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Old 06-01-2014, 01:18 PM   #1
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What are your thought in emotional eating? Do you do it? Is it wrong? Arent diets a form of emotional eating too? This interesting blog posts discusses some of these things - maybe emotional eating is not so bad.
http://www.fatnutritionist.com/index...tional-eating/
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Old 06-01-2014, 02:46 PM   #2
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I really really enjoyed that article. I came across a similar link when I was perusing very old IE threads. It made me think a little differently about it as well. Emotional eating has been vilified quite a bit.

http://www.eatingthemoment.com/mindf...tional-eating/

I really do think it is so important to remove guilt and shame from the act of eating or what food you choose to eat. Even if you are emotionally eating.
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Old 06-01-2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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I really do think it is so important to remove guilt and shame from the act of eating or what food you choose to eat. Even if you are emotionally eating.
In order for that to take effect in our lives we have to in turn take away all the self righteousness we feel when we eat "good" foods. It's equally important.
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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
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Old 06-01-2014, 05:44 PM   #4
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I really really enjoyed that article. I came across a similar link when I was perusing very old IE threads. It made me think a little differently about it as well. Emotional eating has been vilified quite a bit.

http://www.eatingthemoment.com/mindf...tional-eating/

I really do think it is so important to remove guilt and shame from the act of eating or what food you choose to eat. Even if you are emotionally eating.
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In order for that to take effect in our lives we have to in turn take away all the self righteousness we feel when we eat "good" foods. It's equally important.
Can I get an Amen?

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Old 06-02-2014, 05:14 PM   #5
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I don't feel "self-righteous" when I feed myself well. The connotations for self-righteous are pretty negative. The very definition is pretty negative.

But I do feel glad and happy and, when it was really difficult to do, proud, when I feed myself well and when I eat reasonably. There is no doubt that it is better for me, overall, to avoid major swings in eating -- to avoid both over-indulging and over-restricting. And I don't see why I shouldn't feel good about making choices that are good for me.

I'm not ashamed when I make choices that are more about taste buds than nutrition (Fritos, I'm looking at you AGAIN). But I'm not going to pretend there aren't serious consequences for making too many less-than-stellar food choices. There are. For me, weight gain means more back pain, less sleep, and more difficulty running.

I don't like any of that.

I'm not trying to earn anybody's love by losing weight, as the article seems to imply.

I like parts of the article, but I also feel like she has a bit of an agenda.
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:22 PM   #6
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Also, I keep meaning to mention this and forgetting because I forget that not everyone has had my experience in going vegan.

Alot people seem to think giving up whole categories of food is a horrific idea, unsustainable, ridiculous and impossible. A recipe for failure.

But I have and I didn't even blink. I gave up all animal products, and I can say honestly that going vegan has been nothing but a source of pleasure for me. I feel so much more in harmony with my feelings about animals and the world living as a vegan. It is so right I always wonder why it took me so long to do it!

So I can't really agree, based on my practical experience of having done it, that giving up broad categories of food is such a terrible, awful, socially isolating thing. Nor is it a self-punishment.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:01 AM   #7
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...I gave up all animal products, and I can say honestly that going vegan has been nothing but a source of pleasure for me. I feel so much more in harmony with my feelings about animals and the world living as a vegan. It is so right I always wonder why it took me so long to do it!
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:28 AM   #8
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I don't feel "self-righteous" when I feed myself well.
I'm not ashamed when I make choices that are more about taste buds than nutrition (Fritos, I'm looking at you AGAIN).
Maybe self-righteous is not the right word to use. And it has more to do with how we feel about ourselves than about how we feel in relation to others. For example, for me it's important to maintain neutrality about the food that I eat. This is very easy for some people, like you say, you don't feel ashamed when you make choices for your taste buds. For someone like me, I was living in a world of black and white! I was scrutinizing every mouthful of food. So if I had a spinach salad with steamed fish I would feel like I was being "good." And then when I had a cookie I was being "bad." So when I say self-righteous I mean that every food choice I was making was under scrutiny and I came to realize later than sooner that this was debilitating.

That doesn't take away from feeling good about my eating experiences, but they're not based on what I eat, but how I feel. So everything you say makes sense to me. I like feeling good after I eat, but I don't enjoy feeling morally superior about my choices. Does that make sense?

Every article has an agenda lol. It just so happens that her agenda is my agenda too lol.
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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
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:35 AM   #9
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Alot people seem to think giving up whole categories of food is a horrific idea, unsustainable, ridiculous and impossible. A recipe for failure.

But I have and I didn't even blink. I gave up all animal products, and I can say honestly that going vegan has been nothing but a source of pleasure for me. I feel so much more in harmony with my feelings about animals and the world living as a vegan. It is so right I always wonder why it took me so long to do it!

So I can't really agree, based on my practical experience of having done it, that giving up broad categories of food is such a terrible, awful, socially isolating thing. Nor is it a self-punishment.
There are many categories of food I don't eat. Offal - there are many dietary reasons why I don't touch the stuff, as well as the ick factor. Certain foods with artificial colors (like jello and kool aid) is VERY unappetizing to me and therefor off limits. I don't eat venison and certain poultry. There are fruits that I cannot eat for many reasons. I'm really happy with these choices, they bring me no hardship.

Making a decision to go vegan has brought you pleasure. From what you wrote it seems like you don't like meat or miss meat, I'm just assuming but I could be wrong. Whatever the reason, it sounds like you don't feel deprived of anything. Sometimes people are urged to give up food groups that they don't want to give up. This can be very guilt-inducing and if a person decides to do it that CAN be very isolating and uncomfortable most notably in social situations. If your favorite food in the world is a hamburger and you've decided to go vegan, I can imagine that it would feel rotten to go out to a restaurant with friends who are all ordering hamburgers and one might try their best to avoid that scenario. I know I would feel that way.

People who are happy with what they eat are happy eaters under all circumstances. There is a big difference between giving something up happily, and giving something up begrudgingly.
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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

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Old 06-03-2014, 12:05 PM   #10
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People who are happy with what they eat are happy eaters under all circumstances. There is a big difference between giving something up happily, and giving something up begrudgingly.
I definitely agree with this. I was a vegetarian for almost half my life and I didn't feel like I was giving anything up. It was my choice and I didn't look longingly at meat. I also gave up refined sugar of all kinds for about 7 years. I did it to support my hypoglycemic now ex husband and also because I recognized that I was becoming addicted to sugar. I started noticing sugar made me feel bad so I stopped eating it. It wasn't hard at all, I didn't long for cupcakes, donuts didn't tempt me, nothing did. HOwever years later I have tried to "give up" sugar for weight reasons and I cannot /do not really want to do it. I do feel deprived and I want the cupcakes.

Also, yes I think its equally important not to idolize food as it is to villify food.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:25 PM   #11
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This is an interesting perspective on the definition of the term "emotional eating".

As there are both positive and negative emotions, so too are there positive and negative emotional eating behaviors.

Going out and enjoying a sampler tray of delicious microbrewed beers that I have never sampled before is a positive emotional experience, to me. Feeling proud that I fought off my binge eating urges and cooked myself a "proper" dinner (as opposed to stuffing myself with a bag of potato chips, followed by a bunch of ice cream) is a positive emotion, for me. Savoring a coffee drink and a decadent chocolate dessert is, again, a positive emotion for me. But I don't do these things to fill any sort of emotional "hole". I do them because I enjoy them. Just as I go hiking because I enjoy it, or crochet because I enjoy it.

But I also have some very negative emotions associated with eating. I whip up bowl after bowl of comforting convenience foods (typically potato chips of varying kinds, crackers, cheese, ice cream, chocolates, granola bars) or order a large sized pizza for myself. I take it into my bedroom and close the door. I spend the entire evening eating and watching episodes of old TV shows. This is my way of ignoring whatever sad feelings I have, any dissatisfaction with my life, or anger with my work, and also how I avoid doing things (exercising, cleaning, taking a proactive step to counter my loneliness). And independent of any physical effects on my health, it is very, very bad for my mental well-being. This behavior would be just as negative to my emotional well-being as if I tried to fill this need with rigidly controlling my diet and exercising constantly.

So, for me, emotional eating is my second example, and it's very bad. Enjoying life is the first example. I would never have thought to use the term "emotional eating" to describe the first example, because I don't feel the strong emotions that I feel with the second example. Perhaps I do not use "emotional" to describe happiness or contentment, which of course are emotions themselves.
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:10 PM   #12
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I find your thought interesting that you need to banish feeling virtuous about your food choices, Wannabe. Would you expand more on why this is a priority for you? I can kind of imagine out how it would be related to removing the emotional charge from eating and other IE tenets, but it's so diametrically opposite of my general approach that I'm intrigued - I'm just struggling to wrap my mind around it. Is it something that's important to do while re-learning a different relationship with food, or more of a long-term mindset? I wholeheartedly agree about taking shame out of the equation, but I'm confused why it's problematic to feel good about choices (maybe I've just misunderstood).

I love occasionally reading up on why different veggies and things are so good for you. I've talked many times about my life for whfoods.com - a nonprofit foundation that does a great job of collecting and summarizing current nutritional research on whole foods. I just get so psyched up and motivated to eat great foods - and I swear that I take more care and interest in preparing some amazing meals this way. I feel like I only get positive results from it. And edit - just to be clear, feeling virtuous (or self-righteous ) about these food choices is a big part of the satisfaction, too. It's both a physical and mental satisfaction. I know we're all different and the standard YMMV caveats, of course - I'm just so curious to understand why this might be construed or seen negatively or as emotional eating.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:32 PM   #13
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I find your thought interesting that you need to banish feeling virtuous about your food choices, Wannabe. Would you expand more on why this is a priority for you? I can kind of imagine out how it would be related to removing the emotional charge from eating and other IE tenets, but it's so diametrically opposite of my general approach that I'm intrigued - I'm just struggling to wrap my mind around it. Is it something that's important to do while re-learning a different relationship with food, or more of a long-term mindset? I wholeheartedly agree about taking shame out of the equation, but I'm confused why it's problematic to feel good about choices (maybe I've just misunderstood).

I love occasionally reading up on why different veggies and things are so good for you. I've talked many times about my life for whfoods.com - a nonprofit foundation that does a great job of collecting and summarizing current nutritional research on whole foods. I just get so psyched up and motivated to eat great foods - and I swear that I take more care and interest in preparing some amazing meals this way. I feel like I only get positive results from it. And edit - just to be clear, feeling virtuous (or self-righteous ) about these food choices is a big part of the satisfaction, too. It's both a physical and mental satisfaction. I know we're all different and the standard YMMV caveats, of course - I'm just so curious to understand why this might be construed or seen negatively or as emotional eating.
That's a great question and it has a great answer, if only I can do it justice and express it accurately Firstly, there's no question that foods have differing nutritional values. Broccoli is fantastic, right? Kale, it's packed with nutrients and fiber. We all know the benefits of having nutritious food in our diet, we can all agree on that. Secondly, foods affect how are bodies feel. Eating protein nurtures our muscles, carbohydrates feed our brains, water hydrates us, fruit makes us feel fresh and energetic and so forth. There's other kinds of foods too, cake and ice cream, french fries and carbonara. They too have a nutritional value but it's much less and some people tend to make these foods into villains.

Some people (me me me!), connect these choices with how we see ourselves.

I ate a salad + salad is a "good" food = I am a good person

I ate a cookie + cookie is a "bad" food = I am a weak bad person

I ate hummus + hummus is healthy = I am healthy

I ate bread + grains are out of sync with the diet world now = I am no good at losing weight

Anyway, I don't know if that makes any sense to you but more or less I don't want to judge myself over every little bite of food that I eat. It's fine to feel good about the food that you're eating but good food vs. bad food tends to make me feel schizo all the time. I'm a good person no matter what I eat. I found it very effective not to pat myself on the back everytime I eat a virtuous food because by the same token it makes me susceptible to judging my not-so-good choices very harshly... which leads to guilt.... which is no fun.

I prefer to feel great about all the food I eat now. I make my assessments based on other criteria instead, like making sure all my meals are enjoyable, eating moderately, making sure I'm honoring my hunger and satiety signals, and addressing my emotional needs elsewhere. Today I sat and played tea party with my son = that makes me a good person. Today I ate a salad. That filled me up, it has no effect on whether I am good or bad today. So in answer to your question, yes I am trying to build a different relationship with food. A more neutral relationship that does not denote my value and strength of character.
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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

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Old 06-03-2014, 04:21 PM   #14
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Thank you, that's a great explanation. It was hard for me to totally connect the dots, because for me, feeling great about a healthy food choices doesn't have a bearing on how I see myself. Neither does a 'bad' food choice -- I might eat something and later regret it (didn't fit with my calorie goals, didn't make me feel good, etc), but I never equate a food choice - good or bad - with my sense of self. Well, maybe just a little bit of "I ate healthy, so I am healthy!" but only in a fleeting, positive way.

Thanks for explaining your perspective so well. I hope this approach helps you.
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:50 PM   #15
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I wanted to add, I hope none of what I said came off as judgmental or implying that I'm better off than you because this isn't my particular struggle. I was just thinking, it's interesting that this was a curiosity-piquing mental block for me, because I struggle tremendously with linking self-esteem to other traits and falsely equating my worth with things that aren't truly me. Food's just not my particular poison in that arena. But I'm no stranger to the bigger behavioral stuff underlying what you've described.... funny how the same problems can manifest in so many different ways.
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