guest post! melissa h.

by Janetha on July 19, 2010

in meals

this post is by melissa @ melissa’s nibbles! enjoy :)

You Can’t Find Love in a Cookie.

image [source.]

The title of this post comes from the cover of Shape Magazine (the one with Missy in it!). The cover caught my eye one morning as I was getting ready for work and got me to thinking about my past with disordered eating 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 embarrassed 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 meetup.com 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!

Q~

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

Thank you to Janetha for asking me to guest post on her blog. She’s a fabulous, fun, woman and I wish her love and happiness as she begins the next chapter in her life as a married woman!!

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lisaou11 July 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Melissa! love her.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten in regards to emotional eating is stop yourself. When I start scrounging through the cabinets, I TRY to stop and think about what I’m really feeling and why. If i can pinpoint what it is, then I just need to deal with it. If not, then I try to find an activity–like going for a walk, stretching, reading cleaning…anything!

Kelly July 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I’m dealing w/some emotional eating issues lately and I live in MA – how do I get in on the healthy living meetup?!

Runeatrepeat July 19, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I love you :)
I totally “get it” since my story is so similar. You’re an inspiration.

Kerry July 20, 2010 at 12:37 am

I suffer from emotional eating and used to have a massive binge at least once a week, but since being serious about getting healthy and loving my body, i workout a hour every other day or so and then to binge, i tell myself it will undo all my hard work and i have a choice. Either binge and carry on hating my body or i can try to change it by choosing the right foods and start to love it and feel confident! Everything is a choice!

zoe July 20, 2010 at 1:51 am

thank you so much for this, melissa. i feel like you just read me my own story. this was exactly what i needed to read right now. very well written too! thanks again, you have no idea how much those words touched me!

Maren July 20, 2010 at 6:34 am

So many of us struggle from emotional eating (me included) and having someone come out and admit it is such an inspiration for so many of us women! Thanks for the great post Melissa, I will definitely be adding you to my google reader! I went to your page after reading this and about died reading your old diary! You are one funny gal and I look forward to reading more about your healthy living!

bubblegumgymkat July 20, 2010 at 6:38 am

I have definitely struggled with emotional eating I HATE IT!!! To help get me by I always think about how it makes me feel after and the consequences I face! To get me through I drink tea or go for a walk or munch on veggies…or shop :)

Missy Maintains July 20, 2010 at 9:40 am

Thanks for the shout out! That got me excited haha! Anyway awesome post. I still struggle with emotional eating and it is so frustrating. I do most of your tips like keeping tempting foods out of the house. It is getting better at least!

emily July 20, 2010 at 10:03 am

A psychologist friend of mine taught me about DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy) – it can be succefully applied to emotional eating. Three of the basic techniques include Mindfulness (experiencing one’s emotions and senses fully, yet with perspective), Distress Tolerance (the ability to accept both oneself and the current situation), and Emotion Regulation (experiencing one’s emotions in a controlled way).
I’ve found that it’s helpful to develop a list of healthy ‘distractions’ that don’t involve eating or exercising. Some of my distractions include enjoyable chores, talking with a friend, crafting, reading, and rockin out to music.

Becca July 20, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Thank you so much for this – there’s so much support out there for those who have denial EDs, but overeating is still treated as a bit of a joke. The stigma really needs to be taken away.

I’ve alternated between varying compulsive behaviour over the years, and I find nothing works quite as well as having a talk to oneself – silently, obviously, or people might think you’re a bit loopy! It’s easy to displace emotions to other activities, but what really helps is to say “whoah, stop! What are you doing? Why are you doing it? What do you need? Is there another way of getting that?”

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