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Old 11-11-2010, 06:59 PM   #1
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Default Why can't I be one of those people who doesn't eat when they are sad?

Here is a little background...I have been working as a contract employee doing customer service for a major appliance manufacturer for the last two years. Earlier this year, the company announced that they were going to start converting some of the contractors and making them actual employees. You have to apply and be interviewed to get one of those spots. Whether or not you get an interview depends on your "scorecard". Only the applicants with high scorecards will get the chance. I have always had a 98 or 99% score. I have a fabulous attendance record and produce more "output" then the rest of my team.

The first time I applied, there were ten open spots. I did not get it. I was hurt and sad especially when my best work buddy got in. This time around, rumor has it there were 40-50 spots open and they were only interviewing about 60 people. Well, I found out Monday that I didn't get it this time either. Apparently, I don't interview well. I have run the gamut of emotions. I am mad, sad, embarrassed and feel like a loser. Pretty much everyone else around me will be hired in soon.

After I heard on Monday, I left work and started baking. I ate a few muffins and some apple bread. I felt mentally and physically sick that I had done it but since I never ate dinner, it kinda evened out. Tuesday, I went back to work and managed to do good all day. Wednesday, after eating well all day, I saw the groups of "new hires" go off to their orientation, my hubby and I went out to dinner and I ate a french dip and fries. Today, following plan all day, I thought I had it all together until I started hearing others talking about it and came home to eat pizza. Six pieces of pizza!

I don't even really chalk it up to being eating because I am sad. I am eating because counting every bite that I eat gets stressful and I am 8 months into this and right now, I can't handle anymore stress.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Any suggestions?
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:53 PM   #2
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I'm sorry you didn't get the job! Is there anyone you could ask for feedback about what you would need to improve to be more qualified?

As far as suggestions for your food situation--I have to say, stop eating like there is no tomorrow! Because "tomorrow" is probably going to get here and you won't like what the scale tells you.

If you want to lower your stress, how about finding something physical to do. Go for a walk. Go to a gym. Put an exercise CD in your player. Turn on FitTV. Stuff like that! It works a lot better, believe me.

You made some choices that weren't the best, but that's all past now. Start over! You have lost so many pounds already! You can succeed at this. Hang in there...

"My religion is kindness." --His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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Old 11-11-2010, 08:00 PM   #3
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I don't know if you'll find it helpful, but I think I can answer your first question. Even when you put lab rats on food restriction (diets), they become more likely to eat in times of stress than rats who have never experienced food shortages. Genetics in rats plays a role too, so it probably does in humans too.

Just the act of dieting alone, makes it easier/more natural to stress eat. Luckily we're not rats, and have more tools at our disposal to change what comes naturally.

I'm learning that while dieting (even when you're determined to make it a lifestyle change) is stressful, not dieting is even more stressful. While it feels like giving up (even temporarily) removes stress, it only adds stress in the long run. The extra pounds adds stress, and the binge foods themselves can add stress too. For myself, I've found that high carb eating aggravates health issues and also my hampers my ability to deal with stress. For decades I thought I had to address my emotional problems to fix my eating. What I eventually learned was that fixing my eating, reduced the emotional issues. I wasn't eating primarily because I was overly-emotional, I was overly-emotional primarily because of what I was eating.

High-carb foods reduce my ability to rationally deal with stress, so all the foods that comforted me in the short-term were hurting me in the long run.

It's still hard to avoid the foods I associate with comfort. I have to remind myself that it's an illusion, not reality, and there are better ways to find that comfort.

I still fail a lot, but I fail a lot less than I did in the past. A lot of times it wasn't the dieting that I found stressful, it was the emotional baggage I associated with it. Those crazy negative and untrue thoughts like "what's the use," "I'll never be thin enough to be happy, so I might as well stop trying," "If it tastes good, I'm not allowed to eat it," "I can't do this forever, so why bother..."

I still sometimes stress eat, but by keeping the bingeable foods out of the house as much as possible, it mitigates the damage if I do binge. If the worst thing in the house I can get my hands on are apples, I'm not going to be able to do as much damage as if I had a huge bag of snickers bars.

I still associate "decadence" with stress relief, but I realized it didn't have to mean calorie decadence. "Splurging" didn't have to mean splurging on calories. It doesn't have to be food at all, but it still can be. I love trying new foods, and I used to look at dieting as punishment because I associated it with eating the same boring food over and over again - but that wasn't the truth, that was how I was choosing to look at it. There was no reason I couldn't be just as adventurous with healthy foods as I did with high calorie options.

I used to splurge on high calorie gourmet or ethnic foods, now I splurge on low calorie gourmet or ethnic foods. Fruit especially. This week I bought guava, cocktail fruit, honeycrisp apples, pommelo carnival squash and asparagus as my "treats." The guava and pommelo were entirely new experiences. The cocktail fruit I discovered last year. It looks like a kelly green grapefruit, and tastes like lemonade with just a subtle touch of grapefruit. It's a hybrid of either pommelo/orange or grapefruit/orange. The pommelo looked like a kelly green giant grapefruit, but the skin was so thick that peeling and sectioning the fruit was almost aerobic exercise. It tasted a bit like a mix of grapefruit, orange, and lemon.

Of course there are also all the non-food ways to reduce stress. Exercise, a warm bath, listening to music, reading, writing, crafts and hobbies...

But the real key is changing the way you look at your food choices. If you focus on what you're missing out on, of course it's going to be really hard to accept the "loss" during times of stress. If you look at your lifestyle, including your diet as a way to pamper yourself, why would you want to give that up in times of stress.

I'm not saying it's an easy shift in mindset, but it is possible.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:48 PM   #4
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I'm sorry things are bad. Whenever you lose something, you feel compelled to replace it with something at least as good, and for me I find that translates into food. My advice would be: find something else to fill the gap. When you're feeling lousy I think you need to indulge, but you can pick things other than food. If food isn't really important to you, it will be less stressful to diet. If you have time, even a few minutes, maybe pick up a hobby that's fun and makes you feel good as you improve at it, like drawing or writing or some sort of craft. Or try learning a new language, just for fun and at a relaxed pace. Accomplishing goals and feeling good about myself prevents going off plan for me more than anything else. Another thing I use to make myself feel good when I'm feeling down is to get something new and pretty. It doesn't have to be expensive. A cute sketch I draw that I tape to my ceiling, a colorful pen, a one dollar shirt (gotta love Walmart clearance). In the end, it's probably less than the money I'd spend on food to relieve my stress anyway. Sometimes people are down in the dumps and need a little comfort, and it sounds like you definitely deserve it. Just try to focus how you give yourself that comfort on more mental than food-related things, I'd say. And best of luck.

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Old 11-12-2010, 04:06 AM   #5
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Awww, sorry about the job I'm very bad at interviews, too.

It seems you are "releasing" negative emotions by eating... but since eating does not solve anything, you end up "increasing" the negative emotions. Vicious cycle.

Confront yourself: you won't get that position by eating.

Look back at your interviews and try to identify what you could have done better. Were you late? Did you sound enthusiastic enough? Should you give more detailed answers? etc. Don't lose hope... your turn will come and when it does, it will feel like you've really earned it.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:18 AM   #6
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I'm so sorry. Maybe you can talk to your supervisor to get some "pointers" for the next go-round? Not only may he/she have some valuable thoughts, but you will be demonstrating your interest and your commitment to improving yourself as an employee (it sounds like you don't need a lot of improvement, but you know supervisors -- they're all into that "continuous quality improvement" stuff).

I agree that food planning can be stressful. What I find helpful is planning in advance. I sit down with myplate.com and enter everything I'm going to eat for at least one day if not two or three. Then I don't have to think about it. Everything is decided! Instead of sitting around wondering what I should eat next, it's all right there. And nibbling, noshing, chowing on other things just isn't part of the program.

This past weekend I got frustrated and lazy and did what I call "free-feeding" for a couple days. Didn't plan my food, took nibbles, snacked randomly, etc. Didn't binge, didn't go hog-wild, but definitely went over my calories. This week -- planned in advance each day, and I'm back on plan and down more than 4 lbs (obviously water weight from unhealthy choices!).

Another random thought: right now your job situation maybe feels out of your control -- you're doing your best, everything that's asked of you, and not being appropriately rewarded. Well, your eating is in your control. You can control your behavior with food, and you will be rewarded, with a healthier self. When the world feels out of control, I know I feel better by creating my own safe haven!

Back in the saddle. Again.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:01 AM   #7
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I think the real difference between people who are naturally "thin" and people who struggle with weight is how they react to stress. Thin people I've known stop eating at the stress that makes me eat.

But don't be so hard on yourself. That does really suck. You will get it back together diet wise.

I agree with above posts though, call the people who interviewed you and ask for some interview pointers. Keeps you in contact with them and shows you are an employee willing to take direction. Not all of those new employees are going to work out.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:28 AM   #8
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I don't interview well either. And I'll bet you're putting off a kind of air of desperation at this point with your anxiousness about getting the job and interviewers can see that. Apparently the best interview I had was one I almost canceled because I didn't really want to work in the city and I was more worried about a presentation for school I had to do that evening. I found out later that I had exuded a real sense of confidence in my abilities. Because I really didn't care and wasn't all anxious about getting the job. I'm still with the company 7+ years later, in a better position with my own office instead of a cubicle. Sometimes it's not your qualifications or experience that trips you up. It's just how your feelings and insecurities come out in the interview.
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