Showing posts with label Emotional Eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emotional Eating. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The "greedy" child...

Today's guest post is from an anonymous poster. She approached me a few weeks ago with a draft. It resonated so much with me: I knew I could not refuse.

I suspect her words, and her experiences and her fears will resonate with many of you. I would like to thank her for her honesty. She asks a lot of questions in her post, so if any of you have wise words to share on this complex issue, I would love it if could comment and share.

When I was four and at Kinder I remember having a check up where my mum asked the nurse about my weight. The nurse said something along the lines that I was fine and would grow out of it. I look at photos of myself at that age and although I wasn't slender, I certainly wasn't fat. My next memory of my weight issue is about four years later when my dad took me for a walk and discussed my weight with me. He said that I was a lot prettier than my best friend, but that she was slim and if I was slim I would be even prettier than I already was. Over the next 10 years, my mum ignored my weight while my dad obsessed over it, varying his approach from taking me to the gym with him at 6am before school, family early morning exercise sessions at home, criticising me, telling me not to eat certain things, bribing and embarrassing me. I actually feel guilty describing my dad in this way, because it sounds so harsh and he is a great dad and I know he had my best interests at heart but oh my goodness, I really think his tactic "shaped" my life!

My weight went up and down, up and down over the years, and still is. I know that now, at 30-something, this is something completely within my control and is not my parents fault. But, as a mum of two, I don't want to relive the mistakes my parents made and I am really struggling with how to raise my kids with a healthy attitude to food and exercise. For the last few months I've been slowly and healthily losing weight and my oldest has been watching me exercise and joining in. At the age of three, he is extremely active and although solid, he is definitely slim and has no weight issues at all.

However, he does have a funny relationship with "naughty" food already and I'm scared that I've "done this" to him! When we go to a party, he will dive in the junk food and if he sees me approaching, he'll grab a handful of something and run away! While this is slightly amusing, I have to be honest that it's a bit terrifying too for me. I did a lot of my eating in secret, and was sneaky about it and I don't want my kids to have the same problems I had. My three year old can now also open his bedroom door on his own and twice this week he has gone to the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning and helped himself to food - chocolate, lollies and biscuits. I too used to do this in the middle of the night. A lot. Part of me thinks I should throw out all of the "naughty" food, but the other part thinks maybe I'm already depriving him of too much and that is what's making him greedy?

My friend has a theory with her kids: she doesn't want them to be greedy, so she lets them eat whatever they want, whenever they want, including chips and chocolate most days. This doesn't sit right with me. Although they certainly don't gorge themselves at any opportunity? I cook most of my kids meals and although they are healthy, they are not extreme. Pasta, meat, veggies, cheese, yogurt, eggs, oven baked home made "chips" and most of their snacks are either fruit or wholemeal vegetable baked "treats" but I also do bake sweet things for them occasionally too. The only reason the items my son took from the pantry were even there was because they were for baking or things friends had brought over: it's not food he's ever allowed to just eat freely at home.

I love food and I love cooking and baking and my three year old loves food too. We never eat take away fast food and the food he eats 90% of the time is very healthy. I know I can easily stop the baking of sweet things and have no treats in the house, but I don't know if that's the right to do either? I have really been trying to model and teach moderation, but after this week's early morning pantry raid, I feel like I've failed and am a bit unsure of where to go from here.

How do you regulate what your kids eat? Do you think you can make them greedy by depriving them of treats? If we restrict "sometimes" foods and junk foods, does that send them into a binge mentality early? Or do we let them eat whatever they want and hope for the best?

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Monday, 7 November 2011


I have been doing a lot of work recently on some short articles to do with the very basics of weight loss.
It astounds me how relatively easily I can relay the knowledge I have acquired in relation to losing weight, onto paper. My fingers fly across the keyboard, to get it all down.

The facts and figures and tasks behind the science of losing weight are stored and preserved in my head, always there, always flowing, for easy reference.

Ask me anything about how to lose weight, how to eat for optimum health and vitality, and I am a fountain of information. If you have a query on calorie counts, weight loss tools and ways to exercise for maximum fat burning effect: I can relate a range of accurate examples and methods.

I don't believe anyone is really an "expert" in a field, but I have studied nutrition at uni,  and I have been working with two personal trainers over the past three years, both of whom are incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge.

Plus, of course, I have been morbidly obese and lost a fair amount of weight myself. So I have practiced all the theories behind the simple concept of  "eat less and move more". And it works. I have lost weight.

So why is it that food is still a battle for me?

Why is it that, despite the detailed knowledge and experience I have, I'm still not actually at my goal weight?

Why is it that I have maintained this my current weight for nearly a year, but not actually lost any more kilos?

Why don't I  practice what I preach all the time, unconsciously?

Emotional connections with food. Emotional eating. Emotional baggage. Emotional hurdles.That's why.

And so that's what I am focusing on solely at the moment. Getting my head sorted. Once and for all.

And for me, that is not just about getting motivated. It's not just about getting a plan together and feeling inspired on a Monday morning. It's not about setting a goal and sticking to it. It's not about digging deep and summoning will power. All these things are really important, for sure. But I suspect I need to go deeper and really resolve the emotional baggage I have been clinging onto.

You know when you are at the airport and there is one sad pathetic bag just going around and around on the carousel? That is what emotional hurdles feel like, for me. That black bag of stuff just keeps coming around and around, time and time again. Nothing changes without some action.

It is time for me to action that emotional baggage...

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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The weight is over...

Please welcome Kristyn. She sent me through this guest post, and of course it appealed to me, and I sense it will ring some bells with many of you too...

The weight is over...

It’s a bit daunting writing this post for Lucy’s blog after I haven’t contacted her in months. Deliberately. Why? Because I was embarrassed that I didn’t stick to what I told her I was going to do. It’s not like she was hounding me about it. I was just embarrassed.

A couple of months ago, I wanted to put my weight back on track. But I failed miserably. Instead I put another five kilos to what is already the excess weight the size of a toddler (yep, that’s literally). I felt like I was eating myself to my grave, down and depressed.

Two months ago, hubby signed me up to this seminar that I didn’t want to go to. But one of the things he mentioned, which pushed me a bit to try it out, was that I was supposedly going to find the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing to my body. I went and figured out some things about my life that I wanted to fix.

But the tools I got from the seminar didn’t translate to fixing myself physically. Again, I was disappointed. I didn’t know what else to do. I was in a slump.

Until one day.

Hubby went to that seminar too and has taken the advanced leadership training sessions. He came home one night and addressed the elephant in the room for the last eight years – my steady weight gain.

I reacted with fury, running to the kitchen, screaming at him for bringing it up. I was so surprised by my reaction and it was obvious how distressing it was for me. In the past, he would have backed off and dropped the topic. But this time he didn’t. He prodded, gently and lovingly, until I broke down crying – sobbing in his arms like a little child. I had a breakthrough.

After we placed MiniMe to bed, we sat on the couch facing each other, talking for hours about my weight gain. We spoke honestly and openly. And he waited for me to dig into myself and find out the reasons why I comfort eat or eat too much. We spoke about why two years ago I decided to stop my efforts even after I’ve already lost 10 kilos.

I told him I felt I was missing out on our party. You see, we used to drink. A lot. We could finish two bottles of wine and a bottle of bourbon in one night together. That was our weekend party, and although it has slowed down a bit to only half a bottle of bourbon or so, it still kept going. When I decided to get fitter two years ago after my mum had a stroke, I felt left out. He was still drinking merrily during weekdays and weekends while I stuck to my healthy choices. Eventually, four months after, I decided to join him in his world again. I didn’t feel supported because we had different lifestyles and so instead of pulling him into my world, I joined his.

He apologised for this because he didn’t know. I didn’t know either until we talked about it. The last two months, hubby has stopped drinking. We have no wines in our house, no bottle of bourbon, for the first time in eight years. He has started walking to the train station and has lost weight that he now fits into his old expensive suit (he’s one of those people who loses weight fast, damn bastard).

For the first time in a long time I feel like we’re on the same page about our health. Something clicked inside me but I can’t quite get a grasp of what it is. All I know is I’m noticing a difference. When we’re stressed (and believe me, we’ve been bombarded with major problems the last couple of weeks) we don’t grab for the bottle anymore.

For the last two weeks, I’ve gone to the gym three times each week, targeting to go for four days. In the past I’ve succumbed to comfort eating, now I’ve noticed myself grabbing for the bottle of water instead. I realised my reaction to put something in my mouth was triggered by stress (when I’m on deadline and scrambling to finish something), sadness, or anxiety. When I feel the need for sweets (I haven’t figured out a cure for sweet tooth yet), I’ve switched from chocolates, Tim Tams, and Wagon Wheels to fruits and nuts mix (loving the Lucky snack tub). I’ve switched from eating on a big plate to using my child’s bowls, limiting my intake. I’ve weighed myself and I have lost three of the five kilos I’ve added to my baggage. It’s a slow process but for the first time I’m confident it’s sticking.

I don’t claim to have the answer for it. I don’t know exactly what happened to me. All I know is that it seems to be working for me. For us. I still have a long way to go but I firmly believe that if we stay on this path, we’d get there together.

MummyK is a freelance journalist/photographer who just released her first ever self-published children’s book. She is a TV addict and loves zombie movies. She’s mum to one little girl and two dogs, and wife to an IT consultant/muso. She blogs at and tweets as @themummyk.

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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

But I might miss out...

A week or two back, I posted about how I was chucking out the scales, and adopting a new approach to my eating, my diet and my relationship with food.

I have been really happy with "letting go of perfect".

I have been eating well, and I have only dropped the ball a few times on my mission to eat supportively.

(Sunday night in front of the Masterchef final was a good example of "mindless" eating. Handfuls of peanuts anyone?)

I have been tracking, every single day, everything I have been eating.

Just jotting it down, along with how hungry I was before I ate, and how full I felt after having eaten.

It makes for very interesting reading. This emotional eating bizzo is a such a complex puzzle for me.

I have always known I was an emotional eater, but I suspect I was always too nervous to delve into that any further.

Now I am feeling like I am in a good place to tackle this emotional eating business once and for all.

So, one of the main things that prompt my emotional eating are -

- When I feel like I might "miss out" on a treat by depriving myself. I know why. Now that I have analysed it a little, I can clearly remember feeling like this as a child. For a couple of reasons, food was often restricted, from me. My mother no doubt had my best interests at heart, and I know she was doing what she thought was best at the time. But it evidently impacted my relationship with food.

She operated on a strict budget, and there was very rarely "treats" or "junk food" in the house, ever. When she did buy such treats, it was restricted, out of scarcity. And it was rationed out. So of course, I always felt like I wanted more. I had older siblings who always got more. But I wanted more too, to be like them, I guess. But I wasn't allowed.

Out of all of us, I was not fat, but as a child I the one with the sturdy build, in comparison to my siblings who were all long and lean. My mother had battled with her weight through her teenage years, so I think she was terrified I would turn into a "fat child". She put me on a diet at aged 7. When I look at photos of myself at this age, I was not fat. At all. But I wasn't skinny either, so I guess she was trying to anticipate weight gain? I don't know.

Either way, I was always told "no more for you Lucy", whilst my siblings were allowed more. "That's enough, Lucy", whilst my siblings helped themselves.

See? Scared of missing out.

So the minute I put myself on a "diet", all those feelings of being "deprived" and "restricted" and "being the odd one out" return. And make me feel sad.

So the instinct is, of course, to rebel, and eat loads of all the restricted treats.

Which is what got me overweight in the first place.

Arrrggghh! See? A complex puzzle.

But, since choosing to chuck out the scales and not restrict anything at all, I have been a whole lot happier.

And whilst I have not weighed myself, instinct tells me I have not put on any weight at all. And that I have probably lost some weight.

Which makes me feel calm and happy.

Which is a good place to be.............

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Why do I eat crap when I am knackered?

As I mentioned in my earlier post regarding the tricky but universal issue of emotional eating, I have promised myself to track and journal my emotional eating triggers, and investigate them......

So I have been eating whatever I want, as long as I am truly hungry.

And stopping when I am full. (Mostly. This is hard. I come from the "clean plate club", sadly.)

And noting the incidences of when I am tempted to eat for other reasons aside from true physical hunger.

One of the most common triggers over the past week has been plain old tiredness.

It makes perfect sense for the body to call out for energy when it is tired.

Tiredness may be as a result of too much physical work or exercise, or from a lack of sleep.
Or indeed a lack of exercise. Or stress and anxiety.
This reasons for being tired are many, but most of us feel knackered by our busy lives by evening time?

So the body is tired, and it calls out for energy. And the quick fix, of course, is to eat. Even if the body is not actually hungry, we're tired, maybe tense, and low in energy. All of which are negative states and negative moods.

Negative moods, tension and low energy are uncomfortable feelings. This discomfort can be relieved by eating, and leads to immediately feeling better -  though this is short-lived and followed by guilt and more negative feelings.

Food temporarily increases energy and temporarily improves mood. Over time, this quick fix leads to habitual eating to "feel better", and causes a mindless conditioning to turn to food in response to feelings of tension and low energy, by craving and eating energy generating foods.

For this reason, cravings are usually for energy intensive foods that contain sugar or fats. These foods metabolize and raise blood sugar levels quickly, giving a short burst of energy which counteracts tiredness.

So we feel shit because we are tired. Not hungry actually, just crappy and low. So we reach for an energy burst in some quick fix junk food. And feel better for a little while.

So next time we feel knackered, we do it again. And it becomes a habit.

But we were never truly hungry. We just needed better rest..............

Monday, 5 July 2010

Ten Ways to Stop Emotional Eating

1. Learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Am I actually truly physically hungry, or do I have a head hunger? Or heart hunger?

2. Eat slowly and listen to your body for clues that you're physically satisfied. When you feel any indication that you are full, STOP eating. Just stop. Tell yourself that you are probably full, but if, in 15 minutes, you are actually genuinely hungry still, you can have some more food.

3. Don't eat mindlessly in front of the TV. Or whilst on the computer. Or whilst reading. Or whilst chatting over a glass of wine.

4. Don't deprive yourself of foods you love – just don't overdo it.

5. Don't eat in bed or on the sofa. Eat at table. With a plate and a knife and fork. Stop emotional eating by eating in the proper place all the time.

6. Treat your body with respect: nourish it, move it around, listen to it, and pamper it. Tune in to your body, and listen to it properly, to stop emotional eating.

7. Look for connections between the events in your day and your apparent cravings for food. Identify the triggers that push you over the line and make you want to eat mindlessly. Write it down. Journal the connections you make between emotions and irrational eating.

8. Deal with your triggers. If you can't cut them from your life entirely, find better ways to cope with your feelings. Eating mindlessly makes things worse.

9. Name the emotion. If you have a food that is "calling you", I can pretty much guarantee that it is actually an emotion that needs attention.  If you can name the emotional you are really feeling, you can address that need, not eat over the top of it.

10. If you are desperate to eat something, anything, just to "feel better", just imagine this:

You have been taken away from all that you are familiar with, your home, your roles in life. You have finally been returned to safety. What is it that you want MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE? What do you need, first and foremost?
THAT is what you need to reach for. Not food.

For me, that final exercise showed me so much.

I so often reach for food for comfort.

Bored? A cuddle would solve that.

Frustrated? A cuddle would sooth.

Lonely? A cuddle would alleviate that.

Angry? A cuddle could diffuse that.

Grieving? A cuddle could soften the pain.

Happy? A cuddle would amplify that.

Sad? A cuddle would nurture.

Feeling ignored? In need of attention? A cuddle and a whispered chat would wipe those feelings of rejection away.

Somewhere, evidently, way back when, I am sure that I was given food as comfort, by well meaning family members. Repeatedly. Quick fix in a busy household. Old habits die hard, especially when it is a habit passed down through generations of busy parents.

But children don't want food: they want a cuddle. They want comfort.

So there is an additional lesson there, for many of us, I suspect.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Imagine if.....

Imagine if.....I told you I had thrown out the scales?

Imagine if.....I told you I had a brand new way of thinking around this whole diminishing diet thingo?

Imagine if.....I told you I felt a million times better this week, than I did last week?

Imagine if.....I told you I felt at peace around food for the first time in forever?

Imagine if.....I told you that I am excited about this next stage of this journey?

Imagine if.....I told you I have finally found a way of eating that suits me entirely? But that doesn't restrict me in any way?

All sounds a bit too good to be true?

Last week I was in a crap place full of bad shit.

I was lucky enough to have the friends around me that allowed me to be a bitch for a while and those same friends that allowed me to wallow, also threw me a couple of ideas of how I could climb out of my bad shit place.

(Leanne, Sarah, Adele, Lynda, thank you. You lot are like being kicked up the arse by a rainbow. xx)

After some reading and some soul searching, I realise that there are two reasons for me being over weight for my whole life, and the same two reasons have kept me on and off diets, and subsequently overweight,  for my whole life:

  • Emotional Eating
  • Dieting

Therefor, it follows that emotional eating and dieting are the obstacles to me feeling really good about myself and my body, around food?

So, if I follow this argument logically, that would mean that if I give up eating for emotional reasons, and also give up "dieting" that that would then mean I will be finally at peace around food, and treat food like "normal" people do?

Wow. Imagine.

I am not sure, but I am going to try it and see, and for the first time in ages, I feel really relaxed at the idea of letting go of "perfect".

I am still going to exercise. I am still going to do the 20:20:20 half marathon. I am still going to eat supportively. But I am throwing out the scales for a while.

I am simply going to eat when I am hungry (and only then.) And stop eating when I am full.

And if I think I need to eat for an emotional reason, then I will make a note of it, not eat, and move on.

I feel like I am burbling here. (I probably am...)

But more than that, I feel relief, so bear with me as I stumble a little through this next phase?

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

When Your Heart is Hungry.........

I have just finished reading "Confessions of a Reformed Dieter" again, by A. J. Rochester.
In one of the final chapters she talks about her sessions with Nutcase, and how she finally gets that instead of roaming the kitchen to eat something, that she needs to nurture herself in another way.
Anyway, the first time I read it, it evidently made no impression.
But the other night when I read it again, it really hit home.
I mean, I am a smart chick. Intellectually, of course I know that emotional eating is just mad, and serves negative purpose.

A bit like I intellectually KNEW that having children would change my life totally, but I never EMOTIONALLY understood that until I took Olivia home with me from hospital for the first time and nearly had a nervous breakdown over the realisation!
So in theory, each time I have the urge to just eat to fill a hunger in my heart, I could nurture myself with something else?

Would that work?
  • Light an oil burner with lovely essential oils
  • Make a glass of herbal tea
  • Have a cuddle with one of the kids
  • Have a cuddle with Andrew
  • Have a bath
  • Phone a lovely friend
  • Write in this blog
  • Listen to a hypnotherapy CD
  • Read a novel
  • Walk
  • Do some exercises
  • Do a facial
  • Listen to some funky music
Oh my, the list is endless..........

Worth experimenting with anyway........
What non - food nurturing activities do YOU do for yourself?

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A lovely way to resist snacking tempatation........

Get on the telephone to a friend.

Preferably female.

One that can share your highs and lows. And that you can have a laugh with.

My children nap well at lunchtimes.

Subsequently the precious hours between midday & 2pm are "my time". Golden.

However, it is sometimes far too tempting to sit down with a  novel and some nuts.

Or get seduced by Twitter with a bowl of Twisties at my desk.

Or watch some crappy TV with some crackers.

So, I have to be super aware of resisting temptation at these times, as golden as they are.

It is all too easy to sell myself the concept of the "reward".

I have dealt with these three little tackers all morning, since 6am. They
have run me ragged. They are finally all peaceful.....what treat can I have to
celebrate my down time? I need a reward for my mothering endeavors!

Of course my immediate & longstanding reaction is to nibble on something salty and greasy.....

So today, instead,  I rang a friend. We talked about everything and nothing. Weight loss was a topic of conversation, but certainly not the only one. We touched on relationships, family, babies, friends, careers, all in the space of 30 minutes.

It was time richly spent.
And much healthier and heaps more satisfying than a bowl of chippies........

Edited to add in that I am linking this very vintage post to Allison's Weekend Rewind......