Manage Emotional Eating




We don’t always eat to satisfy hunger.  We also eat to relieve stress, find comfort and seek reward.  Eating to soothe emotions never resolves the issue, and in fact, makes us feel worse as we add regret, guilt and shame to the mix.



Do you eat to feel (emotionally) better?

Do you eat more when you are stressed or anxious?

Do you eat to reward yourself?

Do you eat to compensate for a bad day?

Do you feel powerless around food?



Identify your triggers

Make a list of the times when you are most vulnerable to emotional eating, (ie family gatherings, after work, after a tough conversation).  What are the emotions you are trying to soothe?

Identify the reward

For each trigger listed above, identify the reward you are seeking through food.  What are you hoping to gain from food during those times?  Comfort?  Stress relief?  Relaxation?

Identify an alternative

For each trigger listed above, identify an alternative activity that you could choose that would provide you with a similar reward.

Here is an example:

Trigger:  After work I feel stressed (emotion)

Reward:  I want to unwind (relieve stress), so I reach for a bag of cookies

Alternative:  I could go for a walk or have a cup of flavoured tea


Shyamala Kiru, DMin, RMFT

Private Practice, Markham
About Shyamala

shyamala_portraitShyamala has spent over a decade working with hundreds of individuals, couples and families.  She is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist with the American and Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently serves as their Chair of Public Relations.  She holds a Masters in Counselling and a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy.

In addition to her private practice in Markham, she is a consultant for the Health Services Team at a York Region Private School and is a media expert for sources such as Chatelaine, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.  You can also find her the panel of Discovery Channel’s National TV show, Canada’s Worst Driver.   She regularly delivers psycho-educational workshops as well as professional development for schools all across York Region. With an approach that is sensitive and down to earth, Shyamala brings authenticity and energy to her work with people of all cultures and backgrounds.

October 9, 2014

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