Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Conquering Emotional Eating

I wish I could say I have found the magic cure for emotional eating but I haven't. I am an emotional eater just like many of you. I don't think it is something that us woman will ever be able to completely overcome. If I am wrong please, please let me know your secret :)
I'm sure everyone has their own type of stress that causes them to overeat. My stress eating is usually started by my baby crying or my four year old whining non-stop. It's is kind of funny when I look back at the way my stress eating has changed in the last five weeks. Five weeks ago every time my baby would cry or my four year old would whine I would walk out into the kitchen and eat a few pieces of chocolate or a cupcake or anything sugar or chocolate. I'm sure you get the point. I think after months of doing this it became a really bad habit. It seemed almost uncontrollable. It was like a way of taking all of the stress away. I would eat my chocolate and then make a bottle or a snack or some lunch for my kids and then I would be fine. It really did seem to help me get through some really stressful moments.
When I started this weigh loss journey I really thought I would never be able to stop the stress eating. Surprisingly it was easier then I thought. As of today I very rarely go out to the kitchen and grab a piece of chocolate or a sugary snack. I am so proud of myself. Now don't get me wrong I still have moments where I give into my stress and eat whatever I want but I definitely do it a lot less then I did five weeks ago.
How do I do it? It was really hard the first week because I really wanted that chocolate. After that I very rarely think about eating when I am stressed. Every so often I feel very stressed and start thinking about eating something but I have only given in a few times in the past few weeks. I really have to credit a lot of my success to the Weight Watchers program. Writing everything down that you eat really makes you think about everything you put into your mouth. That piece of chocolate does not seem as appealing when I think of all of the points I am taking away from the rest of my day. A lot of times I think about how I could eat a large grilled tortilla and 2 tbsp of Hummus (which I really love) for the same amount of points as that one little piece of chocolate. I think it also helps that I am eating at regular intervals. Prior to my weight loss journey I would go without eating so long that when I would get stressed there was no stopping me. I was hungry and miserable from the stress. I have found that stress and hunger are not a good combination.
I know I will always be an emotional eater but what I have learned is that I have to control it. If I am not careful I could fall back into the same pattern I was in five weeks ago.

The way I am conquering emotional eating:
1. Stopping the habit of shoving food in my mouth every time I get stressed. This was the biggest change I had to make. Once I stopped the habit is has been so much easier. I never really thought of it as a habit but I have learned that it really is.
2. Eating at regular intervals. I make sure that I don't let myself go more than a few hours without eating a meal or a snack. I used to feed the kids and not myself and then stress would hit and I would binge. Like I said before stress and hunger are not a good combo. I have found it a lot easier to conquer my stress eating if I am not hungry all of the time.
3. Writing down everything I eat. This really makes me think about everything that I put in my mouth before I put it in my mouth.

I hope this post has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any other advice for us emotional eaters.


Anonymous said...

I think #3 is the key. #1 is difficult because it's not a habit. It's a biological drive. You mentioned "almost uncontrollable." Scratch the "almost" and you've got it pegged.

It's east to let stress overwhelm you but maybe you could make a list of really stressful things that haven't happened to you. Then, when you're feeling stressed again because of a kid crying, just look at the list. You'll think, "Well, I still have all my limbs, no one tried to shoot me today, and my car didn't explode in a giant ball of flames. You know, this kid thing ain't so bad."


Anonymous said...

Here's something I've found that's effective -- over time, it's not a quick fix. When I feel the urge to eat when I'm not hungry (emotional eating) I gently ask myself what I am feeling. I dig a little bit. It usually comes down to fear or sadness at the root of it. I don't forbid myself to ever eat when I'm not hungry. Just stopping and feeling the feeling, spending some time with it, making it feel heard -- this really helps to take a lot of the drive out of the compulsion to eat for me. I love the idea of blogging about weight loss on a budget -- looking forward to continuing to read about your journey :)

Anonymous said...

emotional eating is very common, but people do not want to admit...we all do it. next time ask yourself am I really hungry or mad,anxious,or depressed about something..believe it or when u think about it...it does work! great post

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