I saw a great post on emotional eating today shared by a twitter friend and really felt like I identified with it, but then I started thinking about it. I clearly have a problem with food, but I was not able to identify any emotions that I felt like I was stuffing. Is that denial? I mainly use food as an anecdote to boredom, as entertainment and as a reward. I know these are bad things indeed, but its not like I can dig to identify a stressor and see that I ate in response to that stressor. I am having difficulty trying to sort out if any feelings beyond boredom and entertainment are involved. I break my behaviors around eating into habits/rituals and boredom relief.
A request of my my non morbidly obese friends who may read this, please don’t hate me. I put all of this out there with great trepidation.
For a long long time, I had a terrible ingrained habit of stopping through the McDonalds drive through every morning for a sausage mcgriddle or egg mcmuffin and hash browns and a large diet coke. since I’ve changed where I work, the mcdonalds is no longer on my way, and because I’m ultimately a huge lazy ass, my morning visits have been minimal. While my kids were out of school for the summer, we did go into mcds on days I worked from home, but now that they are back in school, my visits to McD’s this month might have been 1-2, when up through May, I typically ate breakfast and lunch at McDs (I know, horrible…). In summer, I went twice a week, sometimes still breakfast and lunch, but still dramatically less. I think it was toward the end of the summer when the cashier innocently mentioned about me being one of her “regulars.” She of course meant that in a nice way, but it hit me in the stomach. Yuck, I don’t want to be known as a regular at McDonalds. Now in the last month, only 1-2 times total. I have a cafeteria where I work now, so its a lot easier for me to either get two hardboiled eggs and maybe some ham or bacon and be good.
2nd habit — Dinner out. I get done with work, and have run out of steam. Dinner out is a soothing ritual where I get to sit down and have someone else take care of me and wait on me. That is a huge part of the appeal. I don’t have to clean up, I don’t have to come up with ideas for what to eat. This is still an active habit. In the last month, I’ve changed where and what I am eating, but I am still eating out. I have had a couple of really shitty eating out experiences since I’ve changed what I’m trying to eat. I’ve learned that at some places, it is incredibly difficult to find low carb choices. I also have found out that some of the places I considered my nemesis (buffets) are actually easier for me right now when doing low carb. They offer a wide variety of choices, still a lot of shit, but at one local place, I can get a steak made to order, have roasted chicken, have fish, have seafood with no sauce. A huge salad bar. As long as I can keep myself from eating the bad shit, I walk away a lot happier. Places that SUCK to me are breakfast restaurants, particularly when everyone else in your family is enjoying a nice stack o’ flapjacks.
I would say that at bedtime is the time I am most susceptible to a binge. The kids are all in bed, honey and I have some alone time….and you think this is going to get dirty? Not the way you think. I don’t binge like I used to when younger, but this bedtime dangerous hour is when I do if I am going to do it. Pre all this, it would not be unusual for me or hubby to go out and get an assortment of snacks, fun size candy bars, pringles, nuts, chips, etc. We ‘d stack them between us and graze on this stuff while watching tv, downing a couple of diet cokes with it. DH is of normal size and quite active, and he really would eat less than I do during those sessions. In the lats month, those sessions have dwindled, and if there is one, they are comprised of different things — turkey jerky and almonds have been popular, or a couple of nights ago I made kind of an trailer trash antipasti plate with salami, cheese, pickles and pepperoncinis. Portions are a lot more limited.
2nd category — rewards and boredom
One example of reward eating I can think of, i guess maybe does relate to stress. maybe, but I still link it more to boredom. When I am travelling, which is a lot more frequently now, on the plane or at the layover airport, it has been a common practice for me to eat my way through the flight to keep myself entertained. I buy the snack box on the plane, (the cheese/fruit/cracker plate being my favorite) Then at the airport, I find the food court and get a meal to help pass the time.
Another example might be the afternoon vending machine run. This often would result in a candy bar purchase (or sometimes even two). Lately, I’ve cut down my runs to 1-2 a week, and when I go, I will get jerky or nuts.
So is eating for boredom, entertainment/relief of duty, and reward emotional eating?
I will report for the last month, I have generally stayed within my weight watchers points, so things are doing a lot better.