Emotional Eating and
Weight Control

Emotional eating and weight control go hand-in-hand. Here's what you need to know to start geting emotional eating under control before it wrecks your weight control efforts again.

If you are overeating the chances are that you relate to food differently from people who are naturally slim. Most people who are naturally slim see food only as fuel for the body, which in essence is all it is. It is very likely that you are overeating for reasons other than being hungry.

A major reason that drives many people to overeat is that they use food to deal with emotional issues, whether they are aware of them or not.

Read on to learn why so many people overeat in response to emotional issues and how you can overcome emotionally driven overeating.

Two Emotional Drivers

Those of us who overeat to deal with our emotions do so for two different reasons. We could either be;

  • >Using food to cope with our emotions (feelings that we have inside of us), or have
  • Formed an emotional attachment to food.
Food as a Coping Mechanism Sometimes we can find ourselves doing "too much" of something. For example, too much work, too much shopping, too much smoking, too much gambling, or, you guessed it, too much eating. Whenever we find this happening it's a good bet that we are attempting to distract ourselves from an emotional feeling we have inside of us: An emotional feeling that we don't want, or know how, to deal with. What might these emotional feelings be? Well, we could be feeling any emotion such as; bored, angry, sad, stressed, or frustrated for example. We typically might not even be consciously aware of the feeling that we're distracting ourselves from or know what to do about it if we are Never-the-less, for many, overeating is a common way of temporarily distracting ourselves from something we may be feeling inside that we do not like or understand. Temporary Distraction

The word "temporarily" is emphasized, because of course the only feeling that eating can really satisfy is that of physical hunger. It will not, can not, permanently take away any other feeling that we may be experiencing. Once the over-eating is finished, you are still left with the emotional feeling that you were trying to distract yourself from before you started eating in the first place.

You can go on all the fad diets you like but if you are using eating as a way to distract yourself from an emotion (feeling inside of you), you will never get your weight under control. You will be condemned to experiencing your relationship to food as a perpetual struggle. A struggle that you are doomed to loose armed only with the will power of your Conscious Mind.

There is another aspect of our emotional life that can cause us to overeat and wreck any long term attempt to control our weight. This is when we form an emotional attachment to food.

A simple but all too common example of this is the person who, as a child, was always urged to “clean her plate” to please Mom. You don't have to have a Ph.D in Psychology to see how a child’s mind could soon link cleaning her plate to the pleasing feeling of gaining Mom’s love and approval.

And so, in this case, the child is conditioned to eat to gain a feeling of love and/or approval and not because she or he is hungry. As an adult this plays out as a mis-programmed Subconscious Mind driving us to eat to experience the feeling of being loved and approved off, not to satisfy hunger.

Of course, we know that eating can not really satisfy any other need than hunger. Thus, when we have finished overeating - the need we were trying to satisfy, say the need for love, is still there loud and strong. Guess what our response is? You've got it - start overeating again!

Other Emotional Attachments

Common attachments that Hypnotherapists often see their weight control clients associating with food include the need for a reward, love or company. In our culture we typically celebrate a success by going out to dinner, express love by giving a box of chocolates, meet our need for company by having people over to dinner etc.

I am not suggesting any of this is wrong – I love cooking and having family and friends over for company and to celebrate! But rewarding ourselves on a daily basis (or more often) with food treats, or trips to the refrigerator when we feel the need for companionship or to be loved can quickly lead to real trouble at the scales.

How Do You Know?

How might you know if you are using food as an emotional coping mechanism or if you are overeating out of an emotional attachment to food? Well, as noted, eating can remove only one feeling – the physical awareness of hunger. How do you know when you are truly hungry? As strange as it may sound, most people reading this in N. America or Europe will typically not often have known real hunger sensations.

Take this test next time you start to think you are feeling hungry. Ask yourself where the hunger sensation is coming from in your body? Most people will point to the area around their tummy button or lower if asked this question.

The feeling of true hunger comes of course from our stomach. However, this is located much higher up in our body than most people realize; under the lower left rib cage. If the feeling is not from there then it is not hunger that you are really feeling. Eating is not the response that will address whatever it is you are feeling.

A Practical Solution

Don't get overly concerned when reading this section. Be assured that there is a very practical solution for you if you suspect emotional issues are defeating your weight control plans. And it does not have to include lengthy and expensive psychotherapy sessions! Thousands of us have now successfully used Hypnosis to become independent forever of using food as something to distract ourselves from our emotions or as a reward.

The mis-programmed emotional responses we may have made with food are created and stored in our Subconscious Mind. Hypnosis is the most effective tool we have to re-program our Subconscious Mind. During an Hypnosis session we are talking directly to the Subconscious Mind where the problem resides.

"When you are overweight, there is a conflict between the Conscious Mind and the Subconscious Mind. The Conscious Mind says, "I know I want to lose weight,'" He said. However, the Subconscious Mind tosses up roadblocks such as emotional eating. Hypnosis can help get the two parts of the mind together."
Philip Shenefelt, associate professor of Medicine at the University of South Florida
Tampa Tribune, 8/04


The role of emotional factors in over-eating is often a revelation to many people. People experience a wonderful sense of deep relief and sense of control once they empower themselves to take charge of their emotional response to food through Hypnosis.

When you use Hypnosis to control your overeating;

  • You are in control,
  • There are no expensive food supplements to keep buying
  • No calories to keep counting
  • You do not have to go on a "special" diet
  • You can change your whole attitude to eating in a very positive way
  • You will typically end up eating in healthier ways quite naturally

Take Back Control

You can start taking control of emotional eating by experiencing my free Hypnosis for Stress mp3 hypnosis session.  Download and start enjoying it now because it can be the first step to taking back control of your emotional eating at last.

With you on the path to success,

Stephen Gruber MA
Consulting Hypnotist

If not now, when?

If not here, where?

Return here from Emotional Eating & Weight Control to the Weight Loss Hypnosis main page.

Return here from Emotional Eating & Weight Control to the Hypnosis Information Home page.

If not now -when?

If not here - where?