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So it turns out I haven't beaten the emotional eating

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  • So it turns out I haven't beaten the emotional eating

    I discovered this site back around March time and embarked on a mostly primal kind of diet from then. I was successful for the first three months or so. My skin cleared up, my stomach issues pretty much vanished, I was happy with the amount of energy I had and finally felt like I had kicked my diet demons.
    By diet demons, I mean that I'd been addicted to sugar and used food to treat unhappiness or stress in my life. I was never overweight but I think I only got away with this as I'm quite active and would usually balance 'binges' with eating less elsewhere. Anyway, I finally felt on top of things. I had a newfound confidence in myself for being able to conquer this issue.

    But recently I've been slipping up more and more. At first it was because I trusted myself to have a treat and then go back to good eating habits (I'm kind of a foodie and always loved baking and social eating/drinking so the idea of never having another homemade cake was just too strict for me), but then I think the old sugar addiction kicked off again. One cheat turned into a few days of making excuses and having a few more cheats than I should.

    Now I'm annoyed at myself. I just ate five cookies because I was feeling sad and angry in the face of my waning creativity (I like to paint and write but I'm struggling to find the emotional energy). It's like the voice of reason just switches off for a few minutes.
    I've mostly been sticking to primal-ish meals and today's little binge was a fairly isolated incident but I've been craving sweets and having the odd bit here and there, mostly emotionally-triggered. I'm concerned it's spiralling back to what it was.

    Can anyone give me a slap across the face?! No, really...any advice? I so want to get my confidence back, but I keep telling myself I'll try harder then succumbing to temptation. Cue more reduced confidence.

    Thank you if you read this far! - I know it's a bit lengthy. I guess I just wanted a sounding board and hopefully a pep talk!

  • #2
    Disclaimer -- I have been diagnosed with candida overgrowth, so now I think everyone has it...'s not a bad idea to check it out.

    Anyway, I'm creative as well, and I know how hard it is when the muse isn't striking. I'm a writer, so I just force myself to do it...not sure how it works with other creative mediums, though.

    My first suggestion is get back on your plan. Make yourself accountable to someone who can either do it with you, or perhaps an online blog or even a journal here on MDA. This works for you, and you know it. And now you've learned something -- you can't even allow little slips without thought. Avoid sugar and wheat like its poison, and tell everyone you know that you don't eat it anymore because you have issues with it. That way when you are somewhere and could be tempted, you'll feel like an ass if you do.

    I've been reading a book by Julia Ross called the Diet Cure. She more or less falls in with Paleo/primal eating and she supplements her food addicted clients with amino acids to break the binge cycle. I've used several of these techniques, so I recommend it. Being creative comes with an emotional upheaval that often we don't understand how to navigate. This really helped me, and it's all natural.

    Maybe journal how you feel when you eat -- not just your emotions from life, but also your emotions around food -- how do you physically feel after you eat something you "shouldn't." I also have this rule in my house -- nothing comes back home with me. And if I really want something (providing it's not gluten), I'm going to have the healthiest form of it I can, and not feel guilty. So if I really want ice cream, I make my own coconut ice cream and enjoy way too much of it (with someone else, of course -- one must indulge in public). if I want french fries, I go to Red Robin and eat a whole serving by myself. And that's it. It's a one time deal, done with a friend or my partner, and voila, I go back to my lifestyle, no harm no foul. I take the guilt away. Taboos make us want to do them. But you have to decide if you can allow yourself that, or if you just have to stay away.

    Anyway, hope that helps in some way.
    The Sedition of Sisyphus: Go Find Another Rock

    Griff's Cholesterol Primer


    • #3
      I'm a writer too, and am having the exact same thing. Falling off the waggon and having a hard time climbing back up. Honestly, I don't know how much of a sugar problem I have, but I'm starting to suspect it ain't as minor as I thought. Or maybe it's not the sugar, it's the emotions. Yes, those. Sugar is not the problem. I eat crap when I'm stressed, and I am just now.

      Just ordered a couple of books on emotional eating from Amazon. Stupid emotions, I think I could do quite nicely without them.

      Creative schmeative. Take your pen or brush and make dots on the page until your brain stumbles over something. If you bore yourself enough, it will.


      • #4
        We can be too hard on ourselves. The thing is you do it right most of the time. You aren't ever going to be perfect.

        The road to success is rarely a straight line. The people who get there are the ones who don't let small screw ups turn into permanent failure.

        After all, eating a little junk food once in a while isn't like shooting heroin when you're upset. Well, it's a little like it, but I've never heard of anyone ending up on the streets because they indulged in french fries. (Boy, did I clean that up for public consumption.)
        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


        • #5
          I did consider the candida thing, in fact looking into it again now so many of the symptoms are things I suffer with - adult acne, poor digestion, nausea, dry mouth, mouth ulcers...(all very attractive!) Perhaps I just need to 'man up' and cut out the sugar and you're right, clearly one thing I have learnt is I'm not great at sticking to just a little bit. At least not til I get a handle on this emotional connection I've developed.
          Good to hear from fellow creatives. I guess because I'm introvert it's easy to feel like I'm alone in this and thus, be really hard on myself when I fail. I know I can't expect to be perfect, it's more like the little rock falling that causes the avalanche! :-/ well, at least it is for now. Hopefully I will be able to get to a place when I can control it again. I will take your suggestions on board and try to hold myself more accountable for my actions by keeping a journal and talking to others. Thanks guys


          • #6
            Hi there, I am new to this whole thing and only joined this forum yesterday so I cant' say I am any expert on primal living! Emotionally I need to work on why I sabotage my success with eating when I know I shouldn't. I have just read the weight loss apocalypse which pointed out some great stuff! I am also listening to a hypnosis/meditation when I go to sleep at night. There are some healthy treats that you can have on hand. I have chocolate cake in the freezer already sliced for those times when I just know that I am going to give in whether it be for emotional reason or it's that Time Of Month. The chocolate cake has almond flour, raw cocoa powder, coconut oil, honey and eggs in it, all organic and 100% delicious! The one I have in the freezer at the moment had cream and berries on top and is perfect to eat frozen too. While having some healthy treats on hand doesn't really help with emotional eating it does help with the collateral damage. I find it's just helpful to know what I 'can' have something, I don't know about you but as soon as I say I can't have it then I want it! (stupid brain) lol Another thing you could have ready made int eh freezer is coconut pancakes with berries.
            "You can either spend your time & money on being sick, or you can spend your time & money on being healthy"


            • #7
              Hey Ethereal, could I possibly have the recipe for the cake? Maybe I should just admit to myself I will 'need' it sometimes and be prepared by having the most healthy version to hand. It's got to be better than the slight sick feeling the next day when I eat too much sugar or anything with grains in!

              The word sabotage is really apt, I often feel like I do it on purpose....which is worrying.


              • #8
                Sugar is a terrible 'trigger' for me, but I also know that I'm going to 'need' some 'release foods' at some point. To avoid a true 'binge' (which any form of sugar will incite), I focus on eating primal things. Where sugar is concerned, only total abstinence limits my compulsive overeating.

                For example, I make an 'egg white brownie' with just a little brewed coffee, cinnamon, unsweatened cocoa and egg white. I sometimes add a little unsweetened coconut that I keep in the freezer.

                If I think I can afford the calories, I might have a T or two of almond butter, but usually just one portion of raw walnuts or almonds works, too.

                I have both with hot tea or coffee (both black).

                One day, I gave in to adding some Splenda to my brownie, and I was treated to a massive headache--in addition to increased appetite, so I know that 'using' sugar is as destructive to me as any other addictive substance (my body seems to process all artificial sweeteners the same as sugar--anything with a sweet taste is bad for me).

                If these things don't work, I eat 'egg white omelets' or hard-boiled eggs. I find that they are eventually self-limiting, and I'm satisfied. [My reliance on egg whites is because of focus on an anti-inflammatory diet to control my arthritis pain, and yolks are very inflammatory.]


                • #9
                  How is your carb level? I find I have a low motivation to do anything (creative or productive) if i'm VLC, and also tend to feel a bit depressed as well.


                  • #10
                    I was managing to avoid the really bad binges for a while by just eating a lot of primal food, like chunks of creamed coconut or very dark chocolate if I wanted to have one of those 'feeding' sessions, if I felt sorry for myself. The egg white brownie sounds yummy actually.
                    Sugar really is poison, embarking on this lifestyle change has truly shown me how addictive it is, even in small quantities. I always notice myself wanting more, somewhere in the back of my mind, a few hours after eating anything with it in.

                    My main carb sources when I'm eating right are sweet potatoes and veg. I tend to eat half to one sweet potato a day and lots of veggies with my evening meal. I don't always eat breakfast anymore but if I do, it's full fat Greek yoghurt, scrambled eggs with butter (maybe bacon too) or coconut and a banana. Trouble is, if I follow the candida diet ideas, the sweet potatoes and fibrous veg are mostly discouraged. But I do tend to get sad and irritable with VLC.


                    • #11
                      I stuggled through 20 years of binge eating, emotional eating, yo-yo dieting, etc. Primal has helped me with this tremendously, but I have learned to accept that there is no cure for it because I'm human.

                      I have periods of time when I eat eat more treats like popcorn, nut butters, chocolate, fruit/nut balls. You should see my 'Primal Treats Pinterest board'. I keep it primal and I allow myself to do it and then I move on. I don't beat myself up and I don't have to make myself move on, it just happens. Sometimes I eat more treats for more days than other times... so what.

                      I would suggest you don't try to make up for it by eating less the next day because this will only make it worse. Make sure you are getting enough protein and saturated fat, and adequate carbs (not too low). If I go too low I get depressed and start the emotional eating. Balance helps a lot! B vitamins help me, too.


                      • #12

                        Cravings are more chemical than mental.

                        the mental part is choosing the correct foods.

                        the chemical part is eating the right food in the right qualities.

                        Once I stuffed myself with correct amounts of nutrients the bad stuff ( in my broke bad=depression and self hatred) goes away.

                        it comes back when i stop doing the right things...

                        i do that less often now.
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                        • #13
                          Honestly the only way I can be good if I commit to it 100%, if I allow myself a glass ofwine here or a bite of toast there it all goes downfast. Which of course makes this a bit daunting.


                          • #14
                            I think you do have to commit to it 100% in the beginning, Comma... good point... until you can get it under control. I didn't start having primal treats until I was about 8-12 months into primal. As Quelson said... stuff yourself with the right foods and the rest will correct itself. Don't worry about how much you're eating until you get this under control. I ate a lot of fat and larger portions than I do now, but that is what helped me. Your body needs to correct some deficiencies that are making you over eat and crave sugar.


                            • #15
                              I don't think I have deficiencies, I think I have a problem with emotional eating. I mean I KNOW I do. Food is my comfort and I am perfectly aware of eating without being hungry. Sigh. It's like smoking. You pull out the ciggie KNOWING its disgusting (I stopped smoking, but food is just around too much). I ordered a book that lays out alternatives on what to do to comfort yourself when you'd turn to food usually. I can't come up with anything good by myself. My tub is too small and the thought of knitting makes me curl up in a little stressball and cry.