray or meditate - Draw - If you’re right-handed, try working with your left hand, which can help looking at your worries or troubles in a whole new perspective - Dance - Deep breathe 5 times - Read children books - Write down what you do to relieve stress and share with friends

Lastly, don't be afraid to seek professional help. Dietitians can help by providing individualized clinical strategies to overcome emotional eating.

Schedule an appointment with Hazel at 626-283-5128 or email to

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