Thursday, March 24, 2011

Emotional Eating

Hey guys! Today I have a great guest post from one of my favorite bloggers (and good friend) Miss Melissa. If you don't already read her blog, seriously, do you live under a ROCK? Because she's kind of awesome. So without further ado...


Hi there! My name is Melissa and I write the blog, I’m very grateful to Stephanie for giving me the opportunity to guest post while she’s away hooking up with politicians in D.C.

Like Stephanie, I’ve had my share of cookie battles. I have a long history of disordered and emotional eating. I'm so grateful and happy that I'm no longer in a place where I do that. Sure, I indulge now and then, but that's normal. As a teen, I turned to food for comfort and love that I wasn't getting in other relationships in my life. I had friends, but was often very lonely. My parents weren't home very often (working) and when they were, they were too tired to spend any real, quality time with me. My father holed himself up in his bedroom and rarely came out to talk to me. My sister and I were never close because we simply don't have a lot in common. We both twirled baton and while I hated it, she loved it. I picked it up as a hobby as a way to get closer to her and because it seemed like it was what I was supposed to do. I never really enjoyed it and the fact that it didn't bring my sister and I closer, only made me dislike it more. I excelled in school, but it didn't seem to matter to my parents for some reason. My good grades didn't seem to impress them as much as winning a twirling trophy did.

My weight was a constant problem with my mother and my baton coach. I had to wear skintight costumes and they were always reminding me that I didn't look good in them and needed to lose weight. All my friends were other twirlers and I was embarassed to talk to them about my problems. Food was always there though. It tasted good and a bite of a cookie made all my problems go away. They say that nothing tastes as good as thin feels, but I disagree. After a long day at school, twirling practice and then being lectured about your weight by either your mother or baton coach, a bite of cake tastes better than anything. There would be times when I would get control of my emotional eating and lose a few pounds. My mother would be so proud and my coach would notice too, but a few pounds never seemed to be enough. I felt like nothing I did was ever enough for anyone. Food was my solace. It didn't judge me and it felt so good to eat something forbidden. In college, I excelled in my studies and made a lot of new friends. Weight was never an issue. What a relief! I felt free from being judged and was surrounded by people that liked me just how I was. Eventually I stopped turning to food for comfort and ate to fuel myself. I was ready to lose the last few pounds, but did it on my terms. I researched and found a diet plan I could live with and the weight melted off. I know quite a few people suffer from emotional eating, here are some tips that helped me gain control and confront the issues I was hiding from:

1. Find food-free ways to socialize. This was very helpful to me. I used to plan binges on days I knew I'd be going out with a friend for dinner. I would stuff myself with pizza and ice cream. It wasn't about spending time with my friend, it was about the food. That's just sad. Now when I spend time with friends, we get our nails done, go to the movies (bringing our own snacks), or go for a walk. It's about the friends now :)

2. Keep tempting foods out of the house. I know this can be a tough one. Especially if you have kids, but it's worth making the effort. You can't binge on ice cream if it's not in your freezer. Plus, it'll make ordering dessert that much more of a treat when you're out if you aren't eating it at home all the time.

3. Find Ways To Cope. When you're emotional eating, you're not eating because you're hungry. You're eating because you're unable to cope with your feelings. In my case, I was lonely and had a terrible body image. Finding friends and enjoying life again saved me. As an adult, it's not always that easy to make new friends or find that sort of outlet. There are sites like that have different meetups for people interested in all different hobbies. If you're reading this and live in MA, come to a healthy living meetup! If you really need someone to talk to, reach out to a family member you trust or look for a local support group. Sometimes all you need is someone to listen to your frustrations.

I hope some of you can use these tips to cope with emotional eating. It's a frustrating problem, but you can beat it!

Have you or do you suffer from emotional eating? What are some tips you can share?


  1. Love this Melissa (and love your blog, as you know!). #1 definitely resonates with me. I still tend to grab dinner or drinks with friends to socialize but it does feel like every interaction is food-based. It's fun to go for a hike once in a while. Oh, and I can't really have sweets in the house because of #2!

  2. I'm in love with Melissa! Fabulous tips and such wonderful insight into the reasons why we eat. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Great guest post Melissa! I've definitely struggled with emotional eating and still do at times, but I think now I at least recognize the behavior and don't give it as much control as it used to have over me. That's helped a lot.

  4. I love #1. I think it plays a huge role in emotional eating and America's obesity epidemic because we related socializing and get togethers with eating massive amounts of food. Great guest post!

  5. Great post! I adore Melissa. :)

    Emotional eating is definitely a struggle. But identifying the triggers was half the battle for me... and it's still something I struggle with on occasion.

  6. Love your post - working on fixing my relationship with food right now. I think I will try suggestion #2 for awhile and see if that helps with my after work comfort binges. Thanks!!