Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What Happens When You Are No Longer Eating Your Emotions

So in January of this year I started my journey to not only lose weight but to stop binging/emotional eating and cut my emotional ties to food.

And while I am not exactly at the weight I thought I would be at by this time, I am still down 33lbs and very proud of THAT accomplishment!

Even more than the weight loss, I am proud of the fact that I have not had a full on binge in TEN months.


You guys. This is HUGE for me.

I have had some times where I have snacked a little more in the evening than I should and overate, but it definitely doesn’t qualify as a binge.

Binge eating – When you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating.

Emotional eating - the practice of consuming large quantities of food -- usually "comfort" or junk foods -- in response to feelings instead of hunger. 

Any time now I think I may start a binge, I have stopped myself very quickly.

I have learned to control my overeating, though it happens and is perfectly normal.

For me, binge eating was tied with my emotions that ranged from happy to sad to stressed to bored to mad to overwhelmed to, well whatever. 

I am learning to NOT eat for comfort but to fuel my body. 

I am learning to not immediately turn to food when I am stressed or happy or sad. Though it happens.

I have started eating whole foods 80% of the time, which allows me to eat healthy food but still have those indulgences.  This also helps to avoid overeating and/or binging on food because I no longer feel deprived with what I am eating.

I believe I have the healthiest relationship with food I have EVER had.

So then, I ask myself regularly, why am I so miserable?  Why am I unhappy?  Why am I SO angry all the time?

Yesterday I was leaving home and said goodbye to my 4 year old.  We said our normal, bye, have a good day, love you’s and then he said:

H: “Don’t come home angry today, ok mom!!”
(Feeling like I got punched in the gut, though this little boy has no idea of his brutal honesty that I needed to hear) 
Me: “Ok buddy, I won’t be angry today.”
H: “You promise?!”
Me: sigh “Yes, I promise…love you.”

Ugh. Tears.

It has been something that I have kept thinking about for the past few months.

I am losing weight. 

I am getting a hold of my binge eating. 

And yet I am ANGRY. 

EVERYTHING annoys or frustrates me.


The other day it came to me.  Now of course, I am not a psychologist, so I could be WAY off on this.  But to me, it makes sense.

For 20 years I have used binge eating as my emotional release.  When I get stressed I turn to food.  I would eat a large amount of food quickly and just to feel this release. I would FEEL better after my binge, even if my stomach hurt or feel guilty for eating all that food.  BUT I was satisfied and whatever those stresses I had before were temporarily gone and forgotten as I sat in a combination of food bliss and regret.

To fully explain those feelings I got when I binged is hard and may not make sense to someone who doesn’t have those ties.  But it is a form of addiction and has similar effects to your body.  Am I comparing myself to a heroin addict? Come on…of course not.  BUT, foods high in fat, sugar and salt (the ones I would normally binge on) are known to release and trigger those same “feel-good” chemicals in the brain that certain drugs do.  And then of course when the sugars and stuff wear off, you come down and don’t feel good about yourself so you eat more to feel better about yourself.

Even now, I think about binging nearly EVERY day.  Even as I write this, I think with a sense of comfort and happiness in eating a big plate of nachos and some cookies without care.  While I know now I shouldn’t do it as I have made so much progress, I still have a part of me that WANTS to do it. Every. Single. Day.  

When it comes to stress, some people write in a journal.  Some workout.  Some talk to a professional.  People have different ways of dealing with stress.  FOR nearly TWO decades MY way of dealing with stress is food.  And now THAT is gone.

I am no longer binging.  I have drastically reduced the amount of high sugar, fat, and salt I consume. So when I am stressed I have no release.  I am not saying food was a healthy release, but I have yet to figure out a way to release my stresses in a HEALTHY way and I think that is part of what is causing these feelings of unhappiness and anger. 

I have never dealt with my stress in a healthy way, but I would temporarily ignore it with something that gave me enjoyment.  Now, I am just not dealing with any of it.  I am holding it in until I literally explode at whoever is around me….usually my husband or son. 

As I am nearing the end of my first year journey to a healthier self, my new goals along with continued weight loss, is to figure out how to handle my stress and emotions in a healthy way.  That most likely will involve speaking to an actual professional which will also help with my OCD, which is worse than ever….but that is an entirely different post!!!

But that is also part of the reason I am a beachbody coach.  It is giving me the opportunity to find a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.  It is allowing me to connect with others and share my feelings and listen to theirs.  It is encouraging to work on myself physically AND mentally and leave the emotional ties to food out of the picture.

I still have a long way to go, but am getting closer.

So how do YOU deal with stress?  Emotional eating?

How are you helping YOU?!?!


  1. mandy7:40 AM

    I desperately wish you hadn't stopped writing. This is the first blog that I truly felt a connection to with weightloss, emotional eating. Ugh, you remind me quite a bit of myself. Please come back. So we can be internet friends lol.

    1. Awwwww, you are too kind!!! I know how it is finding people you can connect with in regards to this, it is tough and many people don't talk about it. You are in luck :-) I am going to start writing again. I have been having SO much going on with career, health, life and it has triggered some of the eating issues I was in the process of resolving. I feel like writing really helps me with that! I actually created a new blog but haven't posted anything yet. Would love to talk to you more about everything!!! :-)

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