Are You An Emotional Eater? Break The Habit With These Steps

Food addiction is a real problem for many people. In treatment for recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction, it is easy to develop a replacement addiction. Replacement addictions are other compulsive behaviors which act as a distraction, obsession, and production of dopamine for the brain. Food tastes good. Food feels good. Our relationship with food is deeply rooted in pleasure and emotion. Smell and taste are two of our most influential senses, creating the most strong and long lasting memory associations. Have you ever noticed how the taste of an old recipe or the smell of a favorite food can bring you back to a specific moment of time and all of that moment’s associated feelings? Part of the reason we engage in emotional eating is to be transported to another place and time. Feelings of relief and comfort are especially desirable during difficult days during the treatment process for addiction. Of course, food is a considerably more acceptable source of comfort than abusing drugs like heroin or getting blackout drunk with alcohol. However, one of the hidden secrets of recovery is learning to practice the principles of recovery in all of your affairs. Meaning that you are learning to confront, investigate, and change impulses in many different areas- lie emotional eating. Overtime you will learn to identify your feelings and resolve them without having to undergo copying mechanisms and behaviors. Eating is something necessary to everyday life, but it can become a crutch preventing you from fully assessing what is going on with you emotionally. Here are some tips for avoiding emotional eating and learning how to get to the bottom of your problems instead of the bottom of a pint of ice cream.

  • Identify the triggers which take you from the present moment to the pantry. What causes you to turn to food for comfort?
  • Once you’ve identified that feeling try to sit with it for a few minutes. Call a friend, write about it in your journal, or take a short walk to contemplate what is going on.
  • Avoid sticking to diets and create a more balanced lifestyle which includes healthy and balanced eating


LEAD Recovery Center wants to equip clients with the practical tools they need to transition from treatment to independent living successfully. Our clients use experiential learning in order to gain the confidence they need to live autonomously. For more information on our extended care programs, call us today at 800-380-0012.