Friday, May 23, 2008

Eating Our Feelings

You know you do it. Stop looking around to see who I'm talking to, I wouldn't be pointing fingers at you if I didn't have three pointing right back at me, as evidenced here and here.

If you read here you know that I got a lot of fulfillment and validation from a much loved bag of cookies. It kept me company when I was lonely for companionship and it was there for me when I was feeling sorry for myself. I would eat the cookies, I would eat chips, I would eat anything that tasted good when I was unhappy, because, lets face it. When things suck, you might as well have ONE thing you can enjoy.

But now I'm being different. No more cookie eating for me. I've joined WW and I'm looking for new ways to consol myself in those times of needs, something that doesn't involve Dove chocolate. Is there anything out there that is as good as having chocolate melt in your mouth? Maybe some nice intimate time with a significant other? Or a hot bath with a really good book? Maybe a really great song that makes the stress just melt away. I need to find these little tricks, who wants to help?

But even more than finding tricks for me, what about our kids? I worry that I will inadvertently teach them to eat their feelings by offering them an ice cream after a bad day at school or celebrating by going out for pizza. I catch myself doing it with JimmyEW, who obviously has no weight problem.

After a stressful day where I thought he was going to scream, I came to him with a little piece of caramel filled Dove chocolate, holding it like it was Charlie's Golden Ticket. I
had a big smile on my face because I knew it would cheer him a little bit. I want to get out of that habit though. I want to find things that will give my kids a reward/consolation that is non food related.

So, what do you do? Do you have the same problems? What are the times when you eat your feelings most. If you don't eat your feelings, what do you do? What are we missing, please, GIVE US THE ANSWERS!

Also, the 8 week challenge is almost over. How did you do? Have you been fighting the frump from the inside out? My running has been bad this week but I joined Weight Watchers and have lost each week. I'm excited and I am pumped to get in really good health. This is the time, and I am not going to spend my 30's unhealthy.
For more tips on fighting frumpiness on the outside, click here.

What's that? You want to comment? Just click on the itty-bitty words below that say "Gimme Some Sugar". Can you see them? Good. We can't wait to chat with you.


Valarie said...

I'm not neccessarily an emotional eater, good or bad. I just have really sucky will power.

If it were not for reading this post right here and having it on the brain, I probably would have eaten the chocolate iced donut on my counter just now.

So thank you Sassy you saved me from putting yet another donut on my rear end. :o)

Sister Sassy said...

Glad I could be useful :)...wanna give me the donut? lol. Just kidding. I've got weight control oatmeal and I had a really good run today that I wouldn't want to ruin with a donut. Just not worth it.

heather said...

I'll tell you that nothing controls my hunger like a big green smoothie in the morning and for afternoon snack, and a big green salad before cooked food at dinner. Doing those two things, I'm having trouble getting in 1500 cals a day before 8 pm (my personal cut off time for eating), and I'm a nursing mama who works out 5-6 days a week. Green smoothie, people! :)

Sister Sassy said...

HEather, what is this elusive green smoothie and where is it found? Is it like Wheatgrass or something? Do tell.

I am with you on the salads. I think its imparetive to help feel like what you have as a main course is enough. Plus I love salads. What dressings do you use? I have a light ranch I think is good- FF ranch needs to be discontinued. Its the most awful thing.

Leah said...

For the kids, I would get a couple of encouragement books that you can read together when they've had a bad day. Allow the dialogue, questions on how they felt, what they would do differently in the future, who was hurt and why, etc. Follow with big hugs and snuggles, and everyone should not only feel better, but also better prepared to handle a bad day.

You can do the same stuff with celebrating. Talk about how it felt, who else was made to feel good, how that felt, what can they do to repeat this, etc. Keep the good feeling and pave the way for more.

Those are my suggestions.

I want to hear about the big green smoothie too!

It All Started With a Kiss said...

I keep absolutely no junk food in the house. Unmerciful! But I have been known to open a bag of chocolate chips when I had a serious craving.

Sister Sassy said...

These are great ideas, but what I really want to know, is what do you do instead??

When you feel crappy and you want to consol yourself, what do you do to give yourself the warm fuzzies a pint of ice cream does?

Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity said...

yay for losing weight!

and tag, you're it!

Melody said...

I'm definitely an emotional eater, and short of getting up and leaving the room (or the house) I don't really know how to stop it. I do like to keep pretzels on hand, because they're fat free - which is good as long as you don't eat ALL of them - LOL!

I'll hvae to give this one some thought!

saintseester said...

When I am in a crappy mood and want to console myself with other than food, I usually turn to reading. Or I listen to funkay raunchy music. Of course, most of the time I eat instead. Sigh.

I had to laugh at the chocolate chip comment. I did that the other day, got into the baking chips because I wanted some candy! LOL!

Ashlee said...

I never thought about the bad I am teaching my kids when I reward them with food or console them with food. Stuff to think about there.
The only other thing that makes me feel better than eating food when I am upset is shopping. Nothing like a new pair of shoes to cheer me up. :0) But, the pocketbook can suffer because of that one. I will sometimes go on cleaning spurts when I'm upset too. Nothing like using that frustration to scrub away the dirt in my house!

Leah said...


My suggestion was intended as the instead to make them feel better.

I don't comfort eat; in fact I starve myself when depressed or stressed.

Talking about it to someone who really loves me and cares enough to let me vent and supports me while I work it out in my head is what works for me.

You think of it in terms of "instead of food" because that's what you are conditioned for. Your kids don't have that yet. They will accept what you teach them. If you teach them to talk it out so that it can release itself from their minds, that is the comfort practice they will employ.

Once I get everything out, say all the things I would have liked to say, say all the things that are wrong with the other person, have a good cry, and indulge in a little self-pity, I find that not only have I released it enough to get a decent night's sleep, but I don't wake up thinking about it. I have a whole new perspective and am energized to go out and deal.

Jen said...

Oh, I am DEFINITELY an emotional eater. The biggest triggers for me are loneliness, frustration, and restlessness. Another bad habit I have is occasional smoking--not every day, but maybe 4 or 5 times a week. I "need" to smoke when I'm upset. (Yes, I know how awful it is for me!) I'm trying to develop positive coping and self-soothing mechanisms, but it's definitely a work in progress...

Sister Sassy said...

Melode-ff pretzles just aren't as good as chocolate... maybe chocolate covered FF pretzles?? :)

Seester- good ideas!

Ash-shopping can be bad for the pocketbook

LEah, your ideas were great! I just am limited by what I look for and the fact that many times my supports are unavailble/working/busy so I have to work out the stuff on my own. I appreciate your answers and I am with you on what to teach the kids.

Jen-self soothing is SO hard. I like Saint Seesters suggestion about reading. That is a way to escape. Of course I'm not a fan of coping vs changing things, but sometimes you need to cope because you might not have the ability to change (like people and such).

sigh.. I wish I had a treadmill because sometimes when I'm angry I feel like running.

Regina said...

For myself, first I have to recognize what I'm doing! I gained 10 lb. while hubby was in law-enforcement academy and didn't realize until after those 7 months were up that I'd been comfort eating the whole time. Can anyone say clueless? So if I recognize it, here's what I do: try to drink a cup of water and pop in a stick of chewing gum. That takes care of my body. For my mind, it helps if I can sit down & write about it. Even if I type it up on the computer and delete it, or sit down and handwrite in my journal (which takes longer and therefore is more therapeutic). If I'm in the recognizing it stage, I'll try to think of some crafty project I can do that's been long-neglected, then I have the sense of accomplishment to go along with occupying my hands. If my hands are busy, they can't put food in my mouth! Which is why knitting rocks :)

For the kids, wow this hits home because I have a toddler and already I've totally been rewarding him with treats & such. Maybe a reward for good grades could be to go to a fun, non-food place? Like a discovery museum, or a cool park they don't usually get to go to? Go to a movie alone w/ a parent (skip the popcorn I guess? hehe). The comfort thing is harder, probably encouraging some outdoor activity, or even going for a walk with them. I wish I would choose exercise when I'm low, but I usually just want to sit on the couch with a mindless show on and eat a huge bag of -insert junk food here-.

Thanks for the post, it's so good to think about!

Darla said...

Awesome topic. I think I joined WW the same week. I LOVE IT!

My child eats the same as us and is 70# and 11 years old. Teenie. How that happened I'll never know.

kspin said...

Can you say GUILT? I'm seriously sitting here reading this with a spoonful of peanut butter in my hand! I do agree with whoever said to get out of the house. Sometimes a short walk is all I need to clear my head... and YES! keeping my hands busy! sewing, crafting, home projects are all things that help me.

I think I need to start some of those now. *putting the spoon away* :)

Michelle@Life with Three said...

I don't know that I eat my emotions, so to speak, but I have noticed that I'll eat if I'm bored. I read in a magazine recently that this woman rates her hunger on a scale from one to ten. If she's a six or higher, she'll get something to eat. I thought that was a pretty clever tip, which has helped me realize whether I'm eating because I'm hungry or because I'm bored.

Cristan said...

I found myself eating crackers or pretzels or popcorn in the evenings, and since I've started knitting while watching TV, I don't have that urge anymore.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I've discovered that I do eat sometimes to soothe myself when I'm unhappy or restless or bored. I've tried to find ways to play instead. You know, fun stuff that I usually think I'm too busy to do. It does help.

becky said...

congrats on joining WW...i am a fellow member. you will learn all kinds of great tricks there! i like the fact that i don't have to completely deprive myself...i just have to count it! tonight after dinner, i had strawberry shortcake with fat free whipped creme. (not bad and sure helps the sweet tooth) when i'm in a chocolate mood, sugar free instant chocolate pudding usually does the trick. it's not dove, but when you've been eating fruits and veggies, believe me, it tastes as good as dove:)
happy skinyness!

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

I think it's a good idea to talk through the feelings, good or bad. For example, "You look like you had a rough bus ride home. Tell me about it." "What was that like; getting an A on that test?" I think that teaching kids to notice their feeling when they are good ones kind of trains them to be in the habit of looking at other feelings as well. When we offer kids a cookie to feel better, I think we are saying, "Wow. These feelings are so horrible, you should not face them. Take this, instead, and stuff those feelings away for another time." In general, I think when we don't talk about "the elephant in the livingroom," whatever it is, we send the message that feelings are just too scary to live through, so we should go around them at any cost.

Miss jane said...