Are You An Emotional Eater? (Quiz)

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Print out this page and keep the quiz for your records.

Are you an emotional eater?  (I’ve written about this before: Emotional Eating)

If you think your emotions are making you overeat, this quiz will help determine why. Choose A or B, or both if they are equally true. If neither A nor B applies to you, don’t circle either one.  (Excerpted from Life is Hard, Food Is Easy by Linda Spangle, R.N., M.A.)

1. When I crave something to eat even if I’m not really hungry…
(a) a specific food immediately comes to mind, such as cookies or potato chips, and nothing else will do. I may even drive to the store to get it.
(b) I wander around thinking, “I want something to eat, but I don’t know what.” I usually end up choosing ice cream or bread.

2. I often experience cravings…
(a) when I’m at work, feeling stressed and pressured.
(b) when I’m home alone or bored.

3. When I crave something sweet, I usually choose…
(a) a candy bar, trail mix or chewy cookies.
(b) a milkshake, a bowl of ice cream or a slice of cake.

4. Even when I’m not really hungry, I could go for…
(a) hot dogs, pizza and French fries.
(b) Mom’s cooking, especially a meal or one of her homemade desserts.

5. The time of day that I’m most likely to experience cravings is…
(a) in the middle of the afternoon, when I’m at work feeling pressured by a million deadlines or I’m watching the clock.
(b) late at night, when I’m exhausted and have nothing to do and no one to talk to.

6. I’m a sucker for…
(a) potato chips, nuts or other snack foods.
(b) macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, fresh-baked bread or other comfort foods.

7. On a given day, I’m likely to feel…
(a) angry, frustrated, resentful, irritated, stressed or tense.
(b) discouraged, lonely, bored, restless or fatigued.

8. Sometimes I snack to avoid…
(a) doing something—eating is a great way to procrastinate.
(b) thinking about my feelings—food helps me bury my emotions.

9. I eat mainly because…
(a) it’s fun. I often seek out snack-type “party foods.”
(b) it feels good. I go for my childhood favorites.

10. If I find myself craving breakfast-type meals, regardless of the time of day, I’m more likely to choose…
(a) cereal or granola.
(b) eggs or biscuits with gravy.

SCORING for Emotional Eating Quiz

If you chose more A’s:
It means your feelings of anger, stress, frustration, resentment, burnout, bitterness, self-disgust or being overwhelmed and/or your desire for excitement are causing you to seek chewy, crunchy foods. You may be munching on a cookie or candy bar, but what you really want to chew on is something in your life: deadlines, your spouse or your boss. Spangle calls this sort of craving “head hunger” because it’s generated by thoughts, attitudes and pressures.

If you chose more B’s:
It means you are probably struggling with feelings such as boredom, loneliness, sadness, grief, depression, restlessness, hurt or disappointment, hopelessness, an overwhelming need for love or attention and/or a lack of meaning in your life. You also may be feeling fatigued or ill. Spangle calls such emotions “heart hunger” because people who are feeling them often crave soft, creamy comfort foods to fill a void in their lives.

If you circled three or fewer responses:

It means emotional eating is not likely to be a problem for you. You may occasionally use food to cope, but for the most part, it doesn’t hamper your weight-management efforts. If you’re having trouble losing weight, it’s probably your eating patterns and/or exercise program (or lack of one) rather than your emotions that are to blame.

4 Responses to “Are You An Emotional Eater? (Quiz)”

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