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Old 01-04-2007, 07:15 AM   #1
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Default thoughts on emotional eating?

I thought I'd see what all of you think about emotional eating. I have had a struggle my whole life with weight. Usually the same 30 lbs or so, up and down and up again. I am just now realizing that my weight fluctuations are related to my emotions and current events in my life. I know how to eat healthy. It's the self control I have a problem with. A few weeks of progress and then I seem to just very gradually slip back into old habits. I actually found myself annoyed about a situation then going straight to the tortilla chips!
So this time around I need new coping stratagies. I've been doing a lot of reading on this, but I also would love to hear what some of you are doing. I need to figure out how to deal with the emotions up front and not 'eat' them. I'm determined to figure this out......Thanks for any input

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Old 01-04-2007, 08:43 AM   #2
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I eat out of boredom. That's an emotion, right? If there's nothing to do and I'm watching tv, I start with the mindless snacking. Here's what I do:

a. Come here and read the boards. It gets my mind off food and the 'feed me NOW' feeling stops in minutes. If it stays longer and turns into a growl, then I have some food.

b. If I'm not in the mood to stare at a computer screen, I grab my iPod and dance around. Instant stress reducer! Plus, it's some exercise.

Usually, these two things help me get over my eating out of boredom habit. It does take a lot of willpower to first assess what your hunger is: real or based on emotions. Once you start to really ask yourself which type of hunger you have, your subsequent decisions are easier.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:50 AM   #3
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I do the same thing - run to food whenever I feel anxious, mad, sad, etc. Only recently did I realize I've done this since I was 12 - when my parents got divorced. Over the years, I've managed to eat really well and not use food to anesthetize myself -- until the last couple of years. For some reason, it's like decided to just give up taking care of myself.

Anyway, I'm tired of it. I want the old me back. I don't know what coping strategies I have/use. I'm just fed up and ticked off at myself for becoming such an emotional eater, so I'm saying "NO MORE." Obviously working out and making good food choices help immensely.

I've been telling myself (almost daily) that NO ONE is worth getting upset over and over eating. In other words, taking it out on myself. Most of us have the freedom to make good food choices, even if we are dirt poor.

Are you familiar with Geneen Roth? Check her out on amazon.com. She's got some great books on emotional eating.

You can do this. It's tough, but you can break away from the emotional eating.

Also, check out this board: http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/chicks-control-64/
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:11 AM   #4
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Thanks for your replies. I do think boredom qualifies. From what I've been reading, it seems we can use food to distract us from just about anything that we percieve as not pleasant. I think the word 'mindless' is the problem for me. It is like a complulsion to eat. I'm really making an effort now to be aware of my mood when I'm reaching for food. And like you said Sunni, hopfully I will have the presence of mind to make a good choice.
MissH- I have also come to realize that my connection with food and nuturing started with family issues when I was probably around 8 years old. I'm wondering now though, is it necessary for me to really dig into those issues to stop using the food, or can I learn new habits and address emotional crap later? I will definitly check out the author you mentioned, thanks. I think when I stop eating to settle the frustration, I will have to DEAL with the frustration. That's where it's going to get tricky.....
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gogirl008
I'm wondering now though, is it necessary for me to really dig into those issues to stop using the food, or can I learn new habits and address emotional crap later?
I think that depends. For me? No. It's really no big deal. My parents split up, I was devastated, I ate. End of story. LOL Truth be known, it was good they divorced. Too much damn fighting.

I don't think it's always necessary to delve into past hurts or whatever. I think just knowing why you're overeating can help immensely. Then, as you say, be aware of WHY you're reaching for the food. I know this is overly simplistic. It's not that simple for everyone, and I realize that.

But DO check out Geneen Roth.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:26 PM   #6
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I just checked out Geneen Roths website. Perfect. All the titles are so right on. Now I just have to figure out which book to start with! I'm all about self-help. Lol..... I'd probably be in therapy if I could afford it!
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:59 PM   #7
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Sometimes I get the urge to eat when something stressful happens. It's kind of like I feel an immediate need to go to the cupboard or refrigerator. Now a days, I don't keep typical "snack-type" foods around, so it forces me to deal with those feelings differently. I tend to keep only foods that I use for my meals plus some fresh fruits in the house. Those anxiety feelings are never enough for me to take half an hour to cook the chicken and rice that's supposed to be for dinner!

It's kind of attacking the problem backwards, but if the tortilla chips (or whatever) are not right there, you have no choice but to find other ways (non-food ways) of dealing with your emotions. It's an opportunity to learn new skills.
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:23 PM   #8
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Gogirl, Geneen has some articles posted online at Prevention's site under the Emotional Eating category. Scour around and you'll find quite a few.

http://www.prevention.com/topic/0,57...29-0-0,00.html
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Old 01-04-2007, 03:00 PM   #9
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I think emotional eating is the reason why most women gain weight. We're such emotional creatures.

As for boredom, I think the best way to stop the boredom eating is to keep your hands busy. Learn to knit. Do some gardening. Give yourself a manicure. Get on the forum & type your little heart out! Clean your house (when I am bored, my house is quite clean & shiny!). Lots of things you can do - just keep your hands busy, & your mind will stay busy too, plus, when you're doing something with your hands, you won't use them to feed your face.
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Old 01-04-2007, 03:03 PM   #10
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Oh, forgot to add - I eat when I'm bored outta my skull & doing nothing but watching TV... so I've learned to turn off the tube & pick up a book. I don't usually eat when I'm sad.... that's usually when I DON'T EAT, however, I'm a pretty happy person, darn it, LOL.

When I'm angry, I don't eat. I'm too busy cussing.

When I'm happy, I eat. I don't pay attention to how much I'm eating, so I easily overeat. That's when I have to take extra care & take notice to my portion sizes, etc.
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Old 01-04-2007, 03:50 PM   #11
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Yup, I think Beachpatrol is right. I certainly didn't get this overweight by going back for seconds one time too many. It was eating when I wasn't hungry. I too ate out of boredom, frustration, lonliness, anger, sadness or even happiness. The only time I found it impossible to eat is when I'm worried.

But if we're ever going to beat the weight game, we have got to realize the difference between eating for hunger and eating just for the sake of eating. It took me many, many years to recognize the difference, or more like it - to care about recognizing the difference.

When I'm bored, mad, or whatever and my thoughts turn to food, I try to do something to take my mind off of the food. I like to clean/straighten up my house. Bonus - a neat house. I also like to read. Or have a big glass of ice water. A hot cup of tea w/splenda. Read/write in my journal - where I have jotted down all my reasons for NOT wanting to eat, my weight goals and dreams. Come on the computer. Exercise. All things that have been mentioned. I've also tried to be aware of every bite that goes into my mouth and ask myself is this worth it?

My days of mindless eating are behind me, for the most part. My days of turning to food for comfort and even for celebrations are over. I had no choice but to put a stop to it. I made a huge mess of myself by turning to food and now it's time for me to clean that mess up. It is definitely possible to reprogram the brain and teach it new techniques and coping skills. But I'm no dummy, I know that my old ways could creep up again at any given moment. I will just have to be on guard - forever.
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Old 01-04-2007, 04:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
My days of mindless eating are behind me, for the most part. My days of turning to food for comfort and even for celebrations are over. I had no choice but to put a stop to it. I made a huge mess of myself by turning to food and now it's time for me to clean that mess up. It is definitely possible to reprogram the brain and teach it new techniques and coping skills. But I'm no dummy, I know that my old ways could creep up again at any given moment. I will just have to be on guard - forever.
I think this is where I am now. It took me THIS long to figure out that there is more going on with my weight issue. For a long time now I've been thinking "but I do know how to eat healthy, I know the whole points system, I know fat, fiber, and carbs. Why can I not do this?" Now I think I'm getting it. I use the food to subdue my anger and frustration. Stress is/was best fixed with a big bowl of mac and cheese. I know I hardly ever eat out of true hunger. I just couldn't name the problem until recently.
So it's not just a lack of will power, or learning to eat healthily, I've got those covered. It makes so much more sense to me now.
Why I eat when I'm angry or annoyed I have no idea. Seems like a ridiculous time to look for a snack, doesn't it? But I guess if it helps me feel better that's what I do. Gotta find a new fix for that one.
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Old 01-04-2007, 04:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrobin
But if we're ever going to beat the weight game, we have got to realize the difference between eating for hunger and eating just for the sake of eating.......snip..........

My days of mindless eating are behind me, for the most part. My days of turning to food for comfort and even for celebrations are over. I had no choice but to put a stop to it.....snip......
Amen and well said.
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:28 PM   #14
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Gogirl, you're right, it is weird, I mean why DO we turn to food for comfort? Food, how did that all come about? Well, you know our mother's probably comforted us with food, and their mother's comforted them and so on and so on. Why couldn't they have comforted us with exercise?
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:41 PM   #15
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Because my mom couldn't get me away from the TV! Seriously, not long ago I read a book about the whole idea of food being nuturing and that's the reason we use the term comfort food. Because our parents fed us when we cried- most of the time anyway-so even as adults some of us still have that hardwired in our brains. Still though, I don't get why for me, anger and frustration is what sets me off, and for others it's boredom, loneliness, or anxiety. I wish I could just do a diet with out all this mess in the way. The diet I can handle....but let my family start in with some dysfunctional thing and the bag of tortilla chips jumps right off the shelf at me!
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