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Emotional Eating...


One Day at a Time
S: 17st10lb C: 17st10lb G: 14st0lb BMI: 36.6 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Sam's (wannalose8stone) thread about hypnosis really got me thinking the other day and its one that won't go away!

Really and truly... why do I emotionally eat. I know I do it, I've always done it but why and where did I learn this from, how and how the hell do I stop it.

I guess I started thinking this because I'm seriously considering hypnosis also. I was thinking about the needing to address WHY rather than just the prevention of cravings.

Honestly, I don't think I "crave" things.. well not in the way most people seem to describe it anyway. Even when I was pregnant I didn't "crave" things.

Anyway... I thought I'd post this because i'm not brave enough to share this with anyone I know, let alone my husband! I've just spent a good hour soaking in the bath trying to think of when I started emotionally eating... the truth is I don't really know. I don't know about most of you but my childhood is pretty hazy (I'm only 27!)

The first time I can remember binge-eating was when we lived in a pub. I lived there between the ages of 9 and 13 and honestly as an only child I think I found it hard to accept that I wasn't the centre of the universe anymore; possibly the pub was. This is so hard for me, I had great parents who gave me everything I needed and supported me iin everyway they could- I think they felt torn (just as I do now - its hard working full-time and having kids!)

But something was missing.. late at night while they were downstairs serving customers I was upstairs lying inbed, sneaking into the office and stealing (yes stealing) chocolate bars which were supposed to be for sale. This is not something I'm proud of by any means - in fact this is the first time I've admitted it out loud (they must have known though). I would eat 5 or 6 Mars Bars or Twixs at a time and do the same the following night.

This doesn't answer my why but does answer my when... this history has always been at the back of my mind making me feel guilty and it feels good to finally admit it to myself.

I'm not sure how this period ended; all I know is it gave me that kick start into a bad relationship with food that has lasted the best part of 20 years. I'd like to point out that after this period I never stole from my parents again and I'm deeply ashamed of it still all these years later.

I think I eat the chocolate at night because I missed my parents, we had been very close before taking on the pub and I felt excluded from them from that point on. I guess it must have made me feel better but I'm not sure how.

Today I still want sweet things when I'm emotionally battered... either from a bad day at work, or during a row with my OH, its mainly WORK these days.

Sorry for the long post, got a bit carried away...
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I guess you are beginning to recognise some triggers here and that means you are some way forward to being able to work through some of this. I know now that anxiety of any form gets my fingers picking and my teeth a chomping. I am trying to work thru this but it is not an easy habit to break. Hypnosis may help I suppose, but also having strategies to deal with the emotional stuff.
Hi Lollypop

:hug99: Sam has really got us all thinking hasn't she!

I can totally empathise with how you feel, I have never told anyone about my eating problems (apart from on Mins and even then I don't always tell the whole story) My husband isn't aware that I have these issues either! However I did tell a couple of really close friends the other day, I was embarrassed at first but then found myself telling them everything, they were so shocked. I felt really good afterwards, like a load had been lifted. My dirty secret is out:eek:

I too think my problems started in childhood, I was in a situation where I was given sweet treats to occupy me and like yours my parents were great people and tried to give me the best childhood. Because of the problems they had I had to take a back seat, this by no means was any fault of theirs, but I would sit and eat my sweets feeling a little resentment to them and the situation. The sweets made me feel better! I would feel so guilty for having bad thoughts, and would make myself feel better with food.

I think it's great that you've opened up on Mins, it's so much easier telling people you don't actually know about your emotions, but getting them out in the open is part of the healing process I'm sure.



One Day at a Time
S: 17st10lb C: 17st10lb G: 14st0lb BMI: 36.6 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Thanks for the words of support, to lose long trek and minilady.
It does feel so much better to read those words on the screen in front of me. I feel like they were written by someone else and that I can then empathise with them. I think I've been beating myself up subconsciously about this issue for a very long time and its time to let go of it. I don't want to blame anyone I just want to move on with my life and find a new way to deal with my emotional lows.
Fair dues to you for starting this. I can completely relate. Have thought about it many times over the past number of years as I emotionally over-ate, most often in secret. Mine stems from childhood also I think. Didnt have a terrible childhood, my Dad was tough but my Mum was a big old softy. Food was often given as a treat... now that doesnt sound like a big deal, but I now relate treats to happy moments when I felt good about myself. My parents separated when I was 14 and this continued. Mum would put on a bacon sarnie at night and we'd sit and watch the tv. She'd always make it sound like fun. She'd leave little notes under my pillow with a chocolate bar for bedtime.

I got married just over 4 years ago, she died a few months later, I then had a missed miscarriage a few months later again, my DH took redundancy and we moved down the country renovating our new house in the process. I since went on to have two daughters (aged 2 and 1) and I have realised that I am already giving them treats in the way of chocolate etc. Tis a hard one, but I am glad I have become aware of it.

Sorry for long boring post.. good to type that out.


One Day at a Time
S: 17st10lb C: 17st10lb G: 14st0lb BMI: 36.6 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
MumofTwoGirls... thank you for taking the time to reply, I understand what you mean... I too am repeating the process with my son... giving him treats of chocolate. I'm trying to fiind other ways of instant treats but there really isn't many is there?
G: 9st3lb
My mum loves me to the moon and back but shes very slim and i think has issues with food herself. I was quite a plump child and i remember having to sneak food...as in nice food like biscuits and things because i wasnt allowed them. I think i grew up thinking food was the enemy and thats why i binge ate in private. I never told anyone, id go to the supermarket and buy all the foods i saw as bad and eat them...feeling guilty the whole time....im not sure if this constitutes emotional eating or not. I did everytime i was stressed or feeling rubbish about myself?


I will get to goal .....
FP - your story could be me!

I've always been plump and for as long as I can remember (including childhood) been on some kind of diet. It wouldn't matter that my Mum tried her hardest all the time to feed me healthy foods, I would binge eat 'bad' foods in secret where no one could see me and then feel guilty about it afterwards.
G: 9st3lb
Haha and we have the same target more or less! However i had a little bit more to lose than you as i went a bit mad with food!xxx
There doesnt seem any solution apart from a healthy approach to food... some of us were given food as treats, maybe even teaching us to get comfort from food and others were rationed the naughty food, causing us to eat in secret.. I wonder if we just make no big deal about it to our kids, is that the best option??
G: 9st3lb
I always think thats how im going to treat food....healthy all the way and try not to talk about it much in front of them....but i guess i wont know until i have any(if!)....

All i know is that depriving isnt the way forward...as it encourages me to see it as something im never allowed so i want it more- hence the eating in private. I only told my mum i did this about 10 days ago after going to counselling and she was shocked!


Gone fishing
I always think thats how im going to treat food....healthy all the way and try not to talk about it much in front of them....
Agreed. Though I do sneak in little tidbits about what foods are doing for them, just as a BTW :D

I think a lot of the problem stems from associating good times with 'bad' foods. If we can change that association (without even a mention of food...or using it as a treat), then we can build good connections.

For example. If you are having a lovely time altogether, try to include something healthy to eat. You don't have to even mention it, just try to have it there.

We are creatures of habit and rituals. They wont necessarily think Yum...I've passed and exam or having a great time with Mum, I get to have an apple, but they will being to get the same happy chemical reactions around the brain that make them feel good, when eating an apple in years to come. Assuming it's reinforced often enough.

Subconsciously it will bring back the good memories they had of that time. Even if they don't realise it.

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