Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Eating when I feel sad or lonely

hi Sam, for now you can call me Peaky. I have this problem that whenever i fell lonely or sad i just eat to make myself feel better. Every time i say to myself i will stop but then i keep doing it again and it makes me feel horrible about myself inside which the makes me eat more. Whenever i feel im ready to talk about it i feel very shy and i try to just keep in my feelings.I feel that if i tell someone then they will neglate me and wont want me anymore and sometimes i consider running away from home. If you have any advice on how i can deal with please let me know.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Eating when you feel sad or lonely can be a way of trying to manage difficult feelings. Eating to feel better is sometimes called comfort eating. It can be a cycle that’s hard to change and can develop into a type of addiction. It can help to find healthier ways to cope.

Eating when you feel stressed can become a pattern of behaviour where you try to avoid emotions that you don’t want to feel. You might eat to try and cope with a difficult feeling, which makes you feel better. The next time you have a difficult feeling you then remember that eating helped, and eat more. Sometimes the amount you are eating can make you feel bad, so you eat more to cope with that. This can go round in a cycle.

One way to change the cycle is to find other ways to express your feelings. This will be different for everyone but it can be good to do something that also fills time and distracts you. Writing a diary or journal is a good way to express feelings. Art, music or sports can also be really good ways to break the cycle. Childline has a mood journal, you can use this if you sign up for a free account. And our art box can be used to be creative.

It can help to build your self-esteem so you feel more confident and less scared of rejection. Spending time with friends and family can help with feeling lonely and finding fun activities to do will help you to feel happier and more relaxed

When you are holding on to feelings you might feel overwhelmed and want to escape.  Running away might feel like it will help you but the feelings will still be there. It won’t solve the situation and can put you in danger. It’s important to get some immediate support from trusted adults if you think you might run away.

Emotions can be difficult but with support you can start to rely less on food and more on new ways of expressing yourself and coping with your feelings. Talking about feelings can make them seem less scary. If you’d like to do that with someone who doesn’t know you, Childline counsellors are there for you.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter