Weight gain is quite a complicated process, and there could be several reasons behind why someone is gaining weight. Hormones are considered to be one of the biggest contributors. Sometimes hormones can directly cause interference and other times it drives our emotions by making us want to overeat and eventually gain weight. Which is why you would have observed that whenever we might be feeling sad or stressed, we get hold of comfort food. 

Some of the common emotions that can drive the urge to overeat are as follows:

Boredom – One of most common times when we reach out for food is when we feel bored. A lot of times, especially over the weekend if there aren’t many tasks, we tend to sit in front of a screen and grab something to eat. Most of the times, the food we reach for is unhealthy snacks or meals. The reason for that is because we aren’t necessarily hungry, we’re just looking to keep ourselves busy since we’re feeling bored. It is important to consciously remind ourselves when we are reaching out for food whether we are genuinely hungry or not, so that we are able to point out that it’s just boredom. 

Stress – One of the most difficult times to control cravings is when we are under stress. Therefore another vital thing is to be aware of stress levels and try to keep them at bay. We are living in times where stress is inevitable and researches suggest that that can make you opt for more sweet and calorific foods, which eventually leads to unnecessary weight gain. Which is why, it is important to ensure that whenever we are feeling stressed, we look for alternative methods to reduce it.

Loneliness – At lot of the times, food can serve to be the best distracter, especially when a person is feeling alone. When you are all by yourself and you do not find anyone around you, it is a natural response to reach out for food especially sweets and unhealthy sort of foods. Many researches have concluded that a lot of people who feel lonely undergo greater levels of appetite-stimulating hormones after they’ve had their meal, which leads them to feeling hungry quicker than usual. 

Frustration – Another important emotion that drives our hunger is frustration. Whether its frustration within a relationship, with work or some other things, it is very natural to reach out to comfort foods to divert the attention. Food at times can help numb or mask any irritating or resentment feelings, but that is only temporarily. Therefore, it is important to identify when there are feelings of frustration and what causes them, so that they can be dealt effectively or alternative ways to cope with it could come into place. 

For many people, food is perceived as a method of comfort. Which is why, people often tend to reach towards food whenever they are experiencing any uncomfortable emotions that they’d rather brush them under the carpet than face them. Therefore, it is important to address the emotions that play a role in making such unhealthy food related decisions.  

If you are seeking professional help on this issue, you can book an appointment here.

Mahnoor Nadeem is a student of Masters in Clinical and Health Psychology in Lithuania and a Trainee Psychologist at Willingness. She enjoys working with children and adolescents and also exploring topics such as health psychology, family therapy and sexual health.


Smith, M., Robinson, L., Segal, J., & Segal, R. (2021). Emotional Eating – HelpGuide.org. Retrieved from : https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/emotional-eating.htm

Times of India. (2020). 5 Emotions That Lead To Overeating And Weight Gain. Retrieved from : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/weight-loss/5-emotions-that-lead-to-overeating-and weight gain/photostory/79811287.cms?picid=79811392