On: Stress Eating
I have a friend who always loses weight when she’s stressed, she just doesn’t feel like eating when she’s got so much on her mind. I cannot even remotely relate, I am the exact opposite. When I’m in a bad mood or stressed out, all I want to do is eat, and eat some more. Somehow the act of stuffing my mouth and filling my stomach calms me and clears my head, numbing the stress for just a little while.
This has been especially bad for me lately since my life has been pretty much constant stress the last several months. Adapting to life with two children and coming back from maternity leave not feeling like I really belong in my group anymore created the perfect storm of stress which lead me to eat junk basically 24-7. I would have a bad day at work in the morning, I would have a meeting that I didn’t think went very well or I would say something wrong and would mull on it for the rest of the day, and all I could think about was what I could eat to take away that uneasy feeling.
I would often go to the store at lunch and get some cinnamon bun Oreos (the absolute best type of Oreos, by far. Just typing that out is making my mouth water) and eat them all afternoon, just one cookie after another. Most of the time I would have the entire package finished before lunch the next day. And I probably also bought a couple of candy bars that I ate that afternoon as well. It’s pretty embarrassing to admit all this. It’s definitely the kind of thing I normally try to hide, but what is this blog if not a place to put it all out there?
After work, if the girls were particularly difficult, or if I got into an argument with my husband, or had issues making dinner (usually because both girls were vying for my attention at the same time I really need to stir whatever was on the stove), all I could think about was getting the girls to bed so I could have a big ol bowl of ice cream, and probably some wine or a Lime a Rita as well. I think you can see a pattern here, my stress eating is pretty much exclusively sweets, which is why I decided to do this sugar detox.
It got to where it would hardly take anything to trigger me wanting to eat a lot. Have a little hiccup getting ready for work in the morning? Okay, I’ll go to Quik Trip on the way for a giant Mountain Dew, a breakfast sandwich, and a donut. Having issues with a spreadsheet? It’s chicken fingers for lunch, and a big bag of cookies that’s definitely more than one serving. It’s like I had already decided I was going to stuff my face, and just needed an excuse to do it. Like I needed the food to numb my negative thoughts, and I couldn’t manage my day without it. It’s no wonder I’ve gained 25 pounds in the last several months.
I’ve been writing a lot in the past tense, and I wish I could say I was past it all, writing from the other side, but I can’t. Yes, it’s gotten better (I haven’t eaten an entire package of Oreos in a while), but it’s still there. Just this morning, I had a bad experience getting a haircut and I was driving home in the worst mood and all I could think about was stopping and getting some donuts or cookies or something on my way home. Except I’m on this stupid sugar detox, so that was out (though I definitely thought about just saying screw it and getting the donuts anyway). Instead, I went to Dillons and got a bunch of non-sweet junk to eat. Progress? Not really.
My hope is that by laying it all out here on the blog, and through these monthly challenges, I really can get past this. I want to reset my patterns and change my behaviors, especially as they relate to how I react to stress. Has anyone else had experiences with stress eating? Anything that has helped you, or suggestions for me to try? As always, you know I will share anything I do that works for me, and even things I try that don’t. This is me. Real. Raw. An open book.