Chicks in Control - Binging because of stress...

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04-12-2014, 05:09 PM
As I work through my binging (versus just over eating) I really find that I have different things that fuel the binges.

I believe the majority of my binges are a cause of a sugar addiction, and even simply carbs. I notice that abstaining from those cuts down on my binges tremendously.

But there are other reasons, that cannot be helped through cutting out sugar.

I also use food as a way to de-stress. If I am really really stressed and I do not see the option to step away from the cause of the stress, I turn to food. Ideally, I'd like it to be my trigger foods, something sweet, but I can tell these binges are different because I'm not craving ice cream or candy, they are for "real" nutritious food. I just want it fast and a lot of it.

I have not found a way to stop these binges. Thankfully they are fewer, maybe once or twice a month. I try to just ride them out, and eat slower and separate eating by some time. In other words instead of eating a huge meal, then seconds, then thirds (yikes) I will eat, then wait some time and if the craving persists, and it nearly always does, I eat again. It just feels different from regular eating, like I NEED to eat this food...

Today I have been eating like every 30 minutes...and I have been eating foods that make my cravings worse, so I really haven't helped the situation. The foods are healthy, but still a lot of calories, apples and peanut butter, almonds, and some cheese...and a banana...

I know an extremely stressful morning precipitated this binge. I started feeling the cravings to just eat mindlessly while still mid-stressful situation today. And its not like I got to relax when I got home. I'm being vague, but I saw no "exit" strategy to my stress today, so I start wanting to eat to deal. If I knew that I was able to "get away" from what was stressing me, especially much earlier today, I believe I would have avoided this binge.

I'm not sure what my point is of this post...I guess it just seems that I use food when I feel trapped (stressed)...And no amount of sugar abstinence is going to help that. Its behavioral I suppose.

04-12-2014, 05:15 PM
Would drinking help relieve the stress instead of food? Drinking say, tea, even with sugar, would be less calories than eating every 30 mins.

04-12-2014, 05:28 PM
Would drinking help relieve the stress instead of food?

Yes, but I would have had to open the wine in the early afternoon, and I with three kids I can't be sauced by dinner time.

Drinking say, tea, even with sugar, would be less calories than eating every 30 mins.

oh....I've been drinking water, I did have a cup of coffee and I enjoy iced tea with lemon, no sugar thankfully...but when I get like this its like I cannot not eat...

And I did think you meant alcohol drink as I was reading the first line ;)

04-13-2014, 06:41 AM
Sometimes my best advice is to get out of the house and do something. Run errands, wash the car, go buy a pair of flip flops, stop at Starbucks for a nonfat latte, take a walk down an interesting street. This may not be an option for you but when I'm like that I need to change the scenery and get my mind focused on something different.

I agree with you completely though and it's hard. If you can push through it it will be such a victory and feel so good.

04-13-2014, 09:58 AM
Emotional eating is caused by an emotional trigger. Sometimes people want to blame something emotional on something physical which doesn't make much sense.

When I binge it's because of emotional triggers. I feel stress, anxiety, boredom etc... Basically it's a bunch of uncomfortable feelings that are really difficult to work through. So my go to is eating - I have literally taught myself to get hungry instead of feeling anxious. So I eat too much. It's sort of a strange cycle, it goes like this:

Uncomfortable feeling-->Hunger--->Eat--->Calmness--->anger and guilt over eating

Notice that the uncomfortable feeling never gets resolved, it just turns into anger and guilt directed towards myself. The cycle just repeats over and over again until I reach 200lbs. I'm learning to break that cycle, sometimes it can't be broken all at once but I'm tackling the guilt and anger first. I allow myself to eat and forgiving myself for it immediately. Cycle broken. Therefore, the trigger to eat has become less, I don't know how! But it's working!

It sounds like your cycle is more like this:
Uncomfortable feeling-->Hunger--->Eat--->Calmness--->blame the food

I think all unhealthy cycles can be broken by taking away the power of the result and focusing on relieving yourself of the guilt of the outcome. Hey, if there's stressful stuff going on and you need to comfort yourself with food just do it. Let yourself enjoy it without guilt and it won't last long. Focus on happiness and relaxation and the rest will follow. Hopefully by remaining calm it will become more clear to you what's causing your triggers in the first place.

04-13-2014, 02:01 PM
^That's actually the approach I've been taking, and it really is working. I still try and ride it out when I feel a binge coming on, but if I really just can't work past it then I eat something, damnit! And then I move on, I even enjoy it. Actually, the results are twofold. Not only do I binge less often, but when I do it is much less severe. I think forgiving yourself immediately closes up the bottomless're no longer reaching for satisfaction (in the form of food) because you just gave yourself the OK to let whatever you just ate BE satisfying. If that makes sense..

Before getting to that point I use the change of scenery tactic as well. I've found for myself that it doesn't stifle the cravings forever, but if nothing else just doing something eats up my time so that I can't be sitting on the couch eating instead.

04-13-2014, 04:29 PM
Ha, ha, no, alcohol never crossed my mind actually. Must remember to clarify from the outset next time!

If you really could not apply any other strategy to de-stress, then I do think Wannabe's suggestion to enjoy the food and ride it out is a great idea. You might de-stress much quicker that way and have no more need for the food then.

04-13-2014, 07:38 PM
Thank you all. I talked about this with hubby and under the stress of the day, I discovered there was an emotional trigger underneath. I was so shocked that there it was, and I knew it bothered me, but I never imagined it ran that deep...Because I do not consciously think "I am bother by this so I will eat"...I failed to see the connection.

The issue that was brought to the surface yesterday is one I am not able to express to the "offender" so I need to work through it independently and I haven't been able to do that, so I try not to think about it.

I am just amazed that in the moment it was not glaringly clear what was going on mentally. Yes I was stressed but this particular situation was triggering for me. Knowing this, I will maybe revisit this, try to address it again and be prepared when I go into situations that will trigger this emotional issue.

04-13-2014, 10:43 PM
I wasn't aware of it either. Humans are really amazing in how they are able to take on the things they can handle and ignore the things they can't. Discomforting feelings need to get dealt with one way or the other. Over time, if we continuously look to calm ourselves with food then our body automatically responds to stress by alerting our hunger. It happens. That's the bulk of what I've been working on - awareness about why I eat. I've been pretty consistent about eating when my real hunger is knocking on the door but there are plenty of times that I over eat. But I don't do it mindlessly and confused anymore. I'm aware of it and I think to myself "I know I'm stressed out about this work thing I got coming up and all I want to do is eat." Identifying the reason helps me not feel guilty about it. And when I don't feel guilty I tend to not repeat the cycle very often.

04-14-2014, 12:48 PM
Personally, I have a hard time putting down certain healthy foods - including things like apples or things like cheese. Lets not get started on how I gained 25 lbs on plain oatmeal with some cinnamon (no sugar). Emotional stress was definitely a factor, but even at an emotionally stable state, a lot of plain healthy foods still instill this *feeling* in me that other healthy foods don't. I mean, the foods are good for me, and they don't give me quite the same rush as a jar of Nutella, but I tend to go for the healthy foods that don't induce me to eat more and more and more to the point where I gain, and for the healthy foods that do that cause that, I just try and limit the quantity. I have funky cravings lol.

04-14-2014, 03:22 PM
Exercise. Vigorously.

I used to suffer badly from anxiety. Now I am so bust up with exercise, my body is just too shocked and tired to be stressed about anything.