I'm often asked about how to identify whether or not emotional eating may be an issue. Emotional eating is not always easily identified. Here are some patterns that are likely to indicate that some kind of emotional eating is going on:
1. The hunger comes on suddenly and the need to eat feels urgent--physiological hunger comes on slowly and it's okay to delay eating.
2. You keep eating even if you aren't hungry anymore or the hunger doesn't go away even though you are full.
3. You eat to the point of physical discomfort.
4. You don't know whether you were hungry or not when you ate.
5. After you eat you realize you aren't really aware of how much you ate or how it tasted.
6. You have feelings of shame, guilt or embarrassment after eating.
7. You eat because you are bored, tired, lonely, excited.
8. Hunger accompanies an unpleasant emotion--anger, hurt, fear, anxiety. Emotional eating begins in your mind--thinking about food--not in your stomach.
9. You crave a specific food and won't feel content until you have that. If you are eating for physical hunger, any food will fill you up.
10. You keep eating (or grazing, or nibbling) because you just can't figure out what you are hungry for. Nothing seems to hit the spot (physical hunger goes away no matter what food you choose to fill up on).
Originally posted at Peace With Cake