Cardamom77

Emotional eating

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Soooooo, yesterday would have been my sister's 38th birthday. I noticed yesterday that I kept thinking about wanting to eat comfort foods and trying to figure out how I could "cheat" (not really, but how I could approximate stuff I can't eat right now). In a way, I'm glad this happened so early on, because the repercussions of eating something I shouldn't would be pretty bad and I'm not about to risk that. On the other hand, I can see some foreshadowing of having some real issues with wanting to eat the Sadz™ away. I'm working on getting into therapy and I know that will help, but I'm also wondering about others' experiences with this. Have you developed new coping mechanisms? Is it something that can slip back into emotional overeating really easily or does the surgery prevent that? I'm even cool with hearing horror stories as a deterrent. Haha! How do you handle your emotions now that food is off the table (pardon the pun)? 

 

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Sorry it was a rough day (though bound to be of course, I don't think "time heals all wounds" at all....every Dec 11th will be a day you think of and miss her!).  {{{HUGS}}}

good question about the emotional eating.  I had a day of feeling that way last week and I actually  had to leave the house bc I didn't want to be near by anything I could "abuse"!  (I am pretty sure I am far enough out that I could eat crap and not hurt my new sleeve)

It will be interesting to see how others deal with it.

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58 minutes ago, Cardamom77 said:

Soooooo, yesterday would have been my sister's 38th birthday. I noticed yesterday that I kept thinking about wanting to eat comfort foods and trying to figure out how I could "cheat" (not really, but how I could approximate stuff I can't eat right now). In a way, I'm glad this happened so early on, because the repercussions of eating something I shouldn't would be pretty bad and I'm not about to risk that. On the other hand, I can see some foreshadowing of having some real issues with wanting to eat the Sadz™ away. I'm working on getting into therapy and I know that will help, but I'm also wondering about others' experiences with this. Have you developed new coping mechanisms? Is it something that can slip back into emotional overeating really easily or does the surgery prevent that? I'm even cool with hearing horror stories as a deterrent. Haha! How do you handle your emotions now that food is off the table (pardon the pun)? 

 

Surgery doesn't prevent emotional eating.

In addition to therapy, do self help work on your own. And, take this time to develop new habits, hobbies and coping strategies. If you don't, it is very likely you will continue to want to turn to food. I still want to turn to food at times but I have lots of other options - exercise, reading, writing, shopping, etc. Since WLS I expanded parts of my life that don't include food - I scuba dive, I do pilates, I travel more and I shop a lot more. I take more exercise classes and I run. I volunteer every Saturday morning when I'm not traveling. I live towards the bottom of a hill and when I want to eat out of boredom or for emotional reasons, I will do a quick 20 - 30 minute loop up and back down the hill. This is long enough to help me process whatever I am feeling and/or just get the idea of food out of my head. 

 

Most, if not all of the veterans here will tell you, surgery is on your stomach, not your head. Whatever problems/issues you had before surgery, you'll still have post-op so be sure to do the internal work you need to do so you don't revert back to your old habits. 

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Trying not to eat for emotional reasons must be especially difficult for you right now, @Cardamom77. I'm glad you're facing the problem head-on and planning for how to deal with it going forward. Therapy is probably a great thing to do. Just self-assessing and thinking about your emotions and actions is a good start, too. 

My best strategy at the moment is to plan my day ahead of time, and then if I want to eat something not on my plan, I try to assess my reasons for it. Often, it's just because I want to and not because I'm actually hungry. When that happens, I get my phone out and look at MFP and decide if my choice makes sense for the day. It usually doesn't if it's just something I want. If I want something extra and I feel like it's because I'm actually hungry, I try to consciously choose to eat something that's not what popped into my head - I'm basically trying to short-circuit my head hunger by not giving it exactly what it wants...

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What an emotional day! Sending you love and comfort. Keeping busy is the answer for me to avoid emotional eating. I've found some new hobbies and am devouring audiobooks on the Overdrive app at an alarming rate.

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4 hours ago, Jen581791 said:

My best strategy at the moment is to plan my day ahead of time, and then if I want to eat something not on my plan, I try to assess my reasons for it. Often, it's just because I want to and not because I'm actually hungry. When that happens, I get my phone out and look at MFP and decide if my choice makes sense for the day. It usually doesn't if it's just something I want. If I want something extra and I feel like it's because I'm actually hungry, I try to consciously choose to eat something that's not what popped into my head - I'm basically trying to short-circuit my head hunger by not giving it exactly what it wants...

So, Jen, do you mean you write down (or add to your tracking app) everything you'll eat for the day in the am?  I think that might work for me, Bc once I put my evening snack (usually protein ice cream) I to my MFP, I won't eat any more!

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5 hours ago, CheeringCJ said:

So, Jen, do you mean you write down (or add to your tracking app) everything you'll eat for the day in the am?  I think that might work for me, Bc once I put my evening snack (usually protein ice cream) I to my MFP, I won't eat any more!

I do. I've been using it for so long that I've got just about everything I ever eat entered into it somewhere (including recipes) so it's easy to just enter stuff from my "recent" or "frequent" lists. I don't follow it 100% all the time, but when I change something, I make sure what I actually eat fills the same nutritional hole as the thing it's replacing (tuna and mayo instead of tofu coconut curry - similar macro profiles and calorie counts). At the end of the day, I take a minute to make sure it reflects what I actually ate :) It's one of those "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" tools.

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Just now, Jen581791 said:

I do. I've been using it for so long that I've got just about everything I ever eat entered into it somewhere (including recipes) so it's easy to just enter stuff from my "recent" or "frequent" lists. I don't follow it 100% all the time, but when I change something, I make sure what I actually eat fills the same nutritional hole as the thing it's replacing (tuna and mayo instead of tofu coconut curry - similar macro profiles and calorie counts). At the end of the day, I take a minute to make sure it reflects what I actually ate :) It's one of those "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" tools.

good advice!  thanks!

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1 hour ago, Jen581791 said:

I do. I've been using it for so long that I've got just about everything I ever eat entered into it somewhere (including recipes) so it's easy to just enter stuff from my "recent" or "frequent" lists. I don't follow it 100% all the time, but when I change something, I make sure what I actually eat fills the same nutritional hole as the thing it's replacing (tuna and mayo instead of tofu coconut curry - similar macro profiles and calorie counts). At the end of the day, I take a minute to make sure it reflects what I actually ate :) It's one of those "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" tools.

Seriously, you need to do some kind of tutorial on this. 

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14 hours ago, Cardamom77 said:

Soooooo, yesterday would have been my sister's 38th birthday. I noticed yesterday that I kept thinking about wanting to eat comfort foods and trying to figure out how I could "cheat" (not really, but how I could approximate stuff I can't eat right now). In a way, I'm glad this happened so early on, because the repercussions of eating something I shouldn't would be pretty bad and I'm not about to risk that. On the other hand, I can see some foreshadowing of having some real issues with wanting to eat the Sadz™ away. I'm working on getting into therapy and I know that will help, but I'm also wondering about others' experiences with this. Have you developed new coping mechanisms? Is it something that can slip back into emotional overeating really easily or does the surgery prevent that? I'm even cool with hearing horror stories as a deterrent. Haha! How do you handle your emotions now that food is off the table (pardon the pun)? 

 

 Behavioral science says you build habits. Habits are a kind of automatic behavior, and habits have cues, activities and rewards. Emotional eating is just a cue (the stress), the habit (the eating) and the reward (the feeling of being gorged, or the brain satiety which actually resembles the feed back loop from cocaine use). Sometimes even just anticipating the activity is a kind of reward and gives pleasure. Jen points out her use of a tracking app - and I bet she anticipates at the end of the day looking at it and being pleased she kept to the plan. This kind of thing is reinforced by weigh-ins and steady weight loss. 

I like to snack, so a successful adaptation of my habit of snacking is to replace WHAT I snacked on with something new - I now try to have lots and lots of no calorie or low calorie lemon lozenges in the house or with me when I travel, so when I want something in my mouth I can pop a lozenge in. Others always carry water bottles so they can fill themselves with something non-caloric. Keeping trigger foods or gorge foods out of the house are sort of the opposite tactic, keeping the bad out (while keeping the good in). Sometimes our prior habits are so powerful it is best to adapt them in a healthy way rather than to try to think we can walk away from them. 

When I'm emotionally challenged I try to drink a lot of broth. It would be better if I was not an emotional eater, but I sometimes am and it would be silly to pretend otherwise. So my back up plan is a nice warm broth or cup of tea. I make my own fish stocks, have chicken and duck stock, etc around. So when challenged I make something tasty and fragrant and savory and ... avoid the calories. the point being that while it would be nice if i NEVER ate emotionally, it is possible to have a backup habit that keeps even those emotional breakthroughs from sabotaging my WL goals. Plan A = no emotional eating; Plan B = replacing bad foods with filling satisfying things. 

Last example is exercise. it is powerfully habituating so long as you can get through the early period. It is critical to health. Running leads to endorphin releases. I go to my swimming pool and like to chat with the guards, who are pretty interested in my progress - they have seen me go from a whale to a much more sleek tuna. I've got new friends there and I look forward to seeing them. Lots of people are getting a lot just from walking, and others are enjoying cycling, and others are enjoying their buff bodies. When I'm stressed I try to get a swim or a cycle or a walk in, and of course it's even better if you can do it with a friend or family member.

so when the Wolves are Howling and the sad realities of life are evident - exercise, fill the house with non-caloric goodies, fall  back on good habits...

Edited by BurgundyBoy

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I read.  But if the blues really have me down, I usually get tired.  I'll start reading a book and fall asleep.  I'm usually awake at 4 am well before my alarm goes off...  so if I get stressed or down I easily get tired.,.i never thought of myself as a stress eater until I got stressed at work and ate all of the chewable calcium I had there, ate them like candy, one after the other...

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47 minutes ago, Cheesehead said:

I read.  But if the blues really have me down, I usually get tired.  I'll start reading a book and fall asleep.  I'm usually awake at 4 am well before my alarm goes off...  so if I get stressed or down I easily get tired.,.i never thought of myself as a stress eater until I got stressed at work and ate all of the chewable calcium I had there, ate them like candy, one after the other...

Cracks me up because I have done that as well.  How quickly we slip back into "mindless stuff my face" mode!

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On 12/12/2017 at 11:31 AM, Cardamom77 said:

Soooooo, yesterday would have been my sister's 38th birthday. I noticed yesterday that I kept thinking about wanting to eat comfort foods and trying to figure out how I could "cheat" (not really, but how I could approximate stuff I can't eat right now). In a way, I'm glad this happened so early on, because the repercussions of eating something I shouldn't would be pretty bad and I'm not about to risk that. On the other hand, I can see some foreshadowing of having some real issues with wanting to eat the Sadz™ away. I'm working on getting into therapy and I know that will help, but I'm also wondering about others' experiences with this. Have you developed new coping mechanisms? Is it something that can slip back into emotional overeating really easily or does the surgery prevent that? I'm even cool with hearing horror stories as a deterrent. Haha! How do you handle your emotions now that food is off the table (pardon the pun)? 

 

 

I recently purchased this book. It looks like it will be a big help with the psychological side of overeating from what I have read so far. It may help you as well.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1508526087/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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22 hours ago, Readytobeme said:

 

I recently purchased this book. It looks like it will be a big help with the psychological side of overeating from what I have read so far. It may help you as well.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1508526087/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Thank you! I have Kindle Unlimited, so I can grab it now. I really appreciate the recommendation!

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On 12/12/2017 at 9:12 PM, Jen581791 said:

I do. I've been using it for so long that I've got just about everything I ever eat entered into it somewhere (including recipes) so it's easy to just enter stuff from my "recent" or "frequent" lists. I don't follow it 100% all the time, but when I change something, I make sure what I actually eat fills the same nutritional hole as the thing it's replacing (tuna and mayo instead of tofu coconut curry - similar macro profiles and calorie counts). At the end of the day, I take a minute to make sure it reflects what I actually ate :) It's one of those "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" tools.

This is how I use MFP, too, and it really works for me. Adding things along the way would only lead to episodes of "we'll just eat this (terrible thing) and not eat (good thing) later and it'll be fine", when really, no, it won't be fine. I'll go over my macros or not hit my protein goals or something. I like knowing if I just stick to what I planned for the day that I'll be doing all the things I need to be doing. 

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3 minutes ago, kristinwitha_k said:

This is how I use MFP, too, and it really works for me. Adding things along the way would only lead to episodes of "we'll just eat this (terrible thing) and not eat (good thing) later and it'll be fine", when really, no, it won't be fine. I'll go over my macros or not hit my protein goals or something. I like knowing if I just stick to what I planned for the day that I'll be doing all the things I need to be doing. 

That is exactly how I feel. My now me is better at reasoning out what is a good idea to for me to eat in the future. My future me will undoubtedly be hungry, lazy, or just want some snacks. 

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On 12/12/2017 at 10:31 AM, Cardamom77 said:

Have you developed new coping mechanisms? Is it something that can slip back into emotional overeating really easily or does the surgery prevent that? I'm even cool with hearing horror stories as a deterrent. Haha! How do you handle your emotions now that food is off the table (pardon the pun)? 

 

This is indeed a thing I've talked about in therapy a lot, and one of the things I try and do is just sit with my discomfort. (That may not be something you feel ready to do, since you're having much stronger emotional hits than I am right now.) I spent most of my life distracting myself from sadness, frustration, etc by eating. And sure, I can distract myself with non-food options, but I've found that just sitting with my craving, and turning the thought over a few times in my brain, helps me detach myself from it. Like it takes away the power that craving has over me. When I stop and examine that burning desire for pizza/ice cream/whatever, it breaks the spell somehow. 

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5 minutes ago, Jen581791 said:

That is exactly how I feel. My now me is better at reasoning out what is a good idea to for me to eat in the future. My future me will undoubtedly be hungry, lazy, or just want some snacks. 

Ha yes. Future me never makes very good decisions. :) 

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2 hours ago, Cardamom77 said:

Thank you! I have Kindle Unlimited, so I can grab it now. I really appreciate the recommendation!

Great! Do let me know what you think. I should get a kindle as much as I enjoy reading.

I truly don't know why I overeat and understand that I must figure it out. Really sad situations like that you speak of make me tend to not want to eat at all. So, I am just not sure what my issues are. I figure that by reading some of the books that I see other WLS patients recommend I may be able to figure it out. I have two other books in my cart at amazon right now that also look promising.

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I just may be a thoughtless idiot with bad habits. (So far as i can tell, whenever I read a book about bad habits and WLS struggles, I fit the mold. Sigh).

It's the mindfulness angle that helps me to stay away from bad habits. As painful as it can be, being self-aware is helpful. Eating bon-bons all day and watching soaps on TV would be so much easier...

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