One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

WEEKLY QUESTIONS

What causes you to (over)eat?

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Question of the weekThis weeks question is the direct result of my pizza incident yesterday. Although I’ve been considering this topic for awhile.

I think there are a few different reasons why we eat. That sounds stupid, but really let’s things about what situations cause us to put food in our mouth.

We are actually hungry
This is a given, of course. And I think we really know when our bodies need food. Stomach growling, low energy, emptness.
Celebration
Let’s see, it’s someone’s birthday… we eat cake. Graduation? More cake. Anniversary? Go out to dinner. Holiday? Forgettabout. It seems that an easy way to celebrate any event involves food.
Bored
Yup, sometimes there is just thing else to do but eat.
Peer Pressure
I’m eating so you should be too!
Sad/Depressed
Food comforts a lot of us.
Smells
Ohhh we’ve all done it. The smell of bread from a bakery or my personal demon, Cinnabon!

I could go on and on. It’s seems we may turn to food for many reasons besides just being hungry.

For me stress definitely causes overeating. I used to think I was an “emotional” eater but when I really look back at times I shove food in my mouth it’s normally at times I’m feeling overwhelmed, overworked, under appreciated and overall stressed out! For example I find myself shoving bread in my mouth when the toddler is acting up at a restaurant or scoffing down pizza when I have just too many tasks on my plate. I truly think this is the last hurdle I need to overcome.

So how about you? What causes you to eat? Or overeat for that matter.




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Discussion

There are 29 comments so far.

    Losing Weight Daily

    May 6, 2008

    Oh stress and depression are definitely my big triggers. And apparently a lot of stuff stresses me out, cuz I sure find myself reaching for stuff that tastes good and comforting (and its not usually vegetables). I wonder what it is about breads and starches (and sweets, but that’s more obvious) that feels so comforting?

    creatingadiva

    May 6, 2008

    my overeating is exactly the SAME as yours…stress. Anytime that I have too much on my plate or I feel overwhelmed I eat. It gives me something to do, makes me feel unusually full and I have no idea what it is but I literally stuff myself with food when I’m stressed. I have no idea what connection that has; its not even logical…its just this primal instinct and I can’t even trace where it started from?! So frustrating.

    McBunni

    May 6, 2008

    I’m a self-diagnosed food addict. Hormones play a big role for me. But….so do all the usual ones; stress, depression, celebration, “not having time” to eat right, so on and so forth.

    Oh yeah, and pizza is the Devil himself in the form of food.

    McBunni

    May 6, 2008

    P.S. I became very aware of my stress trigger right before I got married. I could NOT get enough cherry frosted Pop Tarts. Which is weird cuz I’m more of a cheese fan than a sweets fan. I cannot even buy them or have them in the house. Mmmm, pop tarts….*drool*

    Kellie

    May 6, 2008

    I love this post. It’s much like the one I just did on the new site.

    What will you end up doing with your blogging? Will you continue blogging here or switch over as well? I love to read yours.

    As for the question…for me its any one of those at any given time. I think a lot of times, it’s just the comfort. However, after I stuff myself there’s nothing comforting about feeling like a freakin’ cow! Haha.

    Christie

    May 6, 2008

    All of the above.

    Peer pressure has always been a big issue for me. I work in a huge call center where there is always someone celebrating something. I get this feeling when I see other people eating all this crap like, I have done so well, I deserve to eat like everyone else. She eats that crap and she’s still thin, why shouldn’t I be able to. For some reason though, this time around it’s been easier for me. I think I finally just got serious and don’t really care if I’m the only one eating healthy. Most of the time people look at the with a little jealousy because they wish they had done the same.

    gottahavefaith

    May 6, 2008

    All of the above, especially stress. One other thing sometimes gets me: eating for energy. Whenever I don’t get enough sleep and don’t take enough to unwind, I always find myself reaching for a sugar fix.

    Estefania

    May 7, 2008

    Celebrations and defintely stress. I work from home and eating is my way of procrastinating when I’m having a tough time completing a job. I’ll munch on anything, unfortunately:)

    crandall

    May 7, 2008

    By tomorrow morning I will have had a total of 12 hours of sleep–over 3 nights. I am finishing my thesis, though this has happened at work before. During the past few days my brain seems to do two things: (1) laser focus on the project I am working on and (2) completely detach from a healthy reality. Translation: the project is so important that my head doesn’t even care about my food choices. It’s about survival. I can barely see beyond the next hour, let alone the next meal or day. Meals come when time permits, not when I’m hungry. I’m either over or under-eating (and then subsequently over-eating). I am grabbing pre-made food from everywhere. Salads take too long to eat right now. That sort of thing…

    em

    May 7, 2008

    for me I think, bad planning- simply being oblivious to how much I eat or need to eat, I just don’t stop, especially when it tastes good. Yeah and the fridge/cupboard is always there to turn to. I done the whole weight gain thing before my wedding, stressarunies!

    kikimonster

    May 7, 2008

    Definitely stress. Eating gives me something mindless to do, when I don’t have to worry about work.

    Anonymous

    May 7, 2008

    Mine used to be all of the above, but all of this IS conquerable. I work out way too hard to sabotage myself with eating the wrong things and worse, the things that used to taste SOOOO good to be taste bad now, as much as I dont want that to be the case, it is:( Bummer. Right now I am battling VERY low appetite where I have to force myself to eat at least 1200 cals a day so I dont go into starvation mode with the workouts that I am doing. THIS IS ALL CONQUERABLE!!!!

    Elizabeth - Scrappygolden

    May 7, 2008

    Hands down it’s stress for me. I really thought I had that pretty well under control until this week when some stuff happened with friends. I have stopped at the store for 3 Musketeers and Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper EVERY SINGLE DAY this week! ~ sigh ~

    Scrumpy's Baker

    May 7, 2008

    I overeat for so many reasons, but I think the top two are feeling overwhelmed and this crazy belief that for some reason exists deep inside that I may never be able to eat again. I know that sounds crazy, but it is some sort of primitive feeling in me.

    Estellia

    May 7, 2008

    Stess, anxiety and anything that changes my usual day to day routine. That could be an arguement with the bf or friend, bad day at work, car problems, house problems and my personal favorite..money problems!

    Mindy

    May 7, 2008

    This is a timely question for me. I think sometimes we can’t even identify the issue because we are too busy eating! Here are my reasons:

    Tired – I should just take a nap!

    Procrastinating on a project – Eat rather than get something done!

    Fear of screwing up – This tags to procrastination. I think sometimes I procrastinate because I don’t think I’ll be able to do something perfectly.

    Fear of not hitting it out of the park – This takes it a step further, not only do I want to be perfect but I want to be a superstar! I want others to say “Wow, she is incredible!”.

    I just realized this last night when I was thinking about why I overate. My idea to overcome is to tell myself: Let me burst your bubble right now, yes, you are going to screw up, you aren’t going to do it perfectly. You might not like that but that is the reality so just accept that, and then go do your best.

    As always, great question, Roni!!

    Suze

    May 7, 2008

    I agree with the primal eating instinct. When I’m hungry, I feel like I need to eat enough to last for a long time, b/c I might not get to eat again. Not sure where that comes from!

    sauchagirl

    May 7, 2008

    Definitely stress. Yesterday my son had a tough time at preschool. All the kids were doing a “Race for Education” and were given special tshirts to wear. Mine wouldn’t wear his. The teachers asked me to come in and see if I could help him. He was crying and carrying on. When I left the school, I found I was craving cake or brownies or cookies and I thought, “Oh nice, look at that. I was stressed about my son and now I’m craving bad food.” I’m def. an emotional eater!

    Rebecca

    May 7, 2008

    I agree with all of the above. The one that I am most aware of but still have issues with is fatigue eating. I am a SANE nurse and if I get called in during the night and miss sleep I try to fuel myself the next day with food instead of sleep. I know this but it does not make it go away.

    Anonymous

    May 7, 2008

    Stress, depression, and boredom are my big three. I could eat just to eat, you know? As if I just need something to *do*. I guess if I smoked, I’d be thin and have a voice like Harvey Fierstein.

    deanna

    May 7, 2008

    Everything!! I eat because I am stressed, sad, depressed, to treat myself because I excelled at work, because I lost weight, because I ran an extra mile, because I look good, feel good, I eat to celebrate a occasion, because the skinny friends are eating, because the fat friends are eating, because my toddler is running rampage, bored, bored, bored, my husband working a FDNY overnight, what else…basically any moment i can stuff food in my mouth that is not suppose to be there, I have to have a dialogue with myself to not binge or over do it. I believe in moderation however, I am so can over do it – hence the 50 more pounds I have to lose.

    jolie

    May 7, 2008

    My absolute favourite is to read while I eat. There was nothing better than a good book and a ton of mostly unhealthy food. Chips and chocolate bars…toast with PB….mixed nuts..omg mixed nuts…cheesecake *drool*. It was my entertainment when I was bored…it was my friend when I was alone/lonely…it was comfort to me during difficult relationshippy times…and I just love to eat.

    This food binging always happened when I was alone. I often hid evidence. It led to bulemia.

    It’s not going to just poof go away. This will always be a part of my world. My hope is I can reduce the number of times this happens, and in the interim, make healthier choices and move more.

    I am definitely a food addict.

    Jewely

    May 7, 2008

    I love to eat! I love the taste of food! Those are my first two reasons. Like many others, stress and emotions also contribute to my mindless over eating. But the bottom line is….I LOVE FOOD.

    Michele

    May 7, 2008

    Jewely said what I was going to say. I love food! I’m sure there are times I eat out of stress, depression or boredom but bottom line is I love to eat things that taste good! Lately I’ve been having a bit of a problem with chocolate. I thought I could handle small amounts of it but once I taste it I just want more! UGH!

    Jessica

    May 8, 2008

    Unexcused Eating… the only reason why I am still chubby… I just cant help it.. So a balanced diet is what helps you loose the weight, and latly I have been making decently healthy decisions with my food intake its just, I tend to eat when i am not hungry for many reasons. My hubby will go get a snack, so of course ill eat with him and im not even hungry but ill still eat with him…I cant even help it. Also, boredom is another big one for me… Everytime I am just sitting on the couch watching a tv show or movie, i feel like i have to be eating when really im not even hungry, its habit. This has been the biggest thing Ive had to overcome, and I still havnt 100% overcome the problem, but im taking babysteps to get over it.

    bonniejean

    May 8, 2008

    I agree with Jolie. I eat when I read. But also when I watch movies or tv. And it’s usually spurred by whatever they are eating or drinking in the book. When I was 13 and reading Island of the Blue Dolphins, I made my mom by imitation crab, because it was kind of like the fish the girl was eating in the book. Last year, when I took 6 months to plow through all 6 seasons of The Sopranos on DVD, I ate pasta, Italian sausage and red sauce (with red wine of course) every single night. Oh, and lots of bread. Of course there is never any portion control involved.

    Anonymous

    May 8, 2008

    My only comment is…I had my own pizza incident last night. I think we can ALL empathize with that! Someone asked what it was about the breads and starches being comforting…I think it is the serotonin surges it gives us especially if you tend to eat out of anxiety or being upset like i do. It sure is My weakness!

    Michele

    May 8, 2008

    I eat when I am bored…which is usually at night when I’m channel surfing…and also when I am stressed, or rather after the stress is alleviated…say after an argument with the DH, or the daughter…once I reach sme resolution in whatever is upsetting me, then I eat…and WAY too much.

    My go-to food used to be ramen noodles with cheese and black pepper…any flavor…I think they are yummy still but haven’t had them in 6 months I bet…but I still crave salty cheesy foods when I’m in that mind-set…and sometimes just whenever…cheese really is a big downfall for me!!

    figsandolives

    May 9, 2008

    Ok here are a few reasons other than the obvious of stress, bored.
    With me, it is being COLD – yes physically cold makes me want to eat instead of wearing an extra layer. (And eat fast for that matter as if I’ll warm up???)

    The other one is if I’m TIRED. I should take a nap/sleep, but I eat to get energy.