Emotional eating is by far the single largest reason people over eat. Yet, there is very little focus on how to handle emotions. It's like we are still in the dark ages. Just because we all have emotions, we're expected to know how to handle them.

And what little training we do receive is more about how to avoid emotions than how to deal with them. We are told that emotions like happiness, joy, excitement are good and that emotions like anger, upset, depression are bad. And then boredom, confusion, uncertainty, malaise aren't even discussed as emotions, but more so as uncomfortable feelings.

When we really look at emotions, “good” and “bad” is subjective. Truth is that emotions are neither good nor bad. They are simply different energy levels and depending on how we've learned to handle them the results may be good or bad-again a subjective thing.

The reality is that handling an emotion such as anger can be healthy and beneficial and avoiding the emotion can be unhealthy and nonproductive. Thus if handling the anger effectively can be healthy, then how can we call the emotion bad? The reality is that any emotion (including happiness) can be handled badly. How we handle emotions may be good or bad, but not the emotions themselves.

Food is simply a means by which we've learned to handle emotions. Some people only overeat when they are bored-others overeat when they are depressed-others only overeat when they are happy. And then of course there are those who eat when they are bored, happy, frustrated… Essentially food is a way that emotions are diluted which may give rise to the term “foodaholic.”

The foodaholic stops emotional eating by learning to stop diluting emotions with food, but instead to take them straight-embrace the emotion for what it is and leave food out of the picture. The key word is “learn”-learn to manage emotions in a healthy way. For when you learn how to handle them you allow you to feel the emotion. And at that moment, even though some emotions may not feel great, the emotion disappears when it is allowed to be felt. Any need to dilute the emotion with food disappears.

An effective approach to conquer emotional eating 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 www.DStressDoc.com and www.PanicBusters.com. His aim is to make it possible for anyone to manage emotional binge eating. For more information please visit www.dstressdoc.com/BingeEatingEbook.htm