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Old 11-23-2011, 05:00 AM   #1
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Hi Folks
I am wondering what your thoughts are on emotional eating. I consider this a very important obstacle when trying to lose weight. I myself have been participating in emotional eating. When ones emotions take over there is no telling where it will lead you.

I personally have lost many kilos during times of major stressors, but on the same token have also put on masses during other stressful times.

Has anyone considered their emotional state before embarking on a diet?? Why are we over eating or eating the wrong foods? Why do we feel so bad about ourselves when we should love ourselves unconditionally? Why do we not want to exercise etc...?
Some people have medical reasons why they have trouble losing weight such as myself, but truly there is an emotional component to pair with that.

What are others thoughts on this subject? I would love to hear it. Is dieting enough? so many people loose so much weight and go on to gain it all back as soon as they stop the diet. Are we putting a plaster over an emotional wound, in which we gained the weight for in the first place??

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Old 11-23-2011, 07:54 AM   #2
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I bought a couple of books about emotional eating, take a look on amazon or at your local book store.
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Old 11-24-2011, 11:01 AM   #3
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Did you want to discuss emotional eating specifically in the context of people who have medical conditions, or emotional eating as it affects everyone? They're both very worthy topics, but I think the context makes a difference. If it's the second option, you might want to get a mod to move this to a more general forum, as despite the slightly misleading name, this forum is really about dealing with medical conditions.
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Old 11-24-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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Yes, I have done a lot of work in this regard myself -- another emotional eater here. It has taken some time, but I am now a "former" binger & am doing really well not "eating my feelings" these days. I must be viligant though, as I don't want to slip back into that old pattern (so I am very conscious of that every day).

I posted a thread about emotional eating in the Faith Forum called EMOTIONAL EATING: HOW TO HEAL ... you may find some things in that thread helpful. I am still working on stuff to include in there; like common emotions and practical ways to deal with them better. Here's a link to it ...

EMOTIONAL EATING: How to heal ...

Even if you are not very religious, I think you may still find some of the ideas in there helpful. Yes, we have this learned habit to cope with our emotions with food, but with practice & time, you can overcome this. You will make mistakes, but just keep going.

NO, I don't think dieting is enough -- you really need to deal with the emotional issues at the same time. With some good strategies & tools, you can deal with emotional stressors much better. Many emotions you can deal with yourself, but some people find specialized counselling helpful with more serious issues, like ongoing grief.

I think a lot of emotional eaters have not received enough emotional support; and sometimes not enough LOVE in their lives ... and some have endured different kinds of abuse in their childhood or adult relationships (ie verbal, physical, and/or sexual), which damages their self-esteem. They may have come from critical, perfectionist families as well. This causes a pattern to form; they then turn to food to deal with emotional upsets and stressors.

As for exercise, do things that you actually like or love to do; any activities that you have always enjoyed -- you are more likely to continue them. If you are bored or find it too difficult or painful -- many people will stop. Less is more ... start small and work your way up.
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Old 11-24-2011, 06:17 PM   #5
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While I do believe that emotional issues can potentially be a serious obstacle, I think the incidence is actually much rarer than we assume.

I think we've been taught to see (or assume) emotional problems whether or not they're there.

For decades I assumed I was an emotional eater, and I assumed there just had to be an underlying deep emotional issue (I not only sought counseling, I chose psychology as my field of study, even getting a masters degree in large part to try to figure out and fix myself).

My search for the underlying emotional issues, turned out to be a wild goose chase. I learned that it was not my emotions causing my overeating - rather my eating (specifically what I was eating) was actually causing the emotional instability.

I had been reluctant to try low-carb eating, because I had always thought low-carb to be unhealthy. I was skeptical even when my doctor recommended it (though he did warn me not to go too low, while admitting he didn't know how low ws too low carb). So, I started experimenting, and discovered something amazing.

When I eat very "clean" (few processed foods) and low-carb (especially no refined sugars and flours), not only is my rabid hunger demon gone, so are my emotional demons.

My husband noticed it, even before I did - and remarked that I was like a different person.

Before I found low-carb, especially before I was on birth control, my husband called me "werewolf," and often joked that during my PMS/TOM, he had to throw fast food burgers into the apartment, and wait to hear munching before it was safe to enter.

My mood swings, my over-reaction to emotional situations, my desire to eat in reaction to stress (and my desire to eat 24/7)... virtually all these emotional problems disappear when I'm eating cleanly.

It make me wonder how many people are out there, assuming they are eating in response to their emotions, when they're actually experiencing the emotional rollercoaster in response to what they are eating (or because of endocrine and hormonal imbalances).

We know our emotional health can influence our physical health, but we often forget that our physical health and physical environment have an impact on our emotional health as well.

"Mind over matter," is largely B.S. (at least the way it's commonly assumed to exist) - and is often misused as a way to blame the victim, to the point that even cancer patients are often told by misguided folk that they can heal their cancer if they believe/desire strongly enough. Which means by implication (and sometimes sadly is stated right out by fanatics) that if cancer patients die of their cancer, it's their own fault for not having strong enough faith (whether it's a religious faith, or a faith in the power of the human will).
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Old 11-25-2011, 05:48 PM   #6
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We know our emotional health can influence our physical health, but we often forget that our physical health and physical environment have an impact on our emotional health as well.

KAPLODS ~ that's an interesting theory that you have there. I don't know if anyone has really studied that too much. I know when I started peri-menopause, I suffered a lot of anxiety and found that a food/drink (beer) helped me feel better (although it is carby, I only drank a 1/2 - 1 cup).

I know I did have emotional issues to deal with, but I have also cut down eating sugary foods & processed carbs. Maybe the combination of the two has helped me along the way ...
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:19 PM   #7
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Well, the relationship of eating patterns and blood sugar levels to hormonal disruptions, in particular PMS/PMDD, has been studied since the seventies. Probably not enough, though, as with so many medical conditions which solely or mainly affect women.

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Old 11-25-2011, 08:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Esofia View Post
Well, the relationship of eating patterns and blood sugar levels to hormonal disruptions, in particular PMS/PMDD, has been studied since the seventies. Probably not enough, though, as with so many medical conditions which solely or mainly affect women.
There also seems to be a disconnect between the knowledge and application of the knowledge through treatment, especially again with women patients. Doctors still tend to assume that women are exagerating their symptoms and men are minimizing their symptoms.

Even though I had a pediatritian who was very caring, he obviously didn't realize the extent of my issues. Whether it was because of his biases, or because my mother and I weren't aggressive enough in communicating how much trouble I was having, I'm not really sure.

I hit puberty early and hard. I was nine or possible, barely ten (it was in 4th grade, and I started my period only a couple days before our class saw "the girl's film," that explained puberty. Luckily my mother had explained it when I brought home the permission slip).

From the start, my period wasn't normal. I had a 23 to 25 day cycle, a 7-9 day period that was very heavy for 5-6 of those days. I had cramps so bad that I often had to miss school.

By 12 (and probably earlier), my mother and I had made the hunger/period connection, and had been telling my doctor that if it weren't for my period, I would be able to lose weight. I remember him telling my mother (even that young) that birth control could help my cramps and heavy bleeding, and possibly the weight too, but that there was a possibility of weight gain, and that he would hesitate to put someone so young on bc.

My doctor did tell us that "weight loss would help," and even prescribed appetite suppressants to help with the weight loss when I was in 8th grade at 14.

It wasn't a casual decision on the part of either the doctor or my parents, but we really should have tried the birth control, before the diet pills.

The issue of my PMDD and my weight came up over the years, with different doctors, all suggesting that birth control could possibly help, but at the risk of weight gain. It's amazing to me now, what I was willing to endue just because gain seemed worse than pain (not only to me, but to my parents and doctors as well).

Sometimes I wonder what my life (and weight) would have been like if I had been put on birth control from the start. It seems insane even now to put a ten year old on birth control, but to avoid the pain and other issues it caused, I suspect it may have been worth it.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:54 PM   #9
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Definitely am an emotional eater. That is where I gain all my calories. But what I do is trade up all the sweets and heavily loaded sugary items for celery and peanut butter, fruits, carrots, etc.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:23 PM   #10
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Hmmm ... interesting. I also had hormonal issues when I was younger; I forgot about that ... I started my menses just after my 10th birthday; and had heavy, long menses with very severe pain that caused nausea, projectile vomiting, hot & cold flashes, temporary hallucinations, and fatigue. Missed some school & work days for same. How could I forget that: becuz I wanted to ...

Later on (18ish), a doctor did try birth control to try and help me, but it only made it worse -- instead of monthly issues, I had them all the time. NO, not funny really ... but at least I can laugh about it now.

When I got older and was put on blood thinner for another reason (blood clot in my leg), my menses changed -- they were still heavy sometimes, and more sporatic (meaning I started missing some), but the pain also went away.

Then I had the weird issues when I went into peri-menopause & menopause as I mentioned earlier. So yes, there were definitely some hormonal issues in my body from 10 years old and on. When my menses stopped completely too early, I was put on hormone replacement (gee thanks Doc) to bring it back; yes, it worked but they had changed once again, as I said above.

I was also put on Metformin for three years; when I was going through peri-menopause too. Whether that helped regulate my hormonal system, I can only guess, but that may have been just one of the reasons my doctor put me on it (also for blood sugar levels).

Knowing myself & my life as I do, I feel for me it was likely a combination of factors: heredity (obesity tendancies runs in both sides of my family); physical hormonal inbalance; emotional response eating; the kinds & amounts of foods I ate; and vitamin & mineral deficiences (which I was diagnosed with at 13 years old, and am still dealing with today).

I said to my DH at dinner tonight -- I can't count how many times I mentioned to him that I wondered if underlying hormonal factors could be contributing to the epidemic obesity problem we are seeing today, with the proliferation of hormonal supplements given to animals to encourage quick growth & fattening up; but don't get me started on that one now ...
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:46 PM   #11
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IS a really interesting topic that cuts to the core of a lot of our eating issues isn't it. I always assumed I am an emotional eater, but why then do I eat when I am happy, sad, cranky, happy, ill, healthy, there is NO pattern!

I think food is a companion far more than anything. A constant something I can look forward to. I LIKE food, I LIKE eating, I think about it most of the time when I am not dieting, and since May 2011, the first six months of this diet, its ALL I thought of, to the point I did a crap job at work and lost my job because of it.
I was totally obsessed by meals, food, this forum, everything revolved around needing to stay on plan and lose weight. And yet prior to May I had not weighed myself for 5 years..... what goes on in my mind....I do not know.

So here I find myself nearly 7 months in, 76 pounds lighter, and now looking for a way to incorporate all this together, stay on plan but don't obsess, loose a little more weigh, but at least maintain the lose I have had, and get a balance of watching what I eat, but not thinking of nothing else right!!!!!
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
While I do believe that emotional issues can potentially be a serious obstacle, I think the incidence is actually much rarer than we assume.

I think we've been taught to see (or assume) emotional problems whether or not they're there.

For decades I assumed I was an emotional eater, and I assumed there just had to be an underlying deep emotional issue (I not only sought counseling, I chose psychology as my field of study, even getting a masters degree in large part to try to figure out and fix myself).

My search for the underlying emotional issues, turned out to be a wild goose chase. I learned that it was not my emotions causing my overeating - rather my eating (specifically what I was eating) was actually causing the emotional instability.
Wow. Oh wow. That's absolutely fascinating, and I think I might cry.
For so many years, decades, I've 'known' myself to be a very odd and troubled person; and indeed, I do have some emotional issues connected to having a fairly extravert nature but being raised to be a quiet, submissive introvert, with a side of maternal over-protection and smothering which means I don't cope well with emotional intimacy.....
BUT apart from that, I've been trying, off and on, for so long to find what it is that's 'wrong' with me, assuming that once I find it and fix it, Then I can address my eating.
Gosh, in this moment I think I've let that search go. Blimey. It feels exciting and slightly odd at the same time.

The carb connection is very interesting: last year, as the October S.A.D. season opened, I moved from low carb to low G.I. - so plenty of good and healthy carbs, because I believed the comfort of carbs would be better for me. Also, I had to come off the low carb WOE I was following because the high fat content in it trapped me in the bathroom for hours every day..... .
To my surprise and sorrow, 2010's SAD lasted a year. I was really beginning to wonder if I'd be stuck with this sucking depression for ever more.

I took advantage of a light window on October 17th 2011 (most of my days had some light bits in), and, on the advice of the woman who runs the kennels my dogs go to when I'm on holiday! I started Dukan, basically a low fat, low-carb diet. The Grim has virtually vanished! Some mornings, there's a shadow of the nameless dread when I wake up but I'm able to poke it around a bit, find out what it's linked to, and disperse it before I get up.
Oh, and I've lost 16lbs too.

Thanks for the thought-provocation, kaplods, very helpful!
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:10 AM   #13
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Glad you found it helpful.

I feel like I've been "studying" weight loss all of my life (at least since I was put on my first diet in kindergarten), and I always thought I knew what it took to lose weight, I just couldn't put it into practice (and didn't know why).

Instead, I've found that a great deal of what I thought I knew about weight loss was wrong.

I think the "science" of weight loss is just starting to catch up to other sciences. The research is just now starting to ask the right questions (not which diet is best, but which diet is best for which people).
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:27 PM   #14
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I think this is the number one issue people have with dieting: food is something that people use as entertainment, as a mood elevator as a mode of expression as a way to emotionally connect with others etc... Now if an emotional eater decides to go on a diet, they are also keeping themselvs from the one thing that can provide all of these positive experiences that come with the consumption of food. So if you don't find some positive way to replace food you are essentially leaving a huge gaping hole in your life that you are refusing to fill.
Another big reason is lack of instant gratification. I have around 30 lbs to lose. If I kill myself at the gym and lose 5 lbs, guess what? I'm still overweight. No instant reward for all that hard work.
I think this is the key to weight loss: 1. Eat foods you enjoy in moderation but don't spend your life thinking about food (whether it concerns weight loss or weight gain, just dont make food a major force in your life) 2. Get out of the gym. Whether it is mountain climbing, yoga, krav maga, just get out of the gym 3. Feel your soul. Paint, write, play an instrument. You dont have to be good at it. I suck at the guitar, but it makes me happy to create music. If you dont enjoy life and if you are not happy in my experience you will not lose weight.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:25 PM   #15
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Emotional eating is really a problem.

There is a correlation between what you eat and how you feel.

So there is two theory

1. You eat when you feel stressed(Emotionally unstable)

Or

2. The foods made you stress (Which means that you feel emotionally unstable after you eat)

I feel that both are right. And what I can see is that the effect is continuous.

Imagine that you feel stressed and then you eat. The food you eat are unhealthy and brings you more stress. Then you are MORE STRESSED and starts to EAT MORE.

This makes the process continuous unless you learn how to control yourself.

I believe that the right cure is self control.
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