Emotional eating cravings during Medifast?

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So...I'm at the point in the program when I can pinpoint when I want to emotionally eat. I'm not hungry. My tummy isn't rumbling. But I want to EAT to make myself FEEL BETTER. It's SO frustrating!!!! I'm fighting with myself over this and...i'm just so depressed atm. *sigh* Just posting so maybe I won't feel so alone with this utter feeling of hopelessness.

Any advice?..

Comments (29)


Don't feel alone. I am on Week 5 and have been undergoing a tremendous amount of stress at work. I have struggled the past two weeks with not succumbing to my usual pattern and binging.

I might mention too that I quit smoking about 7 months ago so I have various bad habits that I have to remain aware of and fight. I have been forcing myself to do some sort of exercise to take my mind off food and/or smoking.

Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone..


Comment #1

You aren't a failure because you recognized your feelings and posted. That is two successes...and the third success, not eating for emotional reasons is right there. You can do it, you are worth it...

Comment #2

We are addicted to food because it *works.* It is effective at soothing emotions, even if it's in a temporary and ultimately damaging way. Same as alcoholism or drug addiction. For me, I would feel a lovely safe comforted feeling when I ate too much food. It would make whatever unpleasant feeling go away, or at least cushion it quite a bit..

So no need to hate yourself - you found a strategy that WORKED. That's a success, really! Now you're taking a step back and looking at the larger picture. Sure, this is doing one thing, but it has side effects. I no longer choose to have these side effects. So, I need to learn new ways to handle my emotions, rather than stuff them with food.

That is hard work, learning a new way to handle emotions. HARD WORK. It sucked, quite a lot, and well, still sucks on an occasional basis. But I promise you - you CAN learn a new way, and you CAN stick to this diet to force yourself to learn..

Good for you for your awareness, and for reaching out for help instead of food. Looks to me like you're a rock star already!!!.

Big hugs,.


Comment #3

Thank you all for your support. I won't eat to soothe my emotional boo boos but I really need to find an alternative soon...I'm just not pleasant to be around times like this...

Comment #4

Go for a walk, paint your nails (hard to eat when nails are tacky), take a bath, read a book, etc...

Comment #5

You will figure something out. For me it is just changing whatever I'm doing right away when I feel like that. If it means just getting a drink of water, walking outside, playing a game of tetris (nerd, I know) whatever it takes, even if it's 2 minutes. I find that quickly switching tasks keeps my brain focused on something else. And never underestimate the power of dancing. Especially if you're terrible at it like me, crank your favorite guilty pleasure and go for it!..

Comment #6

Wow...I commend you. Stopping smoking while dieting is extremely difficult, in my opinion. I bought one of those electronic cigarettes when I started Medifast last Tuesday; but, that's not going too well. I am a "stress" eater as well. It's strange how some people lose weight under stress. I am the exact opposite; and my achilles hill is carbs, well "bread." OMG the restraint I had to muster up yesterday when I took my kids to Pizza Hut (promised them before I started medifast) was unbearable.

This is driving me nutts...

Comment #7

Therapy, yelling in your car, crying, journaling, meditation, prayer, talking out loud until you figure out what's bothering you, talking your feelings out with a friend..

CG's "distraction" suggestions are great for not eating. Then make sure to follow them up with doing the emotional work to get underneath the urge to eat. The more you learn about what makes you want to eat, the easier it is to handle that feeling instead of eat. Or change your life to remove the stressor! It's amazing what happens when we stop avoiding how we feel about our lives. Kind of powerful...

Comment #8

The thing that helps me is to have a schedule for when I eat my meals and to simply refuse to deviate. It makes me confront the fact that I can't let food be the answer to my problems..

We had a huge family uproar this week with a SIL who is having a breakdown. Apparently all caused by me although I live 500 miles away and see her once a year. Nobody seems to know what her real problems are but she seems fixated on me. There's no rational reason why and while I'm not getting any blame, I am getting a lot of attention I don't want or need. The pull to eat off-plan was amazing and historically I'd have drowned the problem in something from a bakery..

The refusal to deviate from the schedule made a huge difference and I had to just deal with the emotions rather than burying them. It makes you feel stronger every time you get past one of these situations...

Comment #9

I'm just in the middle of my second week, and haven't been doing any exercise. What do you guys do? Walking, Aerobics, Wii? I hate exercising alone. It's hard to stay motivated; but I'm thinking maybe the scale will move a little faster if I can at least do a little cardio daily...

Comment #10

You might consider starting a new thread with a totally different topic? That way we can stay focused here on the emotional eating issues for the original poster.....

Comment #11

Yeah...distractions have helped me. It is funny, if I am stressed, I lose weight. I lost almost twenty pounds dealing with a sick parent. But when I'm happy and life is good, I socialize more and eat out more, and the rest is history. Ugh. But I am a boredom eater...hence, the distractions have been key! That nail painting one is really the best for me!..

Comment #12

I knew someone who would whiten her teeth when she wanted to eat. You can't snack with those trays in your mouth!..

Comment #13

I ended up just curling up in the shower for 30 minutes and letting my frustration out, although I still don't know why I feel this way. I'm still pretty miserable at the moment, so I'm just going to go to sleep. :P Tomorrow's a new day and at least this weekend I have a huge impending pile of schoolwork...night everyone and thank you...

Comment #14

Breathe. You made it through this evening. Get a good night sleep and try to take some time in the morning to walk, stretch, pray, meditate...whatever. Yiu are worth it!..

Comment #15

Dont feel bad about it, I feel that way some days too, and well Im sure that ill have to deal with the rest of my life..I was like that..wasnt hungry but was just eating well because I was addicted to food and well thats why I bloomed up to 380! I never wanna be that way again and well just take one day at a time...some days are harder then others..and I am dealing witht hat now..

Comment #16

Wow Gigi! We have the same SIL! I went through the emotional rollercoaster last week, then everything came in to place this week. I have been doing a lot of spoken positive mantras: "I love myself, I choose healthy foods for my body. I love to exercise, I move with speed and agility" These help me a lot and say them often throughout the day. I think the fact that we care now about what we put into our lovely bodies shows our progress along the journey! The posts above are so great! We need to celebrate each step along the way...

Comment #17

I used to think I was a tough chick who didn't need to cry. Now I cry a lot. A lot. I'm trying to get over a guy and I'm journaling, crying, screaming... I'm just letting myself feel instead of eating to cover the feelings...

Comment #18

Dealing with emotion is the hardest part of all this for me. Having to sit and feel is much much harder than sitting and eating..

Good for you echosiren (and sassy and others) for choosing the harder, yet certainly more rewarding, path!..

Comment #19

Personally, for me, knowing that feeling (recognizing it) was a huge breakthrough. It sucks, yeah, but I was so NUMB before... Don't give in. There are a lot of ways to work through your feelings, as you've seen listed here already. But allow yourself to feel. For me, it was the first time I'd really felt anything in a long time..

Also, you need to change your ticker. 12 pounds in a month is AWESOME... nothing low or to be sad about, okay? Be proud of your success!..

Comment #20

Unfortunately, one thing that makes losing weight, or stopping drinking, etc., so hard is that you start to feel emotions that you had previously numbed with food or whatever. For one thing, they may be based on some trauma, and very intense, and for another, you are not used to feeling things to that degree, and it is painful. I think it is why sometimes people substitute one addiction with another. So, the healthy thing to do is to somehow work through all these, possibly with the aid of a therapist, and also learn to tolerate stronger emotional reactions. And, the flip side is, you will also be able to experience more intense joy.

Sometimes, though, I myself don't feel like dealing with any of my "issues," and so I deal with emotion-induced cravings by some not so harmful escapism, like taking a nap or reading a trashy novel (or both) This, of course, does not help with any underlying causes, but can be a short term stop-gap so that you can hopefully address those during your stronger periods.

Also, I find that making sure all my food is evenly spaced, and getting enough sleep gives more more strength to resist the cravings. In fact, my cravings and feelings of hopelessness, so far, have happened when I have been sleep-deprived...

Comment #21

May I join this thread? I am new to Medifast and know exactly why I am here. I am a stress eater, bread, pasta, and junk snacks are my addiction. I was caregiver for my husband the last 7 years (he passed in Jan 2010) and when stressed I could eat a whole baggett in a couple of hours, oh and lets not forget the real butter. I am now trying very hard to leave the past behind, and get on with my new life. That in it's self is stressfull. I am doing things for myself that I have never done before, like joining a bowing league, painting the inside of my home, and spending more week-ends with my sister. Focusing on myself is something I have never done, I keep telling myself this is my time, and to be healthy this is what I have to do...

Comment #22

You can join any thread you like, darling! And welcome to MF!..

Comment #23

My dear, you're defnly NOT alone. I feel the same way and I haven't even started. My food will arrive on the 28th, so I'm more than afraid. I'm terrified! Thanks for sharing..

Comment #24

Oh, M, ditto here! As a matter of fact I started getting obese when I quit smoking. I replaced the cigarrete for food and now like I said, I'm terrified! Glo..

Comment #25

Do something about why you're stressed. If you think it through and can't change the situation, it helps to admit that you don't have power to affect it and release it..

I had a horrible day yesterday, between work and personal life. Had plans to meet friends for a birthday celebration. I walked in feeling terrible and more terrible as it went on and was surrounded by alcohol and fried food and all sorts of treats. There was strong temptation to cheat, but I got to thinking that my health and self-respect are more important than the things in my life that are causing me stress. I did some things to change the problem at work and had a conversation with someone in my personal life, setting some boundaries, and I finished the day entirely on plan. I've got that stress hangover feeling today, but I'm proud of myself..

When you're in the moment that you want to eat emotionally, ask yourself why you want to eat, what you really want instead of food, and then do something about it!..

Comment #26

Perhaps try to think why you are trying to sabotage yourself. According to your ticker, you are so close to your lowest weight in 2 years. Are you afraid to allow yourself to succeed?..

Comment #27

Just wanted to update everyone. After yesterday, I was feeling pretty down. Today was better, except for having a fever and some tachycardia (who knows why, isn't SO high that I need to rush off to the ER so don't worry haha).

I became upset with my fiance over basically nothing (him not having his phone on so he could meet me halfway when I forgot some important paperwork halfway to clinical ). But I soon forgot about that, and when I came home, there were about 10 post it's laying around in places I frequently venture with love notes on them. *sigh* Times like this I feel like I don't deserve the people in my life, but gosh darnit...I'm going to start working on the emotions that got me to where I am in the first place so I can healthy AND less cranky..

All your thoughts and advice have been really helpful. Oh, and I just had to sneak a peak before official weigh in tomorrow... Looking like a 3 lber week. Just might make that first goal of mine..*fingers crossed*..

Comment #28

I was seeing a therapist to learn about techniques to handle binge eating episodes and one tool he gave me is yogic breathing. It sounds kind of silly, but it really does help center me so I can figure out what I want or need to do..

Abdominal Breathing Technique.

Breathing exercises such as this one should be done twice a day or whenever you find your mind dwelling on upsetting thoughts or when you are experiencing pain..

* Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. This insures that the diaphragm is pulling air into the bases of the lungs..

* After exhaling through the mouth, take a slow deep breath in through your nose imagining that you are sucking in all the air in the room and hold it for a count of 7 (or as long as you are able, not exceeding 7).

* Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. As all the air is released with relaxation, gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely evacuate the remaining air from the lungs. It is important to remember that we deepen respirations not by inhaling more air but through completely exhaling it..

* Repeat the cycle four more times for a total of 5 deep breaths and try to breathe at a rate of one breath every 10 seconds (or 6 breaths per minute). At this rate our heart rate variability increases which has a positive effect on cardiac health..

Once you feel comfortable with the above technique, you may want to incorporate words that can enhance the exercise. Examples would be to say to yourself the word, relaxation (with inhalation) and stress or anger (with exhalation). The idea being to bring in the feeling/emotion you want with inhalation and release those you don't want with exhalation.

In general, exhalation should be twice as long as inhalation. The use of the hands on the chest and abdomen are only needed to help you train your breathing. Once you feel comfortable with your ability to breathe into the abdomen, they are no longer needed..

Abdominal breathing is just one of many breathing exercises. But it is the most important one to learn before exploring other techniques. The more it is practiced, the more natural it will become improving the body's internal rhythm..


Comment #29

This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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