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When do you really feel like you're "over" emotional eating??

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Old 05-01-2013, 09:21 AM   #1
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Default When do you really feel like you're "over" emotional eating??

I know in theory how you're supposed to curb emotional eating. Recognize why you want to eat, recognize that you aren't hungry, recognize that eating won't solve your problem (lonely, bored, stressed, sad, etc). Distract yourself, blah blah yadda yadda. We've all heard it, right?

I mean, I've lost 30lb, which is awesome. Obviously I'm doing SOMETHING right. But last night was the first time in a long time that I really felt out of control again, and it makes me sad to think that I really haven't come that far at all. I had a crappy day yesterday - my first gain week on the scale since rejoining WW, really really bad feedback on a project at work, the start of my period/major cramping, two dogs who had been behaving like little monsters all day... Then my husband left to go to a show with a friend of his. The perfect storm. Not only was I feeling sorry for myself, but I was ALONE for the evening. Uh-oh.

In theory, I knew what to do. I put in a little extra time at work to try to feel good about the day's effort. I put on my workout gear and hit the gym for an hour. Came home sweaty. Took a shower. Spent an hour cleaning up and doing laundry. All positive things, all distracting things. But once I had run out of things to do... I sat down and I ate. I ate my feelings despite the work I've done to try to overcome that. It's not like anyone put a gun to my head and told me to eat, I did it. I was making that decision, and I made the decision every time I lifted spoon to mouth.

So this morning I just feel even more sorry for myself, not because I think I've ruined my weight loss or anything, I know better than that. But do I need new strategies? Am I really not making progress on "fixing" the reasons I got to be overweight in the first place? How do you ever really get to feel like you've put emotional eating habits behind you, when despite your best efforts, you find out they're still there? It's distressing to think I may never get over this part of myself, and I will always live under the danger of regaining the weight in an instant...
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:57 AM   #2
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I don't know if I have an answer.

But when you're going to sit down to eat, have you thought about bringing a journal with you (or pieces of paper, whatever) and write about what you're feeling? Take a bite, think about your stress or sadness or whatever, and then write about it?

Maybe by writing it out you'll see something that can help you "fix" it or at least work to minimize the emotional eating.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:13 AM   #3
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I think first and foremost you need to be proud of yourself by how far you've truly come. Everybody has set backs and nobody is perfect by any means. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. With that said, the next time you feel emotional, keep staying busy like you did. Read a book, go online and look at motivational pictures or quotes. The best sites I love for "getting lost" in the internet so to say would be Pinterest and Stumble Upon. Even "theberry.com" has GREAT motivational sections with awesome pictures. You just need to keep telling yourself that you are doing this for a reason and keep thinking of how far you've come. It's easy to get lost in the way of thinking of "well I still have X amount to go, it seems so far away" - you should reverse your way of thinking and be proud of yourself. Don't give up.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:47 AM   #4
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Some might not agree with me, but I think the idea of emotional eating isn't necessarily a wholly "bad" thing (or something that thin people never do) -- it's harmful because of the frequency and severity of it. When it's on a very rare occasion in response to really terrible days (and not massively disproportionate - like binge eating), I think it's a pretty normal human behavior.

I say that because it seems like you have some all-or-nothing thinking going on. It sounds like you have made incredible progress in changing how you usually respond to stress, which is awesome. But one slip-up in the face of a horrible day is no good reason to feel like you've failed or like everything else you've done can't stand on its own as incredible progress.

I actually think feeling too badly about what happened could have a more harmful effect - it gets you caught up in the cycle of judging your behavior and food choices, which often somehow seems to create more poor future food choices. I try to imagine thin friends of mine - they'd say, "Whoa, yesterday sucked. And I kind of overdid it, but oh well. Glad that day's over. Back to it!"
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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Sorry you are having a tough time. One day off plan won't wreck the awesome 30lb weightloss you have done so try to get right back where you were!

I know you probably don't want to hear this but for me, I don't think it will ever go away.

I have been perfect on my diet for 9 months now. 9 months!! I'm not tempted by any foods not on my plan and totally satisfied with my food choices available and feeling better and full every day (in a good way). I can't believe I haven't had pizza, chips, anything fried, etc. in all this time. But proud too, you know?

This past Monday, I weighed in again after having a tiny gain last week (it was HUGE to me though as it was a gain and my first one in all this time). This week was a tiny tiny tiny loss and I was ANGRY and SAD and MAD and STRESSED. My first instinct? I want to eat something really really bad.

In the end I didn't eat anything bad (I don't have anything in the house within my grasp) but just the fact that I considered it devastated me more than if I had actually done it. Why did I even do that? Who am I to wreck all my progress because I'm giving myself a little pity party?

So, what I'm saying is, we have all been where you are and I have a feeling some of us will always be there. We have to try as best we can to either let the moment pass and get over it or we have our "forbidden" foods and move on from it. All that matters is that we get back on plan and keep plugging along. The difference now is that we are conscious of it.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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If this was an easy journey - if it was JUST about eating right - EVERYONE WOULD BE THIN.

It's not. It's about much more then eating. It's about lifestyle and emotions and relationships and on and on and on.

I am JUST learning - 3 years in and 228 pounds lighter - to cut myself some slack. I am NOT going to be perfect. I am going to make mistakes. I am goiong to have good days and bad days.

It's about progress, not perfection.

Roll with the bad days, learn from them, and get back up on the horse.

You have done great so far!

Jen
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rana View Post
I don't know if I have an answer.

But when you're going to sit down to eat, have you thought about bringing a journal with you (or pieces of paper, whatever) and write about what you're feeling? Take a bite, think about your stress or sadness or whatever, and then write about it?

Maybe by writing it out you'll see something that can help you "fix" it or at least work to minimize the emotional eating.

Great suggestion, I totally agree! Writing about it is a great way to vent those feelings while also figuring them out.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryPie99 View Post
If this was an easy journey - if it was JUST about eating right - EVERYONE WOULD BE THIN.

It's not. It's about much more then eating. It's about lifestyle and emotions and relationships and on and on and on.

I am JUST learning - 3 years in and 228 pounds lighter - to cut myself some slack. I am NOT going to be perfect. I am going to make mistakes. I am goiong to have good days and bad days.

It's about progress, not perfection.

Roll with the bad days, learn from them, and get back up on the horse.

You have done great so far!

Jen
I love your inspiration! I have been wondering about the same thing and this answer just did it for me! Thanks! I am in the same boat as Debigulating

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Old 05-01-2013, 12:12 PM   #9
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If this was an easy journey - if it was JUST about eating right - EVERYONE WOULD BE THIN.
Ain't that the truth. Whenever I hear advice (in magazines, for example) along the lines of "You may not realize this, but a portion of meat is actually the size of a deck of cards," I feel like replying sarcastically: "Gee, thanks. Now that I have the information, my weight problems are solved!"

We all know what we need to do to lose/maintain weight. But if you're built to love food and fullness, acting on the knowledge is a perpetual challenge.

F.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:28 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input ladies. I definitely struggle with all-or-nothing thinking, though this journey has been easier than prior attempts in that regard. I am not expecting too high a degree of perfect, but what I find alarming is how the strategies I have been relying on (namely, exercise, distraction, and acknolwedgement of the desire/being rational in the face of irrationality) just flew out the window. I knew what I was doing - I was aware of the reasons, the emotions behind it, and I was totally aware how I was just making myself feel worse about myself as I ate. I had a lovely little pity party the likes of which I haven't seen in months.

But, yall are right... It's probably just going to be a thing that is a part of life, as the trouble starts when it happens more often than not. I'm really trying today to put it behind me - in the past these things HAVE created their own self-perpetuating cycle, as one poster mentioned... I feel bad for my choices so I make more poor choices. I guess while it is alarming to me to feel like on some level I haven't made any progress in being able to appropriately respond to stress and negative emotions, I should feel like I am making progress in at least decreasing the frequency of episodes, and not letting them go on for days.

And I had to laugh at the deck of cards/portion size thing - I have thought that so many times - I read diet advice articles and I'm like GEE WHIZ, now that I know that a banana can pack up to as much as 120 calories, I have the secret to weight loss! It's so clear now!
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:43 PM   #11
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This might apply more to boredom eating than emotional eating, but i think to a certain extent it is just habit. I have always eaten ALL DAY at work out of boredom (i work a desk job that is occasionally stressful, but more often just boring). I literally thought there was no way i could get through a workday without snacking. But finally i just broke the habit. I told myself i could breakfast when i got to work at 9, lunch at 12, and a snack at 3:30. Other than those times, i can't eat at work. It was really hard at first but it is finally becoming a habit. So now, if i need a break from work, i check the internet or i take a quick walk. Not food.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:01 PM   #12
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Even lab animals (especially those bred for their genetic predisposition to obesity) tend to eat more (especially high glycemic carbs when given the opportunity to choose) under stress conditions - when their cages are too small, when they're deprived of sleep and safety - when they've been hurt or injured...)

I am NOT saying that stress-eating is out of our control or that obesity is inevitable. We have mental, emotional, and technological resources that rats do not have. However, I do believe the animal data suggests that stress-eating and emotional eating isn't a pathology needing a cure or a solution. Rather it's a normal response that will always have to be addressed by those for whom the natural response has negative consequences.

One thing to remember is that you cannot "instantly" regain the weight. You have to be aware, but you probably do not have to be hypervigilantly focused or fearful. You need to have a strategy for preventing or minimizing the damage of emotional eating. You may even have small weight gain set-backs, but you'll only fail and backslide entirely by giving up entirely.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:06 PM   #13
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One thing to remember is that you cannot "instantly" regain the weight. You have to be aware, but you probably do not have to be hypervigilantly focused or fearful. You need to have a strategy for preventing or minimizing the damage of emotional eating. You may even have small weight gain set-backs, but you'll only fail and backslide entirely by giving up entirely.
Thank you for pointing this out, kaplods. Sounds so simple to know but I never thought of it. This just changed my whole outlook!
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Desiderata View Post
Some might not agree with me, but I think the idea of emotional eating isn't necessarily a wholly "bad" thing (or something that thin people never do) -- it's harmful because of the frequency and severity of it. When it's on a very rare occasion in response to really terrible days (and not massively disproportionate - like binge eating), I think it's a pretty normal human behavior.
I agree with this 100%!

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Originally Posted by CherryPie99 View Post
I am JUST learning - 3 years in and 228 pounds lighter - to cut myself some slack. I am NOT going to be perfect. I am going to make mistakes.


My two cents...

I am not sure if you have ever considered trying Overeaters Anonymous, it isn't for everyone, but it definitely IS for some people. I attended for a while and really opened my eyes to things. I learned there that I will ALWAYS be a compulsive overeater. Just like an alcoholic is always an alcoholic, even if they haven't had a drink in 20 years. At a lot of the meetings I went to, there weren't just obese women. There were women in maintenance, there were anorexics. They all had the problem of trying to eat there problems away. Most people do now and again. And it is OKAY to do it now and again. It is normal.

I also had a revelation of my own a while back. I am one of the fastest people to forgive someone their mistakes. For example, my mom didn't tell me who my dad was until I was 26 years old. She had lied all those years and told me someone else was my dad. When she did tell me (after I asked her) I ended up comforting HER while she was crying. It is just how I am. But out of all the forgiveness in my heart, I couldn't find the forgiveness for ME! Yes I've made mistakes, and I will continue too! But I can forgive myself for that.

"When I truly love someone, I forgive them. Therefore, I forgive myself."

I know these are things that you kind of have to realize on your own sometimes, but I hope you find peace sweet heart.

And finally, wow, congrats on your progress AND on your ability to know what other things you can try instead of overeating! And WOW! You tried them BEFORE you overate. I highly doubt in my current state I would have. I'd probably skip straight to the food. You are an inspiration to me!

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Old 05-01-2013, 02:47 PM   #15
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Okay, I have to add a story that literally JUST occured at my work. One of the managers was looking for this other guy. The other guy is EXTREMELY healthy, he is vegan, and super fit. Well, apparently the other guy was having a really bad day, so he went out to get what he calls 'angry food' (a burger and frieds). I found this out because when he came back he wanted a breathe mint so his wife wouldn't smell meat on his breathe! Hahahaha, see, it happens to EVERYONE! Hope that made you smile.
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