The goals of this study were to determine if a change in certain motives to eat highly palatable food, as measured by the Palatable Eating Motives Scale (PEMS), could predict a change in body mass index (BMI) over time, to assess the temporal stability of these motive scores, and to test the reliability of previously reported associations between eating tasty foods to cope and BMI. BMI, demographics, and scores on the PEMS and the Binge Eating Scale were obtained from 192 college students. Test-retest analysis was performed on the PEMS motives in groups varying in three gap times between tests. Regression analyses determined what PEMS motives predicted a change in BMI over two years. The results replicated previous findings that eating palatable food for Coping motives (e.g., to forget about problems, reduce negative feelings) is associated with BMI. Test-retest correlations revealed that motive scores, while somewhat stable, can change over time. Importantly, among overweight participants, a change in Coping scores predicted a change in BMI over 2 years, such that a 1-point change in Coping predicted a 1.76 change in BMI (equivalent to a 10.5 lb. change in body weight) independent of age, sex, ethnicity, and initial binge-eating status (Cohen's f 2 effect size = 1.44). The large range in change of Coping scores suggests it is possible to decrease frequency of eating to cope by more than 1 scale point to achieve weight losses greater than 10 lbs. in young overweight adults, a group already at risk for rapid weight gain. Hence, treatments aimed specifically at reducing palatable food intake for coping reasons vs. for social, reward, or conformity reasons, should help achieve a healthier body weight and prevent obesity if this motive-type is identified prior to significant weight gain.