Overeating To Cover Up Emotions
By: Rachael
May 15, 2024

Can I Stop Overeating To Cover My Emotions?


When you feel sad, angry, stressed out, or even happy, do you first look to finding a delicious meal, snack, or something to fulfill that sweet tooth? If you connect with the above statement then you might be overeating to cover up your emotions with food. Eating every day is what gives us energy, allowing us to move throughout the day, take care of ourselves and others, complete tasks and responsibilities, and simply enjoy our life. Food is one of the most basic needs for all humans, but sometimes we can use food as a coping mechanism that can quickly lead to addiction or health issues later on in life. Food is a comfort and for a lot of people, food was provided as a reward system growing up, teaching us an unhealthy relationship with food in general. Using food as a reward system connects food and emotions closely together. If we aren’t aware of the close connection, we can use overeating as a coping mechanism to eliminate or ignore our emotions altogether.

With any recovery, we need to first become aware of the issue and admit it to ourselves. Until we come to terms that we are using food to cover up an emotion, we won’t be able to change the behavior. Let’s start small, begin noticing the connection between your feelings and the food you eat. Don’t judge, simply observe yourself. Take note of the connection throughout the week and see if there is a pattern that is noticeable.

Now let yourself go back to the emotions you covered up with food throughout the week and allow yourself to feel the emotions. While allowing yourself to feel the emotion can seem scary, it is needed to move forward in finding a healthy coping mechanism. While you are working on feeling your emotions instead of overeating, we can supplement with a new coping mechanism. Try walking for 10 minutes, soaking up sun and breathing in fresh air, drinking ice cold water, journaling out your thoughts and focusing on what you can control, or talking to a support system. As you are creating a new habit, give yourself some grace. It won’t happen overnight, but slowly you will learn to stop overeating and lean on the new habit and allow yourself to feel the emotion instead of covering it up with food.