What’s Driving Your Emotional Eating?


Even though I blog about healthy living and promote the lifestyle does not imply that I’m 100% on the mark all the time.

I’m far from perfect.

Just ask my husband, my kids, and my friends.

So when asked recently if I’ve ever struggled with emotional eating, that would be a definite

Hell to the yes!

I am after all, human.

I tend to NOT have an appetite when stressed or anxious or worried, but the times when I felt sad, unloved, or alone I felt hungry.

…For something…

Deep down I knew I was trying to feed a hunger; but it wasn’t hunger of the nutritional persuasion, but something much different.

But in the moment those “hunger pains” feel the same. You want something to make it feel better.

And this is where we have to stop the cycle.

Being human means we feel so much of our world. We experience tragedy and huge successes. We experience boredom, jealousy, envy, unworthiness, and self-importance. There’s so many emotions that come and go in a lifetime.

Trying to make ourselves “not feel” to control the binging, in my opinion, will never work.

It’s where we find satisfaction that’s the issue.

I can’t stop being human and I can’t stop what other people (and life, for that matter) throw my way.

I can change how I choose to deal with it, one emotion at a time.

Do you find yourself feeding something? Have you used food to “feel better”? Was there a particular emotion or event that set the cycle in motion?

How did you feel after you ate it?

**photo credit: hang_in_there




  1. the primary emotion I feed? Boredom. Worst. Ever. I am trying to curb that with gum, seltzer, and distraction.

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      Ah boredom.. a major one! Isn’t funny how we can use food as entertainment? I try to keep small portioned out bags O nuts on hand for that one. Crunchy! 🙂 

  2. It’s taken me nearly 40 years to realize “you’ll feel better if you don’t eat that.”  Still, I got into some Easter candy recently and ate it like it was my job.  😉  Nobody’s perfect.  

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      You’re so right Barbara! That’s why in over 30 year of sports & fitness, I’d be lying if I said I only  ate when when hungry and never emotionally – hello bad breakup of the early 80’s!! 😉

      Each time a better choice is made, it’s a victory. I’m a believer in second chances. And third and fourth.. Some people can quit anything instantly; others take a bit. We’ve only failed when we stop trying. 

  3. So get this! I used to live by emotional eating – sad, depressed, unhappy, happy – it ran the whole thing! I just had to learn that I am going to feel these emotions but I am doing nothing but making it worse by eating – I always felt worse afterward. I find ways that work for me & I think we all can if we make the choice & WANT to do it. Emotional eating is not a death sentence. Ya have to want to make yourself more important. Yes, we all will have times but they do not have to be all the time… if they happen, own it & move on! 🙂

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      That’s it exactly Jody! The emotions exist but what choices do we make? Good ones or bad ones for us? Love love love the own it and move on!! 

  4. Krazy_Kris says:

    Ahhhhhhh – I just love that you’re human. My fav peeps are ALWAYS human and fallible and fabulous all in one package 🙂 Me? I am kinda digging on chocolate right now. Deadlines, Pressure, A Simmer of Anxiety related to work. What I’m TRYING to do is to be mindful. Eating things on purpose. Accepting and enjoying the yumminess. And not letting it take over. Yep – brownies are tasty. But as long as I’m not subbing brownies for breakfast or protein and veggies for every meal, I think I’m good with that 🙂

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      Perfection is highly overrated don’t cha think? 😉

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom about mindfulness and eating on purpose. Your positive attitude is contagious ~ tis another reason I heart you. 🙂 

  5. I don’t let my emotions rule what I eat.  I re-fuel for work and play and don’t buy the junk.

  6.  Yes, I always knew I was an emotional eater. (Chips were my drug of choice, lol.) When I was going through my weight loss transition, I was forced to really look at this habit. I placed a post-it note in my kitchen that says “if hunger isn’t the problem, then food isn’t the solution” and it helped force me to take a second to pause and really think about WHY I was in the kitchen.

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      Hi Danielle – I love how you created your own intervention. Amazing the power of a post it and a pause to change the direction. It’s that positive self talk. We can’t wait to hear it from others but need to tap into that inspiring person inside of us. It’s the transition from being inspired to being inspiring! Which is what you did here! Inspire! Best food saying I’ve seen in awhile. Powerful words!  

  7. sarahkayhoffman says:

    Joyce, this is right on! This is why at my school we study about Primary Foods and Secondary Foods. Primary foods = relationships, stress, exercise, job, etc…. Secondary foods = the traditional “diet.” We all tend to overlook the REASONS behind why we eat many of the things we eat. But if stop and take a look inside ourselves, the answers typically becomes very clear. Great post!

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      Thanks Sarah! I have often wondered how much emotional eating ties into the obesity epidemic. I’m going to have to read up on primary & secondary foods. Interesting! 

  8. michelle says:

    i’ve mostly gotten eating my feelings under control. it’s drinking my feelings that throw me off. i don’t drink excessively, but i’m more likely to have that 2nd glass of wine or martini when i’m in a mood

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      Hi Michelle 🙂 I think there’s no denying that food and drink can, in the moment, be somewhat therapeutic. So it’s really all about substitutions. Substituting something that is negative with something positive/healthy, keeping positive/healthy things in view and within reach for those moments and the negative removed. Then the shift starts to happen. The substitute now becomes the norm. 

      • michelle says:

        i agree. it’s just being consistent with substitutions and not letting external influences (ie well meaning friends) sway me 🙂 i’m working on it though

  9. RKS Workout says:

    I eat when I feel that I am neglecting myself.  It’s my way of giving myself a ‘treat’  usually chocolate.  I am trying to refine what a ‘treat’ is.  Now it is a run, walk or a small yoga practice.

    • Joyce Cherrier says:

      Totally get what you mean. Food is used as a reward all through our lives. It’s changing our perception of a reward — making it something that isn’t just momentary satisfaction. Something that builds us up – just like you mentioned – running, walking, yoga. All such positive rewards. Thanks for sharing! 

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