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Food Rehab: Emotional Eating

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tomorrow, I will travel for work to Phoenix. I'll be there until Wednesday night when I fly back to enjoy the 4th of July. I've already traveled to Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, and I'll be back in Phoenix in two weeks.

While there are times I love the travel, it also wears on me. I also found myself homesick. And when I am in Phoenix or elsewhere, I find myself pounding the pavement to Mrs. Fields or the bakery section in Walmart or Albertson's or chowing down on huge meals at restaurants.

I am an Emotional Eater. When I am sad, lonely, upset, or stressed, I eat. I don't know if I ever explicitly tell myself this, but I definitely would tell myself implicitly that eating some fattening food will make me feel better.

But it doesn't.

Because sugars and carbs can't bring my family to me to help my homesickness. Because cookies and cakes can't erase whatever thing happened to make me sad. Because a large restaurant meal complete with dessert won't eradicate my stress and make life perfect.

Eating when I am any of those things is me ignoring the problem. It won't make me better - it will make me WORSE. I'll gain weight. I'll be unhealthy. And more importantly, I will feel LOADS of guilt when I am done eating and realize what I've done.

Instead of turning to food when I am sad or upset or lonely, I need to be willing to admit my feelings, unashamed of what is affecting me. It is OK to be sad. It is OK to be lonely. What isn't OK is to ignore these problems.

The most recent times I've traveled, I've felt the loneliness. I've felt the stress. But instead of saying, "I need to get a cookie", I said, "I'm sad" or "I'm lonely". And I dealt with the emotions instead of hiding behind food. It wasn't fun, but I didn't have the guilt of eating foods that were bad for me, nor the guilt of knowing what I did to my body.

Facing your problems is tough. I'd much rather pretend they don't exist. But my health is more important. So I recognize how I need to face my emotions instead of running from them. And my body is VERY grateful!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is so true! I'm also an emotional eater -guess most of us are. And getting back to the hotel while on a business trip, right after a day filled with tons of stuff to do, exhausted, and going through the sliding doors and smelling the scent of fresh out-of-the-oven cookies... well it did make me feel a little bit closer to home. But it's not worth it. It's not really dealing with that homesick feeling that gets us down, it's exactly what you're saying -it's ignoring instead. What truly makes us feel better is walking or working out a bit -even if the "gym" at the hotel is smaller than the bath tub LOL (on the bright side though, thank god for Spark People, we can now work out without the need of equipment!).

    Thank you for this blog, true things we should always keep in mind! Best of luck while you're away, and keep at it Spark Friend!
    1787 days ago
    Another great blog, but I really like this (Because sugars and carbs can't bring my family to me to help my homesickness) I wan't to remember this one when my emotional eating wants to take over You know what, just then when I typed that ( wants to take over) I just saw the Incredible Hulk, and I guess I kind of do feel like a monster, wow It's funny how a phrase will make you think of something else Sorry but thanks again! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1787 days ago
  • OKIE30
    Good blog!
    1787 days ago
    Find your pleasure instead of food for your sadness find a hobby or do some productive work just for a while.

    We get lonely in our heads so crowd out the sadness with JOY if possible, so long at it does not bring joy to your taste buds.
    Find busy or joy or anything else except food.

    Make a list before you leave. A list of things that you can substitute for the foods. HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon
    1788 days ago
    This is so true! I am also an emotional eater and find myself eating for all the same reasons you do. It makes us feel worthy at the time...normal...special. Then when the taste wears off or the bloat comes we feel guilty only making our emotions seems so much worse. Kudos to you for facing those emotions. It is hard at first but I believe as you raise your awareness it becomes easier. emoticon
    1788 days ago
  • JENKEN14
    So true! I take care of my 90 year old mother and as her needs increase, her mind slows down, my stress rockets. I then want to sit in the recliner, watch tv, and eat..... So I am trying to keep busy working on projects. I find when I accomplish a task in the house or yard, I feel good about myself. Also if I go for a walk.
    Thanks for the honesty and encouragement. Enjoy Phoenix, lots going on there: heat, fire,.......so stay cool! :)
    1788 days ago
  • SUMMER-14
    Great insight, I think these are the real things we all need to work on in order to KEEP the weight off! Have a safe trip and be well!
    emoticon emoticon
    1788 days ago
    You are so right. I believe emotional eating is pretty common. We're taught how to cook, get food and eat so we're very accustom to it. However, we're not taught to identify our feelings and how to process them. Lack of knowledge leads to poor decision making.
    Kudos to you for bucking that trend, treating your body much better and inspiring your SP following!
    Have a great trip!
    emoticon emoticon
    1788 days ago
    I am so much the same way. I agree with everyone who has already commented. In your points of weakness, your spark friends are here to help as well! You can do this, it's a short trip that will be over before you know it. Good luck!!
    1788 days ago
  • BRADMILL2922
    You recognize the problem and that is step 1. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do but it seems like you have that figured out. It can also be hard to fix the behavior and to actually change it. Especially when you are put in a situation often that triggers it (like traveling). But like you said, facing it is the hard part rather than ignoring it. You know what you need to do and it seems like you have the right plan to do it with! Good luck!
    1788 days ago
  • TONYAB2000
    Hi. Im Tonya and Im an emotional eater as well. I hide my unhappiness behind a big mac and fries (or I did) but once they are gone, the unhappiness remains joined now by guilt and self-recrimination. Admitting your feelings is always the best step but often the hardest. You can do this. You have the strength and determination to see this through and just remember it is only for a few days and then you will be back among family and friends.
    1788 days ago
    I'm an emotional eater too. Food actually releases feel-good signals in our brains which is part of the problem. We feel bad, we eat, we feel better. Of course the food just ends up on our hips. Recently, I've been trying to turn to exercise. Interestingly enough, exercise releases the same feel-good signals in our brains! It can help with stress and depression. This is how I'm trying to deal with my own emotional eating. I'll let you know how it goes but I still thought I'd share this fun fact :) Try going for a walk the next time you are feeling down!
    1788 days ago
    Great lesson - you are really making progress. I often take some things that I can eat in my room that are healthy and that I enjoy so that I am less tempted when out and about.
    1788 days ago
    You are right! I'm putting a real effort to face my emotional eating problem. I'm making progress because I'm really thinking about why I practice emotional eating. Because of this, there is hope. emoticon
    1788 days ago
    Just keep your body GRATEFUL!!!

    You're right, it is tough facing my problems, and it takes me out of my comfort zone. Once I finally realized that it didn't matter how I felt about the problem, I just needed to acknowledge it out loud, it made me feel so much better and it relieved a burden that I would've been carrying around for years to come, if I had not learned to be out of my comfort zone. Of course, it doesn't make me uncomfortable anymore, it empowers me!!!

    God bless,

    - Nancy Jean -
    1788 days ago
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