View Full Version : Emotional Eating
03-24-2008, 04:34 PM
So here I am, the Emotional Eater, spent from an afternoon at work. In my mind I am plotting how to get a snack. I could raid the desk of someone who didn't come to work today. Afterall, some wonderful soul put Cadbury Creme Eggs on all of our desks this morning. Or...I could scrape up some change and hit the vending machine. But...doesn't someone have a candy jar with chocolate in it around here? Better yet, I could scrape up my change and go through the McD's drive-through on the way home for an ice cream cone. Or didn't someone leave a peanut butter pie in the lunchroom after lunch? Hmmmm....
You see the problem? Body image takes a backseat to the afternoon craving. If I don't do one of the things I've listed, I'll have two granola bars before dinner. And at the end of the day, I will have failed again.
03-24-2008, 09:59 PM
Totally relate. My husband works nights, boys go to bed, I scour the kitchen. It's probably a good thing I can't leave and go to the nearest convenience store.
03-25-2008, 10:06 AM
One of the toughest things for me!!! Satisfying those afternoon cravings. I keep a small amount of chocolate chips and some peanuts in my desk and combine them mid-afternoon for a sweet/salty treat that isnt TOO bad!
03-25-2008, 03:37 PM
I try to tell myself that I eat so much because I am at home. Reading your post made me think of myself when I was working. I was the same way. I eyed the vending machine every time I walked by it.
Dr. Maria Rago
03-26-2008, 01:27 AM
Dear stilljustjen, I am sorry that you are having trouble with emotional eating. The first idea I have is to make sure that your meals and snacks throughout the day are sufficient for you, based on the american dietetic association food pyramid. If you are not getting enough fat, protien, carbs or calories, this could set you up to be preoccupied with food because you are too hungry. If you are getting enough, then I suggest you find a list of feelings from the internet (like the one we have all seen with the faces and emotions on it), and throughout the day find what you are feeling and put it into a journal. Look for patterns of when you eat, what time of day, what emotions are underneath it. For example, if you are feeling lonely, and you eat, you will notice that eating does not do much for loneliness in the long run, and you can take a step back, in your journal, and figure out what you would want to do that could actually help you not be as lonely. If you are stressed out, bored, not having enough time for yourself, these are all things that: once you know the emotions and the patterns, you can problem solve where you can break the patterns, and more effective ways to deal with the underlying emotions. I hope you can also find enough time to get out for outdoor activities, and to make it to the gym. I know this is really hard for new moms. Take care, Dr. Maria Rago.
Dr. Maria Rago
03-26-2008, 01:33 AM
Hi! Also, you could plan certain ideas or rewards for the habits you are trying to break. If you notice that you always have a snack before dinner, plan out your dinner making routine, and decide how you could do things differently, and protect yourself from eating before. Maybe you need a 3 or 4 o'clock snack to help you not be as hungry. Maybe you need to work on dinner prep before bed, and have it all ready to cook before you even get home, and to go for a walk with your child(ren) before dinner. Perhaps you could reward yourself with something like a manicure or a bubble bath when you succeed at your daily goal. Be sure to get back on track with your goals if you slip up. Many people give up if they slip, and then their whole plan goes out the window. Having an intention and a plan are the first steps, and keep problem solving obstacles to success. I wish you the best. From Dr. Maria Rago.
04-24-2008, 05:35 PM
I'm an emotional eater also. When my son is stressing me out (or anything else for that matter) I find desserts, chocolate in particular, very comforting. I joke to my husband that it is how I "self soothe!" However, it really isn't a healthy way to deal with stress. I worry about obvious consequence - weight gain, but I also worry about the example I'm setting for my little boy. Back in January I joined the local StrollerFit group, an excersize class you can do with your little ones. I started out slow but now I love it! It has also inspired me to make better choices about my eating. Now I'm not into self deprivation. If I am actually hungry I eat. The difference is that when I feel the urge to reach for the cookie jar, I take a step back and decide if I'm really hungry or just comfort eating. If I am really hungry, I try to eat healthy foods and save the desserts for special occasions. At first I thought it would be hard 'cause I really like sweets! But the longer I go without them the less I want them and the better I feel both emotionally and physically! Good Luck!
04-24-2008, 07:11 PM
One thing you can try to do is get a journal and try journaling your food for the week. You would be amazed at what you are consuming. Make a list of some healthy snack to keep at work or nearby instead of being tempted with the sweets. The more sugar you eat the more you want and its just a vicisous cycle.
04-25-2008, 12:06 PM
I second the previos responses that you should never allow yourself to get too hungry and you should become AWARE of what you are eating and keeping a journal will hel with this.
It is interesting to me that you said that you 'failed' because you ate 2 granola bars before dinner. Being an emotional eater when I am tired and anxious, I know that the more 'negative' talk I say to myself the more likely I am to eat for nonhunger reasons. And the better I feel about myself the less likely I am to eat for emotional reasons. You need to KNOW and BELIEVE that you are NOT a FAILURE and you have not FAILED--you are learning--you are trying to figure it all out--your triggers, how to raise a child, etc. You listed several of them the candy machine, the pie someone bright to work, the candy jars, etc. NOW, what feelings are associated with that. Are there days when you are not interested in these things or triggered by them? what are those days like? For most people, they have had a good night's rest, have eaten well, and taken care of themselves (plug whatever applies to you in here). Now what are the days like when you are triggered by these things...? For many moms it is: the baby didn't sleep, arguement with husband, company coming, feeling like a failure from the previous day, whatever (again, plug in whatever fits for you).
As you can see, emotinal eating is often (if not usually) about something other than food. And if you can figure out what that is you can work towards correcting it.
If your eating behavior is interfering with your life and continues to worsen, you may want to consider seeing a counselor or therapist who can help you assess your situation. There is an eating disorder called Binge Eating Disorder (BED) that can become very serious and interfere tremendously with your life and family.
04-30-2008, 02:26 AM
I had this same problem at work also. I work the night shift at a hospital and on an 8 hours shift I only do about 2 ½ hours of work so I was eating out of boredom. Everyone in my department would bring candy and leave it in a huge candy bowl. So it was just me and the candy bowl all night long. I made my self a goal no work candy and no fast food for a week. I failed the first night and ate lots of candy. The goal was a good idea I just need more help. I decided I need to bring something better to eat. I looked at trail mix but I didn’t like what they had in them and my Dr. said I need more whole grains. So I made my own trail mix of sorts. I started with 2 cups of cheerios because of the whole grains and I liked the taste. Then I added 1/8 cup of dried blueberries 1/8 cup low calorie mixed nuts, 1/8 dried cherries and 1/8 chocolate covered raisins. I could graze on that all night and there was just enough chocolate that I didn’t have to get more. That is still a lot of calories so I had to figure out healthier things to bring for lunch. I actually need less lunch if I spread my snacking out all day instead of just eating one meal in the middle of my shift. So just a little preventive chocolate kept me from raiding the vending machines. This does not fix the long-term problem I am still eating because I am bored but its less calories and better for me.
04-30-2008, 08:07 AM
I totally can relate. I also am a grazer and a scavenger for food. I do a couple of things. Three o'clock is my trigger time, I just go wild in the kitchen. So I try to find something else to do, play outside with my kids, go for a walk run...something. Also, when I worked, I would have to stay FAR away from the candy jar. Bring water. Drink lots of it, you will be full and not want anything else. Keep up the good work on bringing lower calorie foods in. I do also agree with the journal, after you log what you have eaten and look at it you will be shocked how many calories you have consumed by just snacking. Hope all is well.
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