Are you an emotional eater?

I used to be an emotional eater. I used to be a whole lot more emotional, really, back when teenage life was just one looooong neverending drama. And to cope, I turned to one of my biggest loves (I don’t know whether food can beat out books, but I suppose given I need one to continue physically existing, it has the edge).emotional eating

No, these days I’ve become someone completely different. Someone I would probably hate, actually. When I’m super on edge, I’ll do two things: start writing a ranty blog post in my head, then start itching for a run. Yes, a RUN. As in physical exercise, lace on your shoes, foot in front of the other, sweating it out.

While I can’t intellectually understand eating disorders (I mean, I understand psychologically it’s about control, but I cannot imagine ever purposely depriving myself of food. Ever) I can actually imagine becoming somewhat addicted to exercise. The endorphin high really is something. And it feels good after, unlike when you’ve stuffed yourself silly with Tim Tams and feel like making sad whale sounds while curled up on the couch. I often finish up a run feeling I could have gone on for longer, wanting to go on for longer. When I take too long a break between runs, I find myself wondering “Why didn’t I do this before?!” in the first minute after leaving the house. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

That said, I don’t know if I can really call myself much of a runner. I run. But the reality is … Twice a week, if I’m good. More than half an hour, if I’m good. Close to an hour, if I’m REALLY good. Lots of the time I just do a few blocks. I’ve done a couple of 10k races and done well, and I’m sure I have it in me to do longer runs – but as much as I’d like to say I’d done a full or half marathon, I don’t really want to. Proper long distances and me aren’t on super buddy buddy terms. I sometimes rather stay indoors and stretch properly while using my flex belt.

I try to mix it up and incorporate a sprint into most runs. As T says, I’m kind of fit now that I run regularly. But it’s a fun thing for me; I don’t push myself, because I don’t really want to and I don’t see the need to. I’m keeping it light and enjoyable. Is that such a bad thing? Do you push yourself physically, or do you take exercise pretty casually as well?

But back to food. I still eat for pleasure, but I no longer use it as a comforter or a crutch (though I kind of wanted to this weekend). Over time, I’ve also stopped stuffing myself at dinner time and learned to eat more slowly. It’s a strange feeling, not being uncomfortably full at night (and sometimes I underdo it and find myself hungry again before bed). But it enables me to actually DO things after dinner, rather than being so drained of energy and motivation that I just want to veg out with a book or New Girl before rolling my ass into bed.

Do you have a healthy relationship with food? What did it take for you to get there? And, what’s your exercise style?

9 thoughts on “Are you an emotional eater?

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies February 6, 2013 at 02:39

    There’s nothing like running to getting rid of stress in my life. But I’ve actually gotten addicted to it, which has its downsides as well.

  • Reply kara February 6, 2013 at 03:16

    I’ve been an emotional eater my whole life – and I don’t think that will ever change. My ability to control my emotional eating has gotten better and will continue to do so, but my first instinct when stressed, angry, annoyed, happy, sad, whatever strong emotion is to eat something. To some degree I’ve been able to control that by chewing gum and fooling myself into thinking I’m eating, but it doesn’t always satisfy the need.

    But I also took up running (and lifting weights) as well and when I can, I do channel the eating desire into running. I never thought I’d be a runner … but I actually do love it! Whoda thunk?

  • Reply Life [Comma] Etc February 6, 2013 at 04:35

    I’ve got to toot the horn of Geneen Roth’s “Women, Food, and God” for helping me achieve a healthy(er) attitude towards food. It’s all about being kind to yourself!

  • Reply Amanda February 6, 2013 at 10:52

    I’m a boredom eater, which is much worse…

  • Reply krantcents February 6, 2013 at 13:55

    I lost 35-40 lbs,. thirty-five years ago. I occasionally eat a little too much, but I usually stop because I feel my pants getting snug. I exercise anywhere from 2-7 times a week depending on time.

  • Reply Mo' Money Mo' Houses February 6, 2013 at 13:58

    Hmm I think my relationship with food has definitely evolved. I’m a picky eater and I also want to keep healthy so I definitely eat to live and not live to eat. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve had to come to terms that I can eat whatever I want and not gain a pound, and from all the scary food documentaries I’ve seen I’ve definitely become more aware of what I put into my body. I don’t know. Me and food is complicated.

  • Reply The Asian Pear February 7, 2013 at 10:33

    What happened to the fishies?!? 🙁

    I wouldn’t say I’m an emotional eater… I’m just an eater. To me, I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m happy. Is it healthy? No. But I really do love food. ^__^;;

  • Reply Sara February 8, 2013 at 09:53

    I don’t think I understand emotional eating, not fully. There was a particularly stressful and dark period, where food was a comfort because it was the only thing that was familiar. But I can tell that it has passed, and I don’t turn to food the way that I used to. L is completely an emotional eater. I think it stems from the fact that his family was so poor that the only “want” his mother could say yes to for quite a while was sugar.

  • Reply Allison February 8, 2013 at 17:05

    My relationship with food could fill pages and pages and pages of a blog.

    I was an emotional overeater for a time when I was a teenager… then I swung all the way to extremely restrictive dieting for a few years, which was really, really bad. For the most part, I think my relationship with food is healthy now, but I sometimes have to work at it. If I’m having a bad day, I might reach for some comfort food, which is usually not a big deal. But, if I’m really stressed out, I have to remind myself to eat real food.

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