Saturday, April 28, 2012

Emotional Eating

(Hi new Blogger. You're lucky I like Googledocs or I might be more annoyed.

Re-post of a comment I made over at Katja's latest post The Feeding Doctor. There were a lot of things wrong with the website she critiques, and a lot of people rightly tore it apart, but i went on a tangent so I figure I'll throw it here. A couple of  quoted comments from the site were clear on their stance against Emotional Eating - "TIP: If you’re not hungry, PUT DOWN THE FOOD.” 

You know what I used to do when I was a kid on a diet and food outside of mealtimes/one allotted sweet snack was prohibited? I binged. I waited till I was alone in the house and ate everything I wanted, long past the point that I actually wanted to eat it.

You know what stopped my binging? Giving myself permission to have a few chocolates or cookies whenever I had a craving for them.

You know what helps me eat more protein, vegetables, and complex carbs, and less dessert-y food? I never eat dessert when I’m hungry. I’ve found that if I do, I eat too fast, don’t enjoy it and end up eating more, because I’m trying to fill up and it’s harder to do on pure sugar. If dessert is purely an “emotional” experience, I have less of it and take so much more joy.

You know what else I struggle with? Depression and self-injury(TW ahead). I’d love one of these people to look me in the eye and tell me that eating a bowl of ice cream when I’m upset is more unhealthy than biting and scratching my own skin. And the thing that really pisses me off is that I know plenty of them actually would.

Food is more than nutrition. Communal, celebratory, self-soothing, self-medicating and yes, Emotional eating is part of the good things in life. So yes, it can be an issue if you find yourself constantly eating without paying attention. But a blanket stance against ever eating for any reason other than hunger isn't the answer.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I had a dream the other night where I stood up in a health class of some sort and tried to explain the problem with fat-shaming and such. Dream-me said, "Some think that fat people are just thin people who eat too much, instead of being fat people who eat fine." I can't tell whether it makes sense, or is right, but I'm surprised sometimes by what dream-me has the courage to say.

I feel like there's something to be said about some of what I'm hearing working at the chocolate store, but I'm not sure what there is. I already posted about "It must be dangerous to work here!"

With people making easter baskets, I'm getting a lot of policing language lately. "I don't want her to have THAT many." "I have to watch how much he gets." "I'd love a sample but I'm being good." It's not that I think anyone shouldn't have the right to all that -obviously it's up to parents to make decisions for their kids. But to get it over and over again.

I'm also getting a lot of "they say dark chocolate is good for you" lately, a weird upswing out of nowhere. People always say it like they're desperate to justify themselves. I had one or two "I'm trying to eat more dark chocolate because it's better" from people who prefer milk chocolate. I've also gotten the health benefits from the people who just like dark better, and think that makes them better than plebeian milk-chocolate eaters. (And you have no idea how many people I get who literally recoil from their free sample when I tell them it's milk chocolate.)

I have to ask about the loyalty program my store does to every customer. In response to the question, I had one guy burst out laughing. "You'd have to have a real problem to be a loyalty member at a chocolate store!"

There's also this widespread feeling of impossibility at the thought of a bag of chocolates lasting a little while.  I suggest to people that they can just get a bag and make it last and they laugh, it'd never make it, they'd eat the whole bag, it's a funny suggestion. It feels like it's so normal in the world to deny, to treat treats as this volatile substance, to binge at any opportunity to have a lot. It's funny to people when I tell them they could just have a couple at a time.

I just wish I could say something to the people who come in trying to justify themselves, who assure me they don't shop here that often, who make sure they only get a few, who wouldn't dream of buying a whole bag, to make them feel better.