Am I an Emotional Eater?

Are You An Emotional Eater?? 5 Simple Ways to determine if you have a healthy relationship with food. // Happy Food Healthy Life

Between all the delicious recipes I share here, my purpose for this internet space is so much greater than cupcakes  and brownies (although those a pretty amazing perks to the gig). My true purpose for Happy Food Healthy Life© is to inspire, empower, and motivate you to put your best foot forward and live a healthy and truly happy life without all the ugly influences from media, unhealthy relationships, and elsewhere. I am finding more and more, that it is my life purpose to help others who are in a position that I once was. So because of that, I really want to be sure I focus on some of the core reasons why I started this space in the first place.

Today, I’m starting from scratch. From the beginning. So often, I talk about emotional eating and disordered eating. “If you’re an emotional eater, then you should blah blah blah.” But maybe you don’t know if you’re an emotional eater. Maybe it’s really never crossed your mind. Maybe you’re not sure what emotional eating looks like. For some people, it’s just always been a part of their lives, so they just may not recognize it as a thing. So that’s where I wanted to start. I want you to begin to recognize the signs of emotional eating. Once you find out where you are, we can begin really honing in on figuring out the why’s and how we can start making healthy and CONSCIOUS eating decisions. 

I’ve come up with five of the most common things that emotional eaters say or feel in regards to food.

5 Common  Things that Emotional Eaters Say or Feel

I often eat regardless of my physical hunger. You don’t think much about your hunger level when you go to grab something from the fridge. Something sounds good, and you just grab for it regardless of the fact that you just ate 30 minutes ago. Or you know you are stuffed at the dinner table, yet you just keep on eating, even if you’ve stopped actually tasting and enjoying the food you’re eating.

When I’m stressed/upset/overly happy/etc, I turn to food for comfort and/or celebration. You’ve had a bad day, and the first thing you think to do is turn to food. You convince yourself with statements like, “I’ve been through a lot lately – I deserve to eat these cupcakes… all of them.” Sometimes, this type of thing can happen when you’re overly happy or excited. There have been times I’m high as a kite from a workout, and the first thing I do is eat a handful of cookies. Sometimes, as emotional eaters, our bodies just naturally go to food at either extreme of emotions.

I eat to feel better. You’re just not feeling well. Physically or emotionally, you’re just down. When your body probably needs things like rest, water, and maybe even an ibuprofen or two, you may automatically turn to food.

I feel like I have no will-power or control when it comes to food. Do you hear yourself saying things like, “I have no will-power when it comes to sweets?” Or “I just can’t control myself during the holidays”? I know I used to say, “I would have one, but then I’ll eat the whole container because I can’t help myself.” 

I feel like food is always there for me when others aren’t. When it comes down to it, you don’t feel like you have anyone to really turn to when you’re dealing with things in life. Sure, you may have your spouse or significant other. Or a best friend. But it’s just not the same. When you eat, your problems just seem to go away. Maybe the people in your lives aren’t a healthy outlet for you to open up to. Has food become your comforting go-to?


So, how are you feeling? Did some of those statement ring true to the point that you’d like to eat a pint of ice cream? Yeah, I totally get it. Sometimes it just  hits you like a slap in the face. You don’t think that you’re part of the category of an emotional eater, but then it’s right there in black and white. And I hate to say something so cliche, but admitting that you are an emotional eater or have a bad relationship with food truly is the hardest, but most important, part. Everything after this point, we can work on, and it only gets easier from here.

So I’d like to know (if you’d like to share), where can you relate, if at all? Leave me a little comment love. Or you could always email me if you don’t want to share with the class (

I will be 100% honest. Until about 2.5 years ago, I felt all of these things on a consistent basis. Now these feelings are very few and far apart. Food truly had power over me. I didn’t realize that I had the power to combat all of those feelings. I didn’t think I would ever be able to tell food, “no more!”

It is possible. It’s something I can work you through. But we’ve got to start here first.


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  1. Kait says

    Oh I needed to read this today! I’ve never thought of myself as an emotional eater. Two of these are especially true in my life-I eat even when I know I’m not physically hungry and I often catch myself saying and believing I have no will-power. Ok, maybe all of these are true for me! It’s time for me to come to terms with the fact that I AM an emotional eater. Now time to move forward. Thank you for sharing!

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Kait I’m so glad I was able to help you recognize some of your habits. I mean it’s hard… I know that no one wants to hear that there’s a problem, but as soon as you recognize it, you can begin making some conscious decisions. I’m so happy this has helped you, and i promise to provide some tools for moving forward

    • Holly Waterfall says

      To be honest, it’s very hard not to be an emotional eater. Food is a part of so many of our emotions and it’s deep grained from childhood. But it is possible to stop the habits!

  2. says

    This is such a helpful post! I have honestly never been able to tell if I am an emotional eater or not. (Which probably means I am, at least a little) because I get a lot of JOY out of feeding people, including myself. I love baking and cooking, especially sharing family recipes and I definitely have a sweet tooth. I know a lot of the women in my family ARE emotional eaters and obesity is a big problem in our family. I do sometimes worry that will be me. We use for to celebrate for sure. Like, “Daddy got a raise, let’s go out to dinner!” That said, I can fairly easily stop eating when I am full and it’s not unusual for half a cake to go uneaten in our house or for a batch of a dozen cookies to last 4 or 5 days. I am heavier than I would like to be, but I wouldn’t call myself “fat.” (I fluctuate between a size 8 and a size 12, depending on the designer and the time of the month 😉 ) We try to make an effort to eat healthy, local foods, but other than that I don’t really make much of an effort to try to lose weight. I think the difference between me and the other members of my family is that my mom made a very conscious effort when we were growing up to never use food as a reward or a comfort. (For example, if we scraped our knee it was never, “Oh, you poor dear, have some ice cream.” It was “Oh, you poor dear, come hear and let me snuggle you and read you a story” instead.) and we never had to clean our plates, just stop eating when we were full.

  3. says

    I think it’s pretty hard to live in this culture and NOT be an emotional eater. Food is weaved into everything, from traditions to social situations, from the time we are little kids. I notice that my children try to use food to soothe my baby when she is upset. These emotional connections start at a very young age. Research shows that food addictions are some of the hardest to overcome, so your blog is very inspiring, Holly! Thank you for sharing.

  4. says

    This is a WONDERFUL article! I am def an emotional eater. I can control my weight pretty well, because I eat healthfully and exercise regularly; however, I am always, constantly, thinking about food. I can’t go a few hours with out thinking “What will I have for lunch?” or “I really want some…*insert food*” And I hate that I can’t go a couple hours without it. The addiction really drives me crazy.

    Is there a follow-up article about how to break these habits?


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