Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Emotional Eating

I readily admit that I have a LOT of issues when it comes to food and weight. Yesterday I started reading "Body Intelligence" (I copied this pic from -- go there to read more about it), and it's made me realize just how much I'm driven by food and eating.

The book (look it up at goes over the external and emotional cues people have that lead them to eat when they're not really hungry. It was hard for me to find cues I didn't have! I'm affected by the sight and smells of food, by the ads on TV, by the time on the clock. I eat when I'm sad, anxious, lonely, depressed, and especially when I'm happy!

The one emotion I don't eat through is anger. Now in the past (pre-therapy) when I repressed a lot of my angry feelings, I did wind up eating because that anger got twisted into the sad, lonely and depressed feelings mentioned above. But somewhere in the late 1990s I started discovering that if I let myself feel my anger and express it, the last thing I wanted to do was eat. I might want to clean my house from top to bottom or rant and rave on the phone to a confidant, but I learned to own my anger and not blot it out with sugar and fat.

So should it come as any surprise that I do my healthiest eating when I've got a little anger to stoke the fire? I felt it yesterday for sure when I went with my family to watch my nephew play at a junior high football game. While everyone else bought hamburgers and fries, washed down with sugary soda, I took out my apple and seltzer water I brought with me. When I'm in a negative frame of mind I get resentful about a situation like this, with thoughts of self-pity and "why me" attitude. But when I'm in the right mindset, I actually get a stubborn, slightly peeved attitude of "I'm going to eat healthy despite these temptations!" After the game we went out to dinner (there will definitely be a future post on my food-centric family), and again, while everyone else ordered fatty foods, I hit the healthy food section of the menu and ordered what turned out to be a very satisfying meal.

What puzzles me is why some days I can achieve this attitude, and then some days I cave in to whatever temptation or cue comes my way. It's more than willpower, because it's so tied into my emotional state. Because I can say no to buying the box of chocolate cupcakes and feel really good about it that I'm taking care of my body, or I can feel really deprived and sorry for myself.
If I can ever figure out how to eliminate or greatly reduce those negative moments, then I think I'll be able to reach my "onederful" goal and maintain it without tortuous work.

Okay, so here's the Day 2 tally: I ate very, very well (3 meals and 2 snacks, all very balanced and healthy food), didn't get too hungry and didn't feel deprived. The knee was fairly bothersome during the day, but after some ibuprofen, some heat and then some Biofreeze (my husband's cure-all for sore muscles and joints), it feels a lot better this morning, even after a 45-minute bike ride. I really want to get back to the treadmill because I can work up a sweat much better. But I know I need to make sure my knee is back to full capacity until I do.

Today shouldn't provide too many challenges, but that's typical for me. I do great during the week, but then the weekends come and I'm stuck in the mire of parties, festivals, etc., that lead me astray. But I need to focus on today and deal with those issues when I get to them.


Vickie said...

Looks like I get to be your very first comment!

First question - are you one of the Andrea's from Frances Kuffel's blog on Amazon? I think that we had two there and that you might be one of the two - but wasn't sure.

If you are not, and are wondering WHO I am - click on my name "Vickie" and then at the bottom of my profile page, click on my blog and it will take you to me - that is how I found you here. We must have things in common as we both picked that same blog background - I felt at home as soon as I started reading.

Congratulations on your new step on this journey and on your new blog.

I started my current weight journey on 4/1/05 at 215 lbs. I am at 153-4 lbs today and am working to be to maintenance (140 lb goal) by the time my kids get out of school next spring.

I am currently doing a mini sprint of 8 weeks - trying to stay PARTICULARLY focused for this 8 weeks to see if I can get down to 150 lbs - I will then have just 10 lbs left.

I am at the very SLOW going stage now.

Best of luck to you - I have saved your link and will check back in and see how you are doing. Slow and steady - baby steps all the way will get you there.

Grumpy Chair said...

My family is very food centered also. Around 20 years ago, my parents separated and my youngest sister was having a hard time living with these two adults who hated each other (by the way, they are still married...)

My older sister and I were in our 20's and my dad requested that we all go to family therapy together to try and help our youngest sister. For 50 minutes, we would sit there and say some of the nastiest things about each other during the sessions, but afterwards, we would walk out together (very very quiet and tense) and my dad would ALWAYS suggest going out to dinner. . . and we did! Chinese anyone?

I guess food "soothed" my father and all of us somehow.