Tuesday, September 07, 2010

emotional eating.

At the age of 35 I should know better. Or at least, I feel like I should know better. I seem to have two patterns when life gets stressful – either not eating enough, or eating even when I’m not hungry. Granted, not eating enough does have its benefits – that “surprise I’ve lost 5 pounds and my clothes are fitting a little looser” will always be a good thing in my books (even if those 5 pounds weren’t lost the “right” way through healthy eating and exercise). More often than not though the scale moves in the other direction and voilà – I step on the scale and get a “you think you can just feed your face non-stop and not gain weight? Really? Did you think you shrunk your pants in the dryer?”. Oof.
So, here we go yet again – time to clean up my act and start counting calories and upping my activity level. It isn’t even about counting calories – it’s about asking myself if I am actually hungry or if I just “feel” like eating. I really don’t like answering that question either. It makes me terribly cranky. Who wants to examine what makes them “feel” like eating? Where’s the fun in that? I could say that I’m bored, or it just feels comforting, but the reality of the situation is that I want to fill myself up so that I don’t feel empty. I want to push the sad feelings down for a momentary blip of sweet sugary happiness. But it never works, and all I end up being successful in is packing on the pounds.

It gets better: this past weekend I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I actually felt hungry. I have been avoiding letting my tank get to empty.  The feeling of growling hunger has become completely foreign to me. I decided to try something crazy and not eat until my stomach announced it required sustenance. It took a long time to get there and when I actually let myself “feel” hungry, I realized it wasn’t so bad. Add to that when I eat I’m only eating until I no longer feel hungry. I’m doing my best not to stuff myself until I feel unbearably full. I know – this isn’t rocket surgery – it’s the basics. Funny how easy it is to forget these things. As Cathy says "wake me up when I'm a size 5" (if only it were that easy).


  1. We're totally on the same page with this one. I just this week made a few decisions about how I can lose a few pounds and feel healthier. Namely, get back to running every day (which is the only way I can do it and not make "I'll do it tomorrow" excuses) and change our eating a bit so at least one of our dinners each week is mostly raw vegetables. (first up is this: http://mydailybread.tumblr.com/post/164527722/raw-beet-ravioli yum!)

  2. Anonymous12:11 p.m.

    SOOO hard. I know that feeling of "when was the last time I was hungry?". I tell myself "it's time to eat".. or "if I don't eat now I'll eat something stupid later..".

    ugh. i'm with you.
    (HI Jennifer!! hope you're well!)

    xo mumby

  3. I know, as a guy, I'm not supposed to have eating issues like you describe. But I do and I can relate. Only my eating issues only take me up in weight - never down. I recently went to the hospital and had no food for 4 days other than my IV drip. I came home, stepped on the scale, and gained a pound just by eating a bowl of Jello on my last day in the hospital. Argh.

  4. This post really really really spoke to me. Thanks for writing this. My weight has been a struggle for me my whole life! I just need to embrace food as a fuel for my body, and not a method to drown out my emotions.