Need help with emotional eating!!

To make a LONG story short, I am going through an unwanted divorce that has been (and still is) very painful. In the year since we've been separated, my weight has gone down and then back up. I am now at my heaviest weight to date. I am working on making my overall diet more healthy, but there is one area that I am having a lot of trouble with. The issue for me is in the evenings when I get my daughters to bed or on the weekends when they are with their dad I tend to emotional eat. My husband and I were together for 13 years, so needless to say, just about everything brings back memories. I don't go a single day without something making me think of him and the good times that we had which makes me sad, which has me turning to the fridge and unhealthy eating. Can anyone give me any suggestions on what to do when these triggers happen? I really want to be an example for my daughters of how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and make yourself better when someone hurts you. I want to be strong mentally, emotionally, and physically for them. They deserve that. Thank you in advance for any advice you have! :)


  • jillmarie125
    jillmarie125 Posts: 418 Member
    Ok- First I am so sorry you are going thru suck a rough patch in life. But it will pass. As everything bad and good does. I am going to suggest faking it until you believe it. You said you want to show your daughters how it is to pick yourself up when someone hurts you. Fake it..atleast in front of them. It will be hard, but soon enough you will see that you are no longer faking it...that you are OK.

    As far as emotional eating...replace it with a good workout video. Or going the gym. Take this new freedom (of weekends when your girls are away) to spend time on YOU. You know you deserve it. It will be hard. But once you see how much good comes from breaking a sweat it will soon me a normal part of your life. Thats assuming it's not all ready.

    If it's food that you really want. My go to mindless eating snack is cucumbers and salsa. Not the same as chips and salsa...but I will eat so much that my mouth is on fire so I cant really taste it anyways. Just an idea.

    I really feel for you. And just know you will get thru this. Just now, you need time. And i am sure it is passing so slowly. Stay busy and Stay strong.

  • ponycyndi
    ponycyndi Posts: 858 Member
    Set yourself up for success- try to have less "trigger" foods in the house. I've had to make it so that when my kids want snacks, we'll go out and they will get just enough for them to have.

    Also, for myself, I'll cut the carrot sticks, have the bananas, etc the snacks I can just grab. So if I'm feeling bad, and I'm shoveling peas or jicama in my face, at least its not a whole box of cookies.

    Thirdly, when you're feeling bad, redirect yourself. Come here and read some success stories. Go outside and breathe some fresh air. Distract yourself by working out for 5 or 10 minutes.

    It's all about baby steps and small victories. And if you fail, shake it off and start again RIGHT NOW.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,261 Member
    I agree to fake it till you feel it.

    I'd also agree to stay busy. If it means taking up a new hobby, or going to the mall, or the gym - whatever it takes. Call a friend. Read a book, write a letter. If you are eating in front of the TV don't watch TV for a while, or limit it to an hour a day. Then forbid yourself from eating at the TV. It's about breaking habits. All habits can be broken.

    The thing that helped me was to refuse to give in to the negative thoughts. You can't unring the bell: the marriage is over, for whatever reason. I had to limit my sad thinking to 10 minutes a day. I allowed myself to wallow in the pain for ten minutes. I planned the time, I would write in my journal during that time, then I'd get up - stop that thinking and go do something. Seriously, I set a timer. Otherwise it's too easy to get into a negative thought cycle. I quickly got tired of that ten minutes. :wink:

    You may want to try some counseling as well. I don't personally believe in counseling, but it helps some people.

    Try to live in the moment, and take it one day at a time. You will survive this.
  • djxil
    djxil Posts: 357
    Thirteen years of good memories and bad ones are a lot for anyone to deal with, I am sure just about anything will trigger emotional responses which lead to the emotional eating.

    I went through a tough divorce and never really had triggers to make me eat, instead, I guess, I used the time to work out and get in shape. But this is about you...

    Make your emotional eating focus on healthy food like carrots, celery, oranges or apples or if baking is more your thing, prepare meals that take a lot of effort and cook them for your girls the following night. Make homemade salsa without a food processor, cut up each ingredient by hand. To start, focus the responses towards the positive.

    Once you make the change to healthy responses, let the memories rise, experience them for what they are, don't press them down, accept them as memories, learn from them over and over again b/c over time, you will experience them again and again (that's how you heal), accept that you cannot change the past and focus on the choices before you.
  • enidite
    enidite Posts: 93 Member
    I am so sorry for the heartache you are going through. Like others have said maybe you can get rid of trigger foods and replace them with healthy ones.
    I am actually a big believer in counseling. It has helped me a lot. Is there maybe a divorce support group in your area or could you find a good counselor that could help you with cognitive behavioral therapy? It took me a while to find the right one, but I'm glad that I didn't give up. I have also a very painful event in my life that I have to face every day, but it has gotten better over the years. Though I still have big regrets and a lot of pain that will probably haunt me for the rest of my life to some extent, I have learned to just live through it without food . And it actually has gotten easier, because I have learned along the road that pain is part of being human and that I now have the tools to deal with it without food. For me, exercise has helped a lot.
    Another thing that has helped me, was to start new things. I joined the Y , started to hang out with friends a little more. Not all the time , but even meeting one of my friends for coffee and then going for a walk on the weekends made the world of a difference for me. It helped me to stop from turning to the past and actually living more in the moment and looking into the future.
    I also try to focus on what I do have on the many blessings that I enjoy. When I look at my beautiful children, I know how incredibly lucky I am to have them in my life. There are so many things we take for granted that others don't have, and I try to keep my focus on that. As lame as it may sound but in the middle of our pain we often miss all the good things we still have. I hope you will find a way to get better. It is a tough road, but don't give up.
  • lboogie138
    lboogie138 Posts: 11 Member
    Thanks everyone. I have been seeking help from the start. He moved out of the house last January and I was in Divorce Care in February. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to get through this on my own. I have seen a counselor, but I'm currently looking for a different one.
    I'll take all of your suggestions into consideration moving forward. I'm really hoping that 2014 is a much brighter year for me and my girls!!
  • Shuuma
    Shuuma Posts: 465 Member
    Hang in there. They say it takes as long to get over a relationship as you were in it. Don't let yourself emotionally eat for the next 13 years! You're grieving the death of your marriage, but soon you can move forward into a new stage of your life. A time to get healthy, focus on your girls, and set goals and dreams for a future you.

    It will get better!

    In the meantime, find foods you can eat that don't increase your anxiety. Fresh fruits and veggies, salads, yogurts--anything that gives you a leg up toward your goals.
  • Hi! I can relate to what you're going through. I, too am an emotional eater and healing my hurts is just as important to me losing weight, keeping it off and feeling better all the way around - as is the food counting and exercise. I found an amazing couple who are helping me through the emotional eating may want to check them out, too to see if it will help. They have 2 websites: and

    As much as I have to keep my body nourished (but not in excess) and keep my body hydrated and keep my body moving......I need to dig deep into my heart and give myself permission to grieve over the losses I've had (deaths, divorce, etc...) instead of trying to numb the feelings with another soda or an extra handful of potato chips or lounging around watching TV instead of going for a walk. It can a vicious cycle, can't it?

    My prayers are with you!

    Love & Blessings,
  • cutmd
    cutmd Posts: 1,168 Member
    Hi, I just bumped an old thread on this yesterday. It was called "Divorce and Emotional Eating", it's like 3 pages back now.

    We have similar stories. My husband and I have been together 13 years as well. The difference is I am divorcing him because he won't stop having casual affairs and being verbally abusive. It doesn't make it any easier to give up my dream of a complete family and maybe a second child. And having a young clingy toddler and a job working in the ER with crazy hours makes it hard to work out. And when I'm with my son during the day and feeling sad I can't cry (or he'll cry) or exercise much (cause he holds onto my leg or tries to nurse), so I eat. It's like a vicious cycle too. It adds to my depression and then I don't want to act on it cause I'm depressedI need to go back to leaving him with the nanny a little more so I can exercise but I'm having a hard time emotionally because once his father moves out I'll have to share him and he cries when I leave him now.

    I tried to find a divorce support group on MFP but they were all old. Maybe we can support each other. My first plan is to stop feeling sorry for myself at the grocery store. I've been allowing myself to get my favorite snacks, etc. The next step will be to only eat when I'm actually hungry. Trying to go back to logging as well.

    We will get through this and be better for it