Emotional eating is when a person uses food as an attempt to control, monitor, and cope with negative feelings or thoughts. Because emotional eating typically results in overeating, it can often lead to poor self-esteem, unwanted weight gain, and obesity. If you recognize emotional eating patterns in yourself, treatment can help you overcome it. The best approach to stop emotional eating will include treatment for the underlying emotional causes and factors related to emotional eating patterns as well as treatment for behavioral issues.
Treatment to Help Stop Emotional Eating
If you are asking the question “how do I stop emotional eating?”, you need to first understand that emotional eating is not simply an eating pattern that can be stopped with a diet, and it is related to deeper emotional and mental problems. Emotional eating is caused by an inability to cope with emotional issues and problems. Individuals who experience emotional eating patterns use food as their primary tool for dealing with distress and regulating emotions.
Therefore, when you receive treatment to stop emotional eating, you will not only need to learn and establish healthy eating patterns and behaviors, but you will also need to address emotional issues. This can be done by working with a psychotherapist who will help you learn to develop positive and healthy coping strategies in order to stop emotional eating patterns.
Your primary goals during treatment to stop emotional eating include:
- Reconnect with the body experiences and with emotions
- Identify the difference between physical and emotional hunger
- Increase your capacity to tolerate feelings
- Encourage healthy coping behaviors for negative emotions and thoughts
- Focus on interpersonal relationship problems, learn how to communicate needs and set boundaries with others
- Improve body image
- Learn self-care
- Identify cognitive distortions
- Address perfectionism and “all or nothing” thinking
- Recognize recovery as a process filled with ups and downs
If you or a loved one is suffering from emotional eating contact McCallum Place to learn about our eating disorder treatment programs in St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia.