girl in bathtub holding white ceramic mug

We’ve all been there. You have one slice of cheese pizza or that egg burrito with all the cheese … or the pad thai in the bathtub is such a carb dopamine hit!

It’s like a drug. In fact, it is a drug!

“The problem with drugs,” George Carlin once said, “Is that they eventually kill you.”

Thus, the truth is that emotional eating is downright dangerous. It’s sneaky because it’s starts off small. It’s always “just that one bite of that donut” and next thing you know, it gets its clamps in you. It reminds me of a Venus flytrap baiting a fly with its delicious nectar!

macro photography of Venus flytrap plant

Or what is that other predatorial plant that baits insects? The one that has delicious nectar that is like a weird glue and as soon as the insect touches it, it gets stuck and finds itself sliding into a pit of acid.

Just so you know, emotional eating is a common problem. It is when we turn to food for comfort or to manage our emotions, rather than as nourishment that things go off the rails. It seems like almost all of us, at some point or other at least, often make unhealthy food choices and overeat, leading to weight gain and an increased risk of many health conditions.

Fortunately, there are strategies to manage emotional eating. Alan Carr’s audiobook “Emotional Eating” provides useful advice on how to resist the temptation of unhealthy foods and cravings that have really helped me. I just try and play a little bit of his audiobook when I go for my walk every day. Let’s look at some of his strategies.

Identifying Triggers for Emotional Eating

One important step in managing emotional eating is understanding what triggers it. If you can identify what causes your cravings for unhealthy foods, then you can work on addressing those triggers and avoiding the resulting cravings.

In his audiobook, Carr suggests keeping a diary so that you can track your patterns of emotional eating and identify which situations or people trigger it. This will help you better understand yourself and build healthier habits going forward.

Even just the habit of simply writing down what you eat goes SUCH a long way! And here is a tip, if you can’t write it down, at least take a picture of the food you’re eating. Studies have shown this does something in the brain where we start to eat healthier just by doing this simple act. Maybe it’s the idea of standing back from the food and slowing down. Plus it’s fun! I make my pictures all interesting from different angles and with cool lighting when I can.

Develop Healthy Habits

In addition to tracking your patterns of emotional eating, it is also important to develop healthy habits that will replace your unhealthy ones. For example, if your midnight snacks are causing you to overeat and contribute to weight gain, try replacing them with healthier options like fruit or yogurt that will still satisfy your hunger without adding unnecessary calories or fat into your diet. Additionally, setting daily goals such as exercising every day or getting eight hours of sleep can be beneficial in managing emotional eating as it creates structure in your life and helps with self-discipline.

Once you understand your cravings, it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself and track your progress over time. Setting goals will give you something tangible to work towards and tracking your progress will help keep you motivated as you make progress towards achieving those goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, consider consulting with a doctor every 3 months for blood work so that you can monitor any changes in your lipid panel over time. This will help keep you on track with achieving your health goals.

Again – Create Healthy Habits

Making small changes such as opting for healthy snacks instead of processed foods or indulging in physical activities rather than sitting in front of the TV can make all the difference in breaking unhealthy habits like emotional eating. Additionally, surrounding yourself with positive people who are also trying to lead a healthy lifestyle can help create an atmosphere where making healthy choices becomes second nature!

I like to put my exercise bike in front of the TV – and so if I watch that “one” show then I exercise it out, as well!

Get Blood Work Done Regularly

I’m going to say this again – another way of addressing emotional eating is by making sure you get regular checkups at the doctor every three months. This will allow you to keep track of your lipid panel so that you can monitor any changes in your health over time. Getting regular check-ups can also act as motivation; knowing that your doctor might give you an unpleasant surprise if they find high levels of cholesterol or other unhealthy components in your blood work may be enough incentive for some people to cut back on unhealthy snacks and make healthier choices instead!

These meetings certainly scare the crap out of me to make small changes. And these small changes really add up over time!

Making Lifestyle Changes

Additionally, getting enough sleep each night (at least 7-8 hours) can also improve our overall mental health which helps us better manage our cravings and resist temptation when necessary.

person wearing orange and gray Nike shoes walking on gray concrete stairs

With this said, engaging in regular physical activity especially after eating helps to keep down those glucose levels – as well as boosting endorphins which improve our moods naturally without needing food for comfort or reward.

Seeking Professional Help

If you find that despite all these efforts, you are still struggling with emotional eating, then seeking professional help may be necessary. Many people do not realize just how harmful this behavior can be until they have been able to talk through their problems with a medical professional or therapist who specializes in this issue. These professionals can provide valuable insight into the underlying cause of the problem and suggest further strategies for managing emotions without food such as mindfulness techniques which help reduce stress levels naturally without using food as a crutch.


Alan Carr’s audiobook “Emotional Eating” provides useful advice on how one can resist temptation while maintaining overall health goals—a must-read for people looking for direction in tackling this type of addiction that we all go through!

John Michaels is a local Missoula author who graduated from Brown University in creative writing. In between raising kids, he spends his time meandering around downtown Missoula, writing screenplays, doing cryotherapy, and playing chess.