A question for those emotional eaters... - 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community


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Old 10-06-2004, 12:30 AM   #1  
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Default A question for those emotional eaters...

How do you overcome those times when you find yourself running for something sweet/salty to combat stress or just feeling depressed?

I did awesome the first few days of phase 1, got emotional over some crap with my job and wham....I totally fell off the wagon the past few days. I am so pissed at myself. I know the salty foods have made me retain water once again, so up went the scale. So the 9 pounds I dropped during week one, has now turned to 2! I could just cry. I was so gung-ho this time to do this, I really thought this time was different. I always start and fail (I'm sure so many can relate) - but I am still not ready to give up. I know tomorrow is another day. I signed up for the October exercise challenge and have yet to exercise. I did really well today, up until dinner time and then ate what the kids had for supper which was chicken fried steak, veggies and fries!

Getting this weight off is so important to me, and I also need to do it for health reasons other than the obvious ones. The problem I have had, since I was 12 (I'm 34 now) is that I am a total emotional eater!! For those of you that can relate, how did you find your way to somewhat overcome that and get through those bad times that just have you running for something sweet or salty? It drives me nuts! I'm so tired of myself looking this way and feeling like I've been hit by a bus.

Thanks for letting me vent. I'm not throwing in the towel just yet, but I might strangle myself with it....

~P
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:38 AM   #2  
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When it happens to me I eat either a ricotta cream or a handful of mini chocolate chips - it satisfies enough to keep me from binging.

During TOM I know that I am gonna crave chocolate - it's uncontrollable. So I get a 4 pack of Slim Fast Low Carb choco shakes the week before and grab one when the urge hits. It may not be the healthiest thing but it's better than a Snickers.
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:49 AM   #3  
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Hi, I'm an emotional eater too. I wouldn't say I've got the problem licked, but I have built in an extra step that often helps me put the brakes on. It's just a pause. Between the action and my reaction, I just try to stop and assess the situation.

My ds was particularly difficult yesterday (2 moody teens in the house at one time) and my first thought was to get something to eat as consolation. I paused, talked myself around to realizing that eating would be hurting me and not helping either the stress or the conflict. I did eat, but made a different choice - peppers a hummus. It helps that there was nothing off plan I could grab quickly - everything off plan would have needed preparation.

Make a list of 4-5 other things that sooth you. Mine are music, dog walking, TV is a good distraction in a pinch, writing out the problem, checking in here at 3FC, and oddly enough, cooking.

Make something sweet and something salty but on plan that is easy to grab if you don't manage to pause and talk yourself out of it. Keep your stand-by off plan foods out of the house (I make sure that if there are cookies or snacks, they are ones I don't like.)

My last suggestion is to walk through a problem in your imagination and practice your pause and reaction. Sounds odd, but walking through potential or recurring problems in your mind is good practice.

Hang in there. Hope some of this helps.
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:53 AM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXMomof3
How do you overcome those times when you find yourself running for something sweet/salty to combat stress or just feeling depressed?
Oh, sweetie... I wish I could help you. I haven't any answers. I'm just the same... I go for the quick and easy fix. The chips, the chocolate, ...
I think it would really help to plan ahead for those times, and have some healthier snacks already made up or on hand. Even if they're not completely OP, anything is better than heading into a full-blown binge.
Hang in there, hon.
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:55 AM   #5  
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When I'm dealing with emotional eating, if I catch myself and realize what I'm doing I write about it in my journal, what I'm feeling, why do I think food will make it better, what else could I be doing instead of eating, am I really hungry and just empty emotionally inside, things like that.

I found that I was turning to food to deal with feeling emotionally empty. And to stuff down feelings that I didn't want to deal with. Eating and the aftermath of feeling so full and the guilt of "why did I do that?" would distract me from the original feelings that caused me to over eat in the first place.

Once I started keeping a journal and really writing what I was thinking and feeling, confronting the feelings head on I was able to get a handle on my emotional eating. It's still not perfect. Like I said earlier if I catch myself in time I can sometimes short circuit it.

The big thing is to get out of the kitchen, away from the food if possible. Throw on the shoes and go outside for a walk. Sometimes, a piece of really good dark chocolate will help to combat the great spiral downward. I'll take a 1-oz square, go some place where I'm alone and not in the kitchen. Then I'll eat it really slowly, let it sit in my mouth and dissolve for a minute. Sort of like a chocolate meditation.

I have a bag of salted mixed nuts that sometimes I get the urge for salt, I'll grab some of those. But since I've cut down on the amount of salt because of my high blood pressure they seem really salty to me now so a small amount will fix the craving.

Dr. Phil's book has a good section in it about confronting emotional eating. Maybe you could get it from the library.

Good luck
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:10 AM   #6  
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I'm sorry, I'm still recovering from my pasta and chocolate cake overdose last night. I empathize with you, but have found this lifestyle tough to stick to myself. I've always been a healthy eater but I reach for food when I'm bored, stressed, watching football with the boys, you name it.
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:14 AM   #7  
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GASP! Wendyjo, you said SNICKERS! The most perfectly tempting candybar created by man!

Looks like there could be a whole forum section for us emotional eaters. I have been struggling with this very seriously lately. Last night was triumphant...I did not consume anything other than what I had planned to eat. For me that is the key, to plan ahead. I know that I'm most weak in the evenings, so I make sure that my dinner is planned and ready to go when I walk in the door from work. That cuts down on the amount of time I spend putzing around the kitchen trying to find ingredients and really only finding more stuff to binge on.

After dinner, DH and I take turns cleaning up/making lunches and occupying DD. When I'm faced with the urge to shove something in my mouth, I pour a great big glass of water and while drinking it repeat in my mind that those peanuts (or whatever) will not make me feel better. If I can recognize why I'm feeling emotional, maybe I can find another way to work through it, like going for a walk or playing with my daughter. Sometimes this works for me and sometimes it doesn't. I try not to be too hard on myself when I fail. And having moments of success gives me something to hold onto when it gets harder to resist.

I'm not sure that this is helpful for you, but you're not alone in your struggles. I hope we can all successfully shake this monkey off our backs. Hang in there...we can do it!
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:45 AM   #8  
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I am an emotional eater also. What I do is when I have the "urge" I take a moment and sit down. I except that I am in pain and allow myself to feel the pain. I am beginning to understand where the pain is comming from and it is getting less. What is also important is to forgive myself if I do overeat.

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Old 10-06-2004, 11:47 AM   #9  
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I had one of those nights this week too. DH's truck was stolen but was recovered on Monday. After dealing with all the problems of getting it back , I had no desire to make any dinner and I didn't feel good . DH was making bacon sandwiches for him on soft, wonderful Wonder bread and smearing them with mayonaise. He also made some of those scalloped potatoes from a box. I had 1 1/2 sandwiches, a few potatoes and rounded it all off with a few Chips Ahoy .

What I said to myself was that I was OP for 3 weeks straight (not 1 little cheat) and wondered why I would want to go back to where I was. Yesterday morning I got right back on it plus added a little extra exercise. You were right when you said tomorrow is another day. You just have to try to recommit yourself. If you want something sweet, have a peanut butter cup/fudgesicle/s/f pudding, etc. If you want something salty have some nuts or have the zucchini puffs that are found in the recipe forum. These have been lifesavers for me!!! Put a picture of someone or something that motivates you on your fridge. You can do it....you just have to have the will.
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:47 AM   #10  
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I don't really have anything original to add here. All the above suggestions are wonderful. I just want to let you know, I understand and I used to be an emotional eater as well. As someone who has struggled with post traumatic stress disorder in the form of anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia and bouts of depression on and off since age twelve (I'm 35 now), I know how painful and difficult this can be.

Echoing my fellow chicks, the things that I find have helped me the most personally are: keeping a journal. Writing about my emotions, my feelings about food and my body and health has helped me incredibly... more than I can express here. It has actually helped me to reprogram my association that food = comfort. Many times, I felt like the only thing that would comfort me at all was food. Sugar and carbs were my drug -- luckily SBD helped me break those cycles of craving. Sure, I have moments of lapsing back into that... wanting to eat to comfort myself, but I try not to beat myself up about it. If you don't feel like starting your own journal, just writing here can help as well.

Most importantly, remember, no one is perfect. We all have our moments of weakness. You have to forgive yourself and move on. I will tell you, I jsut accept that I will have off program moments during TOM or extra stressful days... so, for the rest of the month, I am extra vigilant.

If I must have something sweet, I use a food that used to be an every day staple for me -- Diet Coke. Now that I only have one or two a month, it actually seems like a treat. The ideas of getting out and taking a walk/exercising and having an OP food ready (like cut up veggies) are also great ones! Sometimes some peanut butter on celery or an apple does the trick for me.

You can do this! You really can!
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Old 10-06-2004, 04:18 PM   #11  
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I also agree that this is all great advice, and let me add one thing I'v learned recently: it's OK to feel angry, it's OK to feel sad, it's OK to just feel. I have to admit I've cried more since being on this diet, and it's not in a depressed, sad, cry myself to sleep at night kind of cry, it's just more the kind of cry that lets the emotions out -- that feels like a release. Like crying over a movie, etc. And it feels good not to stuff my feelings with food. It's nice to have my feelings and to own them. And feel them. You don't have to make them go away as soon as they show up. Do you know what I mean?

Not that I have all of the answers -- NO! I am just learning.

lauren
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:08 PM   #12  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldieFun
I also agree that this is all great advice, and let me add one thing I'v learned recently: it's OK to feel angry, it's OK to feel sad, it's OK to just feel...And it feels good not to stuff my feelings with food. It's nice to have my feelings and to own them. And feel them. You don't have to make them go away as soon as they show up. Do you know what I mean?
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Darn, Lauren, you are so WISE! That is exactly it! I found that I was stuffing my feelings away with the food. And that I was eating way past full, even though it hurt me to do so! We have to stop this emotional eating!

I've found that a lot of the techniques mentioned here help me, too...keeping the off plan stuff out of the house, keeping lots of OP food in the house, keeping busy, finding healthy ways to deal with my feelings, from talking them out, being on here, journaling, or exercising. Working on a crossword puzzle, quilting, crocheting, playing with the dog, playing games on the computer...getting OUT of the kitchen...they all help.

But it comes down to letting yourself feel...be in a safe place, and just feel. You can make it through without your drug (and mine too) of choice: food. We can all do this.

TX, have you thought about going to an overeater's anonymous meeting? They can really help with this issue: www.oa.org

I'm going to ask if anyone over in Maintainers can jump in on this conversation...I bet they have some GREAT strategies, too!
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:55 PM   #13  
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Gee, thanks, Laurie. You live and learn, right?

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Old 10-06-2004, 07:00 PM   #14  
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I saw this posted over at the maintainers forum and thought i'd have a look...since i'm curious by nature :P

I've never been a serial emotional eater, by that I mean I didnt/don't eat to hide my emotions very often. There was only one period in my life where everything fell apart and I slid into depression that I decided stuffing my face with whatever was on hand and hibernating in my room were the best ways to deal with my problems. I gained a good 15kgs/33pounds in about 3 months doing that before I woke up to myself one morning and grabbed myself by the scruff and roughly shook the "oh woe is me" syndrome out.

To combat that emotional binging (since it had become something of a habit by then) I took to walking. Whenever I felt that dark cloud starting to come over and saw my hand reaching for that tempting chocolate bavarian pie i'd mentally step back, take a deep breath, and go outside for awhile. If I couldnt walk, I'd throw on a CD and dance a little. There is nothing like dancing to lift the spirits.

At the same time I started meditating again and getting back in touch with myself. I came to realise that I'm a wonderful person just as I am and that my mental and physical being would thank me profusly if I stopped clogging it up with crap food. So, I threw out all the junk and refused to buy any more. Even skipped those aisles entirely in the supermarket.

It worked, It's rare I feel down and if i do my automatic reaction now is to strap on the walking shoes and hit the pavement so that my body is occupied while my mind goes through what the problem was. I can now have a block of chocolate sit in my room for weeks and not be scoffed down, I trust myself to take a square and enjoy it for it's own sake, not as an emotional crutch which I wouldnt taste or enjoy as much anyway.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble here, i don't know if this helps anyone, but thats how I managed.

Livi
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:00 PM   #15  
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Thank you all so much for the responses. Each and every one of them really helps. I can see I have a rough road ahead and know that even though I might hit a bump from time to time, it does not mean I have to give up completely. After reading this thread, I am more determined than ever to try again and combat the issues that I have been dealing with for the past 20 or so years. I will definitely be trying some of the suggestions posted here! It is just nice to know that I'm not alone and that there is still hope out there for me.

I just had a long talk with my dd who seems to be struggling with her sexuality. She's 14 and just started high school. No matter what I said, she took it the wrong way. I am a firm believer that there is someone out there for everyone and no matter what gender they are, if they make you happy and feel loved than that is what it is all about. She feels I will feel differently about her and all, which I tried to reassure her that is not the case at all. I re-edited my original post about our talk to just say that I offered to get her some counseling so that she can talk to someone if she is feeling confused, overwhelmed, whatever. I don't want her to stress out so much. She is very easily influenced by her friends and a few of her friends are bi, and I just found it strange that she feels that is what she is now as well. Either way though, I told her that in no way will her sexuality preference change how we feel about her and to never give that a second thought. She is our daughter and we love her with all our hearts. I feel so bad for her, thinking she has to hide this from us because of the way that so many in the world feel about this sort of thing. *Sigh* - raising a teenage girl sure is a challenge!

Thanks for the replies, I greatly appreciate all the advice!

~P

Last edited by TXMomof3; 10-07-2004 at 12:22 AM.
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