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Weight Loss NHS
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Emotional eating

I notice something when I was pigging out the last night - I actually paid attention to my feelings more than usual and found it interesting so was keen to hear how others feel when they have a relapse binge which will happen to overeaters until we realise why we do what we do to put weight on...

I know I emotionally eat when I'm lonely, bored, angry etc but last night I really paid attention to all the feelings when I was eating and after. I was lonely and feeling unsettled as I have some big questions about job etc going on in my life. I was eating like a machine, it felt like stopping was out of the question even though I was full and fed up of chewing. When I had finished I felt sleepy and all 'lovey' like I wanted a cuddle and I felt safe but I also felt like I had taken some strong painkillers and really spaced out. I really noticed how it felt like I had drugged myself through eating. I found this interesting as I avoid strong painkillers as I hate the feeling they give me but somehow find so much comfort in a food high.

I'm hoping to use this insight to realise how I am essentially drugging myself to escape the pain. I know I knew thats what I was doing but to have felt it and being aware of it was insightful for me.

6 Replies

There seems to be some physiological things happening there as well as the emotional. Food is a drug, and foods that raise your insulin levels can cause you to want to eat even when you're full. It's a biological imperative; when your blood glucose falls you have to top it up!

Sleepiness is also a symptom.

Some of it may be habit, turning to food that you associate with a fix?

If you eat enough of the 'good stuff', the temptation to binge eat will be decreased. Eating controlled amounts of low GI carbs will give you the energy for intense activities. Natural protein, with the accompanying fat, will satiate your appetite, helping prevent you eating too much.


This could sound odd but food isn't my problem, my head is.

Emotional issues lead to a binge regardless of what else I have been eating as I actually eat healthily - I eat good food, low GI, vegetarian for the most part, protein from eggs, fish, dairy and plant sources and lots of different coloured veg so when I binge I'm not hungry or low blood sugar . It is the binges (additional to mealtimes - can be lunch break but most often evenings when I feel uncertain, scared that I don't know what to do career wise and lonely) which have made me the size I am as I have been trying to make myself feel better and numb the uncertainty and negative patterns.

I am glad I had the binge I had the other night as it has made me see more clearly how I use food to make me feel more numb, sleepy and safe. I'm very pleased I don't like drugs or alcohol otherwise my problem could be worse though at least you have the option to go cold turkey with them! I think it is habit as well, I have got used to hiding what I'm feeling through using food.


I think that you're like me and you have gotten in to a cycle with you're over eating.

When you feel down or out of control you feel the need to over eat. You have to pinpoint your trigger and slowly but surely change your habbits. I'm still learning how to do this myself. When I start to have those feelings I'll call a friend or family member (even if it's just to shoot the breeze), sometimes i'll even do some exercise! Get those endorphins going and feel more focused and clear headed (I NEVER though this was something i would do but it works). And the classic and best way is to visualise the person you want to be and what you want to look like. It is within your reach.

Sorry if I sound like I think I'm a self help guru by the way!


Hi wandg,

These, and more, are the 'bad' eating habits that weight losers need to get an handle on if they are going to bring about the change to being no longer overweight.

And there are various strategies to deal with 'comfort eating', or 'boredom eating' or general bingeing, which have been discussed various times on these blogs.

But the fact that you've noticed what is actually going on for you is a very important first step. Knowledge is power - in this case the power to get your eating and exercise/activity under control.

But one simple question really - instead of comfort eating, couldn't you re-train yourself to seek other comfort(s) at those times?


good on you for admitting this in the first instance, ike anything we take to extremees its because of the feel good factor and its ability to distract us. we all have our own coping mechanisms for bad feelings some who are brought up around tv find comfort watching tv others its food and others it can be exercise. I was never one for watching tv when i needed distraction as a youngster i was an outdoors type and always surrounded by people, as a single female living alone it was jumping in my car and going for a drive with the tunes blasting all the happy hardcore songs that make me smile, as a single mum of 3 i cant just go out when i feel down so it was until recently facebook, online games, internet dating sites any way in which i could find people to chat to so as to avoid the moments of silence where i actually had to think and listen to my own thoughts. yes this was good its not always a bad thing internet chat but when it then disturbs your already poor sleep pattern and puts your body into night mode when you have 3 kids and a full time job its a bad thing !!! and it doesnt make up for the lack of real positive relqtionships. ideally when we are feeling low if were not in a comfortable enough place to enjoy our own company our own thoughts then you need to get yourself out there somewhere anywhere you can chat to people and find some common ground. its not a sad and pathetic thing to find friends online etc providing it doesnt interfere with your life, ideally sites like this are far better than some others are they are promoting self esteem and good habbits, if theres people you blog with regularly share an email adress or a skype address arrange a night to have an online group skype chat, find people locally to go out with even if its a book club that helps you find something you can relax and enjoy in private, if you know youre going to be discussing a book it will encourage you to read it :) find out if any local centres are running any clubs or any local gyms that run classes for beginners small steps is the way to go, im losing weight much happier and healthier and i havent hit the gym yet, ive just remembered that i am good company i do have people i can turn to and that i can ultimately talk about things that are bothering me with complete strangers sometimes !!! youd be surprised how much easier it is to talk to strangers than those close to you. over the years ive built up some fantastic online relationships all over the uk and some of those are still going strong and have became offline friendships too !

good luck :)


I have this problem with 'comfort eating' too. I'll eat healthily all day, then pig out in the evenings if I'm feeling 'down' for some reason. I think the suggestion of doing some exercise instead sounds like a great idea. I'm going to try using my exercise bike instead of scoffing.


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