How to end stress eating!

Emotional eating is especially prevalent this time of year when we get little sunshine, night falls earlier and we feel locked up in our homes.

We recently taped a Cityline segment about stress eating. Mary (one of our Cityline winners who is down 16.5 pounds!) explained how when she is tired, bored or stressed – she used to turn to foods at night.

Mary … you are not alone! In fact, experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. Happy, sad, bored, tired or lonely -– we eat! Emotional eating is especially prevalent this time of year when we get little sunshine, night falls earlier and we feel locked up in our homes. I have had many clients come into the office lately saying they are feeling “blah” and a little depressed (only more reason to stay on track with your exercise and food intake!).

The key is to become mindful of your food patterns so you can break and fix them.

In order to determine if you are eating due to stress or other emotional reasons, see if you identify with 2 or more the following questions:

1. Do you find you experience intense cravings for sweets?

2. Do you tend to reward yourself with a drink or a snack late at night?

3. Do you find food occupies your thoughts a lot of the time?

4. Do you experience food guilt after you overeat?

5. Does your dietary intake determine your mood?

6. Do you sometimes put food in your mouth without realizing it?

7. Do you eat alone?

8. Do you eat in front of the TV or computer screen or in a parked car?

9. If you are stressed, anxious or worried, do you find yourself opening the kitchen cupboards or fridge?

10. Do you weigh yourself more than once per day?


Your “A-ha” questions

In order to begin mindfully eating, take 5 minutes alone and answer the following questions:

Why do you eat? Are you truly hungry or is it based on emotional reasons?

What is your worst time of day? 3pm or after dinner?

What are your triggers (is it a person or a situation?)

Are you craving salts or sweets when you eat off track?


Your mindful steps to eating:

1. Put a dot on your hand for a 1-week period. Prior to taking each bite, stop for a moment and ask yourself: “Am I really hungry, or am I just bored?” This step will stop you from mindlessly eating the grilled cheese crusts of your child’s sandwich!

2. Food journal, food journal, food journal. Food journalling is one of the most effective methods to snap you into attention and make you accountable. If you have not already begun to food journal, please click here to download.

3. Play the “How will this make me feel?” game. If you are going to wake up the next day from a “food hangover” – is it really worth it? I am all about indulging and enjoying your food, but … it is important to make sure your food choices are not affecting your mood, energy or vitality. That is not worth it!

4. Have “guilt-free” foods on hand — vegetables, soup broths, kale chips, herbal teas, etc. I cannot tell you how many baby carrots I mindlessly munch per day. My “free” foods are my safety zone for sitting in front of the TV.

5. Consciously leave a little bit of food behind on your plate each meal. Sounds like an easy step? It takes a little focus and mindfulness each time to avoid “cleaning your plate” (Sorry, Mom!).

6. Make your meals last as long as possible –- it takes 20 minutes to click a “full sensation” into your brain.

If you have topics you would like me to write about -– I would love to hear from you.


So far … here is the amount our weight loss winners have lost:

Stefania – 20 pounds down!

Mary – 16.5 pounds down!

Mel – 11.5 pounds down!


Great job! I am so proud of them and I look forward to keeping you updated on their progress.

Wishing you best health,
Dr. Joey