Emotional Eating


How Eating Habits are Related to Mental Health?

Individuals’ relationship with food is often complicated and multilayered due to the complex nature of food. Food is not only a source of nutrition, but it is also associated with love, family connection, social events and observing religious holidays. When individuals are encouraged to explore their relationship with food, some realize that food for them is a companion that they reach to when feeling lonely or bored. Others relate it to source of comfort when feeling sad. Some use it as friend to celebrate with when happy. Hence when trying to beat to establish a healthier relationship with food, it would self defeating to just shame and judge oneself for without understanding the function of the food in the system as a whole.

Most individuals complain of their eating habits. Many report feeling guilty about some of their food choices especially when experiencing intense emotions. The term emotional eating is often used to describe those eating episodes.

Emotional eating is associated with having comfort food at times of distress or happiness. It is however important to recognize that emotional eating is normal eating. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad, or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is overeating at times: feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also under-eating at times and wishing you had more.


When you Should Start Paying Attention to Your Eating Habits

Emotional Eating becomes problematic when it is the only way individuals are dealing with their feelings. It means that whenever an individual is feeling sad, happy, depressed, or stressed, they resort to food in order to comfort their feelings. When this behavior is repeated frequently then it becomes maladaptive. Food at this point becomes a method to numb their emotions rather then feel it. It is important for individuals to observe their feelings and maybe trying to deal with it rather than try to numb it. Another method to avoid emotional eating, is to try find a different activity to do, for example if the feeling is boredom then maybe going for a walk could be distraction from the urge to eat.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to change your attitude to the food by yourself thus it’s recommended to get Eating Disorder treatment with a psychologist who specializes in this type of mental issues.


reem shaheen counseling psychologist


Reem Shaheen – LMHC