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Using Food For Comfort: Emotional Eating and Binge-Eating

By HERWriter
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Eating Disorders related image Photo: Getty Images

Instead of rewarding yourself with a Kit Kat when you get home, do something not involving food, like painting your nails or cleaning your house or apartment (Hey, it can feel nice to be in a clean house and you can feel a sense of accomplishment).

Janet R. Laubgross, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Virginia who specializes in weight management, acknowledges that some people still might not understand there are psychological and emotional issues involved with binge-eating and emotional eating, and that some people can’t necessarily just stop eating.

“I think as a society we’re getting more and more comfortable with psychological issues, but I think there’s always going to be people who do not understand it,” Laubgross said. “Hopefully the people who are in the position to treat these things will take it more seriously, like if you go to a physician and you’re having trouble with your eating – that hopefully the physician will consider ‘Gee, maybe there’s an emotional component.’”

It’s important for the general public to know how psychological binge-eating and emotional eating can be.

“These are truly psychological problems,” Laubgross. “It’s not just because that person’s weak or has bad willpower … the way our society is promotes this disordered eating.”

She also said it can be tough for women to avoid binge-eating and emotional eating.

“Our society promotes … us to be athletic-looking or thin-looking … and yet everywhere you go, there’s advertisements about food and you pass food everywhere you go all the time,” Laubgross said. “And we have a society where people are constantly eating and drinking.”

There is a prevalent stigma toward those who are overweight, and it’s hard to hide that issue as well.

“If you are overweight, everywhere you go, everybody knows … that you have that problem because it’s evident,” Laubgross said. “If you are anorexic but not super-skinny … people don’t necessarily know that. That’s not obvious.”

However, she said that women should know that they can improve their eating situation and that there’s other ways to deal with emotions besides excessive eating.

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EmpowHER Guest

I'm just starting to realize that I have a problem w emotional eating. Every time I get mad at my husband or feel sad or lonely, I eat stuff I'm not supposed to -- and too much of it. Thanks for the article. I was looking for help online.

January 5, 2012 - 11:10am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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