Feeling sad, angry or blue? A deep-fried/chocolatey/potato something will do!

Hi, my name is Shawna and I am an emotional eater.

PizookieAs Mr. T flew away today, heading back to our homeland in Sacramento, the familiar chest pains began. By chest pains, I mean the literal tightening in my chest and figurative crushing of my heart that always take place when we are separated. Although I admit it is light years better than when I first moved here–I didn’t get pulled over or suffer dehydration from all the crying–it still really sucks to be away from my beloved. And away from my family and friends and home and fluffy white skunk-loving dog. When I arrived back at my empty little apartment, I tried to dive into my homework but all I thought about were the Drumstick confections in my freezer… or the Hot Tamales on the counter… or even the Blue Berry Morning cereal on top of the fridge.

Then it occurred to me that this blog post–long overdue–needed to be written before I ate myself into oblivion. Like many women (and men, I suppose), I am a completely emotional eater. I don’t lose 10 pounds when my heart is broken or if I’m stressed out. No, I hit Haagen Daaz or inhale french fries. When I lost three loved ones in one year (2007 was God-awful), it wasn’t lost on me that I requested to visit the Elephant Bar for artichoke dip, lemon drops and fried food. If my heart hurt, at least my tummy could be full. Mr. T admitted his awareness of this today as he plied me with pub food and a hot cookie/ice cream combination to ease the sadness of his departure.

APPTRAYSo where does this leave me? Clearly realization isn’t the first step to recovery. I write all this knowing that it isn’t a healthy approach to food. I’ve been on a health kick for the last 12 months (the last few weeks not withstanding) and I’ve read a lot of nutrition articles that say food shouldn’t be a bandaid or a crutch. We shouldn’t use food to feel better, but how does one realistically kick the habit? How do I get out of the cycle of being “good” for awhile and then eating a whole bag of chips because I’m homesick?

At this rate, I’m not certain. What I do know is that my commitments to health are still strong and I will continue busting to the gym at every opportunity. At least if I polish off all the Drumsticks in the Malvini-abode, I can work a few of them off on the elliptical.

Although I have an emotional approach to food, I do not extend a moral judgment on my eating habits. What I mean is, I do not beat myself up for eating hamburgers or having dessert. I’m not a “bad person” because I ate poorly today and neither is anyone else for that matter. So long as the good outweighs the bad, it should be a wash in the end. Moderation should be the key, right??

I am interested in hearing from other emotional eaters though… any hot tips for me?


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