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Choices - Feeding Emotional Stress

Friday, January 03, 2014

After 54 days of eating healthy and staying within my calorie range, last night I binged on granola. I don't normally write confessional type blogs, but this whole binge thing was kind of interesting and I just need to reflect on it a bit.

Lately I haven't had a lot of stress in my life. But all of a sudden yesterday there were a couple of things that cropped up that could be potentially a bit of ongoing stress until they can be resolved. One is with getting my father's estate settled and the other is with my son's new business. The funny thing is -is that I know neither of these problems is really unresolvable. And neither one of them is something I can do anything to take care of. In other words they are both out of my control.

But as I crawled into bed and started to relax I just felt a huge urge to eat. At first I ate a small serving of hummus and whole wheat crackers and a cutie. Nice and healthy. Then I drank a full glass of water. And then I waited. All of my internal dialogue was all churned up. What I really wanted was something to much on. chew chew chew. I thought about carrots and a pickle, but I knew that if the hummus hadn't satisfied my craving, neither would the veggies.

So I got up and grabbed a box of granola. I don't even normally have granola in the house, but it has all the whole grains that I have been switching over to eating and eating is what I did. For 15 minutes I munched and munched. I could hear myself saying, you are going to be so angry at yourself in the morning for this. But that didn't stop me. So as I was eating and while I was stopping myself from finishing off the box - I slowly changed the dialogue. I let go of the self hate judgment and told myself - OK - get it back under control and know that it was just a poor choice. Instead of dealing with what was really bothering me, I was feeding my feelings of being stressed.

So now the challenge for me is to realize before I start the binge that what is really happening is that I am feeding the emotional stress. In the past I have been able to conquer this sort of binge attack before it gets out of control. It takes a lot of awareness at moments like this to recognize what is happening and then to have the self control to stop it before the eating starts. Well, I have been successful to stop this before and I know I will be successful again - Last night was just another chance to live and learn what works and doesn't work.
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  • no profile photo CD13961612
    Yes, be gentle with yourself. I've read the book 'Brain over Binge' recently and found it offers interesting perspectives on binge eating. Hang in there. You did very well for 54 days!
    2489 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3468195
    I so understand this, I would stress eat all the time, now I have learned to do other things, but sometimes I still get the urge. Good job on the 54 days, you got this.
    2490 days ago
    You learned from this . . . THAT is what's important. HUGS!
    2490 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13989785
    emoticon it is interesting & worth pondering because it happened and because it was an emotional reaction and struggle. I have found during periods of stress, my go to *urge to snack* hits... part of that is a lifetime habit, a deep seated core attitude both personal and cultural (curl up with ice cream and cry over the breakup), and I realize these are a problem when I bump into the *hard to stop* door and bang my head!!! :::ouch::: ;)

    I mention the context because I can have period of no binging, increasing and descreasing bouts both in size and frequency. It is alarming always but moreso when on the increase, I get this fear I won't be able to stop. and in the past, a characteristic of a binge was stork head in sand go for bust eatfest, deal with the *know i'll feel horrible* feelings later.

    1 thing I found very helpful was choosing to use a *controlled binge* as a tool.. to add or double a snack, sometimes even triple the snack. This is better than an uncontrolled eatfest.

    and the surprising other benefit is that when I consciously assess all things considered in the moment (aka realize I am on the verge of diving into food & swimming around in it...), then making the decision to have a controlled binge allows me to own it. And then enjoy the food, no guilt fest, no shame, no later wet noodles...

    for what its worth... (((hugs))) I hope you find some nice self-soothing non-food ways to destress the emotions today... (although I often find I am better after a night or 2 of sleep, but sometimes I have an emotional hangover that lingers a bit...)

    emoticon j
    2491 days ago
    I'm so glad that you gave yourself credit for the 54 days you did GREAT and recognized last night for what it was! emoticon I wanted to binge at bedtime, too, for emotional reasons. As you know, I am bringing up my 13 year old grandson as my own ~ and of all my kids, he is definitely the one that gives me grief. Last night he was very rude, for no apparent reason. emoticon The only thing that stopped me from binging was that I wanted sugary, fatty treats from Christmas ~ but they were all gone! A blessing in disguise but I was sure mad at the time! emoticon
    2491 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/3/2014 3:34:06 PM
  • no profile photo CD14049861
    One thing that helps me when I'm experiencing an emotional eating binge is using my left hand (nondominant) to eat. A 2011 study by researchers from the University of Southern California found that this practical strategy can reduce the amount that you eat. "This action breaks up the automatic hand-to-mouth flow and encourages you to think about each bite," I came across this idea in an article on WebMD and tried it - and it does work for me.
    I also take several deep breaths focusing on pulling the air in through my nose and pushing it out through my lips. It sounds simple, but adding oxygen to your brain helps you think more clearly and make better food decisions, particularly when you're stressed.
    Stay focused and determined - this was only a bump in the road and you have cleared it. It's important that you took the time to reflect on your behavior; why it happened and how you can help keep it from happening again.
    2491 days ago
    2491 days ago
    2491 days ago
    First, congratulations on the 54 days that were so well controlled. Quite an accomplishment!

    And, good for you, recognizing that these are things you can't control anyway, so the mental exercises are a waste of time and energy.

    I find that night time, specifically when I first go to bed, can be a time that my mind chooses to "chew" on things for no good reason. I always read in bed, so I've learned to just pick that book back up if I find myself too in my head. It usually cures the problem.
    2491 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14188335
    I really think that writing a blog like this is very important to identify that you are a stress eater. so anytime you feel a binge coming why not write a blog about what you are feeling that makes you want to binge eat. vent or whatever you need. I've done that and then after didn't feel the need to eat.
    2491 days ago
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