Eating emotional stress is one of the single largest reasons people over eat. Stress is with us everyday and so is food. For that matter, a lot of other things such as cigarettes, booze, and drugs are too. So we are not looking for a means to stop emotional eating and have it only switch to another unhealthy habit.

Most of us think in terms as stress being something that places pressure on one such as deadlines, or bad news, or worries. But, basically it’s important to recognize that there are two types of stress—the undesirable stressors and the desirable stressors. Yes, winning the lottery is a stressor after all, what are you going to do with all your newly acquired friends? Thus getting promotions, moving to a new home, doing a great job on the report… are all stressors. They are called eustress and the undesirable stressors are called distress.

Along with these stressors is often emotion such as happiness, joyfulness, excitement, exhilaration… And even though we like to have these feelings as opposed to the ones that come with the bad stressors—frustration, anger, depression, upset, confusion, uncertainty, boredom… how we handle both types of stress is often the same—we eat. Of course I know that there are those who only over eat when they feel frustrated and never when they feel happy and visa versa, but there’s enough happiness or frustration in their lives to feed a whale and gain weight they do none the less.

For centuries being a bit overweight was ok—she was voluptuous or healthy. More recently in the last century, those extra pounds are looked on as a plague and in many cases modern science has proven them to be unhealthy.

And even though there is no substitute for exercise as basic as walking, it is important to gain a handle on handling distress and eustress.

True, a lot of this has to do with your learned perceptions, your attitude and frame of mind. However, the good news is handling them (although may be very useful) is not a prerequisite to handling emotions.

Ultimately the goal is to recognize the emotion and embrace it—feel it and let it disappear as you leave food or anything else out of the reaction.

However, even though attitude is not a prerequisite, there are a couple other prerequisites. They are:
1 Self communication which can be like programming the brain and;
2 Handling the habitual aspect of food.

Overlooking either one can cause failure. Self communication statements that cause failure are:
1. I am not going to eat (something)
2. I haven’t had desert for a week.
3. I am going to try to lose weight
4. I must lose weight
5. I’ll eat today and diet tomorrow.

For many reasons—too numerous to go into in this article, these statements are hypnotic statements to cause overeating. Instead say, “I’d like to forget about food!”

The habitual aspect of food is to change one’s routine—i.e. bypass the Dunkin Doughnuts on the way to work.

A progressive approach to eliminate emotional eating to win the battle of the bulge 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