Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emotional Eating

I didn't originally intend to use this picture, but it seems poetic somehow, a chocolate brownie shaped like a heart: I heart food. I love food, but should food be a form of love?
As soon as I hit any kind of emotional incident, be it a high or a low, my appetite drastically changes. It's not always consistent either, it rarely makes sense, and is for the most part uncontrollable. Like extreme nerves on the day of a competition means that food is the last thing on my mind and I have to force a form of starch into my body for fuel for the day! Or bouts of giddy happiness which drive all thought of food away, and I am satisfied by the warm glow alone!

I find that even the negative events can cause me to be paralysed from eating, like when I'm terrified I've made a big mistake at work, I break out into a cold sweat and food is far from my mind! Strangely enough it's the days when I'm happy with my body that I'll snack a bit more (justified by my slim image in the mirror!) AND "fat days" where my clothes are tight and I feel like the marshmallow man! It makes no sense to me but when I feel fat, I feel compelled to eat!

I eat when I'm bored. I eat when I'm sad. I eat when I feel lonely or deprived in some way. My day seems to revolve around what I am or am not eating! Whether it's guilt for excesses or pride for depriving myself, every day's nutrition has some form of emotion linked to it.

Clearly I am not eating for physical needs, I seem to exist solely on an emotional appetite. I am not saying this for sympathy or even to complain, it's simply an observation.

Can I fix this? Can I re-train myself to see food as fuel and not as comfort? Is the solution to eat what I want or to monitor every calorie I consume?


Sagan said...

I think that because you (I, we) are aware of it, you/I/we can take that knowledge and try to run with it. I've got some of the same emotional eating patterns as you- when I'm happy, I'll snack more. I eat a lot when I'm bored or when I "feel fat" (it IS strange how we eat even if we feel bloated and such!).

I think that we CAN re-train ourselves. But it takes time and a lot of trial and error to find out what is going to work. And what works might change as we change. So we'll constantly learn how to not give in too much to the emotional eating. Just hang in there, keep trying different things and making mistakes- you WILL figure it out!

Charlotte said...

I tend to be an emotional eater too. Frankly, I've never understood how people can NOT be that way. From the day we're born, food is tied to so much more than survival. If you find the magic bullet on this one, do let me know!

Shivers said...

Sagan, I do think that consciousness is the first step to solving a problem, and I like that idea of trying different things. Although the perfectionist in me is not comfortable with mistakes, the idea of being given permission to make them is intriguing! :)

Charlotte, I'll share any secrets I uncover, I promise! :) I share your confusion in that regard, I'll never understand how food can just be food to people! How can they be so cut off from something that seems to rule my life?! :) I'm not sure if I envy or pity them! :)