Monday, April 4, 2016

Food Journal: Tracking Emotions

As I mentioned in this post, I have begun work on figuring out what triggers my emotional eating and binge eating episodes. My first step has been journaling what I am eating—not to count calories or macros, but to see how I am feeling emotionally when I’m eating.

It has been eye opening. It seems like every day I follow a pattern. I start off the day feeling great and I slowly enjoy my shake. As the day goes on, my behavior starts to shift.

Another thing I’m tracking is how fast I’m eating. I set a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the fastest—binge type behavior, and 1 being the slowest—extremely mindful.

The earliest “5” I have tracked was at 10:15 a.m. and this is certainly an exception. Every other “5” is somewhere between 12-evening.

I’ve found that one of my most frequent feelings prior to eating is being tired. I also tend to eat more following a stressful event or when I am upset.

I definitely would not consider every “5” a binge. I started tracking on Thursday, and I would count two times as a “binge”—neither being incredibly terrible, but it was definitely different than overeating and just emotional eating.

What’s the difference?

To me, binge eating is eating and eating as if to fill a void. I know I’m not hungry, yet I can’t seem to stop myself from eating. For me, this very rarely entails me eating one specific food—but entails me eating various amounts of multiple foods so that, at first glance, it doesn’t look like bingeing at all, but rather portion controlled snacks. At a closer look, you can see that there are a series of these “portion controlled snacks” in a row and they add up to a binge.

To me, overeating is just that— over eating. I’m not emotional. I feel in control of my behavior—I am just loving whatever food I’m eating and end up eating too much.

To me, emotional eating is eating something (usually sweets), to find comfort. This can easily turn into a binge, but I wouldn’t consider emotional eating a binge unless I feel out of control. The difference is the amount of food eaten in a specific amount of time (approximately two hours or so). If I eat a couple of scoops of ice cream and move on—I’d call that emotional eating.

However, if I followed that up by eating a couple of cookies, a handful of nuts, and a cheese stick (within a couple of hours)—I’d call that a binge. It really comes down to the amount of control I feel capable of at any given time.

This is a topic that definitely makes me feel insecure. I feel so embarrassed that this is even an issue for me, but I also know that admitting it is going to help me overcome it. It is what it is.

I’m not a victim. I could choose to continue blaming my weight issues on emotional eating, but the truth is that since I know what the problem is— it’s in my hands to fix it. I’m a survivor and I will overcome this.

I am ashamed. I feel guilty. It makes me dislike myself. These are all things that I will work through one step at a time.

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