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Need (lots of) help, advice and inspiration regarding emotional eating

(13 Posts)
ThePickledGerbil Thu 06-Oct-11 19:19:23

In May I was 11stone, training for a marathon and a completely dedicated shredhead. I ate sensibly and rarely drank. I was toned and finally happy with my body. I had got down from 18stone within a year. It was tough but addictive and I was so proud of myself, felt brilliant.

Then in June my husband announced his affair, left me and turned into cockhead extraodinaire! At the same time my horse died. My routine and world fell to bits.

After a couple of weeks eating virtually nothing (but hitting the bottle hard) I started comfort eating.

Since June I have put on 2.5 stone and virtually given up exercising. I managed the GNR but haven't run since and haven't spent anytime with Jillian since June blush

I just cannot stop.

Before my weight loss my eating habits were shocking but I truly thought I'd made I change for life, I am so angry with myself (and DH, though we are now working things out) for slipping back into my old ways.

The awful thing is, I know EXACTLY what I am doing, and why I am doing it, but it's compulsive, I just can't stop.

I view food as a reward and a treat and have been justifying my appalling binges by thinking about what i've been through, and how I deserve a treat. It has nothing to do with hunger.

EVERYday I think 'i'll start tomorrow, i've done it before', but when next day rolls around I think 'just one more binge, then I'll start'.

I'm not grazing on stuff in the house...I deliberately go out to buy shit and eat it, on my own, in the car. I am so ashamed...the amounts I eat are horrific (i.e. whole cheescake/ 6 packs of crisps/ 2 McD's meals) and most of the time I don't even enjoy what I'm having. When big-shopping I buy sensible stuff so I don't have anything bad in.

I'm on a high level of ADs and things are working out at home with DH (though he hasn't moved back in) so the 'crisis' stage is over, I'm not anxious or suicidal and I assumed my eating and exercising would improve when things calmed down but they've got worse, I've NO motivation...maybe it's the ADs?

I saw my GP today and she has referred me for counselling, says comfort eating is very normal after what I've been through. But with my history of being obese I am terrified of going back there.

Sorry it's so long. Anyone been through similar...what helps???

JourneyOfAThousandMiles Thu 06-Oct-11 21:14:35

Reading your post is exactly like reading my own life story. I have the same issues with emotional eating and binge eating.

It's such a destructive cycle to be stuck in. I find for me it comes and goes in cycles, I will have maybe a month of binge eating 4 or 5 days a week, and then not do it for a month. Is it the same for you?

My eating is my way of trying to deal with/ block out/ process my emotions. I can sometime stop myself by attempting to address what I'm actually feeling instead of shutting those feelings out with food.

Sorry I can't be more helpful but I understand 100% what you're going through. I hate it so much it completely dictates my life sad((

JourneyOfAThousandMiles Thu 06-Oct-11 21:19:38

Reading your post is exactly like reading my own life story. I have the same issues with emotional eating and binge eating.

It's such a destructive cycle to be stuck in. I find for me it comes and goes in cycles, I will have maybe a month of binge eating 4 or 5 days a week, and then not do it for a month. Is it the same for you?

My eating is my way of trying to deal with/ block out/ process my emotions. I can sometime stop myself by attempting to address what I'm actually feeling instead of shutting those feelings out with food.

Sorry I can't be more helpful but I understand 100% what you're going through. I hate it so much it completely dictates my life sad((

ThePickledGerbil Thu 06-Oct-11 21:49:40

Yes, I feel so out of control. Before I lost weight my pattern was EXACTLY like yours but since my DHs affair, bar the first 2-3 weeks it has been almost everyday. And it's getting worse.

I completely agree it's related to periods of stress but I recognise this as I'm doing it so it's not a revelation.

My recent binges are related to the affair but I have and am confronting it; I've talked to all and sundry about it, going to relate, honest with my customers etc. Hopefully the 1 on 1 counselling will help strategies to manage it but I've looked at my issue from every viewpoint so I feel I do know what and why I'm doing it, just need to stop.

I thought I'd cracked it. I was so happy being fit and eating well, I can't really remember what inspired me to initially stick to my healthy eating/exercising kick last year, but I remember the longer you do it, the easier it gets, I just cannot do the first few days weeks. sad

ThePickledGerbil Thu 06-Oct-11 21:51:49

Sorry journey that second paragraph sounds really arrogant!!! Honestly didn't mean it like that. Thank you for your response, good to know someone understands smile

JourneyOfAThousandMiles Thu 06-Oct-11 22:02:41

I know exactly what you mean with the awareness whilst you're doing it. I often feel mid-binge that I know I need to stop and I know how much I will regret/ hate myself for it afterwards, but it's like I feel as though if I don't eat the food I will have been 'cheated' out of something.

Also, my binge eating started after a traumatic event too, and I came to realise that eating was my way of trying to nurture and care for myself when i really didnt know how else to do it. Nothing can stop be once the compulsion has taken hold. I would definitely agree that 1 on 1 counselling is the way to go.

I am quite new to mumsnet so I am not sure of the rules regarding posting links, but there is a website on binge eating that helped me a lot:

http://howtostopeating.com/binge-eating-forum/

It's awful but also comforting to know that other people are fighting the same battle as you.

Does your DH know about it? My eating is very very secretive, I don't think I could ever tell DP.

ThePickledGerbil Thu 06-Oct-11 22:18:49

Thanks for the link, I'll look.

Yes, even when I fell sick, I have to finish the whole pack/bag of whatever it is. I tried not bringing money out with me so I couldn't buy anything but I just end up going home, getting money, then heading straight back out to buy crap. Any tips/tricks just don't work as when I'm in the frame of mind to binge NOTHING stops me and I get impatient and anxious until I can get at food. But it has to be 'naughty' food. I wouldn't binge on cottage pie, fruit, baked potatoes etc. only crisps, choc, pastry blush

It is very secretive and I am ashamed. I really liked, when I was dieting, not having to escape social situations so I could eat "properly" i.e. binge. I work on my own and drive a lot so I have ample opportunity to do it. If I went out with friends or family to eat I would have something smallish or nothing at all preferring to save eating for when I'm alone. I mention to DH that I've been eating a bit much recently but wouldn't dare detail the 5-twirls-bars I had in the car blush

Though my binging now has little to do with hunger, I think it maybe started form hating the feeling of hunger. I was often hungry as a kid (not neglected, just greedy!) and as a teen hating been stuck in situations where i got hungry eg. at friends' houses. So as soon as I got my own money and mobility I made sure I was never hungry and it felt good, a great reward and comfort so now I keep turning to that to cheer me up, but it doesn't...and I KNOW that, but I can't stop. Except that I did stop, for a year, so why can't I do it again!?

Thanks again for the kind response.

JourneyOfAThousandMiles Thu 06-Oct-11 22:39:19

I'm right there with you in terms of the hating hunger feeling. I get very nervous too if I think I will be stuck somewhere and unable to get food when I'm hungry, which is just rediculous, I'm not going to starve in a few hours.

One technique that also sometimes works for me is riding out the 'wave' that is the urge to binge. I too get that anxious, agitated feeling when I can't get to food, but I try to remind myself that the feeling WILL pass.

ThePickledGerbil Thu 06-Oct-11 22:57:47

You are absolutely right. Times when I have been trapped, ie. unable to binge, I cope, i don't die!

I just really enjoy thinking about then choosing and buying all my 'fantasy' foods, then troughing them...then comes the self loathing, regret and bloating...until I do it again!

foreverondiet Thu 06-Oct-11 23:51:15

I think that you have been through a lot recently and so its not surprising that you have ended up with some comfort eating.

But now that things are picking up and you can see what you are doing you need to get to grips with it.

I found that myfitnesspal worked, just not an option to eat more than the number of calories, also paul mckenna easier to stop when not hungry. Other options is to have a cheat meal and plan for it and try and stay on diet for rest of time.

But seriously you did so well with your diet and you'll do well again. Sorry I can't help more, don't have personal experience of binge eating, just wanted to offer support!

Italiangreyhound Tue 11-Oct-11 02:26:17

ThePickledGerbil I am so sorry to hear your situation and although I have not been in the same one I do have a problem with impulsive eating and bingeing on a small scale. I too can feel powerless at times around food and have struggled with it for years. I think for me it was a move on from obsessive compulsiveness in my teens.

I know that feeling of feeling I will miss out if I do not have something and really feeling I deserve something like chocolate, cake or crisps.

Italiangreyhound Tue 11-Oct-11 02:27:35

ThePickledGerbilI think one thing that has helped me a bit is to recognise that actually rather than 'loving' myself and 'rewarding' myself with these treats and snacks I am actually 'punishing' my body and being nasty to myself. If my daughter or nephews asked for 4 packets of crisps in a row I would not give them to the kids! I would not see four bags of crisps as a reward but as something unhealthy and dangerous for kids to eat all in one go! So for me to eat them all in one go is also unhealthy.

I just feel you need to learn to love yourself in the right way. You are special and precious. Your hubby has done something wrong and that has made you feel bad about him and also maybe very bad about yourself too. He's now working it out, it sounds like, which is great, and you are forgiving him, I presume. Can you forgive yourself for putting on this extra weight, for bingeing? Can you draw a line in the sad and move on from here and try to control the food, both the quality and quality for YOUR OWN SAKE because you are worth it. Not because it is bad to overeat or you are naughty or any of those feeling but because you are worth more.

Italiangreyhound Tue 11-Oct-11 02:31:06

ThePickledGerbilI really feel the counselling will help and a few tips of things to do along the way would be (Just my humble opinion) PAMPER yourself with lovely (inexpensive) things like bubble baths, and watching your favourite film, walks in the park, walk a neighbour’s dog or take the kids out, try and plan into each day some fun things YOU will enjoy that do not involved any sort of food. A magazine, a new outfit (I search the charity shops as I have little money for new clothes). If buying clothes is distressing due to size issues, go for a nice bag or a purse or something, necklace whatever.

Try and see yourself as the you inside, who is lovely and has had a hard time. The food will only dampen it all down; it won't help you to work out those feeling!

Talking might help, writing (keep a journal of your feelings and progress), if you are so included praying might help, anything that lets you calm down and relax a bit. I know this all sounds easy and it is so not easy but the other route is just pushing food down you to push down the feelings! I think those feelings are better expressed in a safe environment, with trusted friends or a skilled counsellor or at home in a quiet way by just pampering yourself and allowing yourself to grieve for the sadness your hubby has cause you, and for the feelings you have about food and weight. But once the grieving has happened or at least really started you can also let some healing happen.

I am no expert, I am always falling down on this stuff. I hate to deny myself any food but what I am denying myself (probably) is a long life and a healthy life!

Treat every day that you manage not to binge or to stop when you do binge, as a success, praise yourself and remember in the words of that horrible L’Oreal advert, you are worth it.

Sorry if this all sounds too simplistic. Thinking of you.

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