Emotions getting the best of you? If you’re relying on food to cope with uncomfortable emotions or even happiness and excitement, you can officially call yourself an emotional eater.

Truth is, everybody fits this description because everybody does it at some point. “Emotional eating is natural because eating is emotional,” says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS, New York City–based dietitian, nutrition therapist and author of Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace With Food and Transform Your Life. “Cooking, baking and eating are all ways in which you connect with others and care for yourself and the people you love.”

Yet when emotional eating leads to negative self-talk, that can throw you into a shame spiral that contributes to even more emotional eating, says Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, author of Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating (Victory Belt Publishing, 2021), nutrition therapist and owner of Rachael Hartley Nutrition in Columbia, South Carolina. You’ll also struggle if emotional eating is your only form of coping. 

So how can you help quell that emotional eating? Follow these 10 tips: