Emotional Eating Treatment

Your emotional eating treatment starts with getting to the core of your emotional eating triggers. We know that food is the most over used anti anxiety, or anti depressant drug used. And it can be seen as a drug as we know that sugar has the same effect on the brain as opium. find more information on Sugar withdrawal here.

When I first started doing consultations as a Naturopath, I was using the amazing Body type healthy eating plan which worked so well, but I quickly realized that something was missing. Most of my overweight clients also needed some emotional eating treatment, and when we worked on that, the pounds really started to drop. Take the Emotional eating quiz to see if you're an emotional eater.

Dr. Andrew Weil recently wrote in one of his weekly bulletins about how being overweight shortens your life. A team of Canadian researchers examined the correlation between body weight and life expectancy and calculated that being overweight or obese can take as much as 8 years off of your life.

Emotional eating triggers

What emotions are you trying to alleviate or avoid by eating?

  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Joy
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety

Playing above the line

The first thing I discuss with my weight loss clients is that I ask them to always play above the line. What do I mean by that? By playing above the line you take

  • Ownership, you have
  • Accountability and you take
  • Responsibility for your actions.

You have an OAR and you are in charge of your ship.

When you play below thew line you are stuck in

  • Blame
  • Excuses
  • Denial

You make excuses for yourself, you blame others or outside circumstances and you are in denial. You make your BED and you lie in it.

Emotional eating treatment ideas

If you find yourself reaching for some unhealthy food or having an uncontrollable urge to eat that comes on suddenly, ask yourself.

How do I feel right now?

What am I repressing? What am I eating instead of feeling?

What one of the feelings listed above am I feeling? Am I really hungry?

What can I do instead of  eating that would make me feel good?

List of things to do to handle emotional eating triggers

Here is a great list to help with your emotional eating treatment, compiled in the book Shrink Yourself by Dr. Roger Gould.


  • Practice deep abdominal breathing
  • Practice meditation
  • Take a long bath or bubble bath
  • Get a massage
  • Use tension releasing techniques
  • Use biofeedback techniques
  • Use aromatherapy
  • Take a sauna or steambath
  • Practice visualization techniques
  • Listen to relaxation tapes
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Spend time in nature
  • Spend time with pets
  • Spend time reading
  • Just hang out and do nothing
  • Go for a walk
  • Watch a movie
  • Take a nap
  • Write in a journal or start a gratitude journal
  • Draw, or do arts and crafts
  • Other ____________

Have more fun:

  • Go to a museum or art gallery
  • Attend a concert, the symphony or opera
  • Browse in a bookstore or library
  • Go to the theater
  • Got to a festival
  • Listen to music
  • Attend or watch a sporting event
  • Go to the movies
  • Play a card game or do a puzzle
  • Go shopping
  • Participate in spiritual activities
  • Attend a lecture or seminar
  • Call a friend
  • Surf the internet
  • Go for a walk
  • Plan your next vacation
  • Other _____________

How to stop emotional eating

Be more active:

  • Go running or jogging
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Practice yoga
  • Do pilates
  • Go to the gym
  • Do weights
  • Work in my garden
  • Go for a walk
  • Play golf
  • Play tennis
  • Play badminton (inexpensive sets sold at the hardware store)
  • Participate in other sports or activities ie zumba etc
  • Go backpacking, hiking or camping
  • Clean the house
  • Organize a drawer or cupboard
  • Other _____________

Keep your perspective:

  • Remember a time when I was feeling good
  • Remember what I have to be thankful for
  • Make a plan
  • Remember that I won’t always feel this way
  • Remind myself of the people who love or care about me
  • Keep in mind that my life is not as out of control as I might think it is
  • Remind myself that life is not as meaningless as I might think it is
  • Let go and remind myself I don’t have to control everything
  • Remind myself that what I fear won’t necessarily happen
  • Try to help people who are less fortunate than myself
  • Other _____________ 1.

Notice that none of these activities involve watching T.V. take a break from TV, life is too short there are so many better things to do. You also avoid all the commercials advertising unhealthy food.

It's not easy to break out of long term habits. But by coming up with a plan of healthy compensation for your self it can tremendously help your emotional eating treatment. What are you willing to do? Perhaps you need to work on boosting your self esteem. Or you can do this self esteem building exercise.

How patient are you willing to be with yourself?

Forging a new path takes time. We do tend to slip back into the same groove. A lot of patience is needed to create a new groove and to stick with it. Forgiveness and discipline are needed. Patting yourself on the back for all you're doing. Cheering yourself on, for every ''win.''

And I am serious about this! After spending decades putting myself down, I really make the effort to catch myself if I hear that little voice saying, ''you're so stupid.'' I won't listen to that negative self talk anymore. Instead I say, ''Yay, me!''

I also have a most wonderful girlfriend who cheers me on. I share my successes with her and she yells, ''Yay Sue-Anne!!'' It's so awesome! Do you have someone who can cheer you on? (hint, for me it's definitely not a family member!)

Contact me  and not only will you have your personalized body type plan to help you lose the weight more easily. You will also have someone to keep you on track, to hold you accountable, and someone who cheers you on!

If you liked this article you will also find more great information on emotional eating here.


1. Gould, Roger, M.D., Shrink Yourself, Break free from emotional eating forever (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2007) 190-192

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