Gain control of emotional eating

Sometimes the strongest food cravings hit when you’re at your weakest point emotionally. You may turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — when facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed or even feeling bored.

Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. It often leads to eating too much, especially too much of high-calorie, sweet and fatty foods. The good news is that if you’re prone to emotional eating, you can take steps to regain control of your eating habits and get back on track with your weight-loss goals.

The connection between mood, food and weight loss

Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Major life events or, more commonly, the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating and disrupt your weight-loss efforts. These triggers might include:

  • Relationship conflicts
  • Work stress
  • Fatigue
  • Financial pressures
  • Health problems

Although some people eat less in the face of strong emotions, if you’re in emotional distress you might turn to impulsive or binge eating, quickly consuming whatever’s convenient without enjoyment.

In fact, your emotions can become so tied to your eating habits that you automatically reach for a treat whenever you’re angry or stressed without thinking about what you’re doing.

Food also serves as a distraction. If you’re worried about an upcoming event or stewing over a conflict, for instance, you may focus on eating comfort food instead of dealing with the painful situation.

Whatever emotions drive you to overeat, the end result is often the same. The emotions return, and you likely then bear the additional burden of guilt about setting back your weight-loss goal. This can also lead to an unhealthy cycle — your emotions trigger you to overeat, you beat yourself up for getting off your weight-loss track, you feel bad and you overeat again.

Tips to get your weight-loss efforts back on track

When negative emotions threaten to trigger emotional eating, you can take steps to control cravings. To help stop emotional eating, try these tips:

  • Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you might see patterns that reveal the connection between mood and food.
  • Tame your stress. If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
  • Have a hunger reality check. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not hungry. Give the craving a time to pass.
  • Get support. You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group.
  • Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re not hungry, distract yourself and substitute a healthier behavior. Take a walk, watch a movie, play with your cat, listen to music, read, surf the Internet or call a friend.
  • Take away temptation. Don’t keep hard-to-resist comfort foods in your home. And if you feel angry or blue, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you have your emotions in check.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. When trying to lose weight, you might limit calories too much, eat the same foods repeatedly and banish treats. This may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Eat satisfying amounts of healthier foods, enjoy an occasional treat, and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.
  • Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip or unbuttered popcorn. Or try low-fat, lower calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
  • Learn from setbacks. If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you’re making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for making changes that’ll lead to better health.

When to seek professional help

If you’ve tried self-help options but you still can’t control emotional eating, consider therapy with a mental health professional. Therapy can help you understand why you eat emotionally and learn coping skills. Therapy can also help you discover whether you have an eating disorder, which can be connected to emotional eating.


By Mayo Clinic Staff

John Linde

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John currently serves as a Personal and Sport Specifics Strategist at DME Wellness Center. He provides individual specialized fitness and wellness training to clients of ages ranging from 10 to 85 years old. Not only is he highly sought after by athletes across all levels of the sports industry, he also provides personal training sessions to motivate, educate and guide for individuals seeking lifestyle changes regarding overall health and wellbeing.

John is available to design and coach clients through individualized exercise programs based on their specific health and fitness goals.

Stillman H. Rice | CEO

To be successful in life, one must be consistent, persistent and overcome resistance in their life.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Stillman moved to Daytona Beach in 1978 and has called Volusia County home ever since. He is a proud and loving father of one son, Houston.Stillman’s passion for health and wellness began in 1978 when he joined the area’s first Nautilus fitness facility, Nautilus Fitness Center in South Daytona, Florida. Shortly after, his innate understanding and enthusiasm for fitness lead him to a management position within that same facility. By 1982, when he was just 24 years of age, Stillman had taken over ownership of Nautilus Fitness Center, changing its name to Stillman’s Nautilus Fitness Center. As a new fitness business owner in the mid-1980’s, Stillman studied under several well-known industry leaders, including: Author Jones, founder of Nautilus Sports Medicine Industries; Ellington Darden, Phd Nutrition; Michael Fulton, MD Orthopedics.

Stillman’s goals in life are simple: He strives to inspire individuals to be the absolute best they can be by unveiling their inner strengths, courage and self worth; leading individuals to their ultimate success in health, wellness and spiritual being by using consistent, fundamental strategies and by setting a great example for people to follow.

The DME Wellness Center team’s vision is presently partnering with local professionals of Chiropractic, Medical, integrative medicine, anti-aging and alternative healthcare facilities. DME Wellness Center combines expertise and the passion of helping people with the latest and greatest technological equipment to deliver relaxation, recovery and rejuvenation. Stillman’s leadership and experience is evident in the way he treats his team translating into excellent customer service and care for his clients, its rare to meet someone who cares about others as much as Stillman.

Raimond Demneri



It was three years ago that I had my last kidney transplant, the third transplant for me, it saved my life. It was then when I decided that, this has to be a new start in my life. I had this 40-year-old body that functioned with donated organs from people I would never would be able to thank properly. Before the transplant, I was on the edge of dialysis, pushed to the last survival instinct. I had a family that looked up to me and I decided that I could not let this new gift of life go to waste again.

Before the transplant I took a lot of medications to barely exist. First I took medications when I was young, to fight diabetes, as a result of a flu shot, then insulin followed by a strict no sugar diet. I had to use blood pressure medication, immunosuppressants, steroids, antibiotics and the list goes on. You name it and I have used them. All this medication was taken in an effort to make my body function properly, but after a while everything failed for me. To do it again after the third transplant did not seem a smart move. I decided to try something I haven't done in a long time; eat healthy and exercise, back then a foreign concept for my body and my state of mind.

Then the biggest enlightenment came when I found The Oasis. I was inspired because it offered a chance to follow a different path toward recovery. Neither pills or doctors, but just working with what gifts god gave me. Helping my body perform to its best ability. Stimulating my muscles and my mind. Going through a healing experience like no other, and one of the reasons I became part of the oasis team.

With my degree from Keiser University in Sports Medicine, I became a Licensed Sports Nutritionist. The Oasis and I believe everyone has the capability to restore and recover the body and mind through food as medicine and exercise as energy for life!

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