Emotional eating is a big problem for many people.

Seventy per cent turn to comfort food, to varying extents, for emotional reasons. And over 90 per cent of diets fail due to slipping back into emotional eating habits.

You might recognise yourself from this list of key behaviours and feelings emotional eaters frequently report:

Alternatively you beat yourself up for flying off the handle and/or saying things you regret when someone/something upsets you.

If you feel neglected by a partner, family or friends, you worry about setting things straight.

When you feel insecure and lacking in confidence you find it difficult to ask for comfort - or to comfort yourself.

At work you might feel overlooked, never listened to, or taken advantage of but you don't want to rock the boat by raising this.

If these, or similar, thoughts and behaviours mean you head to snacks or extra helpings to ease emotional upset or stress - then emotional eating is something you should tackle.

Where does my emotional eating come from?

Think about these scenarios: As a child when you, e.g., fell off your bicycle your mother would say 'come on, you'll feel better after a treat.'

This behaviour of using food to soothe emotions is extremely common in families. It's nothing to do with being 'bad parents' , it's simply unrecognised as establishing in childhood a relationship with food that turns it into comfort.

Become actively aware of your emotional eating

Dump unhealthy snacks from your workplace and home. Instead when you need to fuel your energy needs (not your emotional needs) have a banana, small portion of unsalted/fried nuts, veggie sticks with low-fat yoghurt dip, etc.

Your emotional eating might have originated within your family but that doesn't mean you can't start understanding and managing it from today.