Some women, like Julie Katz and Oprah's friend (and O editor-at-large) Gayle King, stop eating when they're stressed or overwhelmed.

"When I'm busy at work, I might skip lunch or dinner. And when I'm stressed in my personal life, I get knots in my stomach and then I can't even force myself to eat." —Julie Katz

This may sound like a totally different problem, but it's not. They also let their emotional states override their appetites (and often overeat after depriving themselves). This response to stress will make you simply ignore the hunger signals, but when you can better manage these feelings, you can tune in to what your body really needs in terms of food.

"I crave carbohydrates—spaghetti, pasta, bread—when I'm down. When I start overeating, I say to myself, 'I'm going to stop,' but it's as if I'm possessed, and I can't." —Diane Gavares

Recognizing the triggers is often difficult, as women such as Diane Gavares, Nadine Cremo, Susan Raisch and Jane D'Emic have realized. "I know I'm not a stupid person," says Gavares. "I know that if I overeat, I'm going to be even more upset later, but I just can't stop."

"When I'm upset, I crave sweets and fatty things like bagels with cream cheese or butter. I'm aware of what I'm doing, but right then, I feel so far over the edge, I can't seem to get a grip."—Nadine Cremo

Cremo is flummoxed because she feels she has an enviable life—with three beautiful children and a wonderful husband—yet she is often unhappy and feels her eating is out of control. D'Emic has seen her cholesterol rise in the past few years. While she'd like to eat more healthfully, she turns to chocolate during stressful moments.

"I have always eaten chocolate or candy when I'm upset. I never gained weight until I had a child ten years ago—and my cholesterol skyrocketed. Now I worry about my health, but I can't seem to get a handle on my stress-related cravings." —Jane D'Emic

Next: Discovering the root of your emotional eating


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