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Emotional Eating?

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So this may be a bit of a deep post for a W9 forum, but I'm on the whole30 now. I used to eat paleo about a year and a half ago and never ran into as much emotional junk as I have this time around. I came to an epiphany last night that I was so used to emotional/stress eating that now that I am NOT doing that, my mind is much more affected by the change.


Has anyone else run into this? It has made me feel very irrational and while I have not slipped up, it does make it much harder to see a silver lining.



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What day are you on? Heightened emotions generally go hand in hand with hormone changes which Whole30 style eating will certainly do. It takes time to rebalance hormones and the in between can make you feel a bit nutso. That said make sure your fat and carb intakes are not too low as that can certainly be related to feeling emotional.


As far as dealing with emotions and stress in ways other than eating when that is your normal response this is just a matter of changing your habits. When you feel yourself wanting to eat for reasons of emotion/stress you need to find a healthier way to channel. Make a list of things that help you relax and/or make you happy and post it on your fridge and pantry. When you feel that emotional eating urge pick one of those things. Take a walk, read a book, call a friend, etc. 


I can say that eating primarily paleo/whole30 has done wonders for my personal emotional stability and I find myself much less moody now. But it didn't start that way. It took some time to adjust. Hang in there.

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Just to clarify what you mean by 'emotional eating'....you mean eating for reasons other than cuz you're hungry?  Like eating to celebrate an event, eating because your bored, eating because you're stressed or had a long day at work etc etc?  Is that what you're talking about?


If so...I have a loooong history of that.  It's taken years to get it under control but it hasn't completely gone away.  Doing my whole30 really made me face emotional eating head on.  It's really hard to look it in the eye and confront it.  You are unhappy for some reason and needing comfort.  It's hard to say 'no i'm not going to comfort myself the way I've been doing for the past 30 years.'.  It's hard to not have a few drinks while cooking dinner to destress from a busy day.


But doing a whole30 makes you face that.  Makes you realize that you are smothering those emotions with food.  I now realize that I'm unhappy/stressed/tired/bored when I find myself standing in front of the fridge blankly staring inside at the contents.  What am I doing???  I' not hungry.  I'm looking for something that I think food can fix, but it really can't.  Food is just a distraction.


Now when I have those feelings or emotions, I try to sit quietly and identify what I'm feeling and look for the source.  Did I have a long day?  Yes....take a long hot shower.  Am I tired?  Go to bed earlier.  Too much to do?  Tell my husband that I need help getting all the chores done and ask for his help.


For me, the whole30 wasn't just about food.  As the book says, it starts with food.  But after I got into the food groove, I moved on to learning how to take care of myself both physically and mentally.  I wonder if people who fall off the wagon before the 30 days are over are haaving trouble dealing with emotional eating?


Part of our post-whole30 is not drinking alcohol during the week.  We ended our pattern of drinking while cooking and drinking with dinner.  Some days are easier to abstain than others.  A few days ago, while checking on the ewes that are due to lamb, I found a ewe with a prolapsed vagina (sorry if that is TMI, but we do live on a farm!)  She needed immediate help and of course, it was after office hours.  I watched the vet fix it a few weeks prior, but didn't really know what I was doing.  With my husband holding her, I was able to put it back in place.  The whole situation was really stressful for a variety of reasons.  We went back in the house to get cleaned up.  My husband and I stood in the kitchen and kind of caught our breath and let things sink in.  He went to the fridge and pulled out a beer and offered it to me.  He said "Do you need this?"  As much as I wanted it (and a few of it's friends), I took a deep breath and said "no".


I recognized that decision as a big breakthrough to not using food to squash emotions or stress.  I took a few deep breaths and went to take a hot shower.  I'm 100% sure that pre-whole30, I would have gladly accepted that beer and followed it with several more.


I read once on facebook (and you know it's true if it's on facebook!) that honest self assessment is one of a person's biggest strengths.  I think it's true especially when it comes to emotional eating.   You need to be able to identify your feelings and what you can do to address them instead of using food.


Sorry to ramble on...but emotional eating has been one of my toughest habits to break.  But I think I'm finally making good progress.

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I try to be honest and self reflective. I work on owning my behaviors and habits. I too struggle with emotional eating. I am a single mother of 4 (one with special needs), a grad student, and employee. I am tired. Not only am I living with HIGH stress, but sometimes it is cheaper and easier to just eat and provide "junk" food. That's no excuse, but it happens. What also happens is I LOVE the taste of junk and the faux satisfying feeling I get when consuming it...until the hangover or sick nauseating feeling sets in (I don't mean overeating. I mean side effects of lousy eating). I read in It Starts With Food that "unhealthy foods have an unfair advantage. They are designed to mess with your brain. They are built to make you crave them." I find truth in that. Once I eat something terrible, I want more. The more I have of the bad food, the more of it I want. It seems addictive.


I need to be able to "identify my feelings and what I can do to address them instead of using food." After I am at a breaking point, then I am able to recognize what's going on. I'm usually overwhelmed with all that I have to accomplish or I am over tired. I am also irritable when I eat poorly. I hate admitting that, but it's true. Anyway, I want to recognize behavior and emotion prior to poor choices. I want to be mindful of my body and mind. As mentioned above, I also am learning to "take care of myself both physically and mentally." This isn't the first time I have eaten paleo or even my first W30 (my second). I 100% support the lifestyle diet. I just struggle maintaining. When the going gets rough... I quit. I like the idea of making "a list of things that help you relax and/or make you happy and post it on your fridge and pantry." Here's my list...it took some thought, as i am so involved with everything that I struggled to think of anything that relaxed me.

  • Laying in the sun (I like the warmth on my skin) or swimming
  • Walking (sometimes I am sore, but it does calm me down)
  • Read
  • Go to my room (Timeouts work wonders)
  • Work in the garden
  • Shower or some other self care
  • have a cup of herbal tea
  • call a friend
  • pray...

Perhaps I need ideas.


So for the person who started this thread, I don't think it was too much of a weighty issue to share here. I know that it's a struggle for me and I know that I was uplifted by the responses. Although we don't want to share too much on the big bad web, I think sharing our struggles and buoying one another up helps us to succeed and to recognize we aren't in this alone.

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