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Emotional Eater...

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Old 04-05-2013, 01:27 PM   #1
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I am an emotional eater, have been for as long as I can remember. No matter if I am happy/sad/depressed etc. I eat more than I need to. I have been trying to figure out ways to stop it though. I just need help with it. Any ideas?
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:05 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Saraneedstolose200 View Post
I am an emotional eater, have been for as long as I can remember. No matter if I am happy/sad/depressed etc. I eat more than I need to. I have been trying to figure out ways to stop it though. I just need help with it. Any ideas?
Hi Sara - it's great that you recognize exactly what is causing you to eat when you're not hungry. It's difficult to stop, particularly for those of us who have used food for comfort. But it can be done.

I know you've probably heard many suggestions about finding other things to occupy you, such as taking a walk, finding a hobby that keeps you occupied, etc. They are all good ideas, but unfortunately it's just often so hard to follow through.

Perhaps you could start by identifying any particular time of day when you find yourself eating without hunger? For many people (including myself) the time they are most likely to do this is in the evening, particularly while watching TV. It was my worst time for sure.

Baby steps are the key to success in weight loss. So if you could do something like try to stop your emotional eating initially at the time of day it is most severe, that would be a place to start. By doing that you can set yourself a realistic goal - something like "I won't eat between the hours of 7pm - 9pm" or something like that. It's said that it takes 30 days to break a habit and form a new one, so if you can get eating out of your life for just a few hours a day that's a good start. Of course you need to make sure you've had a good, nutritious meal and are not hungry so you are not tempted to eat during the time you've planned to eliminate your emotional eating.

Then, when you've mastered that, you can move on to making other changes to improve your eating habits.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:56 AM   #3
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Are you sure you're an emotional eater? I used to buy into the idea myself but I don't anymore. I think eating is more a habit and a chemical dependency on sugar/carbs/whatever. I have realized that I eat in response to stress. Stress causes emotions in me so it is easy to point to that and say "I'm an emotional eater!" However, emotions are impossible to control, therefore emotional eating is impossible to control. Once I took away the power of emotions it has become easier to manage my eating because I now realize it's more a network of triggers, habits, and food substance addictions. I focus more on managing my response to stress which in turn helps me manage my eating.

The problem I have with "emotional eating" is that it makes you into a victim of your emotions. Emotions are supposed to be useful, they help us build relationships, make art, make connections with people, and enhance our experience of living. Happiness wouldn't feel so good if we don't have sadness, fear helps us identify danger, surprise is unexpected burst of energy, loneliness helps us cherish the time we spend with others. Use your emotions for good, don't hide behind them and blame them for your food.

Take a better look at the foods you're eating and understand that certain foods change your biochemistry. Sugar for example will do a number on your brain and body. The more you eat the more your body craves it. It's pure science. Unfortunately people are drowning their sorrows in ice cream and blame it on their low self esteem and their emotions rather on what it is - a chemical addiction. Sometimes it's NOT OUR FAULT, sometimes it's the food that we eat that causes us to behave in a way that we don't want to.

Sorry for the rant, I just want you to think about it from a different angle. Back when I was in therapy and thought that emotions were controlling my appetite I found the book "Feeding the Hungry Heart" to be helpful. Hope that helps.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth

Last edited by Wannabeskinny : 04-06-2013 at 07:58 AM.
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