Eating Bender — STOP THE INSANITY!

Confession: I’ve been on an eating bender for the past few months. Between vacations (Jamaica, Massachusetts, Mexico City), work events, meals out, date night … I’ve been a little piggy.

All the things I know I don’t need, know I can do without … I’ve given into them all … and all at once. Where I’d usually stop at one piece of chocolate, I eat four. Where I’d usually ignore store-bought cookies (not worth the calories), I’ve succumbed to their sugar-laden glory. Where I’d maybe share a few bites of dessert out, I go half-sies.

And it makes me feel crappy. Tired. Unhappy. Disappointed in myself for my lack of self-control or care.

The irony is I feed Maya so carefully, trying to ensure her meals are balanced and healthy, include lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, plenty of veggies and always fruit for dessert (plus sometimes a nibble of a cookie or something if we have it).

And while I do eat those things, too, I’m still an emotional eater (read as: sugar-freak)  — and the emotions that drive me to eat range from content and happy to angry and sad. There’s no rhyme or reason; I just like to eat and, admittedly, find comfort in food.

It’s my biggest flaw.

I’m sure it doesn’t help that the past few days have been challenging here on the home front (marriage isn’t always easy!)  — and I’m definitely a girl who eats her feelings … regardless of knowing 1) it solves nothing and 2) only makes me feel worse.

So tonight I’m making a public commitment not to let my emotions get the best of me and I am going to reverse food journal (offline) to help me achieve this goal.

Each day I say “I’ll do better.” And then I don’t.

And I’m sick of it.

Somewhere along the way I’ve lost my moral food compass. No, I don’t ever want to go back to that miserable, calorie-counting, obsessed Melissa whose compass made her a really annoying person to be around. But I do need some accountability and I have just tossed it out the window lately. While it’s much more fun to go out to eat now that I eat more than a salad with chicken … I still can’t throw caution completely to the wind.

It’s not healthy, and it’s not how I want to be.

I know I have the ability to find that gray, middle-ground yet again. I’ve just been eating my feelings and the insanity needs to stop. I can’t be a good role model for Maya if I’m being a total hypocrite. If I wouldn’t give her five cookies after dinner, I shouldn’t be eating five cookies, either. It’s that simple.

Yet anyone who is an emotional eater knows that it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Emotional eating is a complicated beast. I’ve read tons of literature about it, but experience tells me there is no easy fix. We have to work on what’s driving us to eat first … or, most important, focus on how we respond to stress/joy/etc.

Because something triggers emotional eating; it doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. It needs a spark. And, though it usually does for me, the spark doesn’t always need to result in a burning flame. Sometimes, we just need to put the fire out, period (i.e., sit with our feelings, resist the urge to eat our feelings).

More than three years recovered now from my ugly past, I can say with certainty I’d never go back to those behaviors … but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that emotional eating is still my Achille’s heel.

I still have work to do. For me, and the little girl you see here in this picture. I can’t hold her hand forever … but while I am doing it, I want to be a good role model.

How about you? What are your best tips for combating emotional eating?

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6 thoughts on “Eating Bender — STOP THE INSANITY!

  1. I know just how you feel! All of 2011 was a sugar bender for me – and I don’t even really like sweets! I don’t think I ate a green vegetable all year. I finally got back on track in December, when my husband and I made a pact to eat better. We both use LoseIt on our iPhones (not to lose weight, but to track our food). For the first time since I found out I was pregnant in 2008 I feel good about the way I’m eating. In my experience it takes a couple weeks to break the sugar addiction and then it’s much easier to stay on track.

  2. Emotional eating is something I deal with as well. For me the key is to find out why and address that because trying to control the eating only leads to more eating. That can’t be the focus of my efforts in order to see the eating curbed. For me I normally eat feelings that I am not acknowledging. Sometimes I just need a break from the stress of go go go (some me time) and for some reason I use eating as an excuse where I wouldn’t normally let myself stop and do nothing or just watch tv with a to-do list that is a mile long – that is the most common reason for me and it took me therapy to realize that was true. Other times it might be frustration with my situation like feeling stuck in a job or having a boss I can’t yell at but would like to, etc. For me it is generally something I am trying to ignore and until I acknowledge it (not necessarily fix it but just realize I feel that way) I will keep eating. The me time is critical for me to curb emotional eating and I am wondering if you feel the same or perhaps the marriage frustrations are something you are trying to eat. I don’t know, but I think it is worth asking yourself how you feel a few times a day just to give those feelings some attention. 🙂

    1. Hi Suzy, I definitely think I need to sit on it … This week’s challenges are not what has been causing me strife the past few months, but I am certain I don’t easily sit with my feelings … and I need to. Great advice, thanks!

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