Emotional justification: A new perspective on emotional eating

Emotional justification: emotional eating

Emotional eating is eating in response to negative emotions rather than hunger. It is a pressing problem that is related to weight gain, obesity and decreased well-being. The prevalence of emotional eating seems high, but knowledge on how, when and why emotions trigger this behaviour is relatively absent. This is problematic: without a clear understanding of the aetiology, effective options for addressing it remain elusive. In the current project it is assumed that people in an emotional state are not necessarily overwhelmed by their emotional impulses, but can use these emotions to deliberately set aside their long term goals. In other words, it is investigated to what extent people use their emotions as a license to eat (“I feel sad, so I deserve chocolate”). The overarching theme is to study how negative emotions can serve as justification for self-regulation failure.