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How to assess what happens when you are emotional eating to fill a void

Do you wonder why you are emotionally eating?

Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of eating to satisfy hunger. Typically you are emotionally eating to fill a void,

In order to understand why emotional eating to fill a void happens, you need to connect with what emotion the food is trying to help.

Get to the why behind your feelings 

When using food outside of hunger, you may be concerned and feel shame., but why.  To really unpack and get to the bottom of the meaning, first, you must understand what is emotional eating to fill a void.

Do you wonder why you are emotional eating?

This void feeling can be one of several normal, yet uncomfortable feelings:

  • Loneliness
  • Desperation
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

When you are eating to fill a void, food is usually consumed with the desire to feel better. In other words, the goal of this eating is to resolve the uncomfortable feeling. 

This is why you need to think about what is going on in your life and what you are feeling to really get at the emotions behind your actions – that void.

Does emotional eating to fill a void work?

Emotional eating fills a void of something missing in your life. The problem is that food only distracts and provides temporary relief, but the food does not fix loneliness, depression, or any other feeling you are looking to resolve.

This lack of resolution of the real void problem is the reason that 1 cookie is never enough. So, 1 cookie becomes 2, 3, and sometimes eventually the whole package.

This type of eating can make you feel full, whole, and comforted, temporarily.

Eating this way can also be considered eating to fill a void, emotional eating, or even a binge.

The benefit you receive from eating, despite feeling bad about the experience, is one reason stopping the behavior is hard. By having a good understanding of the purpose of the behavior, you have helpful information. This information is important because it reveals the true meaning behind this eating behavior. 

The benefit you receive from emotional eating

In addition to the distraction, there are also feel-good chemicals released in the brain that help you feel better and temporarily lift your mood when you are emotionally eating. However, this feeling is typically brief.  

The judgment and fear of losing control and shame for consuming foods outside of hunger linger for a long time.  This is the reason you feel so bad. The story you make up about your emotional eating contributes to how you feel and impacts your self-esteem.

By discovering why you emotionally eat, you can start addressing the real reason you eat without using food all the time. This is the path to reducing your emotional eating in certain situations.

You can read this article, 5 Tips to stop emotional eating to fill a void for more information.

If you are concerned with your eating and want a quick evaluation to find out if you are an Emotional Eater, take our free quiz.

Schedule a call with me to find out more about how I can help you assess what is behind your emotional eating.

Kathryn Fink Martinez

Conquer food fear and overwhelm! My passion is helping guide people who are embarrassed about their struggle with food and teaching them simple habit changes that lead to a life with more energy, happiness, and the freedom to eat the foods they truly enjoy. Find a realistic food and exercise approach and remove the uncertainty about what to eat. Get started with some of the free resources on my Confidence in Eating website, especially the Bariatric Success Guide., Emotional Eating Quiz, and Binge Eating Quiz resources. I offer telehealth nutrition programs so you can live your life knowing how to nourish your body, mind, and soul.