Emotional Eater

Hope you’re having a lovely mid-week!

(note: Just a heads up, this will talk about emotional eating, eating disorders, and the like. Do not read if overly sensitive to those topics!)

In the past I have suffered from the following disordered eating tendencies : anorexia, bulimia, overeating, impulse eating, emotional eating, eating by rules, not intuitively eating, eating binge (s), pretending to eat (to make family/friends think I ate), and hiding food to eat later. NOT fun.

'anorexic tendencies' time period

Through it all I have learned a lot! I needed these trials to make me stronger, smarter, and more able to serve and help others who suffer (a HUGE realization that has led to more purpose and happiness in my life). However, in the meantime I went through loads of schooling, races, and personal issues to sort it all out. I can proudly say I am NONE of the above now. I thought that day would never come, but it has. :)

Emotional Eater

Let’s talk about the period of time that I considered myself an ’emotional eater.’ I consider this a severe desire to eat food solely for the reason of fixing, alleviating, or celebrating certain emotions.

This does not mean that every time we are happy and we eat ice cream we are an emotional eater –instead it is more a desire or want for food that does not stem from hunger or physical need….it stems from a psychological or emotional need. It is something much deeper than just desiring food. It usually has nothing to do with the food itself, and more because of the emotions or events that surrounded the eventual eating of the food.

emotional eating time begins....(puffy face)

My being an emotional eater came because I was lonely, frustrated, and stressed. Whenever I felt those things, I turned to food. This all occurred after long periods of starvation, deprivation, and personally induced isolation, so I am sure that my body was ALSO telling me something. I knew I needed to gain weight, so at first I didn’t think of it as a problem. Looking back I now know it was a HUGE problem.

I was essentially trying to fill a human psychological and emotional need with a physical substance: food.

And for the record, it NEVER works.

It may work for a few moments or seconds, but after that the emptiness, gloom, and emotions that were trying to be depressed with food, return.

It is a vicious cycle and one that I hope and pray women try to get out of, if they suffer from it!

Healing

To heal from such an emotional abuse to myself (I see it as that), I tried a variety of things. I tried exercising more to rid myself of the guilt. That didn’t work. I tried hiding food so my roommates wouldn’t see me constantly eating. That definitely did not work. I devoted even more time to the relationship I was in. That TOTALLY did not work (and backfired and caused even more of an emotional eating spin downward). I then took a trip to a new place and left school, work, relationships, and pressures all behind. And you know what? That BEGAN the healing process.

I spent that week not really exercising per say (i.e. not on a schedule), eating when I wanted and what I wanted, and talking with close family and friends. I started opening up, and laughing–truly laughing. I started paying attention to when I was really hungry. I started realizing that I did not feel good when I ate too much, or when I tried to hide food, or when I ate when I was not hungry.

healing time begins!

In essence, I stepped BACK, was true to myself, and honestly assessed my situation.

I stopped lying to myself.

Ever since then I have ‘rediscovered’ myself, found an incredible man who loves me for ME, and completely stopped competing against any and everyone. I finally realized that there is no need to dunk emotions into a vat of ice cream or pretzels (which oddly was a trigger food for me. I know, weird! 😉 ), and that this thing we call life is really a time to do our work/education/relationship thing well and enjoy living in the moment.

meeting the man of my dreams--p.s. his hair looked like that for Halloween.

There is no need for lying, cheating, competing, backbiting, guilt tripping, and stressing. Especially to YOURself.

It’s funny how values teach us not to lie or cheat or steal or be unkind to others, and yet we do those things to ourself without notice. And then we wonder why we are so emotionally distraught and all over the place….and then we find ourselves head first in the fridge.

I guess I am not an expert in the field of psychology, but I have dealt and do deal with clientele who suffer from a variety of eating or exercising ‘blocks’-issues they have surrounding those 2 things. And I have seen firsthand how simple steps and making various changes can help heal, change, or alleviate the pain an emotional eater may go through.

I am in a happy place now!

To Help Heal or Alleviate: Emotional Eater Edition

  • Write down your emotions every time you eat. Happy, sad, angry, depressed, stressed?
  • Notice patterns.
  • Lying to yourself does not help…..
  • Try it all over again 😉
  • Now, focus on the areas of life you want to work on. Is it stress relief you want? Is it a friend? Is it a new hobby?
  • Then make a PLAN.
  • Decide on what you want to change in that area of life and go for it!
  • Think positively every day :)
  • Fresh air, a good phone chat, or doing that hobby help re-focus after an emotional eating episode.
  • Confide in a partner/spouse/sister/friend who you can trust
  • Keep a journal
  • Decide NOW to overcome excuses
  • Live every day to its fullest
  • The future is as bright as your hope!!

I am sorry it was a kind of heavy post, but I felt like these things get pushed under the rug, hidden from view, and all that is happening is hurting, emotional distress, and too much anger. I even felt like a huge weight was lifted just telling about my journey!

Besides, wellness— being/feeling well— is SO much more than the absence of disease 😉 And it is never-ending either. I am all done with being an emotional eater, but I still overeat on occasion (not like an eating binge episode, which I’ve had before, but it all feels awful afterwards all the same, by the way!)–so please don’t think I am perfect in any way!

P.s. these tips are not all inclusive, and are not meant to treat or fix a disorder, so please see them as only tips and advice from someone who has been there and has a bit of education/experience in the area!

I try to offer help/listening ear as well, so please email me for questions: EnjoyYourHealthyLife@gmail.com

I will be available SOON as a coach for life (wellness/fitness/health coach) to the public as well. Stay tuned friends, and have a lovely day!

What tips might YOU have for someone struggling?? What ONE thing this week has made you HAPPY?! :)

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Comments

  1. I’m glad you really emphasize this as a struggle, because it is! Thank you for your time in posting all of this.

  2. caroline orien says:

    What an open and honest post. I really appreciate your list of ways to help if one suffers from emotional eating. I know I need to be more mindful of the reasons why I am eating. Is it because it is filling a void or because I am hungry. Thanks again Annette!

    My husband makes me happy!

    • THanks for your kind comments–it feels liberating to open up, ya know?!

      Glad he makes you happy—I’ll let him know. heh 😉

  3. And again…. amazing! Something that made me happy this week? Need I say it again? FINALLY getting to experience Bodypump with the best instructor EVER!!! (& childhood best friend… I still can’t believe you’re back!!)

  4. The one piece of advice I would give for people struggling is take it one day at a time but take it on. You can be happy and healthy but you have to admit to yourself that there is an issue and work on it. Healing does not happen over night. One step at a time will definitely get you there though.

    Something that made me happy this week…finding and trying Vermont Peanut Butter in Mad River Mojo – almond and peanut butters with dried fruit and seeds. It’s super delicious and so nutritious!

  5. Another fantastic post Annette!!

    It takes courage to open up and share things that you just shared and you do it to help others who may be struggling as you did…Well done!

    My advice to someone who may be struggling is this: We only get one life and it is a relatively short one. Being good to your mind, body and soul is the best thing you can do for yourself as it in turn will give you the opportunity to love yourself and others AND BE LOVED in return, which, at the end of the day is the essence of true happiness in my opinion.

  6. anonymous says:

    I have suffered this problem as well and have displayed all of these behaviors. For me I cut out processed foods and try to focus more on nutrients I get – i take canadas food guide reccomendations for vegetable servings as a challenge and try to get as many as i can each day. I believe all of this is healthy for me but i still count calories – and im at a good weight i just want to keep it there so my reasoning for counting calories is to make sure im getting enough each day (veggies are so low cal/days im busy) i feel like if i didnt count then i might not eat enough and keep losing weight like days i workout i make sure i eat more and this just helps me track things. also i do have a personality that without the counting i seem to not nessicarily eat bad foods but “losing track” makes me worry that i may be eating too much – also intuitive eating is hard for me at times because ill eat a huge plate of spaghetti squash and feel stuffed but then realize okay in about half an hour i should eat some cottage cheese or something for protein and more calories — just wondering if this is okay? i make it sound okay but sometimes i do let it take over and i avoid eating at restaurants/peoples houses but its not so much for my weight like it used to be – im very interested in nutrition and just chemicals/additives in packaged foods really freak me out plus i just really love what i eat. i love vegetables with chicken or something ill eat that anywhere but i hate burgers/steaks/ red meat and plain potatoes which seem to be staples when you go to a friends place lol – also people say moderation but eating processed foods/or a greasy slice of pizza really makes me feel sick now like totally physically like i know i could have the odd treat but i really just dont want it – cutting sugar out of my diet really affected how i feel about food because i sincerely dont crave junk and i like the idea of how healthy things are fueling my body to live to the fullest like when im eating salmon with broccoli im thinking great these healthy fats in the fish are making my brain smarter and helping me absorb the cancer fighting phytochemicals in the broccoli!

    • There is nothing wrong with NOT craving junk or fatty foods–most people don’t suffer from that though 😉

      I would say to really stick to listening to your body, and make sure you ARE eating healthy fats in many foods–i.e. olive oil, nuts, avocados, as those things will help keep you healthy and your body and brain functioning properly. It sounds like you love your veggies/fruits/proteins but that you might be lacking those healthy fats? Just a thought! When I realized that a few years ago, I was able to reverse the bad things I did to my body and pack on the good pounds that helped me have my cycle back. Cutting out any major food group is never a good thing.

      All the best to you!!

      • anonymous says:

        your totally right! i was afraid of fat untill about a month ago but now eat avocado/whole eggs/salmon/walnuts daily – my favorite ever is raw beets and walnuts in a food processor! so good and so simple with chinese 5 spice :) but thank you for replying im working on the intuitive eating as well – so tough though lol

        • That sounds like a good combo! I love walnuts :)

          Intuitive eating takes a LOT of practice after disordered eating practices and/or negative relationships with food. But if you keep at it, it will come!! If you can’t get to that place though, email me and we can set up a coaching session.

          Have a lovely day!

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