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What is emotional eating?

Emotional eating is when a person turns to food, even if he is not hungry, especially in order to regulate his negative emotions. Under emotional eating; Various and multifaceted causes such as insufficient coping mechanisms, learned behaviors and food deprivation may exist. If left untreated, there is a risk of turning into a serious eating disorder.

What are the differences between emotional eating and healthy eating?

  • • Emotional hunger, like physiological hunger, often appears suddenly, not gradually.

  • • People with emotional eating syndrome tend to consume food, especially when they experience negative emotions such as anger, loneliness, hopelessness, and unhappiness.

  • • Meanwhile, rather than healthy foods, foods with high calorie value and suitable for instant consumption are preferred. Sometimes the person feels that he has lost control and cannot stop eating.

  • • When we eat to eliminate a physiological hunger, we often notice what we consume and how much food we need. This awareness is blinded in emotional eating syndrome.

  • • Emotional eating can bring negative feelings like guilt, shame and regret.

How to deal with emotional eating?

The first condition to change harmful behavior is to have awareness. If you think you are going to eat to deal with emotions, first try to notice the factors that start, maintain and increase this problem.

Ways to cope with emotional eating

Be aware: what are the trigger factors that push me to eat emotionally? How do I feel when I need emotional eating? Remember, the first step is awareness!

Watch yourself: How about starting the job with a diary of emotions and eating? Saving the daily changes of emotions and their reflection on your life will help you to see the picture more clearly and objectively! In the registration form, you should include the emotions, the food consumed and the amount, and the feelings experienced after consumption. In this way, you will be able to answer the questions of how much I have eaten, under which food, and how I felt.

Take action: produce more effective and more permanent alternatives to deal with difficult emotions. For example, instead of suppressing negative emotions, try to express them in a healthy way and to focus on sports instead of kitchen.

Replace it: It's up to you to make things a little easier with some environmental adjustments. For example, do not keep calorie, ready foods with you and near you. Do not pass by pastry shops that attract you or throw any other food out of your shopping list.

Get help: Despite all your efforts, you may have a hard time making a permanent behavior change. In such a situation, do yourself a favor and do not hesitate to get help from a specialist mental health professional.


Answer the following 5 questions as YES or NO.

1. When some things go wrong and you have a stressful day, I would like to eat something.

2. The desire to eat something comes suddenly.

3. I generally prefer foods with high calories, high fat and sugar.

4. I would like to continue eating even if I get enough

5. After finishing my meal, I feel guilt and regret.

If you answer YES to many of the above 5 questions, you may be eating to satisfy your emotions, not your physical hunger. The first step is awareness, you have completed the first step, congratulations…

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