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Emotional Eating

Thursday, May 09, 2013

A Sparks Friend posted an article on emotional eating.

Some Strategies To Limit Emotional Eating
1. Eliminate the triggers.
2. Change your reaction to your triggers.
3. Replace the food in reaction to your triggers.

Hi. My Sparks name is Dragon-Chick, and I'm an Emotional Eater.
Cliché? Yep.
True? Big time!!!

I've read almost every article I could find on the subject. I've tried psychotherapy ad hypnotherapy. Maybe if I kept these up for years I'd have seen some results, but the money ran out.

Food is my love, my friend, my playmate, my solace.
I eat if I'm happy, sad, bored, angry or just restless.
But I almost never eat from hunger.

Ok, I'm working on this, and I hope to put the above paragraph into past tense some day soon.

This blog is only my opinion, and comments on my own experiences. I don't mean to imply that differing opinions are wrong. I'm just sharing what I feel and what works for me. May it will be helpful to you.

So... when I read the article mentioned above, I eagerly checked it out, hoping for some revelation. The three strategies seemed valid and important. But most of the examples will probably not work for me. I wonder if they will work for anyone but the most driven. And would those people even be in this situation? For me, and probably for a lot of people, these are life-long habits we've developed to protect ourselves with from emotions we didn't know how to cope with.

1. Eliminate your triggers?

Eliminate all triggers for eating when you're not hungry? Not bloody likely! In my case, my best friend recently had a cancer scare; radiation and all. Yep, I *really* wanted to eliminate that one! Or work, where a lazy but popular co-worker just got the promotion? Switch jobs in this economy? Or family that drives you insane? What, disown them? I cannot eliminate my triggers. But I can identify my triggers, and prepare to deal with them.

2. Change your reaction to your triggers?

I love the comment about audiobooks for traffic! This works for me. I look forward to getting into my car twice a day now. But I don't consider that to be a reaction. More of a softening a trigger.

I know I have a lot of triggers. I'm working on identifying them, and finding healthier reactions methods for coping. And I know I need to make changes slowly so they stick.

3. Replace the food in reaction to your triggers?

Go for a walk instead of eating ice cream?

Senario 1: It's late, and raining out. I'm getting ready for bed and my grandmother calls to push my buttons. I'm tired and I'm now upset, and I want comfort food. Anyone suggesting a walk should anticipate an unpleasant reaction which may include a hand gesture. So how did I slowly start to replace this reaction? WW ice cream bars. Has to be single servings for me. One that I like. If I eat two, it's not the end of the world. I don't think I've gone for a third. I've also asked her not to call after a certain hour, and I screen my calls to protect my precious sleep, because she still calls when she can't sleep. And I remind myself that my grandmother is old, and not consciously trying to destroy my sanity. And I do some deep breathing, and I pet the purring cat who adores me or is just grateful for the food I give her.

Yoga, movies, read a book?

Scenario 2: Meeting at work; I make a suggestion, and the boss shrugs it off. Five minutes later the popular one makes the same suggestion and the boss praises that great idea. The vending machine is calling me like a siren song. I want M&M's. I resist, and start to feel more and more anxious. So what is my plan? I start bringing healthy cereal, like Rice Chex or Kellogg's Krave, in small containers. And each time I give in to the munchies, I remind myself that food is not a coping skill; it's not helping, it's just distracting. A non-food distraction at work can be a walk to the ladies room, or a quick game of computer solitaire or sudoko which I love, or checking out SparkPeople. It's funny (sad) how food is the most acceptable distraction in the workplace.

Changing my eating habits over the last few weeks has helped a bit, too. I have eliminated sugar and refined carbs, and the cravings have diminished a lot. First few days were hard, though! Just sayin'...

I'm not sure I have a bottom line to this blog, except that I think it's important to find out WHY we eat when we are not hungry, and then to figure out an effective way to stop doing it; a way that will work with our lifestyles.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ASH72461
    you are figuring out what your triggers are
    they is a very important first step
    I am still working on that
    I also find keeping my hands busy helps me keep from snacking .something as simple as a puzzle or plastic canvas when watching tv are big helps for me
    you just need to learn what works for you emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1625 days ago
    You know how I elimate the triggers? I elimate all the goodies I will run to when I am stressed out about something. if there is only stuff I do not care about eating, I will take a carrot or drink some tea. It works when you can not find anything to add weight to your problem. No sweets are in my house, only something I can chew to take care of the nerves.

    There will always be something to give you a trigger in life. I can not always run out or walk, or go in the car, so this is the only way I can combat it. I find chewing on something like a carrot gets it out of my system. Like taking it out on the poor carrot.LOL
    1625 days ago
    That's awesome that you can. I am so jealous!
    Can it be that I just have not figured out how to do that yet?
    Maybe I need anger management techniques? I dunno.
    I am a work in progress.
    1625 days ago
    I see the article as a general overview, not having the pretention to offer THE final answers...
    Sounds to me like you're quite well on your way finding your OWN way creating your own tools and answers with regard to emotional overeating.
    For me personally the 'eliminate triggers' does work well. Maybe not in ALL situations. But there are triggers that I can do something about and I see it as my responsiblity to try to figure out what drives me to eat and to see what I can do about it. Sometimes nothing can be done, but sometimes I definitely CAN make choices to eliminate the trigger.
    1625 days ago
    This topic does need a lot of exploration. I've been going around and around with this for several years, a couple of decades, really.

    Yoga, hard workouts, meditation, learning how to let go, really helped me. Like you I'm currently experimenting with cutting out certain foods. My goal for the month of May is to cut out wheat/gluten. Just that, nothing else, or it will become overwhelming. I've only been doing this for 4 days so it's too early to tell, but in the past 4 days my cravings have completely vanished. I'm very excited about that!

    Hope you'll find what helps you.
    1626 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/9/2013 10:45:06 AM
    Yep, it kills me when people say to eliminate the triggers....I would have to crawl in a box and hide away for the rest of my life!
    But choosing an alternate form of relief/comfort is the way to go. I am still working on that part! Thanks for the link to the article and the ideas.
    1626 days ago
    Realizing what the triggers are is a big step.

    1626 days ago
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