Emotional Eating

I eat emotionally. It’s probably my biggest weight loss saboteur, and weight gain cause. In 2002 and 2003 I lost about 40 pounds and kept it off until the first part of 2006 when work got stressful. I gained back about 25 pounds. Then in early 2007 I got sick and lost about 15 pounds of that weight and kept it off for a while, but am back up that fifteen pounds plus another fifteen. And I feel like it’s work that gets me down. During 2005 and 2006 I was working long hours and working on my MBA. After I got better in 2007 I was still working crazy hours until I quit that job. But since then it seems like my stress and irritation level are at an all-time high. It doesn’t take much to set me off. I can’t figure out if I’m in the wrong job, or if I’m deficient of some nutrient because of the stress. I’ve read a lot about adrenal fatigue, which is where you’re over-working your adrenal glands either through lack of sleep, stress, or other things that cause your adrenaline to kick in.

All I know is I definitely qualified based on the stress level, lack of sleep, and constant complaints I dealt with at work. And I actually just this year bought a vitamin and mineral supplement (who knows if it works) that’s supposed to help your adrenal glands recover. I have no idea if it works.

But my problem isn’t really the stress at my work so much as the emotional over-eating when things get stressful, or worse, when I get frustrated or angry. Especially when I’m set off by someone like my boss yesterday. I think I take the way he treats me so seriously because we used to be friends before he became my boss. So it floors me what a jerk he can be to me when I’ve been there for him through some personal stuff. I think if it were a random person it would probably still upset me, but not to the degree I was yesterday.

And all I could think about was eating junk. Mostly Mexican food, burgers, fries, cheese fries, pizza, etc. And I still think about it today. And afer such a successful week eating, it’s very frustrating to be plagued by these thoughts. As if the anger I felt for being treated like crap werent’ enough, now it’s reverberating into wanting to over-eat.

And I want to squash that reaction. Not give into it. Not allow it to control me. But it’s hard. I have read a lot of stuff on why we react this way, because I know I’m not the only one. I feel like the way I feel during these times is probably similar to someone jonsing for drugs or alcohol or a cigarette. I’ve never been in those shoes, so it’s all purely theoretical. But people have described to me how that need for a ‘fix’ is all-encompassing. You can’t focus on anything else, and if you do, when your mind strays it goes right back to that. That’s exactly how I felt yesterday. It was all I could think about. I could distract myself temporarily, but when my mind strayed, I’d be thinking of something to binge on. Isn’t that sad?

And I slept, felt better this morning, then this afternoon, it’s back.

Some research I’ve read says that our bodies look to that food because the sugar or fat in it releases cortisol (I think that’s what it’s called) that makes us feel good. Yesterday I would have bought this. I was so upset, I can see my body wanting to make me feel better. Today? I’m really not angry anymore. I’m still annoyed. But no more this afternoon than this morning. Probably less so since those emotions tend to fade with time.

Other research I’ve read says that the reaction comes from an association we build up. I can see this since I’ve often times eaten when things are tough. Have a bad day at work? Let’s go to dinner and have drinks. Annoyed? Let’s go to lunch to get away from it. Upset? Have some cookies or chocolate! I know I’ve built these associations over the years. But it should not be this hard to get away from them.

And I see how a person would have to go cold turkey to get over them. Build some other way to deal with it. I’m trying to figure out what I can do instead when I get angry like that. Because obviously, it will happen again. And I’m not going to let someone make me angry. Then re-make me angry when I compensate by eating. I deserve better than that. Hell, I deserve better than being treated like crap. But I can’t control that. I CAN control how I react to it.

So, if anyone has suggestions? Obviously working out is a good one, but not always possible, especially at work. I write a lot, so writing’s possible. But I think I need to do something other than vent the issue. Maybe a specific list of five things I’m thankful for in spite of what’s happened to me? Or five great things that have happened that day/week/month and the one thing that’s making me angry is small in the scheme of things?

I really would eventually like to get to a point where I say something to myself when I’m angry. Because what’s the point? I can’t help it he’s a jerk. Obviously something in his life (insecurity, unhappiness, etc.) is making him be this way. My mom would tell me to feel sorry for these people. But when they’re directly mean, I have a really hard time doing that. Maybe if I say to myself, “He’s being a jerk. I don’t deserve it, but he’s unhappy. And he can take his unhappiness out on me, but he can’t make me unhappy.” Or something like that. I tend to take these things so personally. I need to push the things he’s doing back on him. ANd realize it’s HIM with the problem. And that problem has nothing to do with me. And even though he can try to affect me with it, he can’t make me unhappy like he is.

Let him have his power trip. Let him have his insecurity in his ability to do his job. Let him have his anger at whatever his life has become that he’s so angry about. Let him be a little man who has to be mean to everyone else to feel better about himself. Let him stew in his own grumpy slime. I don’t need any of it. I’m a happy person who deserves health, happiness, and to eat healthy or unhealthy on MY terms. Not his!

There. I actually kind of feel better.

Poor sap. I hope he does, too.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Quit the Emotional Eating - DIET AND EXERCISES – DIET AND EXERCISES

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