How Do I Stop Eating to Regulate My Emotions?

How Do I Stop Eating to Regulate My Emotions?If you keep asking “how do I stop eating to regulate my emotions” then read on. In this article I will share how to regulate your emotions better… so you can master your cravings.

Do you struggle with emotional eating and find yourself eating to regulate your emotions?

If so, you’re not alone. In fact, emotional eating is a common problem, with up to 75% of people reporting that they engage in this behavior at least occasionally.

I’m sharing about this topic of how to stop eating to regular emotions – because I’m a recovered emotional eater.

I share the psychological strategies I used to help with my emotional regulation (and binge eating) inside of my nutritionist recommended online program: The Stop Emotional Eating Course.

With this in mind, I believe the first step to breaking free from emotional eating, is understanding the psychological explanations for why we turn to food to regulate our emotions. So let’s start there first.

Why Some People Eat to Regulate Emotions

1. Comfort and Distraction from Difficult Emotions

Eating can trigger the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin, which can temporarily ease feelings of stress and anxiety. However, those positive feelings are short-lived and can lead to a cycle of emotional eating that can be tough to break.

2. Learned Behavior

From a young age, we associate food with positive emotions, such as celebrating with cake or treating ourselves to ice cream after a hard day. Over time, this association becomes a deeply ingrained habit that’s hard to break.

3. Maladaptive Coping Mechanism

Many people eat to regulate emotions as a “maladaptive coping mechanism.” When faced with stress or uncomfortable situations, some people turn to food as a way to cope – and manage uncomfortable emotions.

4. Social and Cultural Factors

Social events and celebrations often center around food, leading us to associate food with positive emotions. Cultural norms around body size and shape can also contribute to feelings of shame and anxiety around food, which can lead to a cycle of emotional eating and negative self-image.

5. Mental Health Struggles

Depression and anxiety can also contribute to emotional eating behavior. Sometimes we turn to food as a way of self-medicating or managing difficult symptoms.

How Can You Stop Eating to Regulate  Emotions?

In this article, I will share with you some tips and strategies to help you break the cycle of eating to regulate emotions. These tips have been proven effective by research studies, and have worked for me (and my coaching clients) who have struggled with emotional eating.

I’m writing this article because I am a popular wellness influencer and bestselling wellness author.

I also founded a nutritionist recommended online program called The Stop Emotional Eating Course.

I love sharing insights and techniques to help people to become healthier. With this in mind, I put together this short guide to help you regulate your emotions and eating habits.

1. Identify your Triggers

The first step in stopping eating to regulate your emotions is to identify your triggers.

In a study in the journal Appetite, participants who underwent a mindfulness-based stress reduction program were able to greatly reduce their emotional eating by first “identifying their triggers.”

So you need to ask yourself…

  • What emotions tend to drive you to reach for food?
  • Are you more likely to eat when you’re feeling stressed, sad, or anxious?

One strategy that helps me identify and calm my triggers: keeping a food diary. I regularly write down what I eat, when I eat, and how I feel before and after eating. It helps me identify patterns and make connections between my emotions and my eating behavior.

2. Practice Mindfulness

A study in the journal Eating Behaviors found that mindfulness-based interventions can reduce emotional eating behavior in a huge way.

So I recommend that you create a daily practice of mindfulness, so you can learn to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and hunger sensations.  This can help you respond in a more intentional way to your emotions – and mindfully choose a different response to emotional discomfort – other than merely reaching for food.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness, from meditation to yoga to simply taking a few deep breaths. Find a method that works for you and make it a part of your daily routine.

3. Build a Support System

According to a study in the journal Obesity, people who received social support for their emotional eating experienced a greater reduction in their binge eating.

With this in mind, I recommend you ask your friends, family members, or a Mindset Mastery Coach to support you – and offer encouragement and accountability.

Plus I also recommend you seek support from yourself.


Pretend you are a supportive friend to yourself! Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Remember that breaking old habits takes time and effort, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

4. Practice Self-Care

According to a study published in the journal Appetite, self-care was found to be a highly effective strategy for reducing emotional eating.

So I recommend you explore self-care is a key part of managing your difficult emotions and thereby reducing emotional eating.

Be sure to explore a full range of self-care habits – from journaling to getting enough sleep to practicing relaxation techniques to engaging in activities that bring you joy.

5. Eat Mindfully and Intuitively

Consistently studies report that you can reduce emotional eating when you slow down, savor your food, and pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness signals.

This practice is called Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating. It cannot only stop you from overeating, it can help you enjoy your food more, because you will be more fully present when eating.

I call this “appreci-eating” your food. 

One tool I recommend using to help you stop the urge to binge eat: A distraction box!

I suggest you create a box filled with items that can help distract you from emotional eating when you’re feeling triggered. This could include things like crossword puzzles, coloring books, or a stress ball. When you feel the urge to eat, take a break and engage in a distracting activity instead.

6. Get Moving

According to a study in the journal Appetite, people who engaged in regular physical activity were able to significantly reduce their emotional eating!

So I recommend that you get regular exercise. This will help you to reduce stress and improve your mood… which till then help you to reduce the urge to turn to food as a way of regulating your emotions.

Even a short walk around the block can help clear your head and provide a much-needed break from difficult emotions.

In Conclusion: Stop Eating to Regulate Emotions

if you’re struggling with emotional eating, and find yourself eating to regulate your emotions, know that you’re not alone.

By identifying your triggers, practicing mindfulness, building a support system, practicing self-care, eating mindfully, getting regular exercise, and trying innovative and surprising tips… you can reduce your reliance on food as a way of coping with difficult emotions.

Remember, breaking old habits takes time and effort. But with the right tools and strategies, you can develop healthier ways of managing your emotions and improve your eating habits!

Learn to Regulate Your Emotions So You Stop Eating Too Much

Explore my nutritionist recommended online program: The Stop Emotional Eating Course.

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