Clean your fridge and cabinets get rid of food that is not good for you. Keep healthy snacks.
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Goalwtin7: One of my closest friends describes herself as a "compulsive eater in recovery" and she says the exact same thing worked for her. Almost daily, she goes walking or hiking or swimming or biking or horseback riding! She says exercise has filled that void where she used to over-eat... And it's worked for her for years! She just goes when she knows she's feeling emotional or feeling the compulsion to eat...
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I have exchanged exercise for emotional eating. It works as it relieves my stress. I think about if I eat about it I will gain weight and feel twice as bad as I did.
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Thank you so much for this forum topic. It's exactly what I need.
I will take the advice of others - find something to keep me busy. There's enough to do around my house that I should never have TIME to "feed" my emotions.
This sounds stupid, I realize, but I have literally put a pair of my jeans (that are too tight to button) in my pantry. What a blatant reminder that I don't need to eat...
Journaling can help get those emotions out, too. I find that sometimes just writing it down then deleting it (don't want anyone else to find it, right?) can help purge the system of the messy emotions.
Wow - thank you for asking the question and for everyone else's responses. I just joined SP and am working through this very same issue. I have a counselor, but I can't provide answers as to why I am doing it. Because I'm on a very strict diet - no carbs - I become defiant and say "i'll eat what I want cause I'm starving!" I like the idea of talking to someone or journalising. My other issue is not wanting to exercise, so I don't do it. Very lost and confused, but hoping through this website, I can learn and gain control and most of all lose weight!
Great ideas here. I emotional eat too. Especially at night when I'm home alone. I'm divorced and my kids are gone now. My issues are boredom and loneliness. I get out more now, volunteer, work out in the evenings, but I still eat when I get home. Having a good support system helps so we should all help each other out. We can do it together!
I struggle with eating in the evenings, before bed... at a time when its difficult to go for a walk. But, I do agree, keeping busy really helps. Planning to do my laundry and/or a hobby in the evening has really helped.
Talk things out with a friend, walk, read, exercise , . All these have helped me to conquer emotional eating. I also meditate which helps a lot. Good luck.......
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2,908 7/8/13 12:41 P
I gave up coffee two years ago because I could not have it alone I had to have a donut or cookie with it. So gave it up cold turkey after almost 50 years of drinking it, my mom gave it to me at the ate of 3 years old and before I stopped I would drink up to 10 cups a day. I have givin up diet coke after drinking a 12 pack a day and not any water now I drink my 8 to 10 glasses of water and a few cups of green tea with out sweetners in it. I guess since I am back this time to stay and I have lost 46 lbs from 250 to 204 but I need to support and ability to keep it safe for me. My emotional eatings comes from not staying busy I am a teacher and right now I have been off a month and still have 2 more months off. Me and my husband were going to Mexico but not now. And he works the late shift so I have to be very quite in the mornings which is good. I need to go back to exercise at the gym I only pay $20.00 a month so I will go in the morning again. My daughter is going to have her toncel on this Thursday and everyone tells me she is to old and she won't be okay she is 34. So I will be with her during the days so her husband can work. But I think if I write down what I eat and exercise and take care of myself I can conquer this process and if I fall a little it will be better that before and I also have one more 8 credit class to get my BA from college, I guess I like stress but not how I take care of the stress. Thanks for listening and have a less emotional eating day.
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2,002 7/8/13 11:13 A
This is tricky for me. I haven't conquered it yet. I try to avoid having too much around the house that I can give in to when I feel like emotional eating. I also find that my cravings become much stronger at certain times of the month. I am learning to not be so hard on myself when I give in, but to not let it make me give up. Each moment is a chance to start anew.
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Great advice from all, especially Cirandella who appears to have conquered her emotional eating after many years of observation, self-reflection, experimentation, and otherwise hard work. Wow, what a difficult thing to overcome... (If it was easy, we'd all be thin, right?)
I imagine you have to experiment over time and find what works and what doesn't. At times, I've had to keep certain foods out of the house (I've found that some foods "trigger" me to overeat). I've had to learn to take walks or listen to music or even go for a ride when wanting to binge. I, too, will stop @ Dunkin' Donuts and get an iced coffee with skim milk. I've also learned to talk about my feelings. But still, these tricks don't always work. But then, after an emotional-eating binge, I just have to forgive myself and get back on track. One day at a time... It's like AA- the addiction just being food. What's wonderful is that we're greeted with a new day everyday! :)
I remember about 15 years ago, I lost about 40 pounds and then I gained it ALL back over a few months. Everyone had to have noticed and, thus, I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. I felt so depressed and self-conscious. People must have wondered, "How could someone put 40# on so quickly?" A lot of emotional/binge eating!
Please do remember, most all of us here on SP can relate in some way or another, so keep sparking and ask for help when you need it. Every day has it's struggles for me even when I'm at goal and you'd think otherwise. Hugs!!
I don't have it conquer. but I also agree with a lot of the advice you got here... track your food, take a walk, call a friend,put in a DVD. Read a book, take a nice long bath. I need to do the same.. :-)
I am an emotional l eater, when I am upset or stresses I wolf down large quantities of chocolate cake pancakes etc etc.
I try not to have these things in the house, but the thing with emotional eating is that you never know when it will hit. I can be eating healthily for days, even weeks then out of the blue something happens to upset me and I am almost out of control. I am full of regret even while eating.
You can't always control events, or other people! If you succumb to a bout then put it behind you. Keep tracking your food, this will give you some control. Remember it's one day at a time. Don't give up because of one upset - just get right back on track.
I don't know that emotional eating will ever be conquered for me. I have learned how to sidetrack myself, how to minimize the impact, how to keep it contained to one day, and how to forgive myself so I guilt trip myself into a binge -- but the urges are still there and every once in a while they get me -- not often, and usually after something traumatic.
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6,094 7/7/13 7:56 P
That's some of the best advice anyone could offer, EARTH-ANGEL - staying busy, and keeping one's mind and hands filled with other projects, chores, reading, hobbies. Eventually, it actually *does* get to the point where these things all take precedence over the old preoccupation with eating, and at that point, everything started getting easier for me...
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68 7/7/13 7:54 P
I am an emotional eater. I realized that I had 2 ways I would binge on food. One was when I was dealing with a lot of emotional stress. The other was when I was bored. When I started making myself exercise and taking my walks at lunch, I found that it helps me relax when I am under a great deal of stress. This keeps me from turning to food to release my stress. Every day is the battle with the boredom eating. I try to find ways to keep me occupied as well as keep snack that my family will eat, but I don't care for. I do keep healthy things like carrots, apples, & grapes around that I can grab if I do mindlessly snack with out adding the guilt to it.
Plan ahead. Ask yourself what can I do when i'm emotional and I want to eat? Come up with several solutions, act them out in your mind and u will be surprised how those solutions will pop up when u need it.
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4,439 7/7/13 11:46 A
I drink instead- not alcohol, but a cup of coffee. Coffee is one of my favorite beverages, I usually only add a splash of skim milk but if I'm in an emotional state I'll take it black.
I take my time with it- and by the time I'm done the cup, I'll be a bit calmer and more in control of myself.
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4,185 7/7/13 11:22 A
Like so many others have already said: you've got to learn to put eyes on yourself and recognise patters on your own behaviour. For me, a big red flag for regrettable decisions (mainly to do with eating) was when I'd catch myself saying "F*ck it!" I don't take that as an excuse to do stupid things anymore because part of growing up is learning that your actions have consequences.
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6,094 7/6/13 9:22 P
It took me decades to stop emotional eating, ARIZONA. In fact, I didn't get there until I was close to 60. Overcoming this roadblock was one of the most difficult pursuits in life I've ever had.
For me, it was largely a matter of isolating, and then divorcing, emotional reactions from overeating. I could always sense a literal change in my mood when I ate, say, more sugar, or overindulged in unhealthy, high-calorie and low-nutrient foods. I coupled them with alleviating depression.
Every individual who faces this struggle will find their own unique way of solving this problem. But first, it's important to shine the light of awareness and introspection on that tendency to overeat high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar foods when depressed, anxious, angry, etc. Write out the bad feelings or talk them out with a trusted friend...and if you can, work them out physically via exercise, too. Hobbies involving eye-hand coordination or those which thoroughly engage one's attention and involvement are real boons to halting emotional eating.
It's going to take each person a highly individualized combination of strategies to do this...but I promise, it's very much worth it! All the best to you - you're already wonderfully aware of what's at stake in attacking this frustrating problem head-on.
It has been my experience that alcohol is to and alcoholic and food is to an emotional eater. I have been on my journey several years. I actually made it to my goal weight in 2009 then medical issues set in - cancer and open heart surgery. I maintained my goal weight through it all but afterwards I used food to console myself. I don't think we are ever entirely "cured" - but it does get easier
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1,823 7/6/13 2:32 P
Congratulations! The first step to stopping emotional eating is recognizing that you eat your emotions!
I am also an emotional eater and have found a few things that help me.
First, pay attention to your feelings. Acknowledge what you are feeling. If you are mad, say so. And say what you are mad about. Practice saying what you need to say then say it to the person involved. For example, if I'm mad that my husband did (or didn't do something) I calmly tell him, DH, I get upset when you do this, it makes me feel like you don't care about me and I would appreciate it if you didn't do it anymore. The funny thing is most of the time he doesn't even realize that I'm upset about something.
I used to slam doors and silently rage about the house (yeah, real passive aggressive!) and stuff food down my throat. Now I try to be honest and admit to the emotions. I feel better, I'm no longer so angry about everything and my relationships are better.
Your feelings are real. And it's okay to have those feelings. You have to chose how you are going to deal with those feelings. You can't change others, you can only change yourself and you can control how you react.
It's also helpful to do some self analysis. Try to figure out why something upsets you. Then deal with the real emotion.
A couple of other things you can try, Overeaters Anonymous is a great group. It's free and you can talk with other people who have the same issues and practice talking with the people with whom you are upset.
Reading a variety of self help books on emotional eating etc can also help. Borrow them from the library and take what you find useful from them. One book may have 1 good idea, another may have a better idea. What they really do is make you think about yourself and help you validate how you feel.
Counseling can be helpful but I had better results from the books and OA. Good luck with addressing your emotions and losing the weight.
Thank you for all your ideas about dealing with emotional eating. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my struggles with this and I appreciate everyone honest replies.
Any additional tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
I will start to apply some of your ideas and know that with time and practice, I will be able to take control of my emotional eating and redirect my old habits by turning to something that is more positive like journaling, exercise or other activities.
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3 7/6/13 10:51 A
Try bite-sized or pre-packaged portions. Sometimes just that taste will satisfy the emotion. I have found that if I deny myself totally, I end up eating everything else and overdoing it on other things when I could have stayed on track if I had just gone ahead and enjoyed a small portion of my craving.
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86 7/6/13 9:20 A
I still haven't conquered that one quite yet. It's genetic for me, my mother is a HUGE emotional eater. The difference between us is she knows she does it but doesn't (seem) to try and control it while I am aware I do it and try to control it. The good news is that 1) There have been fewer and fewer times where I have done it and 2) I tend to eat more heathful food when I do it now instead of eating junk. For instance I remember during spring finals 2yrs ago I ate 2 large bags of salt and vinegar chips and 2 "regular" size packages of golden oreos - in the space of 3 or 4 days. This past spring final I hardly had any emotional eating episodes and the ones that I did were smaller portions of things like wheat crackers and cheese.
It just takes patience with yourself and a commitment to change, but don't beat yourself up because you won't fix the problem overnight. One step (and uneaten bag of chips) at a time.
I can usually identify when eating an emotionally satisfying treat and when I actually feel the satisfaction, which is often after a few bites. So I then toss the rest of the food item because I have realized it did its job and satisfied whatever urge made me want to eat it and anything further would be just being a garbage disposal and I am a person not a disposal.
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283 7/6/13 7:52 A
Ask yourself, AND be brutally honest......"Am I hungry?" "Have I eaten enough?" Sometimes you may feel hungry because you have overeaten for so long and need to retrain your body to be satisfied with less. You also need to increase your water because thirst often triggers a "hunger" feeling. And STAY BUSY!!!!!
Oh my goodness, me too! I have been with Spark People for a year now and emotional eating is my biggest challenge also. I must say I am getting better at not turning to food when my life gets out of control. This is what I've been doing and putting into practice it's helping me maybe it will help you. I identify what emotion I am feeling when I want to eat. Anger, Sadness happiness you get the picture. If it isn't true hunger than I don't eat. ...that one takes a lot of practice and even today I don't always get it right... but I keep trying. I have found another way to celebrate happiness without food, Growing up anything good that happened we seemed to celebrate with food, now I take myself to a movie, or go to the gym or even call someone and go miniature golfing, bowling etc. I found when I am angry instead of turning to food for comfort I write it down keep a journal work out do anything ... I stay out of the kitchen and away from food. When I am sad. I call a friend, exercise listen to music even screaming into my pillow is better than eating junk food. I do any thing that will get me through the rough times. exercise, dance sing what ever it takes. Last I keep a journal to track what triggers my emotional hunger pains.. and practice being peaceful and calm These things don't always work, for me but if it stops my emotional eating one time .. I'll keep practicing them till I no longer have an emotional eating problem.
My biggest challenge is emotional eating. I tend to eat too much when I am sad, upset, angry or scared. Emotional eating is hard to get control of especially since I tend to do it without even realizing I am eating out of an emotional need rather then because I am actually hungry.
Even when I am just eating a regular meal, I tend to eat larger portion sizes as it gives me something to do other then confront or deal with the emotional turmoil in my life.
I am constantly struggling with emotional eating. I often turn to food in order to create a sense of comfort, love and understanding. These are definitely not the "right" reasons to eat and often involve eating things that are full of fat and sugar. Anything with chocolate leads to my complete undoing!
All this emotional eating takes its toll as it also leaves me feeling tired, too full to feel like exercising, causes stomach-aches and headaches as well as keeps me hovering around 180 pounds year after year!
What do you do to avoid emotional eating? What activities to you participate in to avoid emotional eating?
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