Food and Emotion: Why Some People Eat Too Much

America has a weight problem. More than one-third of U.S. adults are classified as overweight or obese. More than 100 million adults in the U.S. now have diabetes or prediabetes. And the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Overeating is at the heart of this troubling trend. And, in some cases, you may overeat as a desperate attempt to answer emotional needs.

How can you address your emotional needs in healthier ways? Try these tips:

  • Look for responses to emotional discomfort other than food. The next time you’re feeling blue, take a long walk. Exercise can elevate your mood by changing your body's chemistry.

  • Address your feelings. Be willing to recognize and address unpleasant emotions instead of avoiding them with distractions such as eating.

  • Stop and think before you dig into that next bowl of ice cream. Ask yourself: "Do I really want to eat this? Am I even hungry?"

  • Keep an eating journal to write down your daily food intake. This will help you become more conscious of your eating patterns.

  • Change your diet. Eating healthy foods can help decrease stress and even out your moods.

  • If you don't feel confident about your ability to stop overeating, seek professional counseling.

And remember: You're not alone. Millions of other Americans struggle with this problem.