Emotional Eating, Uncovered

In Finding Your Why, Nutrition by Sarah2 Comments

Eating well is a passion, a habit, something that is just part of my life. I am always reading food labels and searching for something new to cook.

Times, I don’t want to THINK about what to eat. I just want to eat whatever crave. I know, people say if you crave certain foods, you are missing something in your diet. While that may be valid, we women also tend to be emotional eaters…and when I have cravings, I am an emotional eater, definitely.

What is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is compulsive eating of food based on feelings rather than based on physical hunger and nutritional needs. You don’t have to be overweight or have an eating disorder to fall into this category either.

There is an association of certain food with at least one type of feeling of comfort, relief, joy, pleasure, and so on. To put it another way some types of foods end up being used like a drug or alcohol.

Psychology Behind Food Cravings

What is a craving – its an obsessive desire for a specific food. It’s not necessarily going crazy and you can’t sleep til you have it, it can be as gentle as thinking about a certain food all day…and making sure you pick it up on the way home even though you don’t need it.

A craving is an emotional hunger versus physical hunger. When we try to ignore our feelings, our body responds in the way it was originally programmed by nature.

We all have needs. And if our needs are not fulfilled, our body signals us to correct the situation

When we diet trying to control our body by reducing calories, and killing our appetite, what we are really doing is killing a part of ourselves. We reinforce the belief that “a part of me is bad, defective, unacceptable and wrong.” We reject ourselves. We function from a place of ego and control rather than self-love and self-compassion.

How inherent properties in food affect mood and energy

In general, emotional eaters tend to crave one of four things: High Fat Foods, Fast Food, Sweets and Carbohydrates. Sweets and Carbs seem to top that list, as do a combination of Sweet and Fat (e.g., Oreos).

  • Fats: High-fat cravings for foods such as a cheeseburger, soft French fries, rich milkshakes, and etc. signal FEAR. Fears usually have to do with hesitance to face something including making some changes. Fear feels like emptiness, so craver tried to eradicate the feeling by maintaining a full stomach. Fat essentially clogs the drains of the stomach, slowing down digestion and emptying of gastric juices.
  • Flavors: Different flavors create different moods and energy levels. Let’s look at the feeling produced by each flavor. For example, Peppermint boosts energy; Chocolate boosts production of a drug that feels like love; Hot & Spicy creates feelings of excitement, energy, and a “feeling no pain” mindset
  • Smell: Part of the pleasure of eating is the enjoyment of delicate wafts of enticing aroma. It is not an accident that realtors claim they can sell a house quicker if bread or cookies are baking during showings

Types of food cravings – 4 Primary Emotions

  • Fear: Keeps us from making changes that could improve our life.
    Examples: fear of failure, abandonment, rejection; fear of being unworthy.
  • Anger:  Unmet needs – Especially true when we choose victim mentality by blaming external circumstances for not improving our lives; therefore, suppressing our essence and heart’s desire to be in connection.
    Root: Lack of responsibility for making changes.
  • Tension:  Physical and emotional manifestation of life stress.
    Real stress occurs when we move away from our true selves, our life purpose, and God/Universe
  • Shame:  Feeling Unworthy, Insecure, Unqualified or Inadequate, Doubting your abilities or goodness. Sometimes Shame stems from guilt about real or imagined misdeeds.
    The only misdeed worth putting your energy into is: Assessing whether or not you are listening to the inner voice that guides you.
    When we walk away from what we know is right, our self-esteem suffers. Shame is a result!
    The more you are self-aware, the less shame you experience.
    When you know your own internal truth, you no longer identify with the external world.

Analyze Your Food Craving

  • Crunchy:  Core Feelings are either Anger or Tension
    Variations on these two feelings include resentment, feeling betrayed, feeling overwhelmed, feeling used, bitterness, and irritability
  • Soft or Creamy:  Core Feelings are either Fear or Shame
    Anxiety, embarrassment, insecurity, the impostor syndrome, feeling unworthy, and guilt.
  • Chewy:  Core Feeling is a combination of either Fear or Shame mixed with Anger or Tension
    Jealousy (Tension with Shame)
    Dread that something awful is about to happen (Fear with Tension)
    Self-Loathing (Anger with Shame)
  • Soul Food:  When we are emotionally hungry, desired food feels like we’re starving
    It is your heart and your soul that are feeling hungry, deprived, or empty
    Each Type of Craving signals unfulfilled needs like the need for fun, relaxation, appreciation, understanding, romance and pleasure
    When these needs are not met, Fear, or its manifestation of Anger, Tension, or Shame, are always present
  • Chocolate:  Queen of Cravings
    #1 food craving predominately among women
    In general, Chocoholism is a cry for love, intimacy, and romance
5 Reasons for a chocolate craving

Love and emotional attachments are so important to women that chocolate creates a feeling of being loved, cherished and understood

Hormonal shifts trigger cravings

More women than men seek help for depression, and chocolate is an excellent, temporary antidepressant

Women who do too much sometimes use chocolate to boost their energy

We crave chocolate because we yearn for the free-spirited feelings of love

Healing chocolate cravings

For the most part, the only lasting cure for chocolate cravings comes from the inside out. This means fulfilling your need for love by treating yourself like the most special person in the world

Refusing to settle for less.

Refusing to settle for a relationship that is not supportive of you

Communicating to your partner what you will and won’t accept in a relationship

Staying in love with your life

Use affirmations for chocolate cravings: “I deserve Love,” “I’m lovable and loved,” “I deserve love just for being who I am,” “I attract loving people into my life”


Antidepressant Foods

If you break down the ingredients of dairy products of milk-based products, you’ll find an over-the-counter antidepressant.

When combined with carbohydrates, serotonin, which is a brain chemical is being produced.

Serotonin is a hormone of happiness

Ice Cream, flavored yogurt, pizza, nachos with cheese and pasta Alfredo

Also, sugar in milk products boosts energy and mood, and the creamy smooth texture is comforting

If high in fat, struggle with emptiness

Some emotions like Resentment and Frustration, if ignored, lead to depression

Affirmations: “I’m safe,” “I give myself permission to relax,” “All my needs are taken care of, right now,” “It’s ok for me to let my guard down,” “I allow my true self to shine through.”

Salty Snack Food

Stress, anger, and anxiety

Women tend to stress-eat more than men

Many women unnaturally restrict their eating in order to stay thin. But under stress, they cave in and indulge in eating

If you are a stress-eater, you are also likely to crave or overeat crispy snack foods such as potato chips, popcorn, and crackers.

Crunchy texture provides a cathartic outlet for all the tension held in the jaw. They act like a punching bag!

Salty cravings also mean that our bodies seek a homeostasis of the blood-to-salt rations

Crunchy Cravings

Biological and psychological need

Natural need to crunch and chew certain times per day

Eat a bland, soft diet, and you’ll feel dissatisfied. That’s why diets fail, as they don’t offer enough crunchy food

Our teeth feel unfulfilled!

Like beating up a punching bag, you can take your frustration and stress out of the “prey” in your mouth

Fear, Tension, and Shame – uncomfortable to face. We eat to feel better

Affirmations: “I’m safe,” “I give myself permission to relax,” “All my needs are taken care of, right now,” “It’s ok for me to let my guard down,” “I allow my true self to shine through.”

Crunching away anger

Craving for crunchy foods occurs when anger becomes overwhelming

When anger is not expressed and instead turned inward, in many cases it becomes a depression

We are conditioned, especially women, not to express our anger, and instead smile, pretend it doesn’t exist. It is a sign of weakness

Anger is #1 emotion triggering compulsive overeating.

Anger is a natural emotion. It is given to us for a reason. Anger is the fuel for a beautiful emotion called “Passion.” However, we make it wrong and label it as negative

The only reason why anger becomes negative is because we hold it in. Then it turns into resentment, bitterness, frustration, and depression

Affirmations: “All tension has left my body” “I give myself

Spicy Food Cravings

The Drive For Excitement

Is your food philosophy, “The spicier the better”? If yes, then food probably isn’t the only area of your life that you prefer spicy

You may crave for excitement and high intensity in your work, love and play life

Spicy Food Cravers have strong desires for novelty and change

People who are resentful and stressed because their life is all work and no play, and especially those who crave thrilling types of fun, often crave spicy food mixed with nuts

Sometimes, Spicy Food cravings are a defense against an overly stimulating lifestyle

Spicy Food Bingers are often very successful people, high rollers in their careers

Excitement vs. Enthusiasm

Excitement comes from external sources like spicy food, which produces adrenaline. It is short-lived and eventually draining (e.g. adrenal fatigue)

Enthusiasm, on the other hand, provides a lasting high and results in increased energy. Enthusiasm comes from internal sources, such as taking steps toward fulfilling your dreams.

Liquid Cravings: Up-&-Down Energy Cycles

Diet colas & eating binges

Diet cola is one of the favorite stimulants of chronic dieters

Carbonation in diet colas makes the caffeine and artificial sweetener, NutraSweet, kick in that much faster, which triggers binge eating

Carbonated beverages, in general, create psychological effects such as panic attacks

Colas also reduce your body’s magnesium levels, thereby potentially inspiring food cravings.

Coffee binging

Coffee bingers are invariably trying to invigorate a tired horse – namely, themselves!

They are loaded down with unwanted responsibilities, so they attempt to make their energy levels up to their overly burdened schedules

Coffee bingers usually wake up in the morning dreading the hours ahead. They often hold jobs that don’t correspond to their natural interests and desires


Alcohol in small doses acts as a stimulant, however, in greater amounts, alcohol changes its tune and becomes a depressant

Alcohol triggers eating binges same as sugar

Those who drink BEER and WINE are often seeking a stimulant effect, even as they crave stress management

Alcohol also temporarily raises the brain’s serotonin level, which raises the question of whether the drinking is a self-medicating behavior

Emotional issues most strongly associated with alcohol cravings include: Anger, Depression, Grief, Loneliness, Shame

Since alcohol acts as a depressant it can also work against our desires for healthful lifestyle

Love Cravings and Liquid Cravings

Cravings for love can also trigger binge-drinking on alcohol and diet coal

Wine-love link: wine in combination with meals to prolong the mood

Diet drinks may also correspond to cravings for romance and may be functioning in a similar manner to chocolate-bingeing. The underlying drive may be a desire for the brain chemistry associated with romantic love

We are complicated human beings but we can take steps to deal with these cravings once we become aware of them

DAILY, say the following AFFIRMATIONS:

I have enough energy to accomplish my desires
I love myself just as I am now
I accept all that is good in my life
I release the need to be in a hurry
I relax & trust my intuition

Solutions to Emotional Eating

Break the Automatic Eating Habit
Analyze your Food Craving
Look at the type of food you are carving
Ask yourself if you are willing to face the issue right now
Take Action
Look for the feeling of love

Turn your focus away from fixing yourself, and instead turn your focus to maintaining peace of mind!

What do you need to support yourself with your emotional eating?

Being willing to look at how you eat. Being willing to see the truth! What is truly here?
Proper Nutrition & Supportive lifestyle
Food Journal
Couching, counseling, therapy
Support groups


Remember, take it slow. Don’t feel you have to address everything at once. The key is to be honest with yourself about who you are, where you struggle and be aware of what is triggering your cravings. Start by making small changes – if you are craving chocolate, EAT the chocolate, just don’t eat the entire bag in one sitting.

Changes don’t happen all at once, give yourself permission to be who you are and commit to making changes, knowing you will have good days and some, not so good. Just keep making those small changes and you will make progress!


Please Note, I pulled this material from my archives and did NOT author all the content, however, I cannot find the original author to provide credit. If you know who did the original piece, please do let me know so I can credit properly!


  1. “Changes don’t happen all at once, give yourself permission to be who you are and commit to making changes, knowing you will have good days and some, not so good. Just keep making those small changes and you will make progress!”

    Thank you for this! Permission & encouragement to make one small change at a time is refreshing and feels realistic. I can relate with this approach!

  2. I have read some excellent stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to make the sort of excellent informative website.

Leave a Comment