It is difficult to solve a problem especially if you are unaware you have a problem. What is more difficult is solving a problem which you deny the existence of.
Emotional eating is more than just a simple eating problem. Constantly searching for comfort foods, especially when you are not hungry can bring about a bigger issue especially if you are not craving healthy options. This big issue can be a long quest against obesity, or much worse, an associated illness or disease. If you want to escape the downward spiral of emotional eating, the best way to do so is by accepting the fact that there is a problem that you need to face up to.
To help you identify if you are indeed an emotional eater, try making a food journal and track the food you eat, and beside it, a number (on a scale from 1-10) rating the hunger you were feeling when you consumed the food. If you answer as honestly as possible, your food journal can really be a great source of information. This will give you an idea how many times you ate because you were really hungry, or if most of the times, you are just craving food because of other reasons.
If your journal points to a pattern of emotional or comfort eating, you may have to simply recognize that it is something you must deal with to avoid being overcome by it. After accepting the fact that you have or may have a problem, the next thing you need to do is to act on it. Remember when you were younger when you were hurt or sad you were placated with a sweet treat?
Although these simple acts may seem rewarding at that moment, some adults have a tendency to adopt this custom into adulthood. That is why some people have a tendency to turn to eating when they have negative feelings. Even when they have become adults, they still deny the real issue of their feelings with the comfort of eating.
With your food journal, try to assess what feelings trigger your desire to eat. Is it anger, frustration, rejection, sadness, or extreme happiness? Then try to identify activities, other than eating, that can help appease your trigger emotions. It can be as simple as going out for a walk to breathe fresh air, calling a friend to share your feelings or accompany you, or as complex as cleaning the whole house or embracing a craft activity that you enjoy.
You may find that any physical activity or redirection of energy can somewhat take the edge of the emotional experience and give you the space to take control by realizing that you are not actually hungry.
If at the end of the day, it is still eating that you think best comforts you, try a lifestyle modification. Make your pantry junk food free. Replace your comfort food with healthier options and make sure you eat them instead.
Take the high road and stop and think for a while. Always eat in moderation and try to find practical and helpful ways of dealing with and sharing your feelings.