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Anyone have emotional issues with food?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I hit a wall yesterday. Or maybe I reached a breaking point? Either way – last night was one long bad meltdown like I haven’t had in a long time. My eyes are still puffy and my body is still recovering today. I probably look like I drank a few bottles of wine by myself but I didn’t.

I actually had a great day at work yesterday. Stuck to my packed foods, went on a long walk at lunch, had a coworker praise me in writing to my boss. By all means I should have been fine.

I know what set me off and I need to pay attention to how these situations affect me because I let it go way too far. I think it all really started on Sunday, Mother’s Day. Everyone was posting all over facebook how much they owe to their Mothers, how great they are, perfect role models and all. Meanwhile, I go to see mine and it’s a mess. I’ll spare you the details but I have often been the parents TO my parents and it almost felt like I was taking my children out for an expensive lunch. I felt SO sad on Sunday night and thought that I slept it off. ANYWAYS – yesterday, early in the day, my mom started e-mailing me about my sister’s wedding stuff and it is getting out of hand. I felt the last drop fall and cause my cup to overflow. I let it all out on her and, as usual, ended up nowhere. I don’t know why I continue to try to fix things out of my control. I suppose with your family, you have more force behind your good intentions because they are blood. It can be extremely frustrating and draining when those relationships are strained, or when you are watching a train wreck happen in slow motion and your instinct tells you to try to prevent it and no one is listening. As we all know, when you are tested emotionally, it affects everything else in your life like your health, your willpower, your energy. I let the emotional strain get to me yesterday – hardcore.

I was driving home and I knew I had a healthy dinner planned and all I could think about was junk food. I was drained – I didn’t feel like cooking. But I had bought stuff all organic (expensive) for this meal and I was going to do it because darn it I hate wasting money. Well, this Sparkrecipe for Jalapeno Popper Chicken from their e-mail last week was AWFUL. I should have read the recipe more closely because even the way it was written didn’t make sense. Spark should really proof the recipes they send out because this one was full of typos and missteps. I even made a comment to my BF at one point while putting it together that we should probably just order a pizza because I had a bad feeling about it. I was right! It was bad. So I had ate my salad and corn and tossed the rest. Cue – meltdown.

I’m not even sure what exactly set it off. I can’t remember. But I do know I cried for what felt like hours after that point. I think I brought up something vaguely related to my family issues – like how I was upset that my bf was playing a video game when I got home. I think the underlying issue was “I’m feeling emotional and weak and I need a hug and you were playing a game” but it turned into this argument about chores, my weight, my issues with food, etc. It got ugly. Again – way out of hand. My bf then started suggested things we could eat out to make up for it and my brain just couldn’t handle the fact that I probably still needed to eat something, and how to do it at a restaurant without overeating. We ended up arguing about me and food. Me. And. Food.

I feel so embarrassed today. I can’t figure out how it escalated so bad besides the fact that I was in a crazy person mode, which makes me feel even more embarrassed and guilty.
I have been trying to put SO MUCH emphasis on positivity. How could I have done something so negative?

I shouldn’t let my emotions control so much. It shouldn’t make me want to eat junk, be lazy, or be mean to the person who means the most to me. It isn’t fair to him.

Food and emotions clearly have WAY too close of a relationship for me. If we’re going out to eat with our friends and I am trying to be “good” – I swear to you that I feel actual pain. Why can’t I eat the junk? Why do I have to watch other people eat it? And the old battle ALWAYS starts in my brain “I really want to eat the junk, but I don’t want to get fat!” I can’t seem to just walk into a restaurant and make a good choice and be okay with it. I ALWAYS fight myself. I always feel like crying when I see someone else eating French fries. It gets really tiring! I have been making the efforts recently to plan ahead and stick to my guns, and maybe that will help in the long run, but I can’t help but feel that last night was a test that I failed.

I guess I don’t know how to break the cycle. I don’t know how to go with the flow with food. I don’t know how to confidently make good choices and not agonize over junk food. I don’t know how to keep my emotions separate from food. But I do know that the worst fights my BF & I have had have been about my relationship with food and how he is worn out from trying to help me, and I need to do something about it.

Have any of you ever felt this way? What are you doing or have done to fix it? I’m getting desperate. I wish someone could reprogram my brain.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • HOLLYM48
    I am not an emotional eater but after reading so many blogs about it, I can only imagine how hard of a cycle it is to break. Keep on doing your best and habits will form that will be much more healthy for you. I am hoping you will win this battle!
    emoticon emoticon
    1855 days ago
    I feel like this often, so I totally get where you're coming from. I often feel majorly resentful of people I know who eat out ALL the time and can eat whatever they want. They don't have to work out and buss their butts, and I do. It aggravates me when someone sends junk to my house, or my hubby brings it home. I have issues with my family also. There is also some sort of drama, and I am so tired of dealing with it. I'd move states away if it were a possibility. I just want to get away from these toxic people who drain me, who I have limited my contact with. I think sometimes when life is hard, food is a pleasure we can fall back to. It's always there, and it's a comfort. It's very hard to find that balance between having a slice of cake and it turning into devouring half a cake in a day. I allow myself indulgences that fit into my calories, but that won't make me go over. When I know I can have some treats, it makes me feel like I have something extra good to look forward to. The emotional attachment to food is so hard to overcome. I fight it all the time. I grew up with a grandmother who fed me huge bowls of ice cream with cookies and syrup on top and that was just how we ate. Hang in there. Just take it one day at a time and don't let a bad couple days derail you, because they don't take away from all the other good things you've been doing.
    1855 days ago
    I'm totally an emotional eater...I have lots of triggers, happy, sad, aggravated, annoyed, missing my hubs, etc. When my hubs deployed the first time I lost 15 pounds. He deployed this time, I gained 13 pounds, geesh

    I think a lot of us can relate to you!
    1856 days ago
    Disclaimer: I'm not really an emotional eater (although when I'm down, I do attack the chocolate).

    I found that (for me) when I started to relax a bit more, eating out got easier. It's not easy, because the easy places to eat tend to have fewer healthy tasty foods, but when I stopped stressing about the food and just started enjoying it that's when it got easier.

    Yes, fries are amazing, but I now pretty much only get them at a couple of places because I want the GOOD stuff (I'm now the same about chocolate: if I'm going to eat "bad" foods, I'm damn well going to enjoy them!). The rest of the time I get a salad as my side because, it will taste better than crappy, frozen fries.

    Junk food is delicious, but so can good food be! That's my key: as long as it tastes good, I'm happy whether it's healthy or not. I just try to balance it out a bit.

    1858 days ago
    Most of use are emotional eaters... I read an article about "bad" feeling like: sadness, desperation etc. The author said there are no bad feelings. Feelings are not positive or negative. You can learn from all of them as long as they don't control your life. You cannot be happy all the time, it means you are living in a utopia. Being sad for a long time needs you to take some drastic measures to change your life.
    So she said: All feeling are good as long as they don't control your life.

    I read another article which I found really interesting (or was it a blog of a Sparkfriend?). It proposed the method HALT. HALT is a method that reminds you to ask yourself if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired before reaching for food as a comforting tool. So before eating, you must identify your feelings and the reason that you are again in front of the fridge.

    Talk to your close people all the time about your feelings so there won't be things that are in the closet. Spoken truth will not haunt you (and lead you to overeating).

    I used to eat when I was unhappy with my life. Now I try my best to be happy so I won't end up eating like there is no tomorrow emoticon

    1858 days ago
  • KELLY19770
    A lot of what you wrote hit home with me. Especially the going out to eat and not feeling good about choosing the right foods while everyone else eats junk. Maybe going out to eat has been programmed as a "reward" or something related to a good time, and we expect to have that good time, darn it! I find when I am actually trying to behave I have to nearly cut out most of the eating out.
    I am so sorry to read that your boyfriend and you fight a lot about your issues with food. I hope that he is being supportive. It's hard for someone who doesn't have a toxic relationship with food, and might not gain weight very easily, to understand our love/hate tango with something as mundane
    1858 days ago
    I wrote a long blog about emotional eating - why I did it - much of it stemmed from my husband losing his brother, SIL, and niece in a plane accident and me knowing the women ate little because they were due to attend a party that afternoon - so I ate because you never knew when you'd die. Makes no sense, but that was my reaction to their deaths.

    Anyway, I found writing the blog to be very cathartic and sat there crying as I typed, and eventually reached the conclusion that I could better honor their memories by losing weight.

    It helped. I'm not at goal, I slip of often - but I don't eat emotionally.

    So I don't know if that helps, but here's the link to my long blog:


    sorry, won't link, cut and paste if you want to read it.
    1859 days ago
  • IRP1114
    Oh yes. We all have these moments. It is life. Stuff feels hard and unfair sometimes. We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves or those around us or the people we have been around during our lives. The only thing we can do is make the best of each day.
    I am sorry you are feeling low lately. Really wish I could just sit and chat with you! Sigh... Not the same to just type out a few things here. But know that you have a friend here if you need one ; )
    1859 days ago
    I could have written this and in fact I have, practically word for word. I don't really know what the answer is except to keep fighting it and trying to break the cycle. I mean I've managed to lose 50 + lbs in spite of all the binges and weeks off track. Yes it's taken me 3 years and I hate that but at least it's something. There's hope that I can do this.

    Thank goodness I have a husband who can handle the crazy. I can't even imagine what I would do without him.

    Keep planning ahead as best as you can and just try to minimize the mistakes by getting back on track right away. I know from experience that the more you get off sugar and processed junk, the less you crave it. I still struggle with it. I haven't conquered it by any means I just try to keep the streaks going as long as I'm able and minimize the failures.

    I have the same exact stuff going on with my parents. It's been dysfunctional my whole life. When I'm beating myself up, I try to remind myself of the environment I came from and how much I have changed and how amazing that is and all the stuff I've got going on in my life that works against me. It's not an excuse but I do need to give myself a bit of a break now and then.

    Keep fighting!
    1859 days ago
    I have big time emotional food issues. I think it stems from childhood stuff and how I was overweight and my dad was really awful and weird about food.

    Since I've been Sparking, I have been trying to live a life that is less food-centric. It has been working somewhat and I have to say that I have less of an emotional attachment to food now.

    I know he's lame but the Dr Phil book about weight loss really helped me identify my emotional food issues.
    1859 days ago
    It is so hard to look at food as just fuel for our bodies. I am sorry you had such an emotional night. Something I have been trying to do, with some success, but not always, is to realize that my feelings are MINE, and I have a RIGHT to feel them, even if they make me feel awful and uncomfortable. Trying to soothe away loneliness or sadness with food never works - the fleeting moment of "yum" quickly turns into the awful feeling of self-loathing. It's hard. I don't always win the battle. But every time you can turn away from food and just cry or scream or go to bed or whatever you need to do is a victory.

    That said, I think it's perfectly alright to let yourself have the french fries once in a while when you're out to eat with friends. Denying yourself all the time is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. You are a human, this is your one life, and you have to allow for a bit of wiggle room here and there.

    And the situation with your parents... I am sorry. I sympathize, as I have watched my mother make some awful choices over the years and wished to God I could change her. But I can't. And it sucks. It took some professional therapy to realize that she's the one in charge of her life, not me.

    Keep blogging! Getting out your feelings and reaching for support is only a good thing.
    emoticon emoticon
    1859 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/15/2013 11:39:22 AM
  • SUMMER2203
    yes. have definitely felt this way. the "it's not fair" way...but you know what? isn't fair. some people will never have to worry for a day in their life about what they are putting in their bodies, and we do. but as someone else told me when i posted a blog similar to this, everyone has their own battles. ours might be weird, messed-up, emotional responses to food. but everyone is dealing with something. and dealing with this in a positive way is how we are going to make our lives normal and manageable. and i knowwww you can do it!!!
    1859 days ago
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