Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
It sounds like you might be depressed. Have you considered talking with someone about how feel? As you said, your eating is most likely emotionally based so working with a therapist on your emotional issues would probably help you address your eating problems at the same time. If you do not have the money right now for therapy, you can contact your local community mental health facility for help. They offer therapy on a sliding fee scale and if you need help paying for therapy, they can help you fill out the forms needed to apply for assistance. They also will have psychiatrists to help you with medication should you feel you need it.
When you see a therapist, they will do a full evaluation to determine what your diagnosis is. They will then determine the best treatment option to help you. In your case, that is probably outpatient therapy.
You can also help yourself at home. Educate yourself about how emotions affect eating. I have helped people who are overweight because they were abused as children. I've also worked with people who just felt empty and ate to feel "full" inside. So finding where you fall on the emotional eating scale will help you target your recovery.
Here are some books that may help you get started:
The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health by Karen R. Koenig. Life is Hard, Food is Easy: The 5-Step Plan to Overcome Emotional Eating and Lose Weight on Any Diet by Linda SpangleEat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle by Michelle May
Try your local library to find copies of these books. They are also available at Amazon.com.
Also, consider a program like Weight Watchers. You may not necessarily need to sign up. There is a lot of information on line to help you get started. Just be careful to address your emotional needs at the same time you work on a diet so you don't fall back on overeating. Dieting alone is not going to work if you do not feel ready emotionally to stop overeating.
There is also a great site on line called SparkPeople. It is a very encouraging and upbeat site full of support, recipes (I've tried a few- they are good!) and great motivation to get you going. They will send you emails everyday if you wish to help keep you going on your weight loss journey.
Keep in mind that you are motivated to move ahead. And that is a very good sign. You are attending college and have two wonderful children. These two things should not be downplayed. College is not easy and raising two great kids is not either. Pat yourself on the back for these great accomplishments.
I hope this has helped you,Kate