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PEACEHOPE1 SparkPoints: (15,057)
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12/7/12 3:32 P

Great topic. Like several of you, my emotional eating and my compulsive eating are typically separate - although sometimes they are inter-related. I have a very strong sugar addiction that I'm working on controlling, and most of my compulsive eating revolves around that addiction.

JACQUICLAIRE13 SparkPoints: (586)
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12/7/12 2:28 P

Babeinwaiting, you have just described EXACTLY how I am now too. It is so nice to know there are people out there like me. Where I live it feels like no one is in the same boat and no one seems to understand my food battles. Mind you no one actually knows because I am a secret eater but I know that it is not something I can talk about, it is way too embarrassing. How can I admit that I cant stop myself eating. I feel so greedy :(

_BABE_ Posts: 2,371
12/7/12 1:28 P

I am a compulsive eater who finds an additional excuse to eat when stressed so mark me down for both categories. When I joined Weight Watchers in March of 1988 I became a different sort of compulsive eater because now tracking food has it on my mind every minute of every day. Unfortunately I don't think I will ever be able to consume food willy nilly like a normal person and feel secure and in control that I won't somehow be eating too much or too little. Not that tracking is a bad thing because I owe the WW exchange program a lot for my ability to eat a balanced meal and be aware of what I am taking into my body. However, like someone who abuses any substance it (FOOD) will forever be on my mind whether I am in recovery or not and that is a burden.

ROSE-LITE Posts: 1,930
12/7/12 9:53 A

yup..trigger foods... I like that term... ice cream is very hard for me to eat just a little of it so it's best it's not in the house... I'd say I'm more compulsive... I don't eat when I'm sad or worried... I eat to entertain myself or cuz I'm happy... vicious circle

SHAREBEAR1963 Posts: 1,778
12/7/12 9:14 A

I just did this yesterday. I was at the gas station and saw a bag of gardetto garlic rye chips (one of my favorites andI had not had these in over a year), so I purchased the bag and ended up eating the whole thing in one sitting. I was so disgusted with myself.

It seems like there are certain things I have no control over, while other times, I am so reasonable. It was 4.5 servings and 765 calories of junk at once.

But, I am back on track today.

KIMBERLY_Y SparkPoints: (54,464)
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12/7/12 8:52 A

Great comments on this board! Thanks for the ideas.

SUSANK16 Posts: 2,635
12/6/12 8:21 P

No but it took me a long time to learn that I was a stress eater. Emotional eater (although accurate) was a term that I did not get as I would say I eat when I am happy, sad, tired, whatever. Finally I figured out that I was a stress eater and that all types of emotion equals stress to me. So now I very carefully watch when I feel stress.

TINAJANE76 SparkPoints: (66,590)
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12/6/12 6:20 P

Yes! I've been trying to figure out what compels me to overeat for years. I've yet to be able to find an emotional connection to my eating outbursts, so I can't categorize them as anything but a compulsion. Food tastes good and sometimes I just want a lot of it!

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,511
12/6/12 1:40 P

I'm 75% compulsive eater and 25% emotional eater.
Trigger foods like nuts quickly become a binge for me.
These days I've learned to avoid emotional triggers by avoiding the people who like to push buttons...It's a miracle some of these people haven't been strangled yet.

WHEELS54 Posts: 492
12/6/12 12:58 P

Re Geneen Roth: I am reading "When you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair...50 ways to feel thin gorgeous and happy when you are feeling anything but". I like it a lot. It is enlightening and humorous. I recommend it!

REDDRIDA Posts: 2,306
12/6/12 12:36 P

I am sure mine is 50% OCD and 50% Emotional. I consider myself a foodie (mistake #1) and I used to collect recipes from various websites via e-mail and was a faithful watcher of Foodnetwork TV(Mistake #2). These 2 things drove my obsession with food into OVERDRIVE. I have unplugged from Food Network - barely watch it - and have unsubscribed to ALL of the recipes that used to be e-mailed to me. This has helped tremendously. I have moved into a 3rd floor apartment and trucking alot of groceries up the steps has become cumbersome so shopping is done on a smaller scale. I am still working on the other 50% which is emotional/habitual which can be a struggle at times but day by day, that's all we can do.

HFAYE81 SparkPoints: (21,822)
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12/6/12 11:45 A

Geneen Roth is great. I read Women Food and God. Struck so many chords with me, I loved it.

STRONGNFIERCE SparkPoints: (82,712)
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12/6/12 8:38 A

I am an on the wagon or off the wagon person.

I either eat compulsively or I don't eat compulsively depending where I am.
I'm beginning to learn slowly but surely how to tame my compulsion to eat and be healthier!
I never needed a reason to eat, it was always either, emotional, boredom, because I was tired....if i was eating, there was a reason...

FANCYNANCY66 SparkPoints: (23,383)
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12/5/12 9:06 P

I can identify with this topic. In addition to the book recommended by another blogger, I would like to recommend, "Why Weight? A guide to Ending Compulsive Eating" by Geneen Roth. She also authored, "Breadking Free From Compulsive Eating" and "Feeding The Hungry Heart."

She is a compulsive eater who finally understood it and took control of her eating. It is a psychological and behavioral approach. I am a binge eater, I have an addiction to sweets where one will trigger a compulsive eating of lots of sweets. Her thoughts and workbook items within the book Why Weight helped me and I have used the principles of behavior modification to break the chain of stimulus of certain foods to the response of eating them and then overeating them. The concepts related to habit breaking and new incompatible behavior training such as when hungry eat a proper portion, chew slowly, have music playing that is soothing, eat it at a table and repeating this for about a week has established the response to hunger and I am "full" and satisfied with a proper portion because chemically the 20 minutes has passed with my deliberate 25 chews on a bite to the point that I can put my plate in the sink and not want to go for seconds, thirds, etc. until the whole pan is gobbled up and I am worn out from guilt and over medicating my self. Thanks for the topic and I have gone from almost 300 lbs 5/30/2008 to 179 lbs today. My lowest was 172 lbs a while back, but one is never 100% "cured" and I have had to re-institute some behavioral changes to get back control. It will be a lifetime journey for all of us with this issue. But, really worth it. Gone from a size 26-28 to a size 16. Worth every struggle.

SABLENESS Posts: 7,631
12/5/12 3:24 P

It's clear you're not alone. I do emotional eating, but sometimes it just is a compulsion. Highly recommended reading with unlikely title that caught my attention:

The Gift of Our Compulsions

Edited by: SABLENESS at: 12/5/2012 (15:25)
HFAYE81 SparkPoints: (21,822)
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12/5/12 2:55 P

This is interesting and informative. I know that sometimes I want something crunchy, or something salty, or something sweet...and then it goes in cycles until I feel sick. Even if I wasn't hungry to begin with, or not sad, nervous, or bored.

ROGERSBABE1 SparkPoints: (0)
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12/5/12 2:52 P

Food tastes good. I love good food; I love eating out. I don't like feeling full or the feeling I get when I've had too many sweets, but occassionally I do eat to the point of fullness or have too large a portion of ice cream or some delicious home made baked good. I don't know if it's emotional or something as basic as just being plain, old, greedy. Something that tastes good on the tongue is a great reward in and of itself.

HEALTHY-SPARK SparkPoints: (43,082)
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12/5/12 11:09 A

Super interesting information in this thread! Thanks!

MEG-NATALIA07 Posts: 679
12/5/12 11:01 A

That's why I joined SP! I really love munching, but had no idea the portion control idea, at least not how it applied to me ;). Popcorn, muffins, pancakes, and cheese were my worst offenders. I'd just be munching away. I love food! It's yummy! But I wanted a good relationship with food, not feeling resentful about eating delicious stuff because my pants were tighter. So thank you SP for helping me learn portion sizes!

The munchies battle, heck that's always gonna be there. I just try and keep it portion controlled or reach for crunchie low-cal options. I have to stay aware, because it's so easy to miss.

MJZHERE Posts: 927
12/5/12 10:47 A

Has a lot to do with what I am thinking about. If I am thinking about food - hmmm, maybe I'll get something out of that cupboard- then I'll eat. If I think about something else - get busy doing a task that needs done - I don't find myself eating. Guess it could be called boredom eating but I understand how it doesn't feel that way - I wouldn't call it boredom. Our feelings and our actions come from our thoughts. Takes time to slow down and figure out what it is I am thinking and if I want to change that thinking - resulting in different feelings and actions.

GRIZ1GIRL SparkPoints: (201,598)
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12/5/12 9:48 A

Hmmm...for me all of life is about "emotions"...compulsive eating is always emotional eating in my world. Guess I don't understand the difference....good luck to you!

I.M.MAGIC Posts: 13,196
12/5/12 9:02 A

Craving sweets is often a response to stress, and can be dealt with by finding and using stress reduction techniques, like meditation and breathing exercises and so on-- but it is also one of the "symptoms" that doctors look for when diagnosing diabetes. You may want to consider talking to your doctor again... better safe than sorry, y'know?...

... and I hope you heal quickly and feel better soon!
Kathy emoticon

12/5/12 8:41 A

As a compulsive overeater, I know that I do often eat for emotional reasons, but my experience is that there are some foods that, biochemically, produce that compulsive 'gotta have it' reaction in my body that has nothing to do with emotions.

The longer I am abstinent from my trigger foods, the less I crave them, but one taste can send me right back into that craving/compulsion chain that is so hard to break. When that happens to me, it is part of the chemical process of addiction, and has little to do with anything emotional.

The other piece of this though is that if I find myself giving into the cravings and eating compulsively, it doesn't take long for that shame and guilt and hopelessness to start creeping back, and then it BECOMES a emotional issue.

I believe that compulsive overeating is a complex issue that is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, and at any given time, a food addict could be compulsively eating for any one of those reasons individually or for a combination of them.

12/5/12 6:35 A

I know I'm addicted---ADDICTED---to food. It's not just emotional (or even emotional at all); it's just constant, all-the-time eating and/or craving food. CRAZY!!!! Eating when I'm happy, sad, hungry, stuffed; eating when everything is going well, when everything is going poorly, when I'm busy, when I'm bored....

And now I'm working really hard to change all that. I've given up (or am trying to) some obvious triggers, and planning to give up others. But it's one constant battle! Thanks to SP I am at least heading for the right track...

SEAGLASS1215 Posts: 594
12/5/12 4:40 A

Trigger foods cause me to overeat whether I am bored or emotional or just because they are there. I can be stuffed to the gills after a huge meal and if I start eating one of my triggers, I will continue even if I feel sick. I think it may be addiction related -- I was a heavy smoker, quit 14+ years ago. Yes, my weight problems started about that same time, but there were other factors as well (medication, age, leftover pregnancy weight x3).
Certain foods are simply non-negotiable. I cannot have jelly beans, certain types of cookies & crackers, Smartfood popcorn....
I'm trying to keep myself from eating out of boredom and to stay awake -- going to bed early helps.

LISAN0415 SparkPoints: (9,164)
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12/5/12 2:57 A

I have what I refer to as "Trigger foods"

I have learned about myself (and I know this isn't true for everyone) that certain foods make me want to overeat. For me it's things like Pizza, Tortilla chips, and cookies/cakes. Mostly refined carbs/sugars

So knowing that about myself I avoid those foods. I know many people can eat just 1 small slice of pizza and half a cookie and a smallllllll piece of cake with no frosting, this is not me. I am not an emotional eater either, but sometimes I feel like an alcoholic- like if I just have one I slip down the slope and fall hard. I don't have addiction issues, but that's the best I can compare it to. I haven't had a candy bar since I started this journey- which is right before Halloween, I also haven't had pizza since then. I did have tortilla chips and let me tell you, I just wanted more and more.

I would say over 90% of us who have a weight issue have it because of overeating (the others may be because of a medication and/or medical issues)

When I get hungry, I eat, but now its something healthy, and filling. I am surprised at myself at how physically full I can feel with just 300 calories, where as it would take me 800 (or more) of pizza to feel that way!

I think it's sugar that triggers my pleasure zone in the brain, I am getting it under control.


GRATTECIELLA SparkPoints: (129,931)
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12/5/12 2:11 A

I find eating can sometimes become a habit , like a snack in front of the tv at night or jellybeans while working at my desk. It's a struggle to replace these habits with others (knit while watching tv, chew gum or drink tea while working).

SUSANBEAMON Posts: 11,975
12/5/12 1:37 A

that's one of the things i'm dealing with right now. i'm eating when i'm not hungry. i look at the food, and know i don't need it or want it all that much, but later i find crumbs around my mouth. i'm not being very mindful right now. i think part of it is the transition to retirement, and part of it is still healing from my surgery, but still, i'm craving sugar and not happy about it.

DRAGONFLYGALS SparkPoints: (12,382)
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12/5/12 12:32 A

I find I eat to stay awake. I am learning to just go to sleep instead.

SKYE60 SparkPoints: (1,377)
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12/4/12 10:00 P

My mother in law has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Behavior. Often she will obsess over one or two things, sometimes even with what she eats and the amount. Maybe this is something you may want to check into. She will at times compulsivley eat large amounts of food, often junk food, also saying she is not stressed or bored that she wants something that tastes good in her mouth and that she likes to eat. She can feel stuffed and still be munching junkfoods and sweets. Right now she is working with a professional and taking some meds to help. It is believed she is doing this because of her OCB.

Edited by: SKYE60 at: 12/4/2012 (22:02)
SEXYONE4 SparkPoints: (23,738)
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12/4/12 9:39 P

I find myself doing this at times. I like to eat and crave certain foods at time. I have to find things to keep me busy to avoid caving to these cravings. If I crave it for more than a week, I eat it to avoid binge eating.

XANGELSTEARZX SparkPoints: (39,461)
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12/4/12 8:24 P

My experiance is that it's never compulsive eating without a reason...there is always something emotional leading to it. If I'm truely happy and satisfied at the moment I have no desire to mindlessly snack when I'm not occupied.

I.M.MAGIC Posts: 13,196
12/4/12 7:36 P

I honestly think that if we are eating when we're not hungry, it IS an emotional issue. It may be just that we don't recognize or acknowledge the emotions because they are buried deeper than we care to look... that boredom thing? Wikipedia defines it like this:

"Boredom... an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, and not interested in their surroundings." Hm. LOL

Seems like the cure really IS to find something to occupy your time!... anyone want to come help me wash my walls? emoticon

Kathy emoticon emoticon

CHARITY1973 Posts: 189
12/4/12 7:15 P

There are some great 12 step programs for compulsive eating as well as other programs/methods for dealing with compulsive behavior. It's very treatable.

I liked the idea that eating because of boredom is best treated by not getting bored! May be why I've been doing so well lately. I'm on the go and never get a chance to sit in the front of the TV. That's the evil food eating machine!

EMMAEKAY SparkPoints: (0)
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12/4/12 5:55 P

Compulsive eating is usually based on boredom - find a hobby that keeps you out of the house and away from food. Join a book group, go for a walk, find active things that keep you challenged and occupied. Even sewing or knitting can keep you from being a snack monster. Eating from boredom is easy to stop - just stop being bored!

RACHBERTVT SparkPoints: (0)
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12/4/12 4:52 P

Seems like you eat when you're bored and that is very common. Just keep yourself busy and it should get easier for you.

TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (0)
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12/4/12 3:05 P

Sometimes I find myself eating just because I make a habit of it. If I, say, eat a tootsie roll at 8pm while watching TV every day for maybe two weeks, eventually I go on autopilot and reach for it even when I don't want it.
My boyfriend, on the other hand, is a straight up compulsive eater. We're trying to lose weight together, and he often has trouble with this part. He'll eating something before I get home from work when I cook as soon as I get home (he gets home ten minutes before me), he will finish what's on my plate for the sake of finishing and he will pull something out and snack at night though, if asked, he can't explain why he's eating. It is tough, but we'll get through both our issues with eating...

SINAED SparkPoints: (15,107)
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12/4/12 2:50 P

since i have got to the size i want to be i find myself tempted to eat certain treats a lot more often....probably because one of the places i work i am surrounded by chips lollies and ice creams and on a slow business day i just counteract these temptations i try to find something to do....usually a meaningless job which really does not need to be done....this keeps me away from the shop area and i'm not tempted as much

ANYANP2 SparkPoints: (2,357)
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12/4/12 2:18 P

Its human nature to want what we cant have. The more we say NO to that naughty nibble, the more we want to say YES!

CATMAGNET SparkPoints: (40,431)
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12/4/12 1:45 P

I've certainly done that myself, before I finally got a grip on my cravings. What I now find myself doing is try to come up with healthier alternatives or think about what's actually in those foods before it goes in my mouth...also helps that I don't allow those trigger foods that I have a hankering for in my apartment (I'm single with no kids, so that makes it easier), so it's more difficult to get my hands on those foods.

12/4/12 12:34 P

I crave snack cakes when I am alone. The cravings seem to be tied to my Mom as well. Wehn I was little and i was alone with her, she would let me buy a snack cake for the ride home. IT was something special just for me and none of my 6 brothers or sisters got, so it made me feel special. I still crave those cakes, especially when I think of her.

VBCABELLO72 Posts: 105
12/4/12 12:27 P

Maybe there is some emotional connection to the food you want. I know that I don't have to be in any noticeably emotional state, and when I have Chinese food from one particular restaurant, I just don't want to stop. I have always enjoyed Chinese food with my mom, and I think that is why I have such a time getting stopped once I start. My good memories are tied to that food making it taste so delicious.

BERKANA_T Posts: 138
12/4/12 11:48 A

I'm like Yojulez in that I love good food and I love to eat out (mostly because there are a lot of food/meals that I enjoy but I don't know how to make myself). It is VERY hard for me to stop eating when I'm enjoying a meal that much, but I've only just very recently learned the same trick she did - asking myself "When am I going to be able to have this again?". Since the answer hasn't been "Never" yet, I've found it a lot easier to stop.

I also do the emotional eating thing, and it doesn't always have to be when I'm feeling down or anxious. I also tend to eat when I'm happy, since I enjoy it more at those times. And eating when I'm bored is also a problem. Food has been my bandaid for many things for a very long time... I'm working on realizing what I'm doing and stopping, without beating myself up for a moment of weakness. It's a work in progress.

CHARLIE166 SparkPoints: (42)
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12/4/12 11:39 A

That's what I'm trying at the moment. If I keep a little bit of nice things in the house then I know they'll always be there. It hasn't worked so far though. I bought Rye bread on the weekend and it's lush! I just keep going back for little nibbles of the stuff : ) I'm trying to think 'well I'm not hungry so I don't need it. I cna have some tomorrow'. x

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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12/4/12 11:36 A

That's been my biggest issue throughout my weight loss journey... knowing when to stop. I've actually been the happiest I've ever been in my adult life this year, so I never was emotionally eating because I was depressed or anything (although that's one of the reasons I got fat!). But, I love food, love to cook, love to eat out at great restaurants (another reason I got fat LOL) so when I was having something that was really really delicious, it was hard to stop eating it. But what helped me was asking myself "OK, is this the last time I will ever be able to have these cookies (or whatever it is I was eating)?". Since the answer 99% of the time is "no, I will be able to have them again another time." it helped me to stop. The only time it wasn't no, was back in CA (that I moved away from), and there was this delicious chile colorado and puffy homemade gordita tortillas, and I ate it all :) I can have it again when I go back to visit, but that isn't very often, so sometimes I do just let myself go for it.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 12/4/2012 (11:37)
CHARLIE166 SparkPoints: (42)
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12/4/12 10:53 A

That's exactly what I'm like. Because I try only to keep healthy things in the house when I'm out or at work and there's bread, cakes, biscuits even just having a meal out I over orge and seriously bine. I've tried keepin some of what I'm not supposed to have in the house (peanut butter for example) and I can have a little bit, then a little bit more then before long I'm binging on it out of the jar totally uncontrollably. I hate myself from doing it and tell myself to stop but can't x

IMELECTRIC SparkPoints: (14,798)
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12/4/12 10:10 A

It is a common thing. "Got to have" Find some books on compulsiveness and read up on it. You can not fight something unless you know what youare fighting.

-POOKIE- Posts: 22,528
12/4/12 8:23 A


I love food, I love to eat, and sometimes its just hard to stick to a plan, nothing is wrong, nothing emotional, I just fancy something I can't have!

Harder to fight than emotional eating as you cannot address the reason, as there is none!

CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
12/4/12 7:04 A

I think I've done that a few times.
It's odd, because it certainly doesn't make me feel better, likely because I wasn't even hungry to begin with, and then became uncomfortably full

CINDYA1962 Posts: 1,154
12/4/12 5:37 A

Does anyone ever find themselves fighting compulsive eating that is clearly not emotionally based? Don't feel stressed or anxious or sad, just want to eat things that weren't part of my plan for the day. Why? No big mystery here--usually because they are there or because I know they taste good. Just wondering....

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