Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Confessions of an emotional (over)eater

Hi, my name is Debi.  And I am an emotional eater.  Sometimes, an emotional over-eater.  Earlier this year I was handed a ticket for the roller coaster and I jumped on, eyes squeezed shut, gripping, white knuckled, screaming.  Perhaps I was only screaming on the inside, but it felt like I was screaming for someone to listen, to help, to understand.  I've since released my grip and hopped off the roller coaster, but how long until I'm shoved back on again?  I'm always a little worried that something will trigger me to feel upset, frustrated, overwhelmed, guilty, sad...whatever...and will cause me to head to the store for a muffin or to Starbucks for hot chocolate and pumpkin bread.  Yeah, those are my "comfort" foods, the first ones on the list when I *need* something to wallow in.

The problem here is that those foods don't really comfort me.  In my mind, I like to think that they do, but the result of racing to processed, sugar-laden, fatty foods leaves me feeling more guilty, more frustrated, and bitter.  Then the whole cycle begins.  The last time this happened at the end of January, it lasted for over 3 weeks - and resulted in a pretty shocking weight gain.  You may have heard me refer to that time as "in the trenches".  While I'm happy to say that I clawed my way out of that with the support of many friends (and people who don't even know me) and via therapy...I do still worry that it's something like alcoholism.  I'll never be "cured" of this.  It'll always be in the back of my mind, nagging at times.

Today, something  happened that triggered some frustration for me.  I felt myself sliding slightly towards losing myself in food.  When my husband came home from work, I wanted to get out for a bit, have some time to myself.  When I got in my car, my first reaction was to drive to the store and get a muffin.  That damn muffin...always there for me when I want it.  Instead, I took a drive, taking in the summer sights...BLARING my music.  Maybe I looked a little strange - this woman driving with the windows down, blasting Prodigy, with the cute little family stickers on the back window of my mommy-SUV.  No worries, folks.  The kiddos were at home.  When I got home - having NOT driven to the store to binge on baked goods - I stole a little more time to read quietly from The Success Principles, and then took a shower.  After that, I made a huge salad.  Feeling MUCH better now.

A few months ago, that scenario would not have happened.  I would have driven to the store, bought that muffin (or two) and ate them in the car so no one at home would see me.  Maybe I would have gotten my Starbucks and lost myself in my hot chocolate.  Either way, I would not have had the discipline to talk myself out of it, find other outlets for my frustration & emotions, and it would have been another ride on the roller coaster from hell.

It's been a lot of soul searching, therapeutic talking, reaching out to friends and other acquaintances in my health & fitness community to draw positivity and strength from them.  It's comforting to me - now - to be able to see those signs and redirect myself as best I can, before I lose control and say "the hell with it".

If you find yourself in a similar pattern, needing help & support, needing a hand to pull you up and out of that hole, your trenches...I'm here.  I've been there and I know how awful it feels.  I am here to help you through your struggles and offer support, lend an ear, and share a smile.


  1. I think you and I are two peas in a pod! I'm with you, girl! My vice was M&Ms and I'm still tempted when I get stressed out or frustrated. Now I reach for green tea or water at work! I've been working on my personal blog post, as well, and one of these days I'll get it up there! :)

  2. I know that feeling!! It's taken me many months to be okay with sharing these things. It's still embarrassing to me, but at the same time, if it can help someone to make a change in their life, to embrace other ways of working through emotions...I'll scream about it from a mountain top! Good luck getting your post completed. Please share it on my Facebook page if you would like. :o)

  3. You are such a brave, amazing, inspiring,
    hard-working and determined person. I loved reading this blog and am so very very proud of you for being such a "do-er." You are only human and the times you "slip" ... you always find a way to climb back up to the top. That is what I need to learn from you. I am a complainer and always see my glass as half empty. I am always venting about what is not done instead of just finding a way to get it done. I am very very proud of you and think all of your hard work has paid off so much. You are such a great role model to your beautiful 3 girls. They are so lucky to have a mom like you. Love Amy (your friend and neighbor)

  4. That made me teary-eyed, Amy. Thank you so much for your kinds words. It means so much to me! xoxo

  5. I'm learning to use food as fuel for life and not as a way of life. I'm not an emotional eater, but I'm an entertainment eater. I eat because I'm bored. Thanks for the encouraging post and keep up the good work!


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