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Comfort/Emotional Eating

So for a while now I've been comfort and emotional eating. A lot of it is related to my mental health, but I have been prone to doing it in the past (eg. For exam stress).

It's getting to the stage where I've put on a lot of weight and am spending extra money on snacks. I was appalled at how much I spent last month -£500 ( bearing in mind my parents pay for the essentials and I only pay for the odd thing here an there)- the majority of which has been on unnecessary food etc (parents pay for most of my food).

I think I have a few problems-

When I'm emotional, upset and anxious I go out and buy food (for that purpose only. Usually it's really unhealthy things like sweets and chocolate. I will eat it even if I'm not hungry, I'm full and/or if I feel nauseous in this situation. I hide this eating from everyone, no one knows that I do it! I also tend to eat so fast (don't even tend to enjoy the food as much itself). I just have this urge to binge when I'm emotional. It's usually a binge in these situations- I will eat a lot (more than I would if it was a treat or snack). I feel I've lost control. Normally it gives me a sense of relief when I'm overwhelmed and makes me feel happier (when nothing else makes me happy). But it's short lived and I feel guilted, disgusted and appalled after.

I'm also getting into the habit of eating when bored.

Another issue I've just realised is - basically the one thing I look forward to in the day is eating. Yes I know it's normal to feel that way, but I just can't wait and it's the highlight of my day- more so than it should be e.g. Today I'm out right now and have spare time I thought of going to shops to buy some food and it made me smile. But I told myself no today,you've had breakfast and that's enough until lunch (I'm not even hungry). And now I feel really sad and empty. I actually wrote this whilst waiting for bus at bus station before an appointment as I have a strong urge to buy food I don't need.

Please can I have some advice. Yes I've had therapy but it hasn't really touched on this (I have other issues too). I'm gaining too much weight (and spending wrecklessly on food). I've been putting off the issue and it's just getting worse.

Also I'm worried as mum suggested I go on 5:2 diet, where you eat normally as you wish 5 days a week, and 2 days you eat X calories (restricted amount, don't want to put in as think it's against rules for figures). It does work for a lot of people but I'm worried it won't work for me as I binge eat, and even if I cut down those too days I eat excessively other days. And my mum doesn't know I binge eat. She will have to monitor my weight as I'm too scared to weigh myself and I refuse. My mum eventually convinced me to let her record it (although I was against this at first and still not happy about it- I'd rather base it on how I feel with clothes, and believe seeing my weight would upset me and could trigger me into a bad place (as you know I'm prone to getting really depressed).

Also I know I'm trying not to today but it's so hard, and I've tried a few times but being sensible with eating usually only lasts anywhere from a few hours to about 2 days before I go on a massive binge.


  • apandavapandav :) Posts: 2,072
    I want to emphasise I have put on a lot of weight. And this money I'm spending is student loan money so I can't afford to keep spending it and even though I can right now as there is money physically there- I have to repay it eventually so don't want to spend it wrecklessly!
  • StephSteph Moderator Posts: 448 Boards Initiate
    Hi Amanda, thanks for posting about what's going on at the moment.

    Seems like you're going through a tough time but it's really good that you've taken a step to looking for some help and support. :yes:

    Looks as though as you were saying you think you have a few problems around emotional eating and eating when you feel bored and aren't hungry. Sounds really tricky for you to deal with. How long has this been going on for, do you know if there was something in particular that started it? :chin:

    Thanks for sharing about your mum and the 5:2 diet, is this something that you've started doing already? You were saying that you'd rather base it on your clothes and not your weight, is there anyway you could speak to your mum about how you feel about this?

    We have some info about binge eating here which might be useful to have a look at and also some stuff on how to have a healthy relationship with food which could be some help. You could also try having a look at this page on Beat's website about emotional overeating

    Let us know how you're doing *hug*
  • apandavapandav :) Posts: 2,072
    Hi Steph,

    Thanks for the links to the articles (don't actually think I've read any of them)!

    Honestly Steph I feel I've been doing the comfort eating a lot on and off a lot of my life e.g. At exam times and the eating bored too! But the binge eating not really, i can't recall exactly but it does correlate with near when my mental health went downhill (although with depression I'd say initially I was the opposite and ate less), but anxiety I'd usually eat a lot.

    Also I forgot to say, I feel my eating is mucked up a lot- as in recently sometimes I don't want to eat at breakfast (and I've never been like that before) but soon after I get really hungry. Somedays I don't really eat proper meals (not all the time but it's happens a considerable amount) - e.g. I will eat crisps for breakfast and not eat any meals except snacks - although usually it's more like a meal at dinner but on these days I may not have a full dinner- e.g. I may just have a small tin of sphaggetti (just an example) which normally you'd have as a side with a main part or I may just have a tiny bit of main part and that's it. But instead of other stuff I may eat snacks instead (don't know if that makes sense).

    And sometimes I feel recently I don't want to eat foods that I do technically like and used to eat on certain days as I just feel "sick" of them, e.g. I may say to myself for breakfast I can have either toast or cereal. I will look at the bread and/or cereal and feel psychologically nauseous (if that makes sense, it's a bit like nausea but not physical and feels more psychological if that makes sense), and that's even if I do feel hungry. So instead I may eat e.g. Crisps for breakfast. Sorry I know it may be nothing but just trying to explain things overall, and I know these eating habits aren't very healthy.

    Not started the 5:2 diet, was going to this coming week but now I'm not as I started exercising recently mum suggested I get settled into exercise before starting 5:2. I have tried to tell her, but I think I'll just let her see my weight and base it on clothes myself.

    Oh and actually I have some good news (although by no means a fix)-

    I just realised this morning I've definitely lost weight (I can tell in my clothes and how I look, my parents also agree )- obviously not nearly as much as I've gained but it's a start. I started joining exercise classes at the university's gym. It's also to boost my mental health and give me stuff to do and I'm actually enjoying them- hence I think this has helped. Also I feel proud as the past few days I've stopped myself from binging and have been trying to make healthier choices( not even been on a diet yet, just eating more only when I feel hungry and choosing fruit and low fat yoghurts instead of unhealthy food (and I do actually enjoy them too!).

    I definitely don't feel like I've resolved my issues though, as I've only managed a few days, and as I said in the past I've managed short periods but always relapse!
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