Tag Archives: Emotional patterns

An Emotional Pattern Leading to Overeating

For some reason, every day when I get home from work, I reach for sweets and carbs. It’s like my body is on autopilot.  Same with after I have dinner, I reach for sweets. Yes, there are times when this doesn’t occur, but it’s when I’m traveling, have an event or not in my normal routine.

After taking the time to dig into this pattern, I realized it started during childhood.  My mother did this exact behavior every night after getting home from work.  For her, it was Saltines and butter (not appealing to me at all).  She would come home, break out the Saltines and slap butter on them while at the counter and just eat and talk.  My father was busy working so it was me who got to hear about the trials and tribulations which occurred that day.   The transference of not only the emotions she experienced, but the behaviors of ‘letting go’ and eating stuck with me for years to come.

When I want to relax after being at work all day, I come home and mindlessly eat sweets or carbs to feel better immediately. The problem is this pattern has become so ingrained in my being that it’s now 30 years later and I’m still doing it. I’m aware of the pattern and have tried stopping it, but I know now that it goes deeper and is going to take practice replacing this pattern with something different, something healthy.  It’s not just the behavior, but the automatic thoughts that precede the behavior which I want to address.

In the past, I would impose discipline and willpower through a diet which would work for a short time, but it crept back into my habits.   Before kids, I would go to the gym and that helped but now, it’s not an option. I then tried to eliminate the behavior and that didn’t work because I was missing the ‘outlet’ of changing my state after coming home from work. All of these were tactics which didn’t last because I never addressed the underlying cause.  Why does this happen? What emotions am I feeling? Why am I not feeling the emotions and dealing with them?

Today, I have come to the conclusion the key here is feeling the emotions as they come up and when reaching for food, consciously think about what I’m craving, notice why I’m craving the food and if needed, to sit down and eat the food mindfully while asking questions like, “Is this what I really need right now? Am I satisfied? Am I still hungry?” which will change how the food is consumed.  Bringing light into the emotional pattern is the key here.  I know it will help to uncover why I’m doing it and when that happens, then it will be easier to replace this habit with a healthier one.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Emotional Eating Patterns – Another Discovery

The last few weeks, I’ve been working on tracking small healthy habits I’ve wanted to establish in my life.  It has been going well for the most part.  However, this week came TOM and all of the sudden, I found myself losing track slowly as the week went on.  I didn’t follow all the habits and found myself at one point binging on chocolate chip cookies and making cookie dough.

In the past, TOM has been a source of contention for me.  It came early in my life and caused a lot of hormone issues and weight gain.  I am only now trying to make peace with my body during these times because when it comes, cravings are strong and irritability follows.  I was reading that sugar contributes to a lot of the symptoms during this time of month, but I crave sugar so staying away sometimes seems impossible. As a matter of fact, when I went off sugar for 3 months back in 2012, it was during TOM I caved and went on a sugar binge.

This week, I was noticing my thoughts and realized some of the stuff I was saying was mostly self-pity and providing self-justification for eating things I don’t normally eat.  I ate an entire bag of chips when at most times, I wouldn’t be so tempted.  I caught myself giving permission to the child in me to ‘go ahead and eat, you don’t feel good and it will help’.  What type of logic is this and how is it going to help me live a healthy life?

I started thinking back when I would do well with eating until TOM arrived and then my efforts would go out the window, I would berate myself and give up all together until the next round of motivation would show up to try again.  This time, because of work I’ve done, I started immediately forgiving myself and saying ‘I love myself and it’s okay’  which I have to say was not easy after I downed cookie dough by the tablespoon.  I’m used to giving myself the riot act but I know that’s what I did in the past and it never worked so this time, I did my best to be kind to myself especially when it matters most, when I’m not making the right choices.

The self-justification and self-pity was the old way of doing things.  This was my mechanism to self-soothe during TOM. Growing up, people felt sorry for me and I capitalized on it because I didn’t get much attention, emotional validation or empathy so when I did, I ate it up (literally).   Only to see clearly now it has been hurting me in so many ways.  It’s what I have always done but unfortunately it never served me well, and in fact caused major destruction to my eating, weight and health.  It also did damage to my mental state as I felt myself getting discouraged and giving up quickly. With the hormones flowing during these times, things seem much more dramatic.

It’s time to let go of this old pattern.  I’m going to have to come up with some sort of game plan about 1-2 weeks prior to TOM and see how I can take better care of myself with positive talk and other ways for self-soothing rather then turning to food. A new way of thinking to serve me rather than hurt me and send me down into a self-destructive rut I’m used to falling into.  These are the times I realize, wow, I really need to take responsibility in this area.   It’s time to lift up the covers and really work on some of these patterns.  It’s not easy, but then again, nothing worth while is easy but it’s definitely worth it in the end. Emotional Eating Patterns, emotional eating, destructive patterns, Emotional Patterns Emotional Eating Patterns,  Emotional Eating Patterns Emotional Eating Patterns