• Tue, Apr 9 2013

30 by 30: How I Learned To Stop Eating My Emotions And Start Working Them Out

emotional eating -- sad young woman eats white bread sadlyA friend of mine described the past two weeks of my life as an emotional roller-coaster, and that’s correct. I’ve been dealing with some really heavy things lately—and not well, I might add. Bad news at work, two difficult relationships, a troubled brother, apprehension over the uncontrollable … it’s been a constant drum of anxiety over here. And while there are probably nine million better ways to help process these issues, my nature is to deal by either a) working out or b) eating junk.

I used to defend my actions vehemently to my mom, saying I had no problem with emotional eating, it was her issue, not mine. The day I realized that was untrue was during a particularly rough patch in college, and I recall going to the grocery store, purchasing a box of yellow cake mix, a jar of chocolate frosting and making an entire cake. I had no plans for a party, no intention to share. I just made a cake for me to eat.

After I finished frosting it, I threw it in the trash. That’s it. The entire cake. I couldn’t stand the thought of being that girl who eats her feelings. If I already struggle with being overweight, WHY would I willingly make that problem worse instead of finding a better outlet for my emotional drama?

So I started kickboxing. I started spinning. I started closing my eyes and drowning out everyone except for the people who were hurting me.

And it works. I get to the gym knotted up and angry and I leave it all on the floor (or the bike or the boxing dummy). I leave lighter, emotionally and physically, and I am proud of myself for channeling my emotions into something productive.

This past week? I said no to the treats and yes to the training. I was exhausted and tapped out, and all I wanted was a glass of wine, a nap and a pint of Butter Pecan ice cream. But instead, I went to the hotel gym and just beasted the elliptical.

I was so proud of myself as I sweated it out in that tiny room that I started to realize I’m creating a new pattern: Emotional exercising. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I went to a SoulCycle class when I was feeling bored and lonely. Is it finally sinking in that my body loves me more when I use my negative energy for positive change?

When I come home and eat shit, I usually feel worse. I crawl in bed stuffed and unsatisfied. When I come home after a workout, I feel strong, capable and ready to face whatever life throws at me. I can physically feel the weight lifted off my shoulders, and I sleep more soundly. I get up happier the next day and I turn the cycle around.

As I fight to regain control of my body and my emotions, I am proud of how far I’ve come. I am proud that I said no to dessert multiple times last week and that I got my rear end to the gym instead of resting between events. Things are far from settled in my life right now, but I am going to keep working through it one sprint at a time.

High: I spent a week in Arkansas and was able to resist most sweets and crappy food. Win.

Low: I have been going to bed really late and have been super sluggish lately. Need to get back into my normal 8 hour routine this week.

+/-: -1.5 ; Total – 2.5lbs

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  • Katie

    I was the same way. Always like “I don’t get emotional eating. I would never do that!” And than something bad happened and I went to the grocery store and bought an entire cheesecake. Than I knew. I’m trying to refocus, like you, onto exercise. Or sheesh, at least something other than an entire cheesecake.

  • Gym Classy Lady

    I’ve never been a big emotional eater, but I am an emotional shopper… so good for you for channeling it productively!

  • http://www.piperpixiedesigns.etsy.com/ PiperPixieDesigns

    When I got frustrated with life, people, situations I would eat. Not sure why but I felt the need to drown myself in sugary delicious carbs. Until about three years ago. My sister, a personal trainer, taught me to go lift weights when I’m feeling like that and I was immediately hooked! I lift about 3 times a week regularly but when I start getting that Aaarggghhh!!! feeling, I go bang out a few reps;)