Why It Is OK To Emotionally Eat Sometimes


Happy Friday everyone 🙂

I feel like I start or end every post these days with a happy day sentence. I feel like I need to start saying something else, but happy day will suffice for now…

I had a bit of a rough day emotionally yesterday. I had some bad news that I wasn’t expecting and it took a big dent to my ego. This certain situation had been stressful for a while, but this was just icing on the cake. I won’t go too much into it on here because I don’t want to offload negative energy onto you…

What I want to talk about today stems from this though in that I want to say that it is OK to emotionally eat sometimes. I have wanted to talk about this topic for a while, and given the situation yesterday, I feel like it is a perfect time to chat about it.

On the way home from particular said news yesterday, I rang Johnny and was like “I feel super drained and tired, I don’t want to cook, and I want to eat all the carbs, cheese and chocolate”.

So we ordered a pizza, garlic bread and I got some sea salt dark chocolate from the corner shop below our house. I ate until I was satisfied (instead of binging mindlessly), and you know what, it totally hit the spot, I was satisfied, and made me feel better.

Emotional eating is not necessary “bad”.  It becomes a problem however, when emotional eating is your ONLY coping mechanism for your emotions.

Working on other strategies to manage and cope with emotions is key to recovering from any type of eating issue. Whether that is seeing a counsellor, journalling, dancing, talking it out with a friend, yoga, meditation or whatever other healthy behaviour you have learned to help cope with your emotions.

What is also key is that you learn to make peace with the body you are in and that you heal your fat phobia, and “wanting to be thin” mentality. Because this fixation, which often leads to dieting, restricting and binging tendencies, is what can drive a very unhealthy relationship with food and level of emotional eating.

But sometimes, craving a type of food when you are emotionally hungry and eating to satisfy that is OK. We are human.

Learning to sit with the feelings, love them and then let them go is an awesome way to deal with your emotions and it is what I normally do. That or a healthy coping behaviour as mentioned above, e.g. meditation. However on the odd occasion, a good pizza and some chocolate can be a healthy coping mechanism too.

And just an important note to say… pizza and chocolate are not “bad foods” and only to be eaten emotionally. I eat pizza and chocolate without being emotional too because food has no moral weighting. These just happened to be the foods I was craving. 

This may not make any sense to some people. But we have to remember that we are emotional beings and sometimes emotional eating is OK.

And just to note, this is completely different to a binge eating situation, where you are eating to the point of uncomfortableness, where you are eating anything and everything in site and you feel out of control. If this is the case for you, then professional help is key to overcoming this.

This situation is where you just fancy a cheeky pizza or as my Mum said she craves “a bowl of mashed potato with butter”. Comfort food shall we say.

And this is OK. You are NOT BAD. As the amazing authors from Intuitive Eating say “occasionally eating comfort foods can be part of a healthy relationship with food, if you do it while staying in touch with your satiety levels (fullness and satisfaction cues) and without guilt”. Without guilt is key here. If you choose to consciously eat some comfort food, then let go of any guilt, be mindful, be present and eat until you are satisfied.

Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch go on to say that the issue becomes apparent when foods are the only and first thing that comes to mind to cope when you feel sad, lonely, uncomfortable etc. This is when it can become a destructive coping mechanism where you use food to distract yourself, sedate yourself to even punish yourself.

Additionally, emotional eating is not just about when we feel a negative feeling. We can eat to celebrate a birthday etc, and this is more than OK.

We are incredibly complex, emotional beings and occasional emotional eating is totally normal and OK. Like I have repeated in this post, this only becomes a problem when it is used as your only coping mechanism, food is all you think about, you emotionally eat as a reaction to restriction or binging, you use food to sedate yourself or even punish yourself.

I could seriously write about this for ages as it is a complex issue but I respect and value your time. I would love to hear your take on all of this in the comments, any of your own experiences with emotional eating and anything you think could educate me more on this topic.

If you do need help and you are suffering with this, or from any kind of eating issue, disordered eating or eating disorder, please seek professional help. You can start here… Australia, USA –

What is your take on emotional eating?

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  • Reply Pip

    Lovely post Lauren! I hope you are doing okay with this tricky news.
    Reminds me of a post I wrote a couple years back, thinking of emotional eating in a celebratory way – I love that we eat cake on birthdays, a big old Christmas dinner with family and everything that comes with in. It’s lovely to have memories associated with food, in my opinion 🙂

    February 6, 2017 at 5:46 am
    • Reply LaurenKate

      Thank you Pip 🙂
      Yes, totally agree – I love that. Birthdays would not be the same without a cake!

      February 6, 2017 at 7:36 am

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