How to Properly Study Emotional Eating: List of Links to Books and Articles

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How to Properly Study Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is a common problem that affects many people. It can cause weight gain, and in some cases, lead to obesity. Emotional eating occurs when a person eats in response to their emotions, rather than hunger. This can be triggered by stress, boredom, anxiety, or depression.

Properly studying emotional eating can help people overcome it and lead healthier lives. In this article, we will provide a list of links to books and articles that can help individuals properly study and understand emotional eating.

What is Emotional Eating?

Before we dive into the resources, let’s understand what emotional eating is. Emotional eating is a coping mechanism used to manage negative emotions. When a person is feeling sad, anxious, or stressed, they may turn to food to find comfort. This can lead to overeating, and ultimately, weight gain. Emotional eating is not the same as hunger. It is an urge to eat in response to emotions.

Understanding Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is a behavior that is often triggered by negative emotions such as stress, boredom, loneliness, or sadness. In these situations, food can provide a temporary distraction from negative feelings and a sense of comfort or pleasure. The problem is that this behavior can quickly become a habit, leading to weight gain, poor nutrition, and health problems.

Research has shown that emotional eating is influenced by multiple factors, including genetics, hormones, brain chemistry, and environment. For example, the hormone ghrelin, which is produced by the stomach, can stimulate appetite and increase cravings for high-calorie foods when we are stressed or anxious. Similarly, the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and reward, can be activated by the taste, texture, and aroma of food, leading to a reinforcing cycle of emotional eating.

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The Impact of Stress and Emotions on Eating Behavior

Stress and negative emotions can affect eating behavior in different ways, depending on the individual and the situation. Some people may experience a decrease in appetite or a preference for healthy foods when they are stressed, while others may turn to comfort foods or binge eating. Here are some of the ways that stress and emotions can impact eating behavior:

Stress-induced eating

Stress can trigger the release of the hormone cortisol, which can increase appetite and cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods. This response may have evolutionary roots, as our ancestors needed to store energy during times of stress and danger. However, in modern society, chronic stress can lead to overeating and obesity, which can have negative health consequences.

Emotional eating and comfort foods

Emotional eating is often associated with comfort foods, which are typically high in calories, fat, and sugar. These foods can activate the brain’s reward center and provide a temporary sense of pleasure and relief from negative emotions. However, the effects are short-lived, and the cycle of emotional eating can lead to weight gain and negative health consequences.

Eating disorders and emotional dysregulation

Emotional eating can be a symptom or a risk factor for eating disorders such as binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa. These conditions are characterized by emotional dysregulation, or difficulty regulating emotions, which can lead to maladaptive coping strategies such as binge eating or purging. Treatment for eating disorders often involves addressing the underlying emotional issues and developing healthy coping skills.

Strategies to Manage Emotional Eating

Managing emotional eating can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can be effective. Here are some tips to help you manage emotional eating:

Identify your triggers

The first step in managing emotional eating is to identify your triggers, or the situations, people, or emotions that lead to overeating. Keeping a food diary or a journal can help you track your eating habits and identify patterns.

Develop healthy coping skills

Instead of turning to food for comfort, try to develop healthy coping skills such as exercise, mindfulness, or talking to a friend or therapist. These strategies can help you manage stress and negative emotions without resorting to emotional eating.

Practice mindful eating

Mindful eating involves paying attention to your food, savoring each bite, and tuning in to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. This practice can help you eat more slowly, enjoy your food, and avoid overeating.


  • “The Emotional Eater’s Repair Manual” by Julie M. Simon
  • “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle” by Michelle May
  • “The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution: Proven Strategies to End Overeating, Satisfy Your Hunger, and Savor Your Life” by Lynn Rossy


  • “Emotional Eating: How to Recognize and Overcome It” by Mayo Clinic
  • “The Science of Emotional Eating (And Why Most Diets Don’t Work)” by Forbes
  • “The Psychology of Emotional Eating” by Psychology Today

Strategies for Overcoming Emotional Eating

Once a person has a deeper understanding of the causes of emotional eating, they can begin to develop strategies for overcoming it. The following books and articles provide practical tips and strategies for overcoming emotional eating:


  • “50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food” by Susan Albers
  • “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating” by Geneen Roth
  • “Food: The Good Girl’s Drug: How to Stop Using Food to Control Your Feelings” by Sunny Sea Gold


  • “6 Tips to Help You Stop Emotional Eating” by Healthline
  • “10 Ways to Stop Emotional Eating” by WebMD
  • “How to Stop Emotional Eating” by Verywell Mind

Emotional eating is a common problem that can have negative effects on a person’s health. Properly studying emotional eating can help individuals overcome it and lead healthier life.

We hope the list of books and articles provided in this article will be a helpful resource to those who are looking to properly study emotional eating

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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