Friday, July 30, 2010

Breaking Old Habits

Mim: How are you today?
Me: Down. Feeling fat and ugly. Want to eat everything.
Mim: You look so good. Try to figure out what's really bothering you.

I've been working really hard on separating eating from emotion. My entire life I've eaten when I was sad, bored, angry, happy; you name it, I ate for it. It doesn't help that every event seems to involve food. It also doesn't help when you have lots of beautiful, slender friends who can seemingly eat anything (and in any quantity) without gaining an ounce.

For reasons I won't go into here, the coping mechanism I developed during my childhood was eating. Eating, for me, filled a hole: an emotional hole.

As I've been taking charge of my mental health (both chemically and psychologically) I went through many steps in which I recognized, understood, accepted, and began to combat this need to eat unnecessarily. Let me tell you: it hasn't been easy. And it's not over yet.

I am getting to the point, however, that (most of the time...) I am able to think about what I eat and why I am eating it. I'm making better choices about what I eat and I am learning to eat until I am not hungry anymore, NOT until I am stuffed full.

But sometimes I get the overwhelming urge to just eat. Eat. EAT. And most of the time I stop, assess that urge, and try to figure out what emotion I'm experiencing and the reason for that emotion. But occasionally, like one time a few weeks ago, I can't fight it, and I end up eating all the creme off of the cookies in a whole box of Oreos (yes, just the creme, I'm a freak), and then I sit around feeling stupid and angry at myself for failing to resist the urge. But the frequency of these "binges" is getting lower and lower, so at least there's progress, right?

I'm actually proud of how far I've come. The other day my coworker filled the candy bowl in her office again with mini Butterfingers (my favorite) and I only ate one. Moments like that make me feel like I'm not a total failure and I can do this!
Now, all that being said, yesterday I ate Sour Skittles and a Milky Way Simply Caramel bar (heaven)...


magnolia said...

ugh. emotional eating is just the worst. been there a thousand times. really, one of my best emotional eating strategies is that i did nothing whatsoever to change the behavior, but what i ate when i got bummed. the time that got me on the right track, i was really depressed and went on a binge... wherein i ate an entire stalk of celery, because that was my assigned emotional eating food. that pretty much did the trick.

that being said, i also keep fun-size candy on the top shelf of my cabinet in small, fancy quantities. i allow myself three pieces a day. that helps too.

Anna W said...

I hate celery...maybe I'll try carrots. I LOVE carrots.

But I think I should do that with the little baby candies. I've found that if I have a tiny little chocolate I eat it in several tiny bites to make it last longer, and that's satisfying enough (most of the time). What are your favorites?

magnolia said...

mounds bars. york peppermint patties. hershey's special dark nuggets with almonds (those have protein, too).

it's also portion control. one of those little hershey things only has 45 calories. that's nothing. i can burn that yelling at the television. :)

Anna W said...

Ooooh, yes, I love the Yorks. I put them in the fridge!

Sadako said...

Good for you for coming far. It's hard to break a habit like that. My habits aren't really about food but I definitely do struggle with a lot of deep seated insecurity issues.

Anna W said...

I also used to be very insecure; it took years of working hard and seeing good results come of it to realize that I'm not totally incompetent!

Kim said...

Eating can be an emotional response for me too. As a kid, it was the only thing that comforted me many times. And so it became a habit. I've tried to break it, and have made some progress, but I think a part of it will always still be there.

Anna W said...

You know, this internet blogging friends thing is awesome; I used to think it was just me that had emotional eating problems, that I was weak and everyone else was strong, but now it's nice to know that I'm not alone, and that just because I have something I need to work on, I'm not weak...just normal. And it's nice to know that I am surrounded (digitally and in person) by people who understand and support me.