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November 2022
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How Emotions Play a Role in Overeating

Temple’s Center for Obesity Research is studying the link between emotional eating and the ability for people to keep weight off long-term.

It is no secret that people trying to lose weight seek to control their eating habits.  However, many people don’t realize that their emotions play into their ability to control their food choices.  Unfortunately, many weight loss programs neglect to address this issue.

While dieters may try to choose better foods and exercise, often they are unable to do so effectively.  If people can’t cope with their emotions, how can they really change their eating habits?  Emotions can make people give up on their diets and turn to things like junk food.

A recent study at Temple’s Center for Obesity Research seeks to answer this question by putting together a treatment that teaches people skills to address emotional eating.  This study is funded by the National Institute of Health.

The idea behind this new treatment program is that emotional skills will be taught to people who are chronic overeaters.  This education will be added to this weight loss treatment program that focuses on behavior.  The program teaches different techniques that seek to break the cycle of emotional eating. Researchers are interested in creating a program that addresses emotions and helps participants to achieve long-term weight loss success.

Janet Williams is part of one of the first groups to go through this treatment. She stated, “The program doesn’t just help you identify when you eat,” said Williams. “It helps you recognize triggers that make you eat, to help you break that cycle of reaching for food every time you feel bored, or frustrated, or sad.”


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