Weight Loss Support - thoughts on emotional eating?




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Gogirl008
01-04-2007, 07:15 AM
I thought I'd see what all of you think about emotional eating. I have had a struggle my whole life with weight. Usually the same 30 lbs or so, up and down and up again. I am just now realizing that my weight fluctuations are related to my emotions and current events in my life. I know how to eat healthy. It's the self control I have a problem with. A few weeks of progress and then I seem to just very gradually slip back into old habits. I actually found myself annoyed about a situation then going straight to the tortilla chips!
So this time around I need new coping stratagies. I've been doing a lot of reading on this, but I also would love to hear what some of you are doing. I need to figure out how to deal with the emotions up front and not 'eat' them. I'm determined to figure this out......Thanks for any input :)


Sunnigummi
01-04-2007, 08:43 AM
I eat out of boredom. That's an emotion, right? ;) If there's nothing to do and I'm watching tv, I start with the mindless snacking. Here's what I do:

a. Come here and read the boards. It gets my mind off food and the 'feed me NOW' feeling stops in minutes. If it stays longer and turns into a growl, then I have some food.

b. If I'm not in the mood to stare at a computer screen, I grab my iPod and dance around. Instant stress reducer! :D Plus, it's some exercise.

Usually, these two things help me get over my eating out of boredom habit. It does take a lot of willpower to first assess what your hunger is: real or based on emotions. Once you start to really ask yourself which type of hunger you have, your subsequent decisions are easier.

MissH
01-04-2007, 08:50 AM
I do the same thing - run to food whenever I feel anxious, mad, sad, etc. Only recently did I realize I've done this since I was 12 - when my parents got divorced. Over the years, I've managed to eat really well and not use food to anesthetize myself -- until the last couple of years. For some reason, it's like decided to just give up taking care of myself.

Anyway, I'm tired of it. I want the old me back. I don't know what coping strategies I have/use. I'm just fed up and ticked off at myself for becoming such an emotional eater, so I'm saying "NO MORE." Obviously working out and making good food choices help immensely.

I've been telling myself (almost daily) that NO ONE is worth getting upset over and over eating. In other words, taking it out on myself. Most of us have the freedom to make good food choices, even if we are dirt poor.

Are you familiar with Geneen Roth? Check her out on amazon.com. She's got some great books on emotional eating. :)

You can do this. It's tough, but you can break away from the emotional eating. :hug:

Also, check out this board: http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=64


Gogirl008
01-04-2007, 10:11 AM
Thanks for your replies. I do think boredom qualifies. From what I've been reading, it seems we can use food to distract us from just about anything that we percieve as not pleasant. I think the word 'mindless' is the problem for me. It is like a complulsion to eat. I'm really making an effort now to be aware of my mood when I'm reaching for food. And like you said Sunni, hopfully I will have the presence of mind to make a good choice.
MissH- I have also come to realize that my connection with food and nuturing started with family issues when I was probably around 8 years old. I'm wondering now though, is it necessary for me to really dig into those issues to stop using the food, or can I learn new habits and address emotional crap later? :dizzy: I will definitly check out the author you mentioned, thanks. I think when I stop eating to settle the frustration, I will have to DEAL with the frustration. That's where it's going to get tricky.....

MissH
01-04-2007, 10:44 AM
I'm wondering now though, is it necessary for me to really dig into those issues to stop using the food, or can I learn new habits and address emotional crap later?
I think that depends. For me? No. It's really no big deal. My parents split up, I was devastated, I ate. End of story. LOL Truth be known, it was good they divorced. Too much damn fighting. :dizzy:

I don't think it's always necessary to delve into past hurts or whatever. I think just knowing why you're overeating can help immensely. Then, as you say, be aware of WHY you're reaching for the food. I know this is overly simplistic. It's not that simple for everyone, and I realize that.

But DO check out Geneen Roth. :)

Gogirl008
01-04-2007, 12:26 PM
I just checked out Geneen Roths website. Perfect. All the titles are so right on. Now I just have to figure out which book to start with! I'm all about self-help. Lol..... I'd probably be in therapy if I could afford it!

Tara D
01-04-2007, 12:59 PM
Sometimes I get the urge to eat when something stressful happens. It's kind of like I feel an immediate need to go to the cupboard or refrigerator. Now a days, I don't keep typical "snack-type" foods around, so it forces me to deal with those feelings differently. I tend to keep only foods that I use for my meals plus some fresh fruits in the house. Those anxiety feelings are never enough for me to take half an hour to cook the chicken and rice that's supposed to be for dinner!

It's kind of attacking the problem backwards, but if the tortilla chips (or whatever) are not right there, you have no choice but to find other ways (non-food ways) of dealing with your emotions. It's an opportunity to learn new skills.

MissH
01-04-2007, 01:23 PM
Gogirl, Geneen has some articles posted online at Prevention's site under the Emotional Eating category. Scour around and you'll find quite a few. :)

http://www.prevention.com/topic/0,5768,s1-4-64-129-0-0,00.html

Beach Patrol
01-04-2007, 03:00 PM
I think emotional eating is the reason why most women gain weight. We're such emotional creatures.

As for boredom, I think the best way to stop the boredom eating is to keep your hands busy. Learn to knit. Do some gardening. Give yourself a manicure. Get on the forum & type your little heart out! Clean your house (when I am bored, my house is quite clean & shiny!). Lots of things you can do - just keep your hands busy, & your mind will stay busy too, plus, when you're doing something with your hands, you won't use them to feed your face. :carrot:

Beach Patrol
01-04-2007, 03:03 PM
Oh, forgot to add - I eat when I'm bored outta my skull & doing nothing but watching TV... so I've learned to turn off the tube & pick up a book. I don't usually eat when I'm sad.... that's usually when I DON'T EAT, however, I'm a pretty happy person, darn it, LOL.

When I'm angry, I don't eat. I'm too busy cussing. ;)

When I'm happy, I eat. I don't pay attention to how much I'm eating, so I easily overeat. That's when I have to take extra care & take notice to my portion sizes, etc.

rockinrobin
01-04-2007, 03:50 PM
Yup, I think Beachpatrol is right. I certainly didn't get this overweight by going back for seconds one time too many. It was eating when I wasn't hungry. I too ate out of boredom, frustration, lonliness, anger, sadness or even happiness. The only time I found it impossible to eat is when I'm worried.

But if we're ever going to beat the weight game, we have got to realize the difference between eating for hunger and eating just for the sake of eating. It took me many, many years to recognize the difference, or more like it - to care about recognizing the difference.

When I'm bored, mad, or whatever and my thoughts turn to food, I try to do something to take my mind off of the food. I like to clean/straighten up my house. Bonus - a neat house. I also like to read. Or have a big glass of ice water. A hot cup of tea w/splenda. Read/write in my journal - where I have jotted down all my reasons for NOT wanting to eat, my weight goals and dreams. Come on the computer. Exercise. All things that have been mentioned. I've also tried to be aware of every bite that goes into my mouth and ask myself is this worth it?

My days of mindless eating are behind me, for the most part. My days of turning to food for comfort and even for celebrations are over. I had no choice but to put a stop to it. I made a huge mess of myself by turning to food and now it's time for me to clean that mess up. It is definitely possible to reprogram the brain and teach it new techniques and coping skills. But I'm no dummy, I know that my old ways could creep up again at any given moment. I will just have to be on guard - forever.

Gogirl008
01-04-2007, 04:11 PM
My days of mindless eating are behind me, for the most part. My days of turning to food for comfort and even for celebrations are over. I had no choice but to put a stop to it. I made a huge mess of myself by turning to food and now it's time for me to clean that mess up. It is definitely possible to reprogram the brain and teach it new techniques and coping skills. But I'm no dummy, I know that my old ways could creep up again at any given moment. I will just have to be on guard - forever.

I think this is where I am now. It took me THIS long to figure out that there is more going on with my weight issue. For a long time now I've been thinking "but I do know how to eat healthy, I know the whole points system, I know fat, fiber, and carbs. Why can I not do this?" Now I think I'm getting it. I use the food to subdue my anger and frustration. Stress is/was best fixed with a big bowl of mac and cheese. I know I hardly ever eat out of true hunger. I just couldn't name the problem until recently.
So it's not just a lack of will power, or learning to eat healthily, I've got those covered. It makes so much more sense to me now.
Why I eat when I'm angry or annoyed I have no idea. Seems like a ridiculous time to look for a snack, doesn't it? But I guess if it helps me feel better that's what I do. Gotta find a new fix for that one.

MissH
01-04-2007, 04:23 PM
But if we're ever going to beat the weight game, we have got to realize the difference between eating for hunger and eating just for the sake of eating.......snip..........

My days of mindless eating are behind me, for the most part. My days of turning to food for comfort and even for celebrations are over. I had no choice but to put a stop to it.....snip......
Amen and well said. :)

rockinrobin
01-04-2007, 05:28 PM
Gogirl, you're right, it is weird, I mean why DO we turn to food for comfort? Food, how did that all come about? Well, you know our mother's probably comforted us with food, and their mother's comforted them and so on and so on. Why couldn't they have comforted us with exercise? ;)

Gogirl008
01-04-2007, 05:41 PM
Because my mom couldn't get me away from the TV! Seriously, not long ago I read a book about the whole idea of food being nuturing and that's the reason we use the term comfort food. Because our parents fed us when we cried- most of the time anyway-so even as adults some of us still have that hardwired in our brains. Still though, I don't get why for me, anger and frustration is what sets me off, and for others it's boredom, loneliness, or anxiety. I wish I could just do a diet with out all this mess in the way. The diet I can handle....but let my family start in with some dysfunctional thing and the bag of tortilla chips jumps right off the shelf at me!

rockinrobin
01-04-2007, 06:01 PM
Ummm, be happy Gogirl that it's only anger and frustration that sets you off. For me, it's all the darn emotions that did/still do? me in.

Coping skills girls, it's the coping skills we need. Gotta reprogram the brain.:dizzy:

ennay
01-04-2007, 06:16 PM
Still though, I don't get why for me, anger and frustration is what sets me off, and for others it's boredom, loneliness, or anxiety.

I'm an anger/frustration gal too.

I decided to try a new shop online/pickup at the store service so I didnt have to haul the kids shopping.

So after lunch today I was supposed to go pick up...What a disaster.... There is a number you are supposed to call when you are ~10 minutes from arrival. no answer. I let it ring FOREVER . One of my new years resolutions is to not drive with the cell phone. Eventually though I give up waiting in the restaurant parking lot. I hit redial, and turn the volume up REALLY loud so I can hear it ring. I figure I can pull over when they answer. They never do...I let it ring for 9:54 . I get to the store and pull into the space where they have a green customer service button. Press the button which spouts out an automatic page. Wait. and wait ....and wait. Finally I dig through everything and find the phone number to a different store in the chain and call them and they get a hold of my store. Because if I was going to have to unstrap both kids and take them into the store someone was going to die. Dips*** who was supposed to be answering the online orders phone had forwarded all calls to his wireless and then turned the unit off.

By this time dd (almost 3) was kicking my seat crying because she loves grocery shopping and wanted to go in the store to buy something and was bored. She screamed loud enough to wake up ds (3 months) who proceeded to scream for the entire drive home.

And what do I find? As a "welcome to the online shopping program" they gave me a free 1/2 gallon of premium organic strawberry ice cream. It took all my will power to drive home frustrated without getting a milkshake and now there is ice cream in my house and I am stressed and pissed.

Gogirl008
01-04-2007, 07:16 PM
Yeah, that one might do me in. Life with kids is a challenge everyday. As Rockinrobin said~coping skills. Step away from the ice cream.......

rockinrobin
01-04-2007, 09:00 PM
Ice cream, pretty scary stuff. When one is angered or frustrated, double and triple scary. :devil: That is the food that started me on my way to obesity. :devil:

MissH
01-05-2007, 12:34 AM
Ice cream, pretty scary stuff. When one is angered or frustrated, double and triple scary. :devil: That is the food that started me on my way to obesity. :devil:
Did someone say ice cream?? *drool*

I need to snap out of it! :dizzy: haha

Cheryl14
01-09-2007, 12:13 PM
Hi Gogirl!

I had never even HEARD of the term "emotional eating" until a few years ago. I began reading up on diets and emotions and nutrition and exercise and really began to realize how uninformed I was about the whole process!:?:

Apparently foods that we eat DO cause us to remember/react to past situations in our lives. They also cause our bodies to produce certain chemicals that calm us for awhile. It IS a physical process as well as an emotional one.

For me, I needed to actually develop the awareness that I wasn't always eating because I was hungry! Also, I needed better foods to eat that were more nutritious and had more staying power (whole grains, for example).

Something else that I learned was spreading my total daily calories over the day in smaller mini-meals and snacks rather than eating a big amount just a couple times a day. Spreading out the calories, protein, fats, carbs, etc. assures me that I never get totally famished. By not getting super hungry at any one given time, I don't end up stuffing myself like I used to do. I also ALWAYS eat something like an apple or a whole wheat pita spread with some extra crunchy peanut butter BEFORE I go anywhere where there is FOOD! Eating beforehand makes me far less apt to overeat restaurant portions or buy the wrong stuff at the grocery store.

I have also been bringing home 1/2 of every meal that I eat in a restaurant. My skinny teenage son usually intercepts it as I walk in the door! That has helped a lot. He now jokes with me saying, "Hey Mom! Can I HELP you with that?"

Most of all that I have learned has been really NEW STUFF! The newest thing of all is me discovering that I actually LOVE MYSELF now. I don't think I used to even LIKE myself before! As I lose more weight and fit into smaller sizes I think that I am finally caring for myself. I istopped doing that when I got married and had my sons. I was GREAT to everyone else. I was GREAT at my job. I just was NOT GREAT to myself. That's why I let this body put on ONE HUNDRED POUNDS in 25 years! If that's not hating myself, I don't know what is!!!

I wish you much luck on your journey! Please know that you have MANY, MANY people right there with you ON that journey! We may be from all over the world, but the world of weight loss has many caring individuals in it that are there to support you!

Hugs!
Cheryl

Gogirl008
01-09-2007, 02:40 PM
Hi Cheryl, thanks for sharing. Sounds like you've really got a handle on things these days. I can relate to the 'after kids' weight gain. Everyone else comes first and it seems as though your/my whole life gets put on the back burner. I think once I became a wife and mom I somehow forgot that I was still and individual with needs. We tend to think our whole purpose in life is to serve the family, or maybe that's what the expectation is. It's easy to ignore yourself when other people are needing things. Good for you for taking time for yourself. I'm taking care of me these days too. Somebody's got to do it!
Thanks for the kind words too. :hug:

KnitALisa
01-09-2007, 03:00 PM
As for boredom, I think the best way to stop the boredom eating is to keep your hands busy. Learn to knit. Do some gardening. Give yourself a manicure. Get on the forum & type your little heart out! Clean your house (when I am bored, my house is quite clean & shiny!). Lots of things you can do - just keep your hands busy, & your mind will stay busy too, plus, when you're doing something with your hands, you won't use them to feed your face.

So very true. When I feel an attack of the emotioal-eating munchies coming on, I pick up a riduculously hard knitting pattern that takes all of my concentration. My hands stay busy and my mind is totally distracted. Knitting is so good for me!

I mean why DO we turn to food for comfort? Food, how did that all come about? Well, you know our mother's probably comforted us with food, and their mother's comforted them and so on and so on.
I think a lot of it is about nuturing and comforting. I know I started really 'sneaking' food when my mom when back to college. It ended up being the best thing she could have possibly done for our family, but at the time, it was really hard. Our relationship suffered and I sought comfort in the form of food.

I think it's also similar to someone cutting themselves. Except slightly opposite. :p Someone who cuts themself is so numb and they want to feel something. Emotional eaters are in pain and want to numb that pain with food. It's awful, and ya'll are right, it's miserablly hard to reprogram the brain to seek other forms of comfort and to face the pain and the problems.

Gogirl008
01-09-2007, 03:22 PM
I've picked up knitting again too. It really is a great distraction, isn't it?
I agree about using the food to numb the feelings. I think sometimes when I'm mad or frustrated I start eating just for some type of instant gratification. If I can't fix what's bothering me than I'll eat something and that will at least give me some sense of satisfaction or comfort. Still though, I don't deal with the original problem. Hmmm........? If I do react to whatever is bothering me, instead of eating, will I then not have the urge to reach for the food? No quick fixes I guess. So we can learn coping strateties, and try reprograming our responses to our respective triggers. I think this requires a tremendous amount of self-awareness.

rockinrobin
01-09-2007, 04:24 PM
That's why I let this body put on ONE HUNDRED POUNDS in 25 years! If that's not hating myself, I don't know what is

Hugs!
Cheryl

So, then if I put on 160 in twenty years, how much did I hate MYSELF? Because when it comes down to it I suppose you just hit the nail on the head and boy am I sad right now. I find it to be very, very sad that I could let such a thing happen. Incredibly beyond words sad.

Gogirl008
01-10-2007, 06:52 AM
:hug: The upside to that is your already in the right place. You ARE taking care of yourself now. I really think there is a lot more to weight loss than reducing our intake. I think these little bits of self-discovery are key in being successful with this.

rockinrobin
01-10-2007, 07:39 AM
I think putting food in it's proper place and realizing what it's value should be in our lives is also key. It's just food. It is there to provide nutrition and energy so that our bodies can function. It's not here to provide us with comfort or entertainment. Or at least it shouldn't be. I am definitely a work a progress.

Cheryl14
01-10-2007, 06:04 PM
Hi rockinrobin!

I'm sorry that you feel sad, but maybe we all need to get sad enough or mad enough or SOMETHING to get ourselves back into the land of the Skinny Chicks! (I'm reading The Secrets of Skinny Chicks by Karen Bridson and learning so many new things that my head is about to pop off!:dizzy: )

I truly believe that I spent so much time thinking of everyone else that I LOST MYSELF for a lotta years there! SAD isn't a big enough word for THAT!!!

Don't worry! We will do this thing! :carrot: :carrot:

Cheryl

rockinrobin
01-10-2007, 07:03 PM
Cheryl I just gotta tell you, you are a great poster!!!! You always have something informative to say.

Okay. Yeah, I guess by only using "sad" kind of minimizes it. And it's not that I got sad and decided to change my life, I had just had enough, and I didn't want to be fat anymore. The time had come to do something wonderful for myself. Something grand. And what could be more wonderful and more grand then losing all this weight? That came right out of my journal. It's one of the first things I wrote in it.

So there's the land of the skinny chicks and then we've got the 3 fat chicks. Hmmm, interesting. Definitely beginning to see a pattern. And yes I do believe that we will indeed do this thing!!!! :carrot: :carrot:

Chestnutlass
01-10-2007, 07:47 PM
We all have foods that bring us happiness when we are feeling blue. Not to blame my parents (but oh well!!)

When I was a kid I was "rewarded" with food. When I was ansty I was given food. When I had to do something unpleasant I was promised food.
Now I do it to myself. I am trying to find other ways to "reward" or "treat" myself. I found a long hot shower helps....you can't eat in the shower!

Mari

BerkshireGrl
01-10-2007, 07:56 PM
...Apparently foods that we eat DO cause us to remember/react to past situations in our lives. They also cause our bodies to produce certain chemicals that calm us for awhile. It IS a physical process as well as an emotional one...

GREAT post! Thanks Cheryl! :D

cantforgetthis
01-10-2007, 09:00 PM
Oh yes...another emotional eater here. :D Part of my journey years ago was going through OA. I learned a lot about emotional eating there. Comforting, nurturing and celebration with food is built into cultures all over the world. I tend to think that since women, especially in past centuries, didn't have any money or power, they used what they had at hand, the food and cooking. The kitchen was their domain from the begining of time. They made it their way of showing their love.

One thought on the anger/frustration eating. More than likely we are feeling out of control when we are either angry or frustrated. We don't like the feeling of being out of control. What DO we have control of? Food, our bodies, our eating. I'll show them...How dare they (fill in the blank)...I'm going to have a pint of Haagen Daz in one sitting!!! That'll show 'em! Mind you, that wasn't a concious thought ;) but many have expressed the feeling. Intelligently we know the only one we are hurting is ourselves, but when speaking of emotion we aren't talking about intelligence. :dizzy:

shelby897
01-10-2007, 10:41 PM
There are so many good conversations going on throughout this website, but I can mostly relate to yours. I'm such an emotional eater -- one of the "wonderful" skills I learned from my mom. Would love some books, etc. regarding this if anyone knows of any. By the time I've eaten my food based on anger, stress, etc., I usually lost track of how I even ended up in the kitchen to start with!! Just a reaction I guess. I think it's always best to have a "backup plan", some hobby, chore you can do instead of heading to food. The more free time I have, the more I tend to eat.

cantforgetthis
01-11-2007, 12:34 AM
There is a book that I forgot to mention. It's called The Taming of the Chew: A Holistic Guide to Stopping Compusive Eating by Denise Lamothe. It has a lot about emotional issues, healing and the "why" of things. :hug:

Gogirl008
01-11-2007, 06:59 AM
Also MissH metioned an author, Geneen Roth. It looks like some of her titles are all about this topic. All this input is wonderful!

cantforgetthis- "Intelligently we know the only one we are hurting is ourselves, but when speaking of emotion we aren't talking about intelligence. -"

Isn't that the truth....

rockinrobin
01-11-2007, 07:21 AM
cantforgetthis, that is such a great point you bring up about the kitchen being women's domain!!!! I was a SAHM for many years, not right away when the kids were very young, buy shortly thereafter I became this mega cook. One meal better then the next. Holidays, birthdays, forget about it - over the top. I would also have dinner parties that rivaled the best caterer. Exquisite linens and serving pieces. Appetizers, 3 different salads, 3 or 4 main courses, 4 or 5 side dishes, 4 or 5 assorted desserts. It was insane. And of course I nibbled as I cooked and then, this is the dreadful part - I would eat the leftovers and as good as the food was, ain't nobody gonna finish all the food I would put out. Oh, yeah except me. And my home was perfect. With 3 young children. Nothing out of place. Dust free. This was MY domain. And darn it this is where I could prove myself.

I am happy (or sad) to say that I haven't thrown a dinner party or hosted any holiday parties since Sept. 4, when I started changing my lifestyle. I just wasn't ready to handle the cooking and therefore nibbling and dealing with the leftovers. I don't know when or if I will ever be able to do that again. And I am happy to say that dinners around here are just as yummy as ever, just not fat and calorie laden.

Mami
01-11-2007, 07:47 AM
Yummy Robin, can I eat at your house!? Once you get this healthier lifestyle thing down, you'll be able to have a dinner party once again. You can substitute most of the dishes for tasty healthier versions (your guests will probably appreciate this), and once you've lost your excess weight eating a bit more than usual once and a while won't be a problem.

rockinrobin
01-11-2007, 08:17 AM
Actually Mami, I'd LOVE to have you over. I think we'd have some great conversations!! But like I said those days of over the top cooking are history. And I know that one day soon, I will be able to entertain again. My will power has become enormous, opposed to once having just an ENORMOUS appetite. But my guests will just have to settle for a little less food, and a healthier version at that.

shelby897
01-12-2007, 12:57 PM
We have to work past the emotional eating and fill that spot -- so any favorite ways to "vent" instead of eating? I guess the last few days I've come here instead -- works good!! My skinny husband can't understand the concept of eating a box of cookies, but then if I could stop when I was full, I wouldn't be overweight, right? 100 lbs just creaped up on me over 10 years strange! But, I have a 7 year old son who seems to be following in my footsteps and I can't put him through this, so I HAVE to stop myself and set a better example. I learned my binging from my mom, but I can't really blame her anymore, I'm 36 years old -- she still struggles and I really don't want to be 70 years old and still trying to lose weight!!! Hope everyone has a great day, meets their goals and has the strength to "start over" if they don't!!!

ennay
01-13-2007, 11:00 AM
Well, I better get a handle on stress eating in a hurry. dh is likely quitting his job and starting his own company with 2 other people. I am a SAHM so we have no income from me--except I am going to do some work for the company, but probably at a token salary or just a % of profits should profit come.

There will be a lot of travel involved for him which is stressful for me with 2 small kids. Last night was a test drive of that and holy binge eat batman . By the time I got food ready I was so frazzled I inhaled a full 2 servings without tasting it

But I am down another 0.4 so Im at 152.8

Wish the tracker allowed decimals...I think I might need to switch to a tickerfactory one

shelby897
01-13-2007, 11:46 AM
Ennay -- I know where you are coming from, my husband travels for work and works odd hours -- I've learned to eat a lot of microwave popcorn -- it takes a while to finish the bag and keeps my mouth full so I can't shovel anything else in! I also keep lean pocket's -- breakfast and lunch frozen meals, so when he's not home for dinner I can give the kids a quick meal but I don't spend my night emptying the cupboards!! Good luck to both of you, it's very exciting to start new, but SO stressful!!