DiscoverListen To Your Body Podcast4 Questions to Ask About Emotional Eating (Intuitive Eating Principle 7)
4 Questions to Ask About Emotional Eating (Intuitive Eating Principle 7)

4 Questions to Ask About Emotional Eating (Intuitive Eating Principle 7)

Update: 2020-09-22


Intuitive Eating Principle 7 is all about emotional eating. Why do we eat when our stress levels are up? What can we do to step away from the cupboard and only eat when we’re actually hungry? Let’s talk about the four questions you need to ask yourself.

Key Takeaways

The Four Questions to Ask Yourself About Emotional Eating:

  • Is your hunger physical or emotional in nature? [13:06 ]
  • How are you generally feeling? [15:45 ]
  • What is the need you’re having in that moment or what is the boundary? [16:23 ]
  • How can you fulfill that need or express that boundary without turning to food? [19:20 ]

About Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is something that most people on this planet are familiar with. When you’re not sure if you’re hungry for food, but there’s this emptiness inside or uneasiness that makes you reach for something.

I have absolutely been there. You’re so not alone! Here are four questions you need to ask yourself when you think you might be eating emotionally.

Why We Eat Emotionally

As with almost anything we do, there are deep-rooted reasons why we do what we do. Emotional eating is no different. One of the biggest reasons we turn to food is because of stress!

For some people, comfort eating is the only way they know how to navigate stressful feelings or any other number of emotions. So when this is the only mechanism you have, of course, you’re going to turn to it more often.

Honestly, and I want to stress this, saying that you’re never going to emotionally eat again is not realistic. There will be times you eat when you’re not hungry! Plus, food has so much more significance in our lives than just curbing hunger.

You are not a failure if you turn to food to navigate your life right now.

Four Questions to Ask About Emotional Eating

What we’re talking about today is how you can start recognizing the different types of hunger in your body. Hunger for nourishment feels different than hunger from loneliness or stress.

But if you’ve never learned to tell the difference between these feelings, it can be hard to start. I’ve broken down the four questions you should ask yourself when you reach for food.

Check-in with your body. Is your hunger physical or emotional? How are you feeling in general? Really get in tune with your emotions, here.

What need are you having right now? What is the boundary that you’re coming up against? And finally, how can you fulfill that need without turning to food?

Build up your arsenal of other ways you can work through your emotions that don’t involve food. Whether it’s journaling, going for a walk, calling your best friend, or something else, I’d love it if you let me know in the comments on the episode page.


In This Episode

  • Why it’s not realistic to say you’ll never eat emotionally again [7:35 ]
  • How the different types of hunger manifest in your body [13:30 ]
  • The four questions you need to ask yourself about emotional eating [14:00 ]
  • How setting boundaries can help you handle your emotional eating [18:30 ]



“Stress can drive us to use food to fill emotional needs.” [6:54 ]

“In times of high stress, for some people, comforting or finding safety and security in food is the only mechanism that they have or they know.” [8:32 ]

“Food is more than just energy. Food can be an emotional, cultural, social, or religious experience.” [12:15 ]

“Getting more clarity on how you feel, not just the sensations in your body, which can be a very helpful stepping stone, but emotionally, how do you feel? Different people have different amounts of access to this at any one given point.” [15:54 ]



Join the Listen To Your Body Newsletter

National Eating Disorder Association Free Assessment

LTYB 288: How To Ditch Dieting (Intuitive Eating Principle 1)

LTYB 289: Honoring Your Hunger (Intuitive Eating Principle 2)

LTYB 292: Make Peace With Food (Intuitive Eating Principle #3)

LTYB 293: Challenging The Food Police (Intuitive Eating Principle 4)

LTYB 296: 3 Ways to Make Eating More Satisfying (Intuitive Eating Principle 5)

LTYB 297: 3 Ways to Honor Your Body’s Fullness (Intuitive Eating Principle 6)

Check out the full show notes here!

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4 Questions to Ask About Emotional Eating (Intuitive Eating Principle 7)

4 Questions to Ask About Emotional Eating (Intuitive Eating Principle 7)

Steph Gaudreau