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Emotional Eaters... Any Advice?


Stubborn tortoise
Hiya... a couple of recent postings by Kira and Serena really hit home for me, about how some of us are emotional eaters. This was really clear to me this week. A few days ago I felt very upset/stressed & had also had a sleepless night. I'd been sticking to 810 plan over Xmas/New Year and over that day found myself stuffing down cake, Xmas pud, brandy sauce & even a box of chocs I had planned to 're-home'. I ended up with a sore tummy and a major guilt attack, and felt so scared too as it seemed such a massive loss of control after 5 weeks of no-cheat SS.
On New Years Eve we had a party where I'd planned to drink, and I ate nice food & drank & had fun, and didn't feel guilty, the same on New Years Day... the contrast with the emotional eating was so strong! Today I am safely back on SS but it all made me think, & I know I need to tackle the emotional eating or CD or no CD I will never be slim.
I know that feelings like guilt, anger and helplessness make me comfort eat, but I don't have a clue how to prevent that kind of impulse or stop a binge once it starts. Has anyone else had the same problem, or found solutions? Any books, ideas, tactics, any suggestions at all would be welcome. My CDC is new and the emotional side of the picture is not her strong point, but I'm hoping some of you might understand or have advice?
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Gold Member
This is such a huge subject. KD is one of the best writers about this subject. She has taught me a lot over the years. One of the best being a way of stopping boredom eating. Tell yourself that if you really want that biscuit/chocolate/whatever, you can have it in ten minutes. Then go and do something positive, tidy a drawer or similar. I try to do that and it is surprising how often I forget to have the biscuit altogther!

Hopefully KD may appear in a minute but if not check out ' bring your head inside and your body will follow'; there's loads of good ideas and info there.


Stubborn tortoise
Thanks Barb... what's the 'Bring Your Head Inside' thing? Can you explain? Thanks!


Gold Member
Its a thread - put into search and it should come up. I think it's probably in the general weight loss discussion but I'm not sure.

Dieting Rambler

Size 14 Here I Come!
Katycakes since my post on your other thread I failed miserably at starting on Monday, then Tues, then Wed and Thurs!! so today is my Day of SSing although I am aware I still have this evening ahead but I know I will stick to it. why didn't I SS when I thought my head was in the right place the other day? I comfort ate! I read an articles in Easy Living magazine last night on emotional eating and they mention some books on the comfort eating issue which I will try and post. I am seriously thinking of getting help on this and I think a good way is to read a book on this. I know KD has written some great advice on this too. Like you I feel if I don't deal with the emotional eating no matter what diet I do I will remain in a vicious cycle of dieting and gaining and dieting again. I think I need to revisit the maintainers of weight loss on this site. Porgeous springs to mind as she seem to have been maintaining for some time. I knew there are many others so out of all of them some may well have been emotional eater like us?


Stubborn tortoise
Barb, Dieting Rambler, Kira & Serena, THANKS.... when you mess up like that you feel so bad and so alone. Today is day 2 of SS for me, like you Kira, & so far so good... it's like a safety net that enables me to blank the trifle in the fridge and the mince pies still lurking in the cupboard. I just need that safety net to function when I AM eating, too. I've looked at the forum on emotional eating and found it reassuring Barb, so thanks for that. Serena, Icemoose had posted replies to a couple of my earlier comments and I did check out & sign up to his newsletter, and this morning one popped into my inbox just when I needed it... I know there is help out there & that others understand, and your feedback really has helped. Kira, would love to know the names of the books you mentioned, I would try anything really. When I comfort eat I almost zone out and no logic can interfere, so need some way of snapping out of that trance & dealing with the emotions that lead to it before it happens. The answer to all this is in my head somehow and not in a diet as such, though I know CD is what I need right now, I suppose its a tool & buys you time to look at the other issues. Thanks guys for being there. And good luck with Day 2 Kira!


Gone fishing
This is such a huge subject. KD is one of the best writers about this subject. She has taught me a lot over the years.
Oh thankyou Barb. Good to hear it's helped.

The advice I gave was more to do with compulsive eating which I put in a different catagory to emotional eating, though some people would say compulsive and emotional eating were the same, I think they are different.

Anyway, for compulsive eating, which is where emotions can feel stable or not, but you go to eat something, or it's time for food (a part of your routine, even though you aren't really hungry), and you just cannot stop. 1 biscuit becomes 1/2 a packet.

You stop and give yourself a set amount of minutes. You don't do anything in that time, or at least the first part of that time. You tell yourself that you can have it. It's totally your choice, but not for 15 minutes.

Then you just sit with the feeling for while. You remember that wanting something doesn't necessarily mean you must have it. There is nothing wrong with wanting. It's when we turn it into a 'have'.

So you sit and be at peace with it. They go do something else if you want.

I know for many of us want always equals 'have' when it comes to food. We assume that just because we want something, then we must either have, or battle with not having. 'Want' means we now have a choice. It doesn't mean 'Eat'.

Anyway, the idea is that we break the cycle that always makes the first feeling of 'want' take us straight into the cupboard.

So after your set time, you get to either eat it, or you set yourself another time. Think about it for a mo, go do something else...or not.

Going and doing something else immediately doesn't work so well. It puts that 'want' away again without doing a conscious level of accepting it. Besides, we don't always want to do something else. Just would prefer not to eat :D

It worked really well for me. Okay, I didn't always sit with it. Sometimes I just ate, but each time was a time for practising again, until I became skilled at it.

Now 'want' never turns into 'have' until I've questioned why I 'want'. Takes practice but it worked, and it wasn't too difficult to do.
Morning ladies! Today is Day 2 and I am determined to stick to SS. KD your post has been most helpful but I am scared that I am both an emotional eater and a compulsive eater? gosh! some days I feel completely screwed up in the head yet I know I am also a well balanced person in others areas of my life? I am not going to let the fear put me from getting through today and I am hoping clicking others on the forum re this issue will help. Katycakes the book I mentioned is by Geneen Roth called Breaking Free from Emotional Eating (Plume £14.99) Another one is By Martha Beck a Harvard Sociologist turned therapist who has wrtitten The 4-Day Win: Change The way you think about food and your body in just 4 days (Piaktus £10.99). My sensible lawyer's head tells me books are unlikely to be the key (especially the latter one) these people are making money. However, I think they may aid people like us in small ways, they will not change us in 4 days as the title of one of them suggests!! If only!! Real people on this forum like KD, Porgeous,IceMoose Lilypop (who is still on her journey) and so many others (forgive me not listing you all!) are the ones who have experience being overweight , some for different reasons perhaps and I think it is those to whom we need to look to to gain an understanding how we can take control of ourselves in respect to food. To think many of us maintain our jobs, our children our family, friendships etc and we are successful at such things but why are some of us unable to echo that success in what we put into our mouths? i have a petrol car, I would not put diesel in it? My husband as a diesel car I would not put petrol in it - SO WHY do I put things in my body that do not work for me? forgive the long post but I am in contemplation mode triggered by your great thread. Here's to all CD'ers and dieters getting through another day successfully!


Stubborn tortoise
KD & Kira, thanks so much. Think i am a mixture of compulsive & emotional too... it's emotions that are the trigger, but once that trance descends I don't come out of it until I've hoovered up enough sweet junk food to make me feel really, really bad. It seems to be about punishing myself now that I think about it... also, it's like that sugary stuff is meant to represent 'love' & 'comfort' but deep down you know it was never that, even in childhood, it was maybe given as an easier option than the hugs/support I really needed? God, now I'm getting really deep, sorry!!!!
KD, I will follow your steps the next time I'm in the grip of this. Thank you. Have read your posts elsewhere on site and found them really helpful, thanks for being there!
Kira, I really identify with what you're saying about having one dark corner of our lives where all the stress seeps out. My family/ work colleagues would be horrified if they knew how this one area of my life is so horribly out of control. I have a very successful & fairly high profile career and it terrifies me that if I don't get this under control it could undermine all of that. But mostly, I just want to feel better about myself and stop trying to sabotage my own happiness. This thread has got a bit heavy & sorry for that, but I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you all being there. I have never, ever told anyone any of this before, or felt that anyone would understand. I'll check out the books Kira... like you, I know they won't be a quick fix but maybe they can point me in the right direction. Thanks, honeys.
Hey! I think deep is good! I see it like free therapy/counselling! Boy do I need it!! One of the reasons doing something like Weight Watchers didn't work for me was because I felt everyone talked about food. The points/calories and it was always about the next meal and how many points were left in a day. My head is just not ready for that. If I ever recover (from being a yo-yo-dieter and deal with my food issues) perhaps something WW may work for me. I need to discuss my weakness when it come to food because it seems to help, so perhaps when we need a bit of therapy we can use this thread you have started? It would certainly help me! It's like thinking aloud, discussing my issues somehow helps me wanting to eat/overeat. I think that is how when I did CD back in April I did succeed in losing over 2 stones. Will try and keep a track on this thread - I am a bit of a technophobe! Hope to catch up later.


Stubborn tortoise
Kira, I'd really like it if we could keep the thread live and post when we need to think stuff through in a 'safe' environment... like I said, it's a huge relief to know it's not just me. I work from home and am a bit jaded today, getting back into ketosis and haven't had a lot of sleep over last few days, hence the many postings today... am trying to work but keeping this window open too! It helps! I'm not very techno either, and when I first discovered this site I didn't think I'd stick with it, but knowing you have some friends along with you on the journey is actually very empowering. Anyway, later I'm going to try to order those books from Amazon... fingers crossed.
i agree with you katycakes, this thread needs to be kept live!
We're all in this situation due to our relationships with food. Its all very good to say i'm on day 2 etc, what do you think of the soups?, how well we're doing?
But we all live with the food goblin sitting on our shoulders. When we're doin great, he takes a back seat, but he's always there.
This thread shows us that we all feel the same and we all have the same struggle, and wise words can be a godsend in black times xxxx
welshwench, i totally agree. I tend to eat and eat when i'm stressed. I've just started a PhD and am so stressed atm, and it will only get worst for the next couple months until i settle in. I will be on this forum to ask for support and advice when the only thing i really wanna do is stuff myself. And lets be honest, the limited pleasure i get from stuffing myself is greatly outweighed by the intense feeling of guilt and self disgust i feel afterwards...and its for this reason that i have already binned all my 'snack' foods and everything else that my bf wont eat! I'm hoping that if i stop the cycle of eating when stressed now, when i reach my goal, i will no longer seek food and instead go for a walk/read etc
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Stubborn tortoise
Welshwench, you're so right. I've never posted so much as I have today - think this thread is a turning point for me, to admit the scary, shameful stuff about emotional eating and find I'm not alone. I'm just realizing CD is a tool, a great one, but not the whole answer for me at least - I need to face the goblin and show him I am stronger than he is. Thanks all of you for being there - let's keep on being there for each other!
if you can bin all the banned foods, it would make it so much easier for you. The less temptation there is, the less you have to fight against.
I find its good to make ice lollies from the orange flavouring, it feels like a naughty treat x


Stubborn tortoise
You're right Karen... the place has been awash with treat-food after our New Year's party. I'm trying to encourage my husband & two teenagers to 'tidy' it all up... but the bin is probably a better option, even they are craving plain food now!!! Thanks for the lolly tip, will try it out! I'm missing my CD bars, I had one each day before but now I'm restarting & back to Day 2 again I guess they are outlawed for a while! Feels so good to be back on SS though, even though today I'm feeling tired & headachey I know this means I'm heading into ketosis so it's worth it. And it's funny how once food is out of the picture the temptation to binge disappears. On my 5 weeks of SS I used to dream of tomatoes, not cake/choc! Hope your SS is going great so far...
At weekends when I am at home I leave the computer on so I can log on and off into the forum. As I potter around I'll come on the forum and have read, this does help especially if my resolve weakens. It will be part of my routine. I've not long got back from the gym (haven't been for 3 months!) and am determined to make it part of my routine again - me time is the forum and the gym and a long bath! that is in between sorting out kids and working! Katycakes thread has got me thinking about other "mental stuff" and that is also to try and be happy with what I have and not always want this and that. I have a great husband (got it right second time!) two loving sons and a great job (stressful a lot of the time but I work with great people). I am guilty of wish we had this or that (even though I know I have a lot compared to others). So I will be trying to keep a positive attitude in 2009 as well as trying to conquer my emotional and compulsive eating by doing CD. Look forward to thought provoking exchanges of posts on this thread! Katycakes many thanks for starting this!!
I have a very successful & fairly high profile career and it terrifies me that if I don't get this under control it could undermine all of that. But mostly, I just want to feel better about myself and stop trying to sabotage my own happiness. This thread has got a bit heavy & sorry for that, but I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you all being there. I have never, ever told anyone any of this before, or felt that anyone would understand.
Katycakes, I can't tell you how scary it is to read this in your post - sounds FAR TOO familiar!

I spend so much energy putting on my 'happy face' to pretend i'm not bothered by anything (which is rarely the truth) that I can't even face up to admitting to anyone other than my family and a couple close friends (the two who have done/are doing CD and advised me about it) that I'm even doing CD. Talk about food issues running deep!

I was doing very well on it - taking food out of the equation enabled me to concentrate on all the things that were triggering me, and thought I really was getting a handle on the distinction between hunger and emotional eating (at least becoming a lot more mindful about each). But then I lost the plot this week due to a number of factors...the biggest of which was 'oh what the h*ll'.

And that really is my biggest trigger - not caring enough about myself, and then doing things which make things worse for myself in the long run. But that is going to end for me in 2009. Enough is enough.

I'm back on SS today finally (and no more social pressures to distract me for a while), and interestingly it feels like such a relief. I know I'll struggle this weekend, but I also know I can get through it. Just that little boost of confidence is what I need to start a virtuous circle again, and avoid all the viscious ones I've got caught up in so often.

I never thought CD would become what feels like a safety blanket for me in a way that food always has been on the surface (but really a very negative thing under the surface). But it has taught me something about myself, and I'm keen on continuing that lesson.

I hope you and everyone else like us who struggles with emotional eating can spend as much time resolving the issues behind that as we will in watching the pounds fall off, as it will make us all the more stronger for it when we reach our weight-related goals.

Good luck to everyone and happy new year


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