Emotional Eating

Last year, I lost close to 80 pounds. I’d still like to lose another 20-30 but I’m actually up 15 since my lowest point. The problem is I eat when I’m under stress and pressure. My job really sucks right now and I’m trying to establish a new relationship. I KNOW I eat when I’m under stress but I find myself sitting down for a meal and not stopping when I should. I know all the tips for stress relief (exercise, meditation, etc.) but I find it extremely hard right now to watch what I eat. Anyway, I just needed a place to vent and maybe putting this in writing and hearing how other people overcame the same problem can help me out. So, fellow Dopers, what do I do to overcome this?

Put smaller portions on your plate? Deep breathing exercises before dinner? I’m sorry I have I have no idea how to help, I just think it’s amazing anyone could lose 80 pounds in a year.

Some people drink more water or eat stuff like raw carrots or sugar free jello. They still eat a lot, but their choices don’t have the fat/calories/etc. that cause the weight gain. Best of luck to ya!

80 pounds lost is outstanding, and you should be very proud. Remember you success, and how it was attained. Get back on track – to loose the extra 15 pounds – if that’s what you want.

But you might want to start thinking about maintaining where you are at now.

You know what to do. You said so in your OP. Take it one challenge at a time. When you feel the need to eat when you are not hungry, find something else to do, pat yourself on the back for the 80lbs lost, and keep a realistic goal weight in mind.

You don’t need to be perfect, and don’t be hard on yourself.

I do the same thing. Not the losing-80-lbs thing (congratualtions!), but eating too much when I’m stressed or lonely or feeling depressed.

I don’t have any really clever tricks. I just try to do the following:

  • Do NOT sit down with a bag of snacks or a pint of frozen yogurt. Put a reasonable serving in a bowl and put the rest away.

It’s too easy to just keep eating . . . and eating . . . and eating . . . without even thinking about it. Having to get up and get more is enough of an extra little impediment that I can sometimes resist the urge to keep eating.

  • Have healthy alternatives (that you actually enjoy) available.

Many’s the time that I was able to avoid an ice-cream binge by having a handful of dates and a glass of chocolate soy milk (I like chocolate soy milk–stop looking at me funny. Only “Silk” brand, though. Other brands tend to kinda suck.) Pigging out is always bad, but if you’re going to pig out, fruit or bowls of Special K or whatever are still better than ice cream or Doritos.

I still feel dumb giving advice to someone who’s managed to lose eighty pounds!!! Consider me commiserating. :slight_smile:

Stalled out after losing 20 lbs.

Don’t keep ANY junky food in the house. Buy things that take time and effort to prepare (as opposed to microwave dinners or ready-to-eat junk.)

Don’t bring extra money with you when you go out–you’ll be tempted to stop at the vending machine at work, or stop for a coffee and doughnut on the way home.

Chew gum or eat ice if you find it satisfies your urge to eat.

Remind yourself of what giving into temptation will bring you. You’ve worked hard, you’ve lost weight, and visualize yourself both thin and heavier and really put yourself into it. Remember what it’s like to be trim. Remember what it’s like to be bloated and heavy from overeating. Do that whenever you want to eat.

I’m an emotional eater and those things usually work for me.

Careful chewing on ice- it can cause small cracks in your teeth, making it easier for you to get cavities.
I’m an emotional eater and have absolutely no self control. The only way you definitely can’t eat something is if it’s not in the house (and you don’t go out).

I stress eat too, but for me it’s not meals, it’s between meal snacking.

Here a couple of ideas. First, make it more effort to overeat. If you eat out a lot, this can be tough, since they serve so freaking much. But if you make food at home, you can put just a half portion on your plate, which will force you to get up again to eat more. It will at least make you think about how much you are eating and if you are really hungry. (BTW, if you do eat out, see if they will serve half orders)

Secondly, make a point of experiencing each bite of food. This may be a problem if you are eating with someone, but when you eat alone, concentrate on the flavor and ask yourself after each bite how full you are.

Wiz - Congrats on your weight loss… am exactly in the same position myself right now… lost about 150 lbs (yeah I know - tonsssssssssssss) in the last 18 months or so… now bored rigid by eating low fat food - started at Christmas and choc addiction is back with a venegance.

Its all down to boredom, not being where I want to be, long distance bf that I sooooooooooo badly want to be with, sucky job and general irriatation levels off the scale.

I know I can do something about the eating - I just dont want to as yet. One thing I know I aint buying any new clothes so these one begin to pinch then I’ll have to get off my fat ass and do something about it.

Tough though isn’t it???

Another congratulations for you!

My best suggestions:
-don’t keep any junk food (or ‘trigger’ foods) in the house - it’s too hard to stop once you’ve started

-lite microwave popcorn has few calories and keeps your anxious hands busy for a while - and by the time you’re finished you’re not as emotional (also, there are some great popcorn seasonings you can buy dill pickle, cheddar etc.)

-be careful if you are drinking, as you’ll have less self-control to avoid poor food choices

Exercise/activity is the best way to defeat stress, and even control appetite.

What I usually do is load up on some very low calorie foods that I love, or give myself generous reward meals when hitting a goal…which you should write down.


Did you ever write down your goal? Sort of like a ‘daily affirmation’, but it really works.

Also, I would always be afraid to call myself ‘stressed’, and use that as a crutch. My regular life, devoid of catasrophies, terminal illnesses, sick/dying children and extreme hardship should never be considered ‘stressful’.

Stress is burying a child, working in a cancer ward, being stationed in Kuwait, etc, etc.

Thanks for all the great tips.

Rhino–You hit my feelings exactly.

It’s not that I don’t know better. It’s just that it takes a lot of discipline and self-reminders of what and why I’m watching what I’m eating. I’ve got so much other stuff on my mind right now that I don’t really pay attention to my total calories and so I’ll look back at the end of the day and say “Wow, did I really eat that much?!?”

I need to get back in the mindset I had last year when I was watching what I was eating and continually telling myself that if I didn’t have that bowl of ice cream right now, it didn’t mean I could never have it…just get to my goal weight and then I could have ice cream. I was really motivated and since Thanksgiving last year (when my job really started to suck), I’ve lost some of that motivation.

I guess I need to keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time and every day is a new day.

Its a tough on Wiz… I think to lose weight effectively, you need to be in the right state of mind and be focused on it. Being pissed off at your job or your life sucking or love sick and sad or whatever takes the focus off losing weight and on taking care of yourself… comforting yourself… and food does it - for about 10 seconds before you think duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh am I retarded? lol…

I’d say dont beat yourself up - self loathing is all part of the putting on weight crap anyways so you’re only gonna be adding to the original problem in the first place.

What I’d say is give yourself a holiday - pick a deadline and know, up to that point, you’ll be happy with whatever you do but after that date, you’ll go back to healthy eating and exercise.

Its what I’m gonna do - week after next is my deadline (lots of lunch meetings next week that are going to kill me otherwise) … then its back to being a good girl.

It’ll all be good in the end :slight_smile: (I hope lol !!!)