Weight Loss Support - Clearly, I'm an emotional eater!

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08-26-2011, 10:19 AM
I think a lot of us are emotional eaters, and I am definitely one!

I wanted to share 2 things that happened to me this week that are just glaring examples of emotional eating.

First is, I was having a great, on-plan day and had even walked for an hour outside. I was feeling really good about myself and about the day! Then, I received a phone call from a family member that was pretty emotional. Nothing to do with me, but sadness for her. During this phone call, I start eating. Munching on anything in the pantry I can find. Before I hung up the phone, I had eaten a crazy amount of snacks! WHY??? It was the phone call, for sure, because until then I had done really well!

Yesterday, I again, did really well all day. I even went to lunch at a yummy place but resisted all the temptation and ordered a healthy option. It was a great, on-track kind of day. Then my kids get home from school and my youngest has a homework meltdown. He is just starting 3rd grade, so the workload is increasing and he is having to adjust to more homework. He starts crying and is really upset at all the work that was assigned. We ended up spending about 2 hours working on homework, believe it or not. It was a struggle and I really felt for him! Not to mention feeling stressed myself at trying to juggle his feelings with my older son's studying, etc. So, you guessed it....I started eating. Chips, some cheese, some cereal from a box. Finally, some chocolate chips straight from a package. Not good! The 2 hours of craziness weakened me to the point where I just gave up on the healthy eating.

I recognize that I'm an emotional eater, but it needs to stop! There is always going to be something -- always some kind of stress -- and I just need to get through it without indulging in foods. Food doesn't help anyway! These stressful events should not be excuses to eat.

I just wanted to share how clearly my emotions were tied to overeating this week.

08-26-2011, 10:50 AM
I'm slowly coming to terms with this myself and understand completely where you're coming from! I had finally gotten rid of the all the water retention weight I had this week (from a previous popcorn binge day) and had a good calorie intake day yesterday. Then my sister came home and told me some bad news about our dad and as she's talking I reached into the fridge for one of my lean cuisine pizzas and made that. Wouldn't have been bad if i stopped there, but right after I finished that I got in my car and drove to Wendy's and ordered more food than anyone should legally be allowed to purchase for one person at a drive-thru, then got home and ate it all. All the water retention weight I had just gotten off yesterday is back again this morning. I know it'll be off again in 3-4 days, but just the self induced setback drives me crazy.

I completely agree with what you said about always having some sort of stress in our lives and finding other healthier ways to deal with them.

08-26-2011, 11:10 AM
I'm certainly no expert on how best to deal with emotional eating (Emotional Eater? Hand up, right here! ;)) but I am experienced with it! :yes:

I've known I AM an emotional eater for years... but without knowing WHY, I can't do much about it. For me, I'm pretty sure it about feeling out of control in whatever scenario is taking place, rather than just feeling stress about it. Reading your examples above - I wonder of this is possibly a key factor for emotional eaters?

That said, I'm SURE it's not as simple as "I feel out of control, so I am going to stuff my face, out of control" - for me at least, I think it it might be "What is this feeling? What do I associate it with? How am I used to suppressing this uncomfortable, out-of-control feeling?" The next step, for me, will be to try to recognize this before I start eating, and break the pattern.

I don't know - but just thought I'd chime in. Hang in there! :)

08-26-2011, 12:53 PM
i eat when i am stressed and also when i start feeling overwhelmed by loneliness....it is horrible being an emotional eater, anytime i feel sad i turn to food to comfort me, i literally have to fight it every single day.

some things i try to not break down and eat are to chew gum, go online, go for a drive, or paint my nails.........

best of luck!

08-26-2011, 12:55 PM
yeah, I made a rule with bf that we had to keep conversations calm at meal times because I noticed when I got agitated (talking about family or problems) and would eat more and not even enjoy what I was eating.

during stress moments I can definitely reach for food, or chocolate. I think being aware of that helps me, I can say ok, I know I'm anxious, the food will just make me fatter and anxious, ha. it's not what I really want, I want a way to calm myself. Today I had some herbal tea, I think taking a minute and calming myself down helps. Coming up with a plan of action (something to do), whether it's connected to the thing making me anxious, or something totally different.

08-26-2011, 01:02 PM
Me too!!! I completely understand and could have written your post myself! I felt like I was making progess on my emotional eating, but we moved last week, the kids were sick, and now we have this hurricane (I'm on the nj shore) that's coming and I feel so stressed and lo and behold, I am not cured, I'm eating eating eating!
And why is it always crap? I never seem to eat salads when I'm eating because of stress?
I wish I could offer you some advice. When things were less stressful, I tried journaling for the small stressers and it seemed to work, but when the big stuff comes, OR you you are doing something that you can't sit and journal (like helping your son with homework, you can't just be like "honey wait a minute, mommy needs to journal her stress!") then sticking a cookie in my mouth seems to be easier.
Or if the stresser is an "on-the-go" stresser. Where you are out and about, or very busy, I wonder how am I supposed to journal then??

I'm rambling, I know! Maybe we should start a thread group for emotional eaters? A place to check in and just share our triggers that day? Maybe that will help us?

08-26-2011, 01:10 PM
I wish I could offer you some advice. When things were less stressful, I tried journaling for the small stressers and it seemed to work, but when the big stuff comes, OR you you are doing something that you can't sit and journal (like helping your son with homework, you can't just be like "honey wait a minute, mommy needs to journal her stress!") then sticking a cookie in my mouth seems to be easier.

a while back I was in the local park and I saw a mom with her little girl. the little girl got upset over something and was carrying on, and the mom stuck a cookie in her mouth and she immediately shut up and started eating it. I think it must be a common thing for us to think of goodies as stress reducers!

08-26-2011, 02:15 PM
Dragonwoman64 you are so right! I know food was used as the fix all for me when I was a kid. If I was crying, let down, bored, or just having a bad day, my parents fixed it with a snack. And at 30 years old I still have the instinct to handle stress with food! I have made a change with my kids. Both my DH and I do not use food as a reward or stress relief. Its not the "focus" of fun as it was for me when I was little. I don't use it to quiet my kids if they are not hungry.
Example.. I was out with a cousin, and her 18 month old was in the stroller and would not stop screaming, to get out really. She just fed her and fed her. She gives her snacks to keep her quiet. The child is so over weight, I feel bad for her. Even though giving my 15 month old snacks to stay quiet is easier, and tempting because its easier! I play with him instead, hold him, let him out of the stroller and whatever he really wants rather than quiet him with food. Just feels good not to continue the cycle. Now if I can only correct my own issues, as my kids will eventually be old enough to see how I handle my stress... :/

RJ 1980
08-26-2011, 02:25 PM
I do the same thing. It's just mindless eating, I guess it's our way of soothing ourselves? Yesterday I had to cancel my daughters christening and party b/c of the incoming hurricane and I was almost in tears all morning, making dozens of phone calls and trying to reschedule our DJ, cake, caterers, etc etc. The whole time I was looking around the kitchen for food, over and over. I stuck some chicken strips in the toaster oven without even realizing what I was doing. I did eat them, but after that I gained some control back thank goodness. Usually it would set me off for a whole day and night of binging. So that's one step in the right direction.

It really sucks that we will most likely struggle with this forever. I'm sorry I don't have any advice but you are not alone! :hug:

08-26-2011, 03:38 PM
I've read threads here about how some foods (chocolate and sugar) have a real chemical affect on our brains -- so in a way it can be like having a drink (taking a drug) to wind down.

some people, I'd imagine, have more a tendency to get anxious faster and to a greater degree in situations. I do think at least part of that can be in our control, how we react, what we tell ourselves.

Like if I take a deep breath, and focus, and say to myself, of course I can handle this, it's no big deal, everything will work out ok -- I will have a much different level of anxiety than if I tell myself: omg! this is so stressful! what am I going to do!? This is a catastrophe!!

there's a lot involved with it too, like how much (social) support from other people you have, how much you do to take care of your own needs (give yourself pleasure in other ways), how much stress you have in all aspects of your life, etc.

08-27-2011, 08:59 AM
Since you have kids and lots of other responsibilities you could teach yourself a new coping habbit.
It will take 1-2 years but afterwards you will use that other habbit as a release from stress instead of food.
Good coping habbits are: showering/bathing with aromatic soaps, short walks around the block, listening to music for 5 minutes absolutely relaxed on a sofa, snuggling with your kids for a few minutes, etc.
It must be something relaxing, non-food related and fairly short so you can do it at any given stressfull situation easily.
Also label foods. Stick post-its on food reading : Mom's, dad's, kids etc so every time you go to eat and see "kids" on the food label you remember it is not for you. Anything that makes you think twice is an obstacle on a slippery slope keeping you secure.

08-27-2011, 09:10 AM
Well now you are fully aware of your behavior and can work on changing it!!! That's a big step! What do you think will help modify the behavior? Maybe you could start chewing gum instead so it's at least not hurtful to your body weight and then work on other non-chewing activities?