Sunday, August 2, 2009

Stress Eating

As I've mentioned before, I work part-time - from 9 am to 6 pm on Thursdays (sometimes longer if we are having an artist's reception), 9 am - 5 pm on Fridays and 10 am - 2 pm on Saturdays. Since I started my diet/healthy lifestyle, I've been packing my breakfast, lunch and snacks to bring to work in order to save me from myself and the plethora of cakes, cookies and other desserts that always seem to be around. My system has worked well - I do keep some raw almonds and a couple of protein bars in my drawer in case I am starving, but usually what I've packed for the day is sufficient.

But the last two weeks, ever since I came back from a week off due to my surgery, have been different. It's like I am constantly eating - and even though I'm eating what I've brought, it feels different. I couldn't quite figure it out - why was I doing this? I wasn't really overeating, but I had been bringing extra fruit "just in case" and guess what? I was eating it! I finally realized on Friday that I hadn't refilled my water bottle once during the work day, which obviously meant I wasn't drinking enough, because at home, I refill that thing at least 4 - 5 times a day!

Then I started thinking about the "event" - not that it's really been out of my thoughts, but I guess I hadn't acknowledged the enormity of it. My boss resigned the night before my surgery. And cleared out all of his stuff the day of my surgery. And I haven't heard from him since the Friday before, which is a bit weird. I mean, I worked for him for over two years, and would have thought that there might have been some communication. But no. And because it was a surprise to the general public (not to us, as it's been in the works for months now), we are still getting phone calls from people asking what had happened, why, etc. - and we are not allowed to say anything except that he resigned.

So yeah, I guess I've been feeling a little unsettled over this and without necessarily binging or even eating the wrong kinds of food, I've obviously turned to food while I'm at work. Interestingly enough, I don't have this problem on the days I'm not working - I guess I'm able to put it out of mind when I'm not there, which is good.

It seems strange to me that with all of my good habits, I still unconsciously gravitate toward food to try and feel better. This situation is completely out of my control, and I recognize that. So what's up with the munchies?


  1. I think that it's completely normal to gravitate to something that previously was a comfort in times of stress!

    For me, it took many years of maintenance before I finally felt like I no longer made food choices based on emotions.

    Great job on the recognition and on stopping it in its tracks!

  2. I'm a stress eater myself, and I agree with Diane too in that it takes awhile to get used to not making food choices based on emotions. And then for me, there's usually guilt that goes along with it; something I've struggled a lot with too. Being able to recognize it is a good thing though. Hope you have a better tomorrow! :-)

  3. Us overweighters are all stress eaters. Hence our problem. It's still (at least partially) somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction. HOWEVER, you, on your own, have identified it, mid-stream. Do you realize how significant that is? How much it says about how far you have come in the journey? That is SO awesome! Now, you'll be able to catch yourself in the process, and that is TRES cool. :D

  4. Yes, I think it's wonderful that you recognized it, figured it out on your own. That, to me, is successful thinking.

    Fill 'er up, start drinking at work. ;-) least you were eating your healthy stuff and not going for the cookies, cakes or candy bar machine!!!

  5. It sounds like you might be eating to fill a void. . .the void of your former boss who you obviously cared about. And maybe a bit of eating to quiet the discomfort you feel from hiding the truth. Any way you could reach out to him instead of waiting for him to make contact? It might make you feel better and it might be less awkward for him. Just a thought.

  6. Interesting response, but what is even more interesting is that you have realised what you are doing and now can make sure it doesn't become an ingrained bad habit again.

    Hope you do better at work this week!

  7. the key word in your post for me is UNSETTLED.
    basic frazzle I dont tend to have the 'wanna snack' response' but UNSETTLED and unnerved?

    I still do.
    and when I dont actually head for the cnack cupboard it is still a big victory.

    hang in there,

  8. I totally understand where you're coming from. Yesterday my cousin sent a nasty e-mail to the whole family regarding my mother. What did I do? Ate. Today's a new day & I'll pick up the pieces of my body and continue on, but it was a familiar feeling, that want to eat. I hope over time it will fade.

  9. I'm not a stress eater,I eat when I'm bored so I'll try to avoid that.

    The thing with your boss is so recognizable. Two years ago my boss was fired and nobody (including me) knew why. And I've never had contact with him, he had to leave immediately when he heared it and I was on vacation that week. I think it's not polite to do such a thing.

  10. I'm curious, do you stress eat in non-work related situations? Like before your surgery, did you eat more than usual? (Although I know you had to be careful WHAT you ate, did you have that urge?)

    The reason I ask is that I don't stress eat EXCEPT when I work on deadline. It's the only "trigger" I have and like you, I forget to fill my water glass and then end up feeling so...I don't know...depleted and blah.

    I'm glad you're overeating fruit, though. That Dove candy you wrote about on my blog would surely be calling my name!

  11. I will repeat some earlier comments and say.. At least you are eating more healthy foods!

    I too am a "eat when bored" type of gal. I think since you are aware of it, it's going to resolve itself pretty quick.

    But yeah, your old boss should make a small attempt to at least see how you're doing after your surgery!

    The Skinny On Getting Skinny

  12. Since you have recently started eating 'intuitively', it may also be important to not that your body might be calling for extra nutrients as you are recovering from surgery. Don't beat yourself up, it's important to learn to trust your body with the hunger response, as well as the full response.

  13. I have totally been "using" food the past week. Not eating bad things....just eating too much.

    Just being aware of it HELPS! I don't binge like I used to, but I still and will probably always turn to food for comfort. I just get to choose what foods now.

    Thanks again for another insightful post!

  14. You've been through a lot in a little time, Shelley, and I think it's perfectly natural to sort of rely on those old coping methods. Maybe you just haven't processed everything and when you do, the good habits will return. Good luck.

  15. I concur with the others. I know I am an emotional eater. I still fight it. I give myself props for realizing this habit instead of feeling shame that I haven't completely kicked this habit to the curb! Baby steps and progress!

  16. We definitely use food as a distraction to avoid feeling unpleasant thoughts. I think you just have to keep practicing not eating until it becomes the more patterned response than bingeing.

  17. Very odd circumstances about your boss. Hmm... Stress is a trigger for me too. I have to tell you that while reading your blog the song, Brick House, came on and I swear as I scrolled down, the whistle at the beginning of the song played while I was looking at your bike comparison pictures. You look HOT. :)


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