Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Emotional Hunger: Twelve Types That Make You Break Your Diet

Yesterday I wrote a blog asking if you are an emotional eater. 
I know I am and have been for years. It is like being an addict. 
However, if you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you can "get clean". You can work through your issues and learn to live a life without your drug of choice. It is not as easy if your drug of choice is food.  If you are an alcoholic, you can avoid places that will trigger you, but you can't live without food.
 When it comes to food issues, you can't be cured, but you learn to manage the food intake every single day. Some days are easier than others.
While I was putting this list together I was surprised how many on this list applied to me in the past and sometimes still applies. However, knowledge is power and if you recognize yourself  in one or more of the lists, well, don't despair. There is help out there. Because of my own story and battle with emotional eating, I have become passionate about supporting others through their struggle.
Below are the twelve types of emotional hunger that trigger Emotional Eating. As you read through the list, ask yourself how many of these apply to you and your life. If you use food in any of the ways listed below, you'll know that Emotional Eating is the real reason you struggle with weight.   Type 1. Food: My Adult Pacifier If you get really hungry when you feel angry, depressed, anxious, bored, or lonely, you use food to dull the pain that these emotions cause.     Type 2. I Stick Up For Myself by Stuffing Myself Up If you react by getting hungry when others talk down to you, take advantage of you, belittle you, or take you for granted, you eat to avoid confrontation.     Type 3. Food: My One Faithful Friend If you crave food when you have tension in your close relationships, you eat to avoid feeling the pain of rejection or anger.   Type 4. When I'm Chewing I Can't Hear My Inner Critic If you tend to become hypercritical of yourself, if you label yourself "stupid," "lazy," or "a loser," you eat to stuff down self-hatred. Type 5. I Don't Have Love but I Have Food If your hunger gets activated because your intimate relationships don't satisfy some basic need like trust or security, you use food to try to fill the gap. Type 6. Food Can't Fill Up the Missing Parts in My Past If you eat to make up for the deprivation you experienced as a child, you eat to forget the past.   Type 7. Don't Tell Me What to Eat If you eat to assert your independence because you don't want anyone telling you what to do, you eat to rebel.   Type 8. I'm Too Busy Eating to Take a Risk If your appetite kicks in when you're faced with new challenges - if you use food to avoid rising to the test, you eat to protect yourself from the fear of failure.   Type 9. Fall in Love? I'd Rather Fall in Chocolate If you stuff your face in order to avoid your sexuality - either to stay overweight so that nobody desires you or to hide from intimate encounters - you eat to protect yourself from getting too close. Type 10. I Use My Body as a Battleground Emotional eaters often eat to pay back those who have hurt them, often in the distant past. They use their bodies as battlegrounds for working out old resentments. If you do this, you eat to get revenge or control anger.   Type 11. I Won't Grow Up If you eat to make yourself feel carefree, like a child, you eat to keep yourself from facing the challenges of growing up. Type 12. I'm Secretly Afraid of Being Thin If you overeat because you fear getting thin, either consciously or unconsciously, you eat to avoid the fear of change. Emotional hunger is real. It's part of life for everyone. If you address the things that make you emotionally hungry, you'll have a chance of having real satisfaction in your life. But if you eat each time you're emotionally hungry, you'll miss the opportunity of satisfaction, and your emotional hunger will continue to grow along with your waistline.


  1. Great blog Anette. I love how clearly you define the many reasons we use food to feel better. I will share this with my clients and friends.

  2. Anette, Great blog! You really nailed it and got me thinking! :-)