December 28, 2013 12:55 PM   Subscribe

How to stop stress/procrastination/self-punishing/comfort binge eating?

Examples of my binge eating
-after a phone call with my parents which stresses me out -> entire stack of chocolate digestives
-before writing an essay -> entire loaf of bread
-after sending an awkward text which isn't replied to ASAP or after a social event where I felt drained and awkward/not being myself ->mcdonalds chicken burger meal but eaten so quickly that I give myself indigestion
-after a bad interview -> order chocolate cake even though eating low carb

I've recognized my triggers but feel so powerless to stop it! Ex/non emotional eaters, how did you stop? What other coping mechanisms work just as well as food? This is literally the bane of my life since it happens like at least once a week when I'm in uni, and I dont want to do this to my body anymore, or my self respect since it jeapordizes all my otherwise good weight loss efforts and I want to lose the freshman 15 as a matter of self respect!

Help me metafilter, you're my only hope!
posted by dinosaurprincess to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
What needs to happen, for me, is that I need to find other sources of comfort to replace food. So my process looks like this:

1. Am I actually hungry? (Sometimes I am! Sometimes it's actually mealtime!) Then I tell myself I can see about a treat after I eat an actual meal. Usually, eating real food and getting my blood sugar up makes me feel better anyway, and then I don't want/need the comfort food any more.

2. If I'm not hungry, what else do I like to do? I will do something that takes me away from temptation - take a walk, go for a drive, have a hot bath, talk to a friend.

The other big component, of course, is not keeping shitty food around the house AND keeping good food around, so if I am actually hungry I can eat a decent meal of stuff that won't make me feel sick (or guilty) afterwards. It's taken me a long time to accept that this does mean having a box of gluten-free mac and cheese in the freezer because if I really feel terrible, I'm not going to want to actually cook, and if there's nothing I can just nuke I will totally order pizza.

I personally also keep some strong-flavored hard candies around for when I just want a touch of sweet, but that isn't always sensible, and is more related to keeping myself from feeling too deprived (so I don't backlash) than managing comfort eating in the first place.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:03 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

I like to be able to have something sweet when I want it. But if it's milk chocolate I'll eat the whole bar. So I've taken to keeping fair trade dark chocolate around because I won't go through it quickly.

Not sure how to manage the emotional aspect of your question (beyond substitution of healthier behaviors, which was also already mentioned ).
posted by aniola at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Instead of ordering a cake, maybe you could make one? And then share it? A tasty redirect of your energy. ...Except don't use this tactic for the procrastination, of course.
posted by aniola at 1:26 PM on December 28, 2013

Hello me :)

Keep a stock of those single-serve sachets of hot chocolate in the house. I'm a sucker for the mint ones. By having a hot drink only a kettle-boil away, you comfort yourself. Plus, the hot chocolate is sweet and, you know, tastes of chocolate. Plus, these are often low or zero calorie, and one sweet drink isn't going to ruin any diet. Hopefully, the hot chocolate keeps you feeling fuller for longer and prevents that harrowing 'empty' feeling that's beyond hunger and triggers binges. Plus maybe you won't inhale sachet after sachet after sachet.

This is very hard to deal with. If I had a bar of chocolate in the house, even 80% dark, it'd be wolfed in a nanosecond. I struggle with this every day, every meal, every terse situation. I don't have all the answers, but the above hot drink always being on hand works wonders.

I also try engage other senses: light a strong scented candle, wrap up in a blanket, watch your fav. stand-up comedian. Self-comfort each sense in other ways that are not food.

Now to only practise what I preach :/ Good luck!
posted by Chorus at 1:46 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

Last year I read Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating, by Geneen Roth, following a recommendation in another AskMe post, and it helped me to better understand and control my binge eating habits. The book cost less than a buck on Amazon - and now I'm 60 pounds lighter. Sure there were other factors in helping me to lose weight (Weight Watchers & My Fitness Pal), but Roth's book helped me to get started and to gain control over my self-destructive behavior.
posted by kbar1 at 2:43 PM on December 28, 2013 [8 favorites]

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