Overcoming Binge/Emotional/Bored Eating

Does anyone else have problems with binge eating, emotional eating or just eating when they are bored?
For a long time I have always felt the urge to binge on junk food at night before bed. I've also struggled in the past with eating when I was bored or eating lots of comfort food when upset.
I've started doing intermittent fasting as well as just finding myself being more motivated and I find I haven't been doing these things anymore. It's been a few days, which for me is pretty good! However I find myself very worried that I'm going to slide back into those old bad habits. Has anyone struggled with this and overcame it? How did you do it?
I would love to hear some stories to keep me motivated to keep those habits away, and put my worrying mind at ease that it is possible!
Thanks in advance!

Replies

  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,401 Member
    Me. Me. Me. I've always struggled with emotional overeating and/or bingeing and am 2.5 months into a binge fest right now. :( Stress started it and I haven't been able to turn myself around again.....yet. For the past 3 years I've stayed within 5-10 lbs. of my preferred weight(more or less) but am now on the gaining trend and would love to 'just do it' again. My brain, I swear, has this on/off switch and I have to switch my self-control button back on. Every morning I find myself starting anew, then by noon my old habits return and I throw my hands in the air with defeated thinking.

    I posted a plea for help/thoughts/support just a few days ago as well. People here are so nice and helpful. Ultimately, though, it's on us to do this, for ourselves.

    Here's hoping you stick with it and stay strong!!
  • https://realweightlossrealwomen.com/category/podcast/

    This podcast and resources are really helpful. She uses cognitive behavioural approaches.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,584 Member
    I eliminated bored eating by upping protein and making sure I got regular exercise.

    When I don't have enough protein, I can eat and eat and eat foods that are high fat and carbs and never feel satisfied.

    I'm not talking crazy amounts of protein either.

    Here's a reputable protein calculator:

    https://examine.com/nutrition/protein-intake-calculator/

    I shoot for @ 500 calories of exercise per day, and when I achieve that, using the MFP default of 20% protein aligns with the protein recommendation from examine. If I were completely sedentary, I'd need to bump it up to 30%.

    Hitting my fiber goal also helps considerably with satiation.

    Eating fruit and small amounts of dark chocolate helps satisfy my sweet tooth.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,584 Member
    ReenieHJ wrote: »
    Me. Me. Me. I've always struggled with emotional overeating and/or bingeing and am 2.5 months into a binge fest right now. :( Stress started it and I haven't been able to turn myself around again.....yet. For the past 3 years I've stayed within 5-10 lbs. of my preferred weight(more or less) but am now on the gaining trend and would love to 'just do it' again. My brain, I swear, has this on/off switch and I have to switch my self-control button back on. Every morning I find myself starting anew, then by noon my old habits return and I throw my hands in the air with defeated thinking.

    I posted a plea for help/thoughts/support just a few days ago as well. People here are so nice and helpful. Ultimately, though, it's on us to do this, for ourselves.

    Here's hoping you stick with it and stay strong!!

    Link to Reenie's thread:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10847041/filling-emotional-hunger
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,600 Member
    I, personally, discovered that the 'eat junk before bed' thing for me was mostly a signal that I was more tired than I realized and I needed to just GO TO BED. So I start getting 'snacky' and it's late? Shower, brush my teeth, crawl into bed with a book. I'm usually out quickly, but even when I'm not I don't usually want to get up and go get more food at that point.

    Otherwise all of this is so individual I can't offer much.
  • Arc2Arc
    Arc2Arc Posts: 390 Member
    I have two vulnerabilities. When I wake up I want an unhealthy 1,500 calorie breakfast. After dinner I want to snack. Relaxing with weed late at night doesn’t help. A cup of coffee takes care of the breakfast urge. But the night snacking is harder, even if I’m full from dinner. The only approach I’ve found that works is back-loading calories and exercising so I have 500+ after dinner. Then I’ll nuke a bag of skinny pop, have an apple and maybe a handful of almonds.

    But I haven’t cracked the emotional driver, I’ve just learned to live with it.
  • ehju0901
    ehju0901 Posts: 293 Member
    I've found that when I get into those moods, I need to find something to do to occupy myself. A lot of times it is going for a walk, but now that we are getting into winter here, that will be a less likely option.

    Last night I put on a cardio youtube video for a bit and then I played some Just Dance on the Nintendo Switch. Once I was done, I was tired enough for bed lol.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,584 Member
    edited October 2021
    ehju0901 wrote: »
    I've found that when I get into those moods, I need to find something to do to occupy myself. A lot of times it is going for a walk, but now that we are getting into winter here, that will be a less likely option.

    Last night I put on a cardio youtube video for a bit and then I played some Just Dance on the Nintendo Switch. Once I was done, I was tired enough for bed lol.

    Obviously there is less daylight for walking in the winter, but the cold doesn't deter me a bit. In fact, walking at lunchtime in the winter helps me with SAD. I just keep adding layers and switching to increasingly warmer boots.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,481 Member
    I won't try to speak to the emotional part, because I'm incompetent with emotions (in many ways).

    But for the bored part, one answer IMO is either a fun new hobby, or resuming a fun old one that's dropped off the schedule. Bonus points if the hobby requires clean hands (like needlework, sketching, playing a musical instrument) or creates dirty ones (like painting, carpentry, gardening) - makes snacking less convenient.
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    I used to struggle with this a lot in my early-mid twenties, and still do a bit at night. Mine started with extreme dieting, and ironically (or not, to many who know this struggle) bingeing would get worse anytime I restricted my diet, especially in a more extreme way. Mine also worsens with anxiety and stress. What has helped more recently, I think, is a couple of things:

    One is getting over that mindset that I was or had to restrict myself in some way and telling myself that nothing is off limits, including time restrictions on eating. If I *really* want something I can have it, and I can be satisfied with a small portion or just a bite. I'll just remember to log it. What I have discovered, however, is that I'm way more prone to overeating and starting to get that "uncontrollable" feeling with eating at night. It is almost always salty, crunchy foods, even "healthy" ones. What I learned recently is that when we "stress eat," it's often not in the moment when we're experiencing the most stress, but kind of that stress letdown response. I hypothesize that the reason I tend to overeat the most at night is when I'm finally able to sit down and kind of "relax" for the day, and so that overeating is part of my stress letdown response. I suppose the healthy thing to do would be to incorporate some kind of meditation/mindfulness practice during that time, but I haven't quite done that yet. I also concur with others who have said it's always my body's way of trying to energize myself when I'm tired, so in theory really I should go to sleep. Ironically, the eating at night often disrupts my sleep, thus perpetuating the cycle.

    The other thing that has helped me is getting back on an SSRI for anxiety and depression. Initially my cravings increased, but like most of the side effects it subsided. It's not my first time on one, but I don't think I truly realized how much/long I'd been living with low-level anxiety, probably since I was kid, honestly. I had therapy in the past (and maybe I need to try again) along with other things like eating well, exercising regularly, *trying* to get good sleep (which sleep problems are part of my anxiety), mindfulness practice and taking several supplements that are reported to actually help (theanine, ashwagandha, ST. John's Wort and CBD oil). It wasn't until I started taking Lexapro that I realized how much anxiety was impacting my life and that probably is some kind of brain chemistry thing with me. As I mentioned, I struggled with sleep and was waking up and staying up for a couple of hours at least once a week, but since Lexapro I rarely do that. I've also realized that anxiety is at least partly genetic in my case--I'm almost positive my Grandma had it (and back then we sadly used to "joke" at how much she worried), and now my 12-year old son has it. Anyway, the point of that story was to look at your history, and see if this is something that might resonate with you.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,772 Member
    I've never been a stress eater or emotional eater or binger...but boredom eating I think is pretty common amongst just about everyone on the planet if they have access to food. It still happens from time to time, but I keep myself pretty busy most of the time. I do some form of exercise pretty much everyday, and much of that is recreational activities that are fun and I enjoy and they keep me from boredom. I've also developed several other hobbies over the years, many of which require me to use my hands so I can't just sit there and eat.

    I also eat dinner later in the evening which is when my wife and I sit down to watch television...we used to eat earlier and then later sit down to watch t.v. and we'd both start in on the food again. This wasn't so much a conscious decision to combat boredom eating as much as it is a result of us getting home later with the kids now having soccer practices and matches and archery tournaments, etc and just being busier earlier in the evening in general...just happened to work out to kill a lot of boredom eating because I'm just eating my regular dinner at the time when I'd normally boredom eat.