01/16/2015 11:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

6 Research-Based Ways to Stop Food Cravings before You Binge

Everyone emotionally eats sometimes, whether finishing a bag of chips because you are bored or downing cookie after cookie after an argument.

Here are three things you should know about food cravings and emotional eating -- and six research-tested ways to stop the behaviors.


First, emotional eating is a way of dealing with (or, more accurately, not dealing with!) complicated feelings and emotions. Hunger may be one of the things you are feeling (particularly if you haven't eaten) when you experience food cravings, but it is also easy and quite common to confuse physical hunger with emotional hunger.

Second, researchers are focused on understanding what is happening in the brain and body when we experience cravings that may, in fact, be emotionally or physically driven. What triggers them? What happens while you're eating? Why is it so hard to stop? What can you do instead of eating that will prove satisfying in a healthier way?

And third and most important, if you find yourself developing a pattern of giving in to your food cravings and repeatedly using emotional eating as a coping strategy -- and most especially if you do so without realizing you are doing it -- beware. You'll benefit from developing new, healthier ways to cope!

Read on for some evidence-based suggestions!

6 Research-Based Ways to Stop Food Cravings before You Binge