Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Opinion on Emotional Eating

"It is important to use your adult problem-solving mind to re-think past events and assumptions, in order to transform those feelings of helplessness that trigger you to overeat or obsess about food. Once you are committed to putting childhood's traumas into the adult life cycle perspective, every experience becomes a part of the healing process." ~Shrink Yourself
I struggle with this comment from the Shrink Yourself newsletter that was sent to me.  My doctor tried to hand the excuse over to me once that it was my Diabetes and the hormone Insulin I have to take every day that made me fat, but he was wrong.  It was me!  

I took control over my health and what goes into my mouth and lost 52 pounds and have been maintaining it for 2 years in February. 

Today, Saturday (1/22/11) I had to work a few hours due to Year-End and a whole bunch of yummy food was brought in for us.  You had bean and cheese dip, chips, brownies, rice crispy treats, lunch meat plate, cheese, chili, veggie pizza, fruit pizza, and homemade meatballs you name it.  I held out just fine for 2 hours and then I caved and couldn't deal with the temptation anymore.  I had to eat something from all of that food!  I kept thinking and thinking about it, then talking to others about it, but finally I gave in.  I made good choices, I had 6 Ritz crackers and approximately 2 cups of White Chili.  Now ask me was it worth it...not really it was good chili, but not worth the additional calories. 

According to the Shrink Yourself newsletter that pressure and obsession came from my childhood and I disagree 100% with that statement.

When I was a child I remember I did any chore for a chocolate chip cookie, Oreo or whatever piece of chocolate that was available or I'd sneak food when Mom wasn't looking (remember that Mom?)  That had no bearing how my parents raised me, none at all.  So, why do people drudge up excuses for why they overeat as adults today?  The bottom line is people love to eat and some of us more than others no more no less.  Please don't think I'm dismissing the fact of abuse as a child, there is most certainly cases that cause these issues.  However, I don't believe that is why Americans are so obese in 2011 today and Diabetes running rampant.  We do it because we want too and because its the easy way out.  Don't be mislead, eating healthy is hard especially if your coming from being  overweight all your life.  Toughest thing I've ever done aside from fighting Diabetes.

I think for me I have to accept responsibility for my obsession with food, me no one else is making me eat it.  If we can't accept that we control what we put in our mouths, we won't take the healthy approach and lose weight.  So, this particular article just jarred something in me that I needed to write about.

How do you feel about this issue of emotional eating?  Do you blame something in your past or is it just you?


  1. I do think that I learned some behaviors from my childhood that led me to have control issues. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was a compulsive overeater and yo-yo dieter. We also moved every 3-4 years (roughly) my entire life from birth to 23 years old. When I was 16, I figured that what I put into my body was the only thing I truly had control over. I became anorexic. It was easy to blame all of my life circumstances. But then it dawned on me (years laters and after I started binging) that I had the ability to choose a healthy lifestyle too...not just a destructive decision. I stopped blaming everyone and everything else and learned the true power that I had...that I could choose ANY lifestyle I wanted and I wasn't going to empower anyone else anymore.

  2. I think a better label for past issues is not to place blame but rather to seek an explanation. Understanding forms a foundation upon which people can move forward. Anyone who remains in that "blame" state is not doing the personal work necessary to move forward.

    You're right that it's acceptable in our culture to overeat. That's part of what makes it SO difficult. On one hand, it's acceptable -- a socially acceptable vice. On the other hand, we're socially sanctioned for being overweight.

    People are definitely responsible for their actions... especially once they're fully aware of what they're doing. It's one thing for someone to eat better and not work on the personal issues that led to overeating in the first place. It's quite another to take full responsibility and work on physical and emotional health at the same time.

    Thought-provoking post!!

  3. I blame my grandfather. :D Okay, I don't. I just had to say that because I just posted about him! I think a lot of the problem is that we are always looking somewhere else so that we don't have to deal with the change that needs to take place within.

  4. @The Learning Curves Blogger Wow Lynn I had no idea that you went through this early on. You've come so far in your journey and I am so proud of you!

  5. Dealing with food in the work place can be a difficult thing. My company recently decided to implement "birthday day" where all the birthdays of the month will be celebrated once a month. So once a month the kitchen area will be FILLED with donuts, cookies, cakes, cupcakes... if its sweet - it'll be there.

    Up until I made the switch to eating clean, I was an emotional eater. Up until I began my contest preparation I fought off cravings like it was an epic battle. Now that I've been eating clean (without a cheat meal) consistently for 10 weeks and the cravings have subsided, I have learned some valuable lessons.

    In situations like "birthday day" I DO still think the food looks and smells amazing, but I also realize that while it may taste good at the time I eat it, I will feel much worse after (emotionally and physically). Another point that is good to consider, is that if you eat it, the good taste and happy emotions associated with it will subside very quickly. If you pass up the donut or cake, you'll be proud of yourself for much longer.

    The last point is something my friend always says to me that makes me put things in perspective. "It's just food... there will always be more of it" And he's totally right.

  6. I think it's a mix of both. At an early age I learned to associate a "comfort feeling" with that full, overstuffed feeling. Psychologically, the two became the same. I felt GOOD when I was FULL. I felt LOVED when I was FULL. As life continued and my extreme fullness turned into extreme fatness, I continued to seek comfort in the very thing that was causing me the most pain and consequently the cycle of emotional eating/obesity grew.

    Now, certainly, I can't "blame" my obesity of today on behaviors I learned yesterday in the sense that I didn't have a hand in it, as I most certainly did but I can recognize it to bring forth change. :)

  7. @Joob You are so right about feeling so much better when you don't give in and eat that stuff.

    Yesterday I was proud I didn't eat the brownie I was eyeballing or the rice crispy treat.

    I like what your friend said too!

  8. @Fat Girl Fights Back So nice to have you here!

    That is great you recognized what was happening, so today you can change it!

  9. Marianne Lonergan GradyJanuary 23, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Great post Sheri!

    When you are a kid, your parents do control what you eat to a certain degree.... but, once you are an adult, if you are still blaming your upbringing, it's all an excuse!

    My family ate ridiculous portions and so did i.... I also was a sneaky eater when i was young... so I think some habits are learned. I remember the first time eating ravioli at my now husband's house seeing everyone have 4 or 6 when I was used to eating a dozen.... I was thinking these people eat like birds! haha... little did I know they were just normal!

    Now, I indulge when I think it is WORTH IT. I do not deprive myself of anything..... I just asked myself the question before I eat it.... when the store bought birthday cakes or cupcakes are there.... for me, the answer is no... these things are average at best and will not keep me at the weight I wish to be - not worth it. Though, when it is worth it... I don't have a slab of cake, I have a small piece or a taste, if I love it, I will continue to eat it... if I don't, I stop. Every now and then, when the bagel Friday people are toasting their bagels, if I am hungry, I make an allowance, I may have a half bagel (not the 1 or 2 I used to have). Being on NS really made me think about portion control.

    I just got back from vacation, and I did have some awesome food, I did eat more than I normally do, this week, I have been working it off and trying to get the extra lbs. off. I even worked out on vacation! I have changed, but I don't want to feel deprived, so as long as I get back on the wagon after vacation, I think that's fine. I will not allow myself to feel deprived... and passing up very average treats is getting easier.

    I love food, but I love feeling like I am in control of myself and feeling fit and healthy much more! I'm not saying I never slip but when you take responsibility for ALL aspects of your life, it is a remarkable world!

  10. I grew up eating.. that was what my family was all about & I learned it there BUT at a point in my life, I had to take control or continue feeling like sh*t & being fat.

    Your comments on the work food - Just from my perspective & how I deal with it - I look at it & think, do I really really really want this & will it really really really make my day & will I really really really love the taste of it. That last one is the big one. I so look forward to my weekend cookie treats & I always think about those vs. something else I might eat instead.. which would I prefer & am I willing to give up those weekend cookie treats for what is in front of me. Also, if I taste it & it is not worth it - meaning the taste is not worth the calories, I stop.. why waste them when I can have a cookie later that I really really really love! :-)

  11. Agreed. We overeat because we CHOOSE to, because we WANT to. In the end is was our choice to eat that much food and that is when weight gain creeps up and diabetes. Well put.

  12. @Jody - Fit at 53 Great thoughts Jody thanks for sharing! My problem is listening to my answers after stating "no I don't want them". Crazy!

  13. @Marianne Lonergan Grady Thank you Marianne for taking the time to stop by!

    When we go on vacation, that doesn't mean we put our healthy eating or fitness on vacation. I do tend to indulge in my eating out more, but I try to maintain the same standards as if I were home.


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