To conquer emotional eating it's important to understand the difference between eating out of habit and emotional eating.

The easiest way to understand eating out of habit is to relate with the person who stops at the bagel shop every morning on his/her way to work. It's a habit. Or the person who comes home in the afternoon, walks through the living room into the kitchen, and opens the refrigerator door. It's a habit.

Break the habit and break the behavior. Take a different route to work. Find another activity in the afternoon to replace coming home. Or, if you do come home in the afternoon climb in the back window instead of walking through the front door.

Emotional eating is not so easy to identify for most of us have more training in ignoring our feelings that we do in acknowledging them.

So how do you know if it's emotional eating? You know by using the process of elimination. First you use a technique to handle habitual eating and if after doing so, you end up eating, then you know it's emotional eating.

The best techniques to handle emotional eating are awareness techniques such as:
Diets which makes one very aware of the specific foods
Behavioral modification such as putting the fork down between bites, eating slowly...
Calorie counting.
Food Equivalents.
Weighing Food.
Stop thinking techniques.

Any of these techniques are effective in breaking the eating habit. Weight comes off until... The "until" is an emotional stress at which point all the effort "goes out the door."

There are two factors that end the diet or whatever awareness technique that's being used:

1. To self berate: The individual gets very upset with oneself and begins to wonder if they have a "mental problem." They call themselves stupid, dumb, asinine... They believe that this one incursion has completely ruined all their past successes and may even gorge themselves to get even with themselves. In other words, they have become their own worst enemy through their own thinking mechanisms.

2. They are totally ill equipped to handle the stressful emotion. The disappointment or success that led to the emotion yields a stressful situation in handling the emotion. This is because most of us have been trained to avoid emotions, control them, or pretend they don't exist. Even success leads to emotion? Yes, the emotion is happiness, yet it's amazing how many of us don't allow ourselves to feel happy. "Don't be too happy, you'll set yourself up for the big let down," is just one of several beliefs we've acquired towards happiness.

We could write a book about all the other emotions such as upset, boredom, confusion, anger, frustration, depression... In fact I did--see the resource box.

All the good work achieved to lose weight is for naught. When we learn to treat ourselves lovingly instead of self put-downs and embrace emotion instead of denying them, losing weight is a natural process.

A progressive approach to losing weight involves asking important questions "What is missing here? Why are you not getting the results you've been promised?" It is clearly insane to keep dieting when the results are so poor. It's more important to gain a grasp on how to stop emotional eating--eating emotional stress than it is to read the scale. Besides focusing on the scale doesn't empower you to be a better more enlightened person, whereas learning how to overcome emotional eating empowers you in all aspects of your life. If you're a sales person, you'll be a better sales person. If you're an assembly line worker, you'll be a better assembly line worker; a mother, a better mother... Overall, you'll build self worth and find that what you really want to eat is far more nutritious and less in quantity than you ever before imagined possible.

Author's Bio: 

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E., NGH certified, a prominent figure in the field of hypnosis with his best selling hypnosis and stress management cds at and His aim is to make it possible for anyone to manage emotional binge eating. For more information please visit