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Topic 4 - Emotional Eating

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Old 06-27-2007, 07:26 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by sidhe View Post
I'm 100 days abstinent today.
That is GREAT!


As for the tigger food issue---- I HAVE totally binged out on fruit, vegetables and lean protein. So, it is entirely possible.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:55 AM   #47
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I've been fooling around with polls in the General Diets section. Over half of participants name psychology as a cause for their weight ... with a strong vote for a combination including genetics and environment.
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:33 PM   #48
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I think it's interesting to ask people, but I'm not sure we are all aware of the degree to which biology, especially, affects us. Am I hungry because of emotional/psych issues, or because my chemicals are out of whack? To what extent does my biology affect my psychology? It's impossible for me to know.
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Old 06-29-2007, 01:23 PM   #49
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About once a week I get an email from Bob Greene's Your Best Life. Here was the advice today:

Quote:
Put an End to Emotional Eating

If you've ever gobbled up a candy bar before a big meeting with the boss, or spooned your way through a pint of ice cream after a breakup, then you're familiar with emotional eating. Letting your feelings (instead of hunger) dictate when, what and how much you eat can be very dangerous, especially if you're dieting. Try these tricks to put an end to emotional eating:

Keep a mood log. You may have heard that keeping a food journal can help you track your fat and calorie intake, but you can also use it to record your emotions. "For many people, this is very helpful in identifying which emotions lead them to overeat," says Adrian Brown, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in private practice in Washington, D.C. Once you've figured out your trigger, you can come up with better ways to deal with it. For example, if you tend to overdo it when you're lonely, make a walking date with friends or call a family member. Then, you won't have to turn to food as a way to fill your time.

Chat yourself up. The next time your stress levels soar and you find yourself en route to the vending machine, try to reason with yourself. Say, "If I eat that bag of chips, I'm going to feel good for a few minutes, but then I'll feel guilty, disappointed and frustrated. It may be hard to deny this craving, but when the feeling passes I'll feel confident and happy." It gets easier to say no to tempting foods once you get used to the feel of success.

Reframe the situation. "Many dieters mistakenly view food and weight loss as a black-and-white issue," Brown says. For example, say you give into a craving for ice cream, chocolate or whatever food is your weakness. You might reason, "Oh, well, I blew it. Now I might as well eat whatever I want." But that kind of thinking makes no sense. So what, you had a little slip? There's no need to make it any worse. You're not perfect, and you don't have to be to slim down.

Take your goals to go. Jot down the reasons you want to lose weight on a piece of paper and carry it your purse or wallet. Whether you want to be around to see your grandkids, look nice at your son's wedding or to keep up with your toddler, this list can be a powerful motivator whenever you're facing down a craving.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:46 AM   #50
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So Heather? do you think folks are taking blame when it ain't necessarily so?

We get pretty wound up about folks blaming their weight on outside sources and not taking responsibility, however .... I guess there could be folks who blame themselves when other factors are afoot here.
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Old 06-30-2007, 09:12 AM   #51
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I definitely think people are afraid or embarrassed to acknowledge that there may be physical, biological causes for obesity. We're all here at 3FC because we're committed to doing something about our excess weight. Since (at this time) science and medicine have very little to offer us to assist in our lifelong struggle, we all realize that it boils down to personal responsibility for weight management. And no one here wants to be perceived as making excuses and not stepping up to take personal responsibility.

You're right, Susan, people here do get "pretty wound up" about blaming weight on outside causes and posters are gun-shy about saying something that in the least bit implies that they're not totally, 100% responsible for their weight problems. As a matter of fact, most people go to great lengths to call themselves names and beat themselves up for being overweight.

I think both a belief in genetic/biochemical causes for obesity and a sense of personal responsibility for weight management can co-exist in harmony. One deals with causation; the other deals with how we fix the problem. I hope we all recognize that it's overly simplistic to say "I'm fat because I eat too much." The larger question is: why? Why do we want to eat more? Why do our bodies return to a setpoint? What makes us hungry? What shuts down appetite? And science has much to offer in answering those key questions.

I'm not at all ashamed to say that I believe that I was born with a tendency for obesity. Obviously I've taken responsibility for dealing with it, but I truly believe it's not a fair game we're playing. The genetic deck is stacked against some of us and it undoubtedly makes weight management much, much harder for some of us than others. Seriously, does anyone still think that it's a level playing field when it comes to weight?
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Old 06-30-2007, 11:15 AM   #52
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I think the reason that, as a group, we claim total responsibility for our weight, is that it gives us a feeling of being in control. If we let ourselves dwell on the possibility that some outside factor is responsible for our weight, we feel powerless.

Quote:
I think both a belief in genetic/biochemical causes for obesity and a sense of personal responsibility for weight management can co-exist in harmony.
I totally agree.

Also I agree that it is not a level playing field, but that is true of lots of life issues.
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:10 PM   #53
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Today, I've been thinking about the emotions that come from overeating. Not the ones that trigger the overeating, but the ones that happen after the eating is done.

While I was on the medicine that clearly changed my appetite and food cravings, as the weight built up I began to experience emotions I had never felt before.

I began to blame myself for not being able to resist the hunger pains or the desire to continue eating sweets until I had finished a whole 1 pound bag of M&M's in one sitting. I started to have very negative thoughts about my will power and strength of character.

As a thin person, I never had those feelings when I indulged in a second piece of cake or ate far more than my share of cookies. But as a fat person, I held myself to a different standard.

Meg talked about personal responsibility verse biochemistry in her recent post. During my fat period, I felt personally responsible for all the food I consumed, but I don't know if I could have done much to control it. The biochemistry of my medication made me feel as though I was constantly starving. I had a biological need or drive like I had never before to eat much, much more.

And I knew cognatively that I was making wrong food choices. I was the one going to the grocery store and buying the big bags of chocolates knowing I would eat them all that night. I could have opted to buy a big bag of carrots instead (and they would have all been gone by the next morning).

I knew that the medication was fueling my desires to eat, eat, eat. But I still had very negative emotions about my behavior after I did.

So there were bad feeling about what I had done and the feeling of being out of control, and then there were bad feelings about my appearence.

Now that I'm on the new medication and have lost all the weight, I still sometimes overeat because of boredom or because something just tastes too good or I can't resist one of my trigger foods. But I just don't have those negative feelings when it happens.

I've been very lucky to only experience those feelings for a few short years. My heart goes out to the rest of you who may have felt this way for decades.
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:20 PM   #54
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Carolyn, I can't thank you enough for sharing your experiences with medications and weight gain/loss. You add a dimension to our discussions that we wouldn't otherwise have. In a way, you were a lab rat for the biochemistry of weight and the results (though painful to you!) are just fascinating.
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Old 06-30-2007, 02:46 PM   #55
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I definitely think people are afraid or embarrassed to acknowledge that there may be physical, biological causes for obesity. We're all here at 3FC because we're committed to doing something about our excess weight. Since (at this time) science and medicine have very little to offer us to assist in our lifelong struggle, we all realize that it boils down to personal responsibility for weight management. And no one here wants to be perceived as making excuses and not stepping up to take personal responsibility.

I DONT want to hear that I am not 100% in control. I try very hard not to beat myself up if I am not perfect. I DETEST when people call themselves names.

But I dont think "learn to be satisfied being fat" is a reasonable thing for me, especially not with my health issues and 2 small children who deserve to have me around for a long time (I know I know, the obesity/=bad health chapter is still coming)

I dont want to hear that I should give up hope and that is what this book seems to be attempting to do.
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:03 PM   #56
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Ennay, acknowledging that a condition has genetic or biological roots doesn't mean we're not in control. Of course you and I are in complete control of everything we put in our mouths and whether we choose to exercise or not.

I don't know if this will make sense to anyone else, but this is how my thinking goes ...

My son has Type 1 diabetes. Was it his fault that he got diabetes? No, it was a genetic tendency that he was born with that was triggered when he was 17 (there's speculation as to what the triggers for diabetes are, but that's not important here).

Does the fact that his condition has a genetic cause absolve him from the responsibility to manage his condition and his health? Of course not! There are things he, as a diabetic, must do every day to stay healthy: monitor his blood sugar levels 5 - 6 times, give himself 4- 6 insulin injections, monitor and limit his carb intake etc. These are things we non-diabetics don't worry about because our pancreases (sp?) handle our insulin needs without any thought or effort from us.

Likewise, I was born with a condition called obesity. It doesn't have a cure yet, so it's my responsibility to manage my condition to stay in optimal health. Certain things are required of me every day: exercise, monitoring of my calorie intake, careful meal planning, ignoring hunger, limiting food intake. It is my personal responsibility to manage my obesity and remain in the best possible health. Normal people don't need to do the things that I do in order to maintain a normal weight.

Regardless of why I became obese, I believe that I am 100% in control of my actions and consequently, my weight. No one and nothing can make me fat again except me. And I tell myself that every day!
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:02 PM   #57
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I think how Meg is talking is a great way to think about this issue. I do believe I did things that made me obese. I guess now I can sense that perhaps the reasons I did some of those things are because of genetic predispositions, but that doesn't mean I CAN'T do something about it. It doesn't mean I'm absolved of responsibility.

When reading Kolata's book, I got the sense that she thought the people in the research study should be happy to lose 10% of their weight and keep it off. I think she sees the biological explanation as more "pre-ordained" -- thus the discussion about the 20-30 pound float, for instance.

I didn't see a lot of hope in the book.

But I DO see a lot of hope on 3fc and especially the maintainers! Yes, we may have biology working against us, but that doesn't mean it is impossible.
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:55 PM   #58
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Oh I agree, I do think there are genetic factors at work as well as environmental...

I just think that is why most people may want to deny those factors exist - while providing a nice excuse for people who dont want to do the work, they also take away some hope for the rest of us.

Plus....well if the author was saying "HEY --yes--you DO have to work harder, but it can be done" that would be one thing. That would actually be a huge relief to a lot of us who have been told it IS only our lack of control that caused our problem. I would like to know it isnt entirely my fault that when I was younger and didn't know better that I didnt do better. (But now that I know better its up to me!)

I just chafe at her...hopelessness. It feels more to me like her book is saying "you are genetically screwed, your best bet is to learn to live with it and be happy".
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:40 PM   #59
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I just chafe at her...hopelessness. It feels more to me like her book is saying "you are genetically screwed, your best bet is to learn to live with it and be happy".
I completely agree. This is the exact feeling that I got from the book. It was actually a bit of a downer to read.
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Old 07-01-2007, 07:49 AM   #60
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For me at least ... and I'm learning that nothing I feel is new or unique when it comes to my body ... pride has a huge influence. "I caused the probelm, but I have overcome!"

Although I would like to take credit for overcoming ... it is a comfort to know that perhaps it wasn't all my fault. If I have to battle to stay slim, at least I know I'm not just battling a willpowerless me.

Is there a difference in how this factor is viewed by those how have lost weight as opposed to those who are actively losing?
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