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I just Emotionally Ate

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Old 09-03-2009, 10:35 AM   #1
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Unhappy I just Emotionally Ate

They are taking away my office at work and putting me in a cubicle.

I just realized I emotionally ate my snack early because of this. Why do we do it? Why does food make us feel better?
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
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I seriously would like to know too...

I had a really weird realization the other night. I've always thought that "emotional eating" happened to people only when they were depressed... but I realized the other night that I actually emotionally eat when I want to feel comforted. Like in my "happy place." Not because I'm depressed, per se, but to show myself that things in life are good so I can "reward" myself for being in a good place, or remind myself that things are okay.

But the biggest realization for me was occurred when a customer TOTALLY ticked me off the other night. After they finally left, I was fuming and IMMEDIATELY grabbed some of my (pre-portioned, thank god) food and started chowing down while my anger cooled. I wasn't hungry, I hadn't originally planned to eat that quite yet... but as soon as my anger went through the roof... I grabbed something and shoved it into my mouth!!!

Crazy thing is.... when I was 19 and 20 I lost about 45ish pounds and was at a great weight that I liked... but then some bad things happened in my life and I had to move back in with my father... i.e. the one person in this world that pisses me off and hurts me the most and on a constant basis... and that's when I gained..... *drumroll*.... 90lbs!! Which I have been of course unable to start losing until now.

When I realized what I was doing the other night... it all made sense. How that weight was put on. Rather than eating because I was depressed... I ate when I was angry and wanted to be comforted.... which was ALL the time living in that house. And even after I moved out... it had become a nearly ingrained habit.

Wow. Talk about self realizations, right?
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:50 AM   #3
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starfishkitty, I can relate to the comfort zone thing. The happy place feeling. We all desire that feeling. It feels good!
Sure wish we could all grasp the "eat to live" instead of the "live to eat" thing. Easier said than done though....
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:53 AM   #4
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The book, You On A Diet, does a good job of explaining this. There is a release of "feel good" chemicals in the brain when we eat some comfort foods. Also, many of us learned this behavior at a young age. My Mom was a comfort eater and a comfort food "pusher." Bad day at school? "Here is a cup of cocoa and some chocolate chip cookies." Fight with Dad? "Let's have some ice cream." I'm 45 years old and have been using food for comfort for years. It's very difficult to change this behavior. Not impossible. Just difficult.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:57 AM   #5
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I wish I knew too.

But there is something mentioned on another thread that really clicked with me....

I learned a long time ago to use food as a reward for everything because I have a habit of always putting myself LAST in every other area...

When I would want to treat myself, that treat was ALWAYS food. When I wanted to buy flowers for my home, or nice shampoo, or a magazine, I always thought "that's frivolous and I can't afford it...." I walked around in torn clothes, let my roots grow out... but then, with food, I gave myself a free pass.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ubergirl View Post
I wish I knew too.

But there is something mentioned on another thread that really clicked with me....

I learned a long time ago to use food as a reward for everything because I have a habit of always putting myself LAST in every other area...

When I would want to treat myself, that treat was ALWAYS food. When I wanted to buy flowers for my home, or nice shampoo, or a magazine, I always thought "that's frivolous and I can't afford it...." I walked around in torn clothes, let my roots grow out... but then, with food, I gave myself a free pass.
Holey crap! That is soooo me and I never even realized it until just now! I have always put the hubby, the kids, the dog, and even the turtle first.. I have openly known that. But food... I have a million times over, hidden in the kitchen and eaten something horrible for me so no one could ask me for it!

I dont' know why food makes us feel better.. well I know some have chemicals in them that are just a feel good chemical... chocolate for example.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:20 AM   #7
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Mug, I never really thought I was an emotional eater but I had a similar experience yesterday. Things are in a turmoil at work; they are disbanding the programming team and buying an off-the-shelf product to replace the homegrown program that we all work on. We will still have jobs, we just don't know what KIND of jobs, how much they will pay, who our bosses will be, etc. Anyway, I found myself reaching for a snack yesterday afternoon and realized that I was NOT hungry; I was eating out of frustration. It's the first time EVER that I have made that connection in my mind, but I've been doing it for years, I'm sure.

I think that realization is the first step in circumventing this behavior. In fact, my committment right now is that I will take a pair of athletic shoes to work with me today and keep them at my desk. When I feel like snacking, I will put on my shoes and take a 15 minute walk instead. That's my committment for the next 30 days.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:23 AM   #8
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Mug, I never really thought I was an emotional eater but I had a similar experience yesterday. Things are in a turmoil at work; they are disbanding the programming team and buying an off-the-shelf product to replace the homegrown program that we all work on. We will still have jobs, we just don't know what KIND of jobs, how much they will pay, who our bosses will be, etc. Anyway, I found myself reaching for a snack yesterday afternoon and realized that I was NOT hungry; I was eating out of frustration. It's the first time EVER that I have made that connection in my mind, but I've been doing it for years, I'm sure.

I think that realization is the first step in circumventing this behavior. In fact, my committment right now is that I will take a pair of athletic shoes to work with me today and keep them at my desk. When I feel like snacking, I will put on my shoes and take a 15 minute walk instead. That's my committment for the next 30 days.

Its like a light bulb moment, huh? Thats an awesome idea about your walking shoes. Good idea!
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:50 AM   #9
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Smile If Hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the answer:

I can completely relate, and the above quote has helped me to stop myself cold 90% of the time. I am still learning, as are we all, but epiphany moments do come, and sometimes we don't need to know "why", we just need to change that habit. The "why" is not as important as what you do with the knowledge.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:54 AM   #10
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So true. Eating fat and sugar DOES create opiate like chemicals in the brains of some people which makes it very soothing, calming, comforting. It's been a problem for me for a long time, but I am learning to just feel the feelings.
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Old 09-03-2009, 01:34 PM   #11
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I've never been able to eat during really stressful or sad times, I'm definitely a "celebratory" eater!

For me, the 'making me feel good' thing was not completely about the food i'm eating (ie the taste, etc.) it was the fact that nothing was going to stop me from eating it! OTHER people had to diet and exercise, but why did i??? I should get a free pass! no one can stop me eating this XYZ and then when I shoved it in my face it was a "ha! i ate it! you can't stop me!" soooo childish and self-destructive LOL wow what a spoiled brat!
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Old 09-03-2009, 01:47 PM   #12
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Oh Trazey, you just reminded me of something! It was a similar belief system that I used to have. I told myself, "I am already alone, lonely, and have no one (a man) to physically comfort me or give me pleasure. Now I am expected to give up the one physical comfort and pleasure that I have, which is food? How can I be expected to give that up....because then I will have nothing in the way of physical comfort."

Isn't that sad? I feel so sad that I felt that way! It was only when I was at the end of my rope that I could consider giving up what I thought was my last one remaining comfort. If only I had known that giving up the over eating, the unhealthy foods, would bring me MORE comfort in feeling healthy and confident. If only I had known that sooner!
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:48 PM   #13
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Well, we may not even remember that when we were little kids and upset and crying over something, mom or dad gave us a treat to make us feel better (also known as, shut us up). And we're still doing it, even today...

Jay
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:09 PM   #14
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Ryanne, Thanks for posting your quote. That makes a lot of sense!
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:48 PM   #15
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I had to add my little bit because I noticed myself stress eating today and found it a peculiar thing to do.

Stupid situation, but I was going to make toast this morning, and for some reason I ended up with a toaster fire instead. No huge deal, but it did stress me for a couple of minutes, and then I did something weird.

We have so much healthy food in the house, but instead I reached for an empire biscuit. If you haven't been introduced to the wonder that is an empire biscuit, it's two bits of shortbread, held together with jam, with icing and a wee sweetie on top. And they are delisssh!

I had one, even though it was 6.5 points (facepalm). At least I recognised the connection between the stress and the empire biscuit, and next time will hopefully stop myself before I actually do it!!
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