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Overcoming Emotional Eating: Triggers, Myths & More, Part 2

Here’s part two of my interview with Katie, from one of my favorite blogs Health for the Whole Self. Katie has written an e-book called Taking Action: 30 Specific Strategies About Overcoming Emotional Eating. It’s truly a must-read! (Here’s more about the book and how to get it.)

In part one, we talked about her own struggles with emotional eating, what helped her get better, her favorite tools and more.

In part two, Katie discusses a major trigger for her emotional eating, myths about emotional eating, the toughest part of recovery for her and having hope.

I also just want to reiterate that if you’re struggling with emotional eating or binge eating, you can absolutely get better – regardless of how long you’ve been struggling. Binge eating is highly treatable. For instance, Katie saw a therapist and uses the tools in her e-book.

Seeing a therapist who specializes in binge eating is key for getting better. Creating a healthy toolbox also helps tremendously, whether that’s through Katie’s e-book (which I really do highly recommend) or another resource.

Don’t forget that Katie is giving away one free copy! Enter to win by commenting below. You have ’til next Monday at 12 a.m. EST to comment. I’ll pick the winner randomly and let you know who won next week.

Thanks so much for all the thoughtful comments so far!

Q: In your e-book you talk about the importance of learning what triggers emotional eating. What was one of your biggest triggers and how did you take action to overcome it?

A: I’m actually a pretty outgoing person, and yet certain social situations can be extremely triggering for me. Using the tools in the e-book, I came to realize that I was binge eating a lot more frequently the week before a big event or social gathering.

Basically, I was feeling nervous about the situation and then using food to try to ignore that nervousness.

Just figuring out what was going on was the first step. But then I started using all kinds of other strategies – journaling, thinking through the worst case scenario, separating facts from judgments, etc. – to make peace with my nerves.

They still existed, sure, but I could feel them and manage them without a sleeve of cookies or an enormous slice of cake.

Q: What are several misconceptions about emotional eating?

A: One common misconception is that emotional eating is “normal” so we shouldn’t be so worried about it. People think it’s not a big deal. It’s true that a lot of people – especially women – turn to food to cope with difficult emotions, but that doesn’t mean it has to be that way!

People don’t realize how detrimental emotional eating can be; it can ruin our relationship with food and with our bodies. It can leave us constantly feeling guilty and/or scared around food.

So we shouldn’t just sit back and say there’s nothing we can do about it. There is!

Another misconception is that people who struggle with emotional eating are overweight. This is problematic for several reasons. First, what does “overweight” really mean in the first place?

Second, people of all shapes and sizes struggle with all different kinds of eating issues. Just because a person looks “thin” doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t struggle with emotional eating. Just because a person doesn’t look “skinny” doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t struggle with food restriction.

You can’t judge a book – or emotional eating – by its cover.

Q: What were the toughest parts of recovery for you, and what helped?

A: For me the toughest part was the simple fact that everything didn’t immediately get better as soon as I started using other coping strategies. I was hoping to move forward for the rest of my life; I didn’t anticipate any set-backs.

But a few steps backwards were inevitable, of course.

In that sense, I really just needed a reality check. That’s why in the e-book, there’s a section called “After the Urge.”

The idea is that you need to have some tools to deal with the situation after the drive to eat emotionally is gone – whether you ended up eating in response to it or not.

Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know about your book or emotional eating?

A: I want readers to know that no matter how many times they’ve found themselves staring into the bottom of a carton of ice cream, there is hope.

I don’t care if you have been struggling with emotional eating for 3 months, 3 years, or 30 years! There are exercises and practices out there that can help you make peace with food and with yourself.

It’s always worth it!

Thank so much, Katie!

P.S., Are you participating in this month’s Self-Discovery Series? Mara has chosen the word “change.” I’ll put up my post on change next week. I hope you’ll join us! Here’s Mara’s post for more info. Check out her post on change.

Overcoming Emotional Eating: Triggers, Myths & More, Part 2

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2011). Overcoming Emotional Eating: Triggers, Myths & More, Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 15 Apr 2011
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Apr 2011
Published on All rights reserved.