Emotional Eating

I’ve been struggling lately.

It’s no secret that I’ve been fairly stressed over here.  This week is spring break; and since my classes for this semester were split into two separate eight-week courses, I don’t really have a whole lot of school work that I can be doing now.  (Of course I ordered my next text and of course it has not arrived yet and is trying to kill me.) That’s both a blessing and a curse.

I’m spending my vacation trying to relax, while simultaneously getting a lot of “housekeeping” accomplished.  I’ve been uploading photos; cleaning out my desk; typing up and simultaneously tossing loose notes I’ve kept around here forever, like a Doris Kearns Goodwin keynote in 2008. (Lord, I can hold on to a document.)  We’ve been cleaning the house and I’ve been staying on top of the cloth diapers (a rarity); I’ve even been collecting quotes to paint our study.  It’s quite Downton Abbey right now (our home was built in the mid-80s; ancient for these parts of Texas), and we’re looking to make it modern and fresh.


But through it all, I find myself eating emotionally.  And that will just not do.

Jillian Michaels talks about this a lot, this notion of a person saying, essentially: I work hard.  I deserve this.  This cupcake/chocolate/Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is for me.  It’s my treat

Yesterday, while scrolling Twitter, I came across this post from Clare at Fitting it All In and felt particularly moved.

I’m doing this.  And I need to stop.

For quite some time, I’ve been meaning to write a post about nurturing yourself.  I’m curious as to what you all are doing to “reward” or take care of yourself without food.  Lately, every “treat” for me centers around the culinary.

  • Yesterday, the kids napped simultaneously, so I opted to relax and watch the last episode of Mad Men, Season 4.  It was glorious, but I needed that last square of dark chocolate while I watched.  Then, of course, those last few chocolate chips in that bag.  Then some crackers.  Then, hell, why not TWO of J’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?  I’ll start eating better again tomorrow, I reasoned.
  • I suggested that we go out for frozen yogurt last night.  We never made it out the door thanks to a rather chaotic dinner and Skype session with my little bro, but I had been jonesin’ for some more sweets.
  • I poured myself a glass of sauvignon blanc last night while making dinner.  J and the toddler were outside; the latter was having a fit about some catastrophe ruining his life.  I needed to take the edge off.
  • I had another glass after the kiddos were in bed.  Better enjoy this now, I thought.  Ailie will be awake all too soon and the hourly rocking and shushing sessions will begin.
  • I ate a big bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios last night while watching The Big Bang Theory.  I don’t know if I was hungry, but I needed to be eating something.
  • I ate a gigantic cupcake at a friend’s house on Saturday.  I didn’t need to make that food choice.  I wasn’t particularly hungry.  But I was out and things were calm and OHMIGOD I DESERVE THIS NOM NOM NOM.

You get the picture.

I feel like these little cheats have been happening since the DietBet ended, and I polished off the ice cream cake as my reward for winning.  I finished off the ice cream cake as my REWARD for WINNING THE DIETBET.

Yup.  That’s me.  Your health guru.

My weight is also creeping up.  Nothing major – perhaps two pounds since the DietBet – but still.  This is not a trend I want to continue, especially since I just started fitting into my clothes again.  My wedding ring is once again feeling a bit too snug.

I need to stop.  But as Clare mentioned, I don’t want to make a long list of food rules that I must abide by.  I want to learn how to eat intuitively.  To that end, here are some things I’m going to try:

  • Read some books that have been recommended to me.  50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Breaking Free From Emotional Eating, Women, Food and God, and Intuitive Eating.
  • Let’s create a list of all of the things we can do to nurture ourselves WITHOUT FOOD.  I don’t think it will be easy.  Food is a necessity, plus the bad stuff is cheap and pleasurable.  But I think a cheat sheet of things to do (even as trite as “take a walk!” may help).
  • Drink a glass of water.  My friend J mentioned to me that she does this when she gets a candy craving.  She’ll drink a glass of water and then wait a few minutes.  If she still feels the urge, she goes for it.
  • Keep a more in-depth food journal.  I began this yesterday.  Instead of recording points and calories, I’ll be jotting down foods and sleep and how I was feeling when I ate certain things.  Was I sluggish, and needed an afternoon pick-me-up?  Was Ailie up all night so my eating for the day was off?  How much water did I drink?  Though it sounds a bit tedious to me, I really want to get to teach myself to listen to my body.

7 thoughts on “Emotional Eating

  1. I get into a bad snacking routine at night in front of the tv, too. I drink a cup of tea. It really helps me. I’ll either do a cup of sleepy time or a sweeter berry flavored one.

  2. Thank you for this post – I feel like you’ve read my mind – you are definitely not alone…

    When you figure out a happy medium, please share it with me! Every day is a challenge, even when I start out with the best intentions. Today I packed a salad with grilled chicken and avocado for lunch. It’s 3:00 and still sitting in the fridge. What did I eat? 8 fun size butterfingers, 2 reeses cups, and an ice cream sandwich (and i gave up chocolate for lent). Why? I have a looming deadline that I’m trying not to think about, and I’ve been doing SO well with WW the past few weeks that I deserved it…

    Check out Eating in the Light of the Moon – I read it years ago but I think it’s time for a reread. I will definitely be looking into the books you listed.

    • I will check that book out! And you said it: EVERY DAY IS A CHALLENGE. And lady, that lunch is SO something I would eat in a stressful situation, and then end up feeling just terrible. We can do this!

  3. OK, OK, This was me a few weeks ago. I too had a friend recommend drinking water—wait—was that me that told YOU that?–whoever, it’s smart. Either way–it’s still working. I drink a glass of water. Then feel no problem what so ever to eat a treat. I either don’t want it or realize I want something better or MORE than candy. I bought a bar of dark chocolate weeks ago AND STILL HAVE IT! What? It’s a miracle. I’m now typing to you like I’m talking to you. I’ll call you this week.

  4. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up: The Sugar Detox Hath Ended | Total Mama Makeover

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