Mind and Body

How to overcome emotional eating

Many of us indulged too much over the holidays, but one expert says it's not because we were hungry.  Find out how your emotions play into your eating habits and how to manage them


While you may have indulged in too many snacks and sweets over the holidays, it may not have been because you were hungry.

According to psychologist Jennifer Taitz, author of End Emotional Eating, understanding the emotional aspect of a person’s eating habits may help him or her down a road to optimal health.

“People eat to deal with anger, and eating when you’re angry is simply the wrong solution to an emotion,” Taitz told FoxNews.com.  “Eating in response to anger just doesn’t manage anger; it adds guilt to the equation.”

Another reason people eat as an emotional response may be due to social anxiety, Taitz said.  In order to combat this problem, she said people should stop defining themselves by their size and shape.  Also it’s important to slow down and taste what you’re eating – and  understand why you are eating it

“Slowing down is a huge important first step, and a lot of times we're just one with our behavior,” Taitz said. “We're not kind of noticing, ‘Are we hungry? Are we feeling an emotion? Can we slow down?’ Actually slowing down allows us to change our behavior, which actually changes our brain. If we slow down we can build up the middle prefrontal cortex of our brain, which actually aligns behaviors with our long-term goals.”

Taitz said it’s OK to occasionally overindulge, but one bad moment doesn’t give you license to eat whatever you want the rest of the day.