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?


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