Why do we eat our feelings?

My Nan died in July.  My Aunt died in January.  2013 hasn’t been a good one, emotionally.
I will come forward and say this:  I’ve gained weight due to emotionally eating.  I turned to food to cope with the pain I felt.  Late nights were horrible; those moments I was by myself.  The fridge and the pantry were my comfort, some days they still are.

From May 2011 to May 2012 I lost 100lbs.  Yup! 100lbs in one year.  It’s now October 2013.  I refuse to get on a scale to see where I’m at.  I’d probably guess I’m up 20-30lbs.  But why am I so upset by it?  I should still be proud of myself, right?  I feel that when I see someone I haven’t seen in a while, I’m obligated to tell them a long story WHY I’m larger than when they lost saw me.  WHY?? WHY OH WHY!!  It;s none of their business.  Even writing this entry feels like I’m trying to give you an explanation why I’m heavier then I was May 2012.

So many factors come in to play when someone loses a drastic amount of weight and regains some.  I really don’t think I have to sit here and explain to you all the different reasons why I’ve gained some weight back.  Sure, for my height I’m still extremely overweight.  But I’m sure healthier than I was at 272lbs, right?  But instead of ENJOYING my life, I constantly worry about what others think of me and I constantly worry about every thing I eat.  This has to be stopped. I will not feel badly anymore.  I go to the gym, I eat healthy choices.. but right now I need to focus on being HAPPY and healthy.  I have so much to be happy about, but I get in these ruts where I’m so down on myself (believe it or not) and I turn to food…

Most emotional eaters tend to feel powerless over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, it’s all they can think about. You feel an almost unbearable tension that demands to be fed, right now! Because you’ve tried to resist in the past and failed, you believe that your willpower just isn’t up to snuff. But the truth is that you have more power over your cravings than you think.

Why is it that we turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward? Unfortunately for us, emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems. It usually makes us feel worse. After we over indulge, not only does the original issue still remain, but we feel guilty for overeating.  What we need to do is recognize our emotional eating triggers.  It will be our first step to breaking free from food cravings and compulsive eating.  We need to change the habits that sabotaged our diets in the past.

Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you consumed. You beat yourself up for messing up and not having more willpower. Compounding the problem, you stop learning healthier ways to deal with your emotions, you have a harder and harder time controlling your weight, and you feel increasingly powerless over both food and your feelings.

It’s a constant battle.  It will be a constant battle if you don’t recognize the problem.  I’m trying find other ways to cope.. you can too.  I’m going to ask a few questions.. if you answer yes to any of these questions, you’re probably an emotional eater.  Hey, it’s okay.  Now we just have to work on it.  We can do this – we’re in this together.

  • Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
  • Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
  • Do you eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, anxious, etc.)?
  • Do you reward yourself with food?
  • Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
  • Does food make you feel safe? Do you feel like food is a friend?
  • Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?

The first step in recovering from emotionally eating is admitting it to yourself when you’re in the moment.

Step away from the pantry, close the refrigerator.
Your butt and stomach will thank you later.

No need to consume those extra calories.
Call a friend, text a friend.  Go on twitter, check Facebook.

Find something to do other than eat.

All you have to do is put off eating for five minutes, or if five minutes seems unmanageable, start with one minute. Don’t tell yourself you can’t give in to the craving; remember, the forbidden is extremely tempting.  Just tell yourself to wait. While you’re waiting, check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What’s going on emotionally? Even if you end up eating, you’ll have a better understanding of why you did it. This can help you set yourself up for a different response next time

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