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Emotional over-eating.......

Monday, July 04, 2011


Trust me, this is NOT just about the negativity in life. It's also about celebrating the good things that life throws your way.

Think about this....

How many 'work meetings' have you attended where they did NOT provide food or drink?

How often do you gather with friends or family and your time together is NOT centered around "what shall we eat"?

My negative emotional eating blocked my pain, sadness, abuse, discomfort, boredom, loneliness and insulting comments.

But I also dealt with positive emotions, like: celebrating a raise, getting a promotion, starting a new job, having another birthday, reaching a milestone, the sun shined, the wind blew, I received a compliment....

I think you get the point I'm trying to make ~ I ate and I didn't know how to stop!!

While home-bound this past winter, my best friend was bringing me groceries. He never questioned what was on my list, until that one day when he noticed the bag of cereal I had ordered from the previous week had been consumed.

He commented, "that bag had 15 servings and it's gone?"

I replied, "you've known me for over 30 years and you never knew that I was an emotional over-eater?"

OMG ~ what did I just declare? Not only had I acknowledged my problem, but I said it OUT LOUD???

It truly was a baby step forward onto my healthy journey. I recognized my fault, acknowledged it and then shouted it from the roof-top!!

Let the healing begin....

At that moment I realized I didn't have the temptations involved with grocery shopping ~ you know those little tidbits that always manage to jump into your cart, but are never on your shopping list.

I seized the opportunity and the next list did NOT contain: crackers, pizza, or sugar-coated cereal. Gradually the list grew to include: fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and healthy meat like chicken and fish.

On one delivery he even mentioned "how proud he was of me" and I didn't automatically shove food in my mouth. I just blushed and said, "Thank you!"

FEELING EMOTIONS ~ what a new concept!!!

I have no tricks up my sleeve or any magical tips in over-coming this emotional side of eating. There are many times that I reach for food ~ especially when I experience mindless eating.

A big part of my success ~ I don't set myself up for failure. I don't have the temptations that I know I cannot resist. If I'm going to shove food in, to comfort an emotion, my choices are apples, pears, nectarines, cantaloupe, carrots, green beans, pea pods, fish or chicken.

I still get bored, am lonely, am happy and will always be challenged with mobility issues. But I'm also seeking other ways of dealing with those emotions ~ like volunteering my time.

Genealogy and quilting are a BIG part of my life! Through quilting, I'm providing quilts for children with cancer and newborns in need.

With my genealogy, I've been volunteering my time with Familysearch.org in providing new resources ~ the current project: 1940 Federal Census - will be available in 2012.

I will often help others with their family trees ~ I just LOVE the hunt & search!!

Now I sometimes get so wrapped up in an activity that I forget to eat ~ too bad THAT scenario didn't happen more in my lifetime!! LOL

I'm not certain I will ever be cured from emotional eating.

But each time I can "fill the need" with another activity, the hurdle becomes less challenging and I look forward to the day when it is just a bump in the road...

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KATIE2U2
    Great blog. I am also working on not eating emotionally & also not eating for several hours at night watching tv. They are hard not to do when you have done them all your life. It does help not to have the "junk" foods around to tempt us all the time.
    2650 days ago
    Very good blog!
    2842 days ago
    Annie, sounds like you just took a major step forward. I'm so glad that you have a best friend that cares so much about you. I also want to thank you for making the quilts for the children with cancer & the newborns in need. That's an amazing substitute for 'mindless eating.' I also appreciate your genealogy skills, having been someone who benefited from them.

    Thanks for all you do.

    2844 days ago
  • _KATHY
    Great job getting to know yourself Annie. I'm finding all those things to be true for myself as well. Feeling your feelings has got to be a major reason for not having to eat over those feelings. What is the worse that can happen if we just allow ourselves to "feel". We won't break. So, instead of piling that particular feeling on top of other unfelt feelings, we just feel it and let it go. Then we go back and take a stored feeling and deal with it and let that go. The mountain of feelings (for which we overeat) diminish one by one. Well, that's how I look at it anyway :) Actually, that's a Genene Roth teaching.
    2846 days ago
    Ah, yes. The bane of many a day. Emotional eating/over-eating is a frequent cause of obesity. But, there are alternatives; and I think you're onto them with the quilting.

    I took up sketching, inking, painting, photography, dance, stand-up comedy - anything and everything that I could think of to turn the urge to eat into something creative and beautiful to share with others.

    And, you've chosen such wonderful beneficiaries of your loving labors. You have much to be proud of, and I know that you will find new and ever-more inventive and appreciable ways to redirect the urge to eat.

    Pain, joy, boredom - these can all be transferred into a creative and kind outlet to make ourselves and the lives of those around us better. So, please, continue to choose healthy alternatives when the urge is too great - and to pursue quilting and any other artisitic endeavor that will help you to turn those feelings inside of you into a source of joy and happiness for you and for others.

    well done. And, of course, best wishes.
    2846 days ago
    Great blog. Awesome insight. I am also an emotional eater. I am slowly becoming a former emotional eater.
    2847 days ago
    I know my own struggle with emotional eating is that when certain things happen that really leave me unhappy or distressed I still choose food because I can't seem to find anything else that works yet...I love your idea to allow those times to be what they are, but to choose healthier choices instead of the usual bad ones. Thanks, Annie!
    2847 days ago
  • BANAN2
    My take away from this blog is the "fill the need with another ACTIVITY". I've been thinking that I shouldn't need to divert myself from my emotions and telling myself I need to stop. Well, I am 56 and have been doing this all my life. Maybe instead of telling myself I need to stop, it will be more productive and fruitful for me to acknowledge that this is my knee jerk response, that I personally need a little help to calm myself when things get intense, for good or bad. And then focus on the activities I enjoy and substitute one for frantic eating. Get moving, get busy, get immersed in something that feels "safe". Food for thought...oh, it always comes back to food for me, LOL!
    2847 days ago
    Great blog! I'm so happy for you. The more you do it, the better you will get at it, the more automatic it will become. Keeping temptation away is key for me. I get angry at my roommate when she puts sugary cereal in the cabinet. I tell her to keep it in her room. lol. I can really empathize with you on feeling your emotions. It is usually painful for me, even good emotions.
    2847 days ago
  • JLEE123
    Like how you are using grocery lists to control your environment. Can't eat what ya don't have? Got the waist on your trousers tightened or buying new? J
    2847 days ago
    I am too..so controlling my emotions is the key to controlling my eating..
    2848 days ago
  • SAMI199
    You are taking all the right steps & not one of them is easy!!
    I share your struggle & I know that this is something we have to do every single day-it is a battle-no doubt about it-BUT it is worth the fight! We can do this!!!!!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2848 days ago
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