South Beach Diet - Food and Mood?

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03-24-2006, 03:55 AM
So, as I get farther in my journey to health and my time spent on SBD, I find that reducing the physical cravings isn't enough. I have to find ways to deal with my emotional cravings too...and that's incredibly difficult on some days.

Do you find that you have emotional cravings? Do you deal with compulsive overeating? How do you cope?

I joined a local therapy group for those who want to eat more healthy and have a good body image. We'll see if that helps. I hope so! :) I'm also spending a lot of time reading books (like those by Geneen Roth) and thinking about what I need and why I crave when I know I'm not hungry.

Geneen Roth says that by treating ourselves as if we can't be trusted with food that we give ourselves the message that we aren't good enough...and sabotage our efforts to get healthy. But she also believes that diets are bad. I know what sugar does to me, and I don't have a problem with knocking it out of my diet as I do on SBD. But I find that my list of trigger foods (all of which are okay on SBD) is getting longer and longer and I'm wondering if I should be spending time figuring out why they are a trigger and how to deal with that issue instead of assuming I just can't be trusted with them. What do you think about that?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say on this issue...I think our emotions have such a huge part in our eating. You know? :hug:

Kelly J
03-24-2006, 09:37 AM
I agree that emotions play a huge role in our relationship with food. I am an emotional eater and am trying very hard to break that correlation for myself. I think it has a lot to do with how we were brought up and what our parents taught us about food. For me, food was an expression of love and was used as a reward.

I'm making progress, but even now I find myself thinking, "okay, if I lose xxx more pounds then I can go get that muffin I've been craving". Intellectually, I know that it doesn't make sense to reward losing weight with unhealthy food but my first instinct is to do that. Recognizing that, I'm able to re-focus myself and come up with more productive rewards.

I also eat for comfort when I'm depressed and am trying to stop that by journaling instead or just getting up and doing something to distract myself. I'm having a hard time trying to break the association in the thinking that I deserve to eat that B&J ice cream b/c I've had a hard day or have issues going on and instead think that I'm worthy enough to treat my body well and make healthy food choices.

Okay, enough rambling from me. I hope this all makes sense and I'm really looking forward to hearing everyone's opinions.

03-24-2006, 03:01 PM
Emotional cravings/eating are a huge roadblock for me. I have always been an emotional eater and I think that's part of the reason why I have not been successful over the years with my weight loss. Stress is especially bad for me. When I am very stressed, all I want to do is put something in my mouth and chew. Doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing, my first reaction is to munch on something.

I used to cope by smoking, but I quit that almost 2 years ago. :D Of course, I gained about 30 lbs since quitting because then the munching got worse!

These days I TRY to cope by keeping busy. This has been the best tool for me over the last year. I find when I get very stressed I clean house, organize, do gardening, etc. I've always been a fairly lazy person so this has been a big (positive) change in me and it has helped to an extent. I also cope by communicating my frustrations....I talk to friends, I email, I get on boards like this one and vent to others that listen and can either be sympathetic, or kick my butt, whichever is needed. I think a support network is vital to alot of emotional needs, and it does tend to help me out.

Laurie, you said "I'm wondering if I should be spending time figuring out why they are a trigger and how to deal with that issue instead of assuming I just can't be trusted with them." I have spent alot of time trying to figure why things are a trigger. It took a long time, but I finally figured it out and you know what? I STILL don't trust myself with food! Certain things are STILL a trigger for me and always will be. That's just life and just me and I accept that. The trick is, what to do with that trigger once it's pulled; do I ignore it, work around it, or succumb to it? The choice is up to me. Sometimes I make the right choice, sometimes I don't.

By the way...I'm Lauri too :) Nice to meet you!

03-24-2006, 04:36 PM
I too, am an emotional eater. If I get upset, angry, whatever the case may be, I want to eat. I've realized that finally after many binges with chips ice cream, cakes, etc. Now I just go for a power walk and I find that when I get home I usually feel better. (I'm sure my thighs do too lol!!!)

03-26-2006, 01:08 PM
I highly recommend reading the book "Eating in the light of the moon." It was an eye opener for me on emotional eating.

03-26-2006, 01:29 PM
Do you know who the author is?

03-26-2006, 06:13 PM
I've recently come to the conclusion that the biggest stumbling block to permanent weight loss for me is definately a mental one. For the last 25 years I've lost and then regained the weight over and over again. What I struggle to understand is how something I want so desperately continues to elude me. I'm in total control of every other area of my like but I have not been able to remain committed to a healthy way of eating and a consistent exercise program. I recently had lunch with a friend who has lost over 100 pounds and has kept it off for a year. She has been seeing a therapist who specializes in obesity. He was once very obese himself. A local news anchor just did a story of her dramatic weight loss journey by seeing this same therapist. He jokeingly says he "brain washes" them. Whatever he does, it apparently works for the many people he sees, some who drive hundreds of mile each week to see him. He doesn't tell them what to eat but he does severly limit their calorie intake, 700 calories during the week and 1200 on the weekend, and has them keep a food journal which he reviews at each visit. I can't imagine only eating 700 calories a day and I don't really think that's very healthy, but his patients all love him and have been very sucessful. I called him for a consultation but since the piece on the news aired, he has been overwhelmed with new patients.

For me, like most of you, it's not that I don't know what I need to do. I could write a diet book, publish a best selling cookbook on low-cal, tasty meals and become a personal trainer worthy of Bob Greene. What I haven't been able to do, is stick to it. Why can't I stay motivated when I know how dramatically my life would change if I lost 80 pounds. Is that what scares me? Is my fat keeping me safe? Safe from falling in love and risking heartbreak? Safe from being the athlete that's screaming inside to be allowed out to play? Somewhere in my sub-concious I must have reached the conclusion that remaining obease has it's advantages. I have to find the key that will unlock that little box, empty out the contents and refill the box with positive messages. Finding the key is the challenging part. I may not be able to do that alone but I do know that I have to continue trying. I want to meet Mr. Right, I want to ski on the ballet line and I want to prove to my son that perseverence pays off. So it's one step forward, two steps back but full steam ahead I go.

03-27-2006, 05:51 PM
Hello all,

My name is Sarah and I too am an emotional eater. It's so interesting to me how others can actually forget to eat whereas I'm looking forward to my next snack.

My goal for this week is to control cravings by chanelling that energy elsewhere (writing, calling a friend posting here etc.) I also have a book The Love Hunger Workbook that I've used before. It hasn't been as successful as I would have liked, but I don't think I've gotten deep enough into it before. The first couple of weeks talk about your childhood, relationship to your parents etc. which didn't really ring true but thinking there might be some chapters that are the key to "unlocking why I am an emotional eater."

I wish there was a support meeting for me to visit but unfortunately the times here around Austin haven't worked for me.

03-29-2006, 02:46 PM
Yikes, I wrote a huge post here the other night and lost it. :(

Sarah, you can find online OA meetings here: Click on the "Find a Meeting" link and keep following links until you get to the online area. There are meetings online at least every 15 minutes...but usually way more often than that. It's impossible to not find a meeting when you need one online. :D Like you, I don't have the ability to make it to the one night when there's a meeting in my area, so this is the only viable option for me right now. :)

I highly recommend any book by Geneen Roth. I just finished "When Food is Love" and thought it was amazing...I underlined almost every sentence! ;) Here's a section that I really related to:

“Later, alone at the table, I was thinking about Lyn’s visit. I was thinking that compulsions are rarely what they seem to be. I was thinking that concerns about our bodies cover deeper concerns about other things that cover even more basic concerns about ourselves. Being a terrible writer, I thought, is not what Lyn is afraid of. [When Roth asked her, Lyn told her that she was afraid of being a terrible writer and that’s why she felt she needed to lose weight. Later on, Lyn calls her and says that she wasn’t entirely honest…]…’I know this is going to sound corny, but I think what I am afraid of is not being good enough. That something deep down is wrong with me and that I am not worth loving.’”
--Geneen Roth, When Food is Love, pp. 19-20

What do you think? Do you think that we eat to cover up our deepseated fear of not being good enough--not being worth loving? :chin:

Roth says that we overeat to compensate for something that makes us sad/hurt/angry that we cannot control. We can control our eating, so we turn the problem into one that we are able to control. For example, as a child, our father is absent. We can't make him be present, but we can eat or not eat. We overeat and then tell ourselves that he's absent because we are so fat. If we get thin, he'll come back/be more present. It becomes something we have control over. And when it involves people we love and don't feel comfortable being mad at (like our parents), we are able to transfer the anger to ourselves (which is comfortable) instead of on them, where it really belongs.

I see a lot of truth in what she's saying. :(

The question do I learn to put the anger back where it belongs? And even more importantly, something I figured out while talking in group therapy last week--as long as I'm overeating, I can see a reason for people not liking me and things not working out. If I'm thin and no longer eating compulsively, I'll have to accept that people might just not like me because of who I am or because I really am not good enough. I'll have to accept that things happen to me because of reasons beyond my control. Can I actually deal with that? It's terrifying! :cry:

I'd love to hear what you all think. There's so much peace in not being alone in this fight. :grouphug:

03-29-2006, 03:52 PM
I highly recommend Dr. Phil's book the Ultimate Weight Loss Solution. You don't have to follow his diet, but he deals very well with the other causes of overating and how to deal with them.

03-29-2006, 04:40 PM
This so hits home Laurie about not being liked and covering that with fat. At least when I weigh nearly 300 lbs I can justify why someone would not want to be friends with me. I have never had a best friend relationship with anyone because I attract people who are users and I think deep down that is because I don't feel worthy of having a close loving relationship with another person. Sometimes I feel so unworthy I told my therapist I don't believe that even God could love me. The fatter I get then the more unloveable I get then I don't have to deal with new people who just want something from me other than a friend.

It isn't that I am not nice or friendly or funny, it is that I don't feel worthy of that kind of friendship, so if someone does come along that I really enjoy spending time with and have a lot in common with I somehow sabotage that. Now the fat keeps me from attracting anyone so no worries. Right???

What an ugly can of worms that is to untangle. :p

Susan, I have the Dr. Phil book and I also purchased the Self Matters book because I decided one year from now I will not be the same person I am today. Physically or emotionally.

03-29-2006, 07:41 PM
Laurie...I definately think some of us eat to cover our fears of not being good enough. I even went so far (in my younger days) as to eat because I was overweight and couldn't get a date which made me depressed which made me eat! Go figure. It's incredible what the mind does to a person. You said "how do I learn to put the anger back where it belongs?" That is something that only you can figure out and learn for yourself. It's different for every person. Therapy may help you find that answer. You may never find the answer, in which case you must learn how to live with it (and you can!). Yes, you may have to accept that some folks won't like you because of who you are, but that doesn't mean you have to change who you are. You just need to find folks that DO accept you for who you are. The ones that accept you, are the ones that will be important in your life. If they can't accept you for who you are, they don't belong in your life. For so long in my life, I felt like you and Bunna. I just knew that people didn't like me and in fact avoided me because I was overweight. But then I sought out therapy which helped me to be a little more outgoing which helped me to make friends in spite of my weight which in turn helped me self-esteem and so on and so on. Believe's a lifelong struggle and I still fall into the old "they don't like me because I'm fat" routine. And yes, when that happens I just want to eat and eat and eat! But what has helped me the most is being able to express my emotions rather than keeping them in. I expect that I will be fighting this battle the rest of my life but hey...that's life. I have the power to choose how to respond to it and now I choose to respond in a manner that helps me instead of everyone else.

Whew....I hope I didn't say too much! :dizzy:

03-29-2006, 09:29 PM
Moo. Emotional eater over here. Problem is, it doesn't matter what emotion I'm having. As long as I'm having a strong emotion, I'm eating out of control and it's a constant fight for me. Ticked off? I eat. Depressed? I eat. Happy? Let's celebrate! Eat eat eat eat. And stress is a huge one for me. As much as I enjoy working out, I'd much rather eat.

And who the heck goes "Ooh, I'm all honked off. I'm going to eat a can of green beans!" Uh, not me, anyway. I reach for the chocolate, the cookies, the pizza, the chips, nachos, nuts, ice cream (can we say Dairy Queen Blizzard?) or pretty much anything with full-fat melted cheese on it. It's all about self-control. It sucks.

Right there with you girls.