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Could Emotional Eating Be the Cause of Your Weight Loss Struggles?

Are you frustrated and discouraged because over and over you hear about “the ultimate weight loss solution”, “the magic cure for belly fat”, and the “5 second exercise plan that melts away pounds”?

If you’ve tried any of these they likely didn’t work, or you wouldn’t be reading this now. If you have chronically struggled with weight, stop blaming yourself! If you haven’t had success with lasting weight loss, it’s time to turn that around once and for all.

For some people, the “eat less and exercise more” change can work.

But for the majority of everyone else, it doesn’t. If this approach worked, obesity wouldn’t be an epidemic. The diet industry wouldn’t be a multibillion-dollar industry.

Diet changes are essential, don’t get me wrong. But because they only treat the symptoms and not the cause of excess weight, they don’t work until the real cause is addressed.  So what is the real cause?

Are You An Emotional Eater?

Studies show that emotional eating is one of the primary causes of weight gain and weight loss resistance.

You may be thinking, “I’m not an emotional eater!” Most people who struggle with excess weight don’t consider themselves emotional eaters, either.

Let’s take a look at the ways emotional eating typically shows up in our lives and see if you can relate.

  • You are probably just super busy at work. You give-give-give to your work, family, and friends, and often wish there were 30 hours in a day instead of 24.
  • You have a hard time sitting still because you have a gazillion things to do. Your mind is racing all the time (why at 2:30AM?). Sometimes distracting yourself with food is an easy way to tame the “monkey mind.”
  • Maybe, in the interest of multi-tasking, your meals have turned into “Facebook with breakfast” or “dinner while watching Stranger Things.”
  • You feel increasingly critical of yourself. Sometimes you overindulge, feeling terribly guilty afterward. The pounds keep piling on and you hate what you see in the mirror. Maybe you feel a little resentful of your skinny friends. Perhaps you give up dressing nicely and you only wear black yoga pants.
  • But that only happens sometimes, right? A lot of times you snack because you’re bored, or you just want to chill out with chips, salsa, and Netflix. And it’s ok because salsa is vegetables, right?
  • You may joke about being on the “see-food” diet (you see food and you eat it), and you can’t stop thinking about what you’re going to eat next. Your favorite food groups are sugar, starch, salt, and fat.  You can’t stop thinking about these foods you often impulsively grab a snack whenever you happen to walk through the kitchen.
  • You ‘get’ the meaning of “comfort food.” After all, you get comfort from food all the time.

But being an emotional eater goes far beyond your relationship with food.

  • As a person, you have a tremendous drive and have this amazing capacity to GET.THINGS.DONE. You’re a leader in your field, remodel homes, you raise confident children, and yes… you herd cats like a ninja.
  • You can be a perfectionist and it’s a real letdown if things don’t go according to plan.
  • You love deeply, hate fiercely, and fear terribly. You feel deeply but you hesitate to express your feelings.
  • You can feel achingly alone even in a gathering of people who adore you. You crave connection, but you don’t want to be hurt ever again.
  • At the same time, you’re a little afraid to be alone because you might have to face uncomfortable thoughts and emotions.
  • You often feel overwhelmed. You take on too much and have too much on your plate. (So to speak!)
  • You are a people pleaser…the last thing you want to do is disappoint anyone.

There Is Hope!

If this describes you — even a little bit — you are probably an emotional eater.

But that’s not an indictment. After all, emotional eating is simply a coping mechanism.

But emotional eating isn’t only about eating to soothe intense emotions.


So many people eat to unconsciously fill some kind of a perceived void inside. Often it’s used as an attempt to protect yourself against a perceived danger or injury.

Food temporarily fills the void, and fat becomes the armor you use to shield yourself from hurt.

Emotional eating is an extremely powerful, effective, and addictive way to temporarily relieve stress. If emotional eating weren’t so effective as an emotional anesthetic, people wouldn’t do it.

To get off the dieting roller coaster, you first have to heal the emotional hunger that fuels your dependence on excess food.

Statements you may be making to yourself like: “I’m not good enough, nobody loves me, I can’t stand to be hurt again, I can’t handle this…” Those have nothing to do with food. They have everything to do with self-love, or rather the lack of self-love. That is the true hunger you’re feeling. Feed the hunger for love, and the rest will follow.

If you want to end emotional eating for good, let’s talk.  Book your complimentary Breakthrough Session with Tricia right now!



Jennifer Kromberg, PsyD,