Weight Loss Support - Gaining weight when emotionally/mentally unbalanced?

11-16-2007, 02:11 AM
Gaining weight when emotionally/mentally unbalanced? I'm reading the Best Life Now by Greene and he says we can't really lose and keep the weight off until we deal with other life issues as well, what's causing us to emotionally eat. He says many lose weight just to gain it back. They cycle up and down, as I've done. I'd lost 14 lbs then gained 7 or so back the last few months just being stupid and moody, eating out, and eating junk. It was triggered by some personal problems this summer, but there's no excuse.

Do you think Greene is right? That we have to also work on other life issues as well as weight loss? Self esteem? Relationships? Codependency? Whatever it is that's causing us to turn to food? I think I turn to food, pig out when I'm stressed. Now I'm doing yoga, journaling, meditating again - and I'm finding balance. Slowing down with my work. Going to a new counselor. When i do this and get support then I don't feel the need to pig out on junk, or drink alcohol, or just be stupid.

11-16-2007, 08:45 AM
Hey horsey! Glad to see you back.

Many folks do eat more, or want to eat more, when under stress. I know that's true for me. So part of my weight loss has meant just what you've mentioned--trying to find balance in my life. Or maybe I should say, finding the middle of the road and not going to extremes. Of course, we don't have control over everything that happens. (Darn it! ;) ) So the good habits I've tried to build with food come to my aid when things get tough.

Sometimes what people do with food looks a lot like addictive behavior--and knowing that, I also know that there are some foods that can't be in my house. It's just easier that way.

I think our relationship with food has to change, and many other things begin to change along with that.

Good for you for taking steps to deal with issues! :cheer2:


11-16-2007, 10:30 AM
For me, I found that I couldn't lose weight until I started working on my self esteem. Weight is much more than what you put in your mouth. If you aren't happy and don't feel good about yourself, what incentive is there to feed your body good things and give your body the exercise it needs?

11-16-2007, 10:54 AM
It can go either way for me, but mostly when under stress which is happening now I tend to not eat and then binge. I actually become healthier when I take a few days off. I eat better and exercise, but really, who can take a few days off?

I have had stress and issues for way too long, some of it my fault some of it out of my control. I was thinking before that for a lot of us we will always have something going on, if its not an old problem its a new one, and that's how we develop addictive behavior, constant stress, we are trying to self medicate, whether it be food or something else, believe me I know.

I actually have a lot of good things going on too. I have a husband who is the best, and children who are high achievers as adults. I have a nice home and cool pets, and some of the most gorgeous hiking trails across the street.

So I guess the trick is to deal with that stress and not let it consume you .
I try to exercise, huge help, eat right, and take of myself, such as putting on makeup and dressing nice when I do these things I feel better, and the weight loss will happen.

11-16-2007, 10:57 AM
That's true... on the flip side, the good habits developed by dieting, eating right, setting goals apply to other parts of life. When I was REALLY working out, eating right I knew I "could do it" and felt better about myself. I was doing better at my business, able to organize and set goals better. Despite my "spurt" of being stupid, moping, eating for the past few months - I still have the "skills" and everything is better then before.

I'm exploring my self esteem issues. It's like outside I look and act successful but inside I beat up on myself so much, was in a bad relationship, etc. Inside I tear myself up, and I think food was a sort of "comfort" to me, just pigging out to cope. With my husband I used to eat out a lot, I was very thin before dating/marrying him, not to blame, but the codpendency stuff... being with someone who was verbally mean didn't help.

Anyways this book seems true to me, yes if we aren't happy with ourselves what would be the point of all of this effort, and it is effort to exercise and eat right, and take the time to really plan out our health. I have a little boy that's three and I'm realizing that I have a choice - I can pass on to him the negative "junk" that perhaps has been in my family for generations - or I can kick it in the butt, be positive, change and pass those traits on to him. He doesn't need a moody, undiciplined, negative mother. He needs a positive role model.

Food is only ONE THING in my life I need to change. So along with dieting/exercise, this time around I'm going to work on the issues that challenge me - self esteem, codependency, self discipline, negativity, etc. I'm going to try to work on staying positive and at peace. If I can maintain mental/emotional peace, then I won't go rush to a restaurant to pig out anymore. I won't even have the desire.

11-16-2007, 11:16 AM
Restaurants! Who would think they can be addictive? I had a bar addiction at one time and although I still drink I could care less about bars, but restaurants..........my favorite thing to do! We are now "zagat" members. I sat on the computer until 11, drinking wine and reviewing restaurants. I don't know what my point is here horsey but when you said you won't want to pig out at a restaurant when you're eating healthy, I guess I can relate.

Maybe if we can make ourselves healthy we can better fight addictions. I'm also thinking of going to a counselor, anyone done that, or maybe a life coach? I went to a counselor once before and I think it temporarily helped me.

Cats tongue
11-16-2007, 01:32 PM
Weight gain (and in some people's cases, weight loss) are totally related to emotional being. Look at eating disorders, they are so rampant, and they go in both directions and in the end they both have nothing to do with what the person weighs, it's all about how they feel about on the inside reflecting on the outside.

I know that I gained weight on when I was really lonely/sad/depressed and hated myself. In high school I had severe eating problems (I call it an eating disorder, but it probably wasn't severe enough to be diagnosed as one...) and I had to have control... In grade 12 I lost control and gained back the weight I had lost and then some over the next couple years. And I can tell you it was emotional entirely. I was really lonely. I didn't think people liked me because I was ugly/boring/not worth it. And I definitely had an emotional lethargy that kept me from changing.

I had to consciously tell myself I was going to pull myself out of the dirt. And it was part emotional journey part changing eating/exercising habits. But for me the big thing was the emotional side. I had to convince myself to love me at any weight, convince myself I was worth it...

If you don't think you're worth it, you won't be able to change is what I found.

rosemarie - last year I went to a counselor b/c I'd begun binging and purging (I'd binged a lot, only purged about 3 times, but it was a wake up call...). I only did one session but she gave me some thought exercises and stuff. I say go for one session, if you think it will help or you think it's a load of dung you aren't commited either way...

horsey - I think you have a very good idea of what to do. It sounds like a really good book.

11-16-2007, 02:26 PM
Hey again,

I disagree that weight gain is totally about emotional being. I can't go along with the "totally" part--:)

I didn't become overweight because I was miserable and depressed. Most of the time I've been a happy, successful person. But along with success came the freedom to eat whatever I liked, whenever I wanted it. ("Isn't that what life is all about?" Well... come to find out, no!) That overindulging played much more strongly into my gaining weight than any of my sad or anxious times.

As I said, I do tend to eat more to compensate when I'm stressed out. But that's not the only time.


11-16-2007, 03:37 PM
A small part of me gained weight while successful for the reasons Jay mentioned: I was making a good amount of money so I got to eat everything I wanted to every time I wanted it. I somehow thought I had a "fast metabolism" and would not gain an ounce since I'd been thin since age 15 (sometimes naturally, sometimes with the aid of eating disorders).

The bigger (all puns intended) part of my weight came on because of emotional eating and stress - I had definitely been through some s:censored:t! I was not motivated to exercise or eat a balanced diet, and I got so lazy that I sometimes even completely neglected my health because I felt so tired and burnt out about life.

So YES... working on other life issues is VERY important in regards to weight loss, BUT in my opinion, some of those life issues can often be resolved just by losing weight. For me, anyway, my weight was a large part of my depression, and losing the weight suddenly gave me so much more energy and inspiration to actually start LIVING! Some of the other factors in my life that made me depressed are still here, BUT I find them so much more tolerable now that I have the (no pun originally intended) weight off my shoulders. ;)

Like you mentioned, balance is crucial. Losing weight and taking really good control of your health can definitely help you achieve that balance!

Welcome back, horsey. :) :hugs:

11-16-2007, 04:07 PM
I needed to work on my codependency issues long before I was able to get a grip on my compulsive overeating. However, I do think that my low self-esteem was mostly from feeling like a failure at not being able to lose the weight.

I have eaten when I have been happy, sad, depressed, excited, bored, tense and for no reason at all! I think I would forget to breathe first before I would forget to eat.

Well, I think we all have to find all what is our triggers and then deal with them. It sounds like those of us who have those insights are yet another tool in our weight lose journey.

PS Love that fuchsia shirt NightengaleShane. Congrats on meeting your goals.:carrot:

11-16-2007, 05:15 PM
Awww thank you, Pamatga! :) Fuschia/hot pink is one of my favorite colors, along with black.

11-16-2007, 05:39 PM
Interesting... I did a speed read of How the Rich Get Thin, and the author says that many successful women get overweight because they are busy and just think they deserve to eat, plus they go out a lot for business meals or travel. I might be trying to over analyze my bad habits, and habits they are. It's true though, when I was making the most money, working the hardest at my business I still ate. And how about the saying "happy fat person?" It doesn't just take a moody unhappy person to overeat. Our society actually makes it hard to stay in shape, food surrounds us, fast food and quick... we don't take the time we used to years ago, stats say we as women have put on 20 lbs average in what 30-40 years? And many of us much more then that. It's a problem in our society.

Yet I know I'm moody, undiciplined and that I have other life issues. I left my husband, blamed it all on him, lost a lot of weight after leaving him just to prove I could - plus I thought it would make me happy. Sure it was nice to fit into those Seven jeans and throw out fat clothes I didn't think I'd need again, but as the author of Best Life Now says, it's not being skinny that makes us "happy" it's having a balanced life, and being healthy is just one element.

When I really lost weight though I felt more "in control" of everything in my life, I generally felt better. It was a hard time in my life, separated, my dad was dying of cancer, I had a baby, I was on my own without the resources we had as a couple... somehow I faught back to what could have been a time of depression with exercise and eating right. That did work, and I was also able to at the hardest time in my life, keep my business and life mostly together, I was quite strong.

I think the mistake more after losing weight is going back to old habits, when we go back to old habits we gain weight, when we gain weight we feel bad about ourselves again - for putting some back on. This author says most people who lose do gain it back, I've read that about the South Beach diet and others, so I'm wondering if it's true - on this site you don't see it, you see much commitment and people determined to keep it off.

Anyways I'm now "back" and am feeling better, just getting control again of my eating/exercise is making me feel like I have more control of my business, life, everything. However instead of just an Exercise/Diet journal, I"m also creating folders - like I do in business - with "plans" for each part of my life. Workout, Diet, Spirituality, Rest & Relaxation (hobbies), Emotional/Mental Health, Body Image and my Work (plus friends/family)... it's a sort of take off from the book Shape Your Life, where they say the same thing, it's not just about losing weight. These are the benchmarks of total fitness - living the live one really wants.

It seems that I've focused too much on managing my business, and not enough on managing other things in my life. That according to my new shrink. It's not that I'm some mental wreck or a manic depressant, it's just hard to find balance and to get it - one has to plan - just like exercise/dieting, and make sure we are spending time doing what we want to achieve the life we want. Whatever we are today - even our weight - is a result of our past decisions, big and small. So that I'm feeling the weight, alone, unhappy about my work and relationship life - it's my fault. The key instead of moping, is mapping out plans to fix what isn't working. As Dr. Phil says if we repeat the same things over and over with the same results, we have to do things differently, shake things up, go outside of our comfort zones.

Hey it's not even New Year's and already I have not just one goal, but I'm working on folders for many... this will be a year of personal growth and I WILL get to my desired weight and will stay within 5 lbs for life.