Help for the Stress Eater?

As someone who was overweight for many years, I found my biggest challenge was stress eating. You know what I mean, eating when you are not hungry. Whenever I was stressed to the max, I would literally eat my feelings.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about…

Imagine this….

It is the hectic holiday season and life has been crazy busy. On top of the financial stress and holiday shopping, you are working long days at a hectic job. After a very manic day, you decide to stop by the store and pick up something quick for dinner. While out shopping for something to make for dinner you see some cookies or cakes. And without even thinking about it, you buy the cookies. You may even open them up and eat them in the car before you make it all the way home.

This sort of scenario would happen to me all the time. And then once I would get home, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from eating more of the cookies.

I would have thoughts going through my head like…“I deserve this!”

I would try to limit myself to a little bit. But it would always seem that it would be gone by the end of the night.

The next day I think to myself, “What is wrong with me?” 

I feel disgusted with myself.

Many people who struggle with their weight also struggle with stress eating. And often people eat just to eat. Have you ever wondered why this happens?

I think the reason why it happens to most of us is that we are looking to feel better. We are looking for a way to calm ourselves down. For some reason, eating is soothing and tends to make us feel better, until the next day when we feel like crap. I remember waking in the morning after a binge feeling awful. I would be all gassy and even have a headache. I would be full of lots of regret for what I ate the night before.

My weight and food obsession was a real problem for many years. When I turned 50 I was just under 200 pounds. I knew I needed to make a change.

And I did. But it took a lot of hard work. I had to totally change my relationship with food. And I had to admit to myself that I was a sugar addict.

Now I eat to nourish my body. And I feel so much better. I am no longer addicted to sugar and carbs like I was.  I don’t feel the need to pig out when I’ve had a bad day. I find other ways to feel good.

But getting to this point wasn’t easy. It was really difficult. I had to eliminate all of the processed foods that I was obsessed with.

By eliminating the sugar and carbs I also ended up losing over 60 pounds. But more importantly, I am healthy and probably added years to my life.

I also read lots of books that dealt with the issue of stress eating. I wanted to figure out what was going on in my head. I felt so out of control around food which stressed me out because I was so in control of every other aspect of my life.

image courtesy of amazon.comOne of the books I recommend reading is: Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed!: Calm Down, Ditch Your Inner-Critic Bitch, and Finally Figure Out What Your Body Needs to Thrive

 

This book helped me to realize that I wasn’t crazy at all. I learned that food isn’t meant to make me feel calm or happy. It isn’t meant to help me emotionally. Food is simply to feed my body. I learned other ways of dealing with many of the negative emotions that I felt in my life.

I also learned that when I give my body really nutritious food I feel amazing. I have energy and for some reason, I feel happy and healthy. On the other hand, when I eat food that raises my glucose I feel depressed and even sad.

So I will never go back to eating sugar again. Sugar is an addictive drug to me that I don’t want a part of.

What about you? Do you stress eat? And if so, how do you deal with it?


Why I Quit Drinking Diet Soda

Something just occurred to me as I was reading over the post I wrote a few days ago, Best Sugar-Free Drinks. I didn’t even talk about diet soda. And I should have because diet soda is often the first drink that people think about when they want to lose weight but still want to drink sweet tasting drinks. Diet sodas are designed to taste like regular sodas. But instead of having corn syrup or sugar as a sweetener, diet sodas use aspartame or sucralose as a way of sweetening the drink.

I also turned to diet sodas because I thought the sweetness and fizz would help me to not crave sweets. But I quickly discovered that actually, I ended up craving more sweets. Diet sodas seem to most people to be the perfect diet drink as it doesn’t have any calories. And people want to avoid calories.

But if you have been following a low carb diet, you know that calories mean nothing when it comes to losing weight and being healthy. However, I wanted to avoid sugar while I was losing weight. So it seemed that sugar-free sodas would be a good option because it wouldn’t raise my blood sugar. And so I would drink coke zero.

But the thing is, there is a lot of mixed information out there about artificial sweeteners which include saccharin, aspartame, sucralose. I did some research and found that there are many health risks from drinking diet sodas. Many people believe that diet sodas are even worse for your health than regular sodas. Some of the health risks I read were cancer and kidney disease. And yes, many of the information is mixed, but duh, why would I risk my health if there is even a chance that diet sodas could make me sick.

There are also a lot of beliefs that diet sodas don’t help you lose weight either. Actually, they can help you to gain weight, especially in the belly.

My thinking is pretty simple, If these artificial sweeteners are not real food then why would I want to eat or drink anything that has them in it. Why would I want to risk my health?

So this is why I really don’t even think about drinking diet sodas. Diet sodas to me are poison. Simple as that.

So what are the alternatives? One alternative is to simply drink the sugar-free drinks I wrote about earlier this week, or drink a diet soda with stevia. If you haven’t heard of Zevia Zero Calorie Soda, You gotta check it out. It is the best! I love it!

Grape Zevia

Zevia Zero Calorie Soda is a natural soda that is sweetened with Stevia which is a natural sweetener that is safe to use. Zevia is a diet soda with no aspartame. I like that there is a huge variety of flavors, 17 to be exact.

These sodas taste great. I have tried the cola flavor and the cream soda flavor. Actually, my go to when I’m drinking an alcoholic beverage is Rum (which is sugar-free) and Cola Zevia. It is my version of a rum and diet. I enjoy it and I don’t miss the sugar one bit.

But I have to tell you the cream soda is amazing. It has that nice creamy vanilla taste I remember from when I was a kid. My kids and grandkids tried it and they love it too.

So the bottom line is I prefer not to put my health at risk by drinking diet sodas. But luckily there are some really great alternatives out there.