February 2, 2010

Emotional Eating vs. Feeling Stuff

I was thinking about Migdalia on The Biggest Loser today. For those who don't watch the program, Migdalia was at the Biggest Loser ranch and was used to being tough, not crying, and stuffing her feelings. And, the thinking by the trainers is that as she stuffed the feelings she coped by eating too much. We all watched as Jillian followed Migdalia out the door, speaking the hard truth to her, but Migdalia wanted to quit...and she wanted to quit because she was starting to feel things.

If you've spent a lifetime being "tough", its pretty scary to let any of that emotion rise up without cramming it back down.

I don't know if you would call Migdalia an emotional eater...food being a numbing agent against feeling unpleasant things...yes? I think I identify with that...its a tough world out there and depending on what a person has had to face and how they've learned to cope, well it is easy for me to see how emotional eating happens. Some people might choose alcohol, others drugs, others sex, you name it, there are all kinds of things we can use to try to cope with the stuff we find too scary or painful to deal with instead of just dealing with it.

One of the things I knew when I started all this was that I was absolutely through with avoiding what I didn't want to acknowledge...that food was no longer going to be my coping mechanism....that whatever I faced, I was going to, well, face it and not turn away. I'm here to tell you one month into it that I HAVE been feeling things, some sadness has surfaced at times about things that have nothing to do with my body or health. And, I have let those things out...processing thoughts and feelings instead of cramming pizza on top of it.

These are the markers that I believe are setting this weight loss attempt apart, the mile markers that as I am consistent will enable me to not only lose weight but also keep it off. This is a lifetime plan, a new way of living, and I am just tickled to be learning the ropes!

still workin' it,


  1. Cheryl,

    LOVE this and agree with you. So much of the weight loss efforts are the emotional stuff. I posted last week about this same thing@

    Just dealing with those feelings can be scary but it will be well worth it in the end!

  2. I so appreciate you and your blog. Thanks for the honesty and giving me things to think about!

  3. I loved this post. I too have had to feel things that hurt deeply, work through real emotional wounds, because I'm not stuffing them with sandwiches or crackers and cheese. It's hard and it hurts, but I think I like it better than masking it with food.

  4. I totally identify with this post Cheryl! Thanks for sharing!

  5. @Jules - Yeah, I think it's way less about what we eat than why we eat. And, looks like your link didn't show up -- everyone, make sure you check out Jules site, its fun, thought-provoking and informative!

    @Pam - :) Wanna do coffee sometime?

    @Dawne - Yeah, and what's so bad about crying anyway? I was at the gym the other day working hard with tears running down my cheeks...I think it's called being alive!

    @Design Girl - Thanks for coming and reading my ramblings! Lunch soon?

  6. Hey Girl! Yes, you know, I never thought that my over-eating was linked to emotional stuff UNTIL I went through a very stressful & difficult time with family stuff...and promptly gained over 30 pounds in 1 year! Yep...I think there may be a link.

    Great post - and like you said, we are learning the ropes for a lifestyle of change. And that includes figuring out how to work through stress and emotional stuff without opening the cupboard. We'll be better for that...and not just because we'll be thinner and healthier physically. We'll be healthier emotionally too. Win-Win!

    Love ya!