Identifying Your Emotional Eating Triggers

Common Causes of Stress Eating

  1. Stuffing down temporary uncomfortable feelings or emotions like loneliness, anger, fear, shame and resentment.
  2. Old habits, childhood habits such as receiving rewards like pizza or ice cream after behaving good can often be carried over to adulthood. It may also be brought by old memories like baking some cookies and cakes with your mom so you’re driven by cherished old memories.
  3. Boredom- You eat when you are bored or when you are feeling empty. Sometimes, the only way to keep you occupied is to eat. Eating can distract you from any underlying feelings of dissatisfaction with life.
  4. Stress- Chronis stress is chaotic. Chronis stress produces high levels of stress hormone called cortisol which triggers food cravings like sweet, salty and fried foods. These give you a burst of pleasure and energy. The more you are stressed, the more you turn into foods for relief.
  5. Social factor- Getting together with a bunch of people for a meal is a great way to help relieve stress. However, once you see them indulge with foods, you eat mindlessly too which can eventually lead to overeating. When you are nervous, you overeat too.

So, are you an emotional eater?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you eat even though you are not hungry?
  • Do you eat even though you are already full?
  • Do you eat more when you are feeling stressed?
  • Do you eat just to feel better?
  • Do you get out of control when you are around with food?
  • Do foods make you feel safe and better?


Then you are an emotional eater. What should you do?

  • When you are bored- watch your favourite TV show, read a book or do your hobby such as scrapbooking, playing an instrument.
  • When you are lonely or depressed- call a friend, talk to someone who can make you feel better. Play with your pet.
  • When you are exhausted- take a bath then have a nap. Delight yourself with a cup of hot tea.
  • When you are anxious-  dance to your favourite song, take a walk outside
  • Practice mindful eating- you develop awareness of eating habit. Mindful eating allows you to pause between your triggers and your actions. You will have control over the foods when the urge to eat hits you. You can resist temptations and you just don’t give up on foods so easily. 

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