Emotional eating is extremely common. It seems a lot more common than other conditioned behaviors. Which leads me to the question why do so many people condition eating and not some other behavior?
The answer is simple. There are no other “pleasurable distractions” that
naturally occur three times a day.
Imagine that one of your triggers occurs frequently in your life, such as
negative feelings, boredom, loneliness, or feeling unlovable. Imagine further
that you had gone to a movie several times a day earlier in your life and you had noticed over and over that the movie almost always provided a pleasurable distraction from the negative experience. Can you see that going to the movies would eventually become a
conditioned response to your negative triggers?
In other words, eating is the most common response to our triggers
only because we normally eat more often than anything else that provides
a pleasurable distraction, a sense of comfort, immediate gratification, or a calming down.