Posted by: Hallie | August 11, 2009

I’m Going to Talk to Some Food About This

Over the next 12 weeks, I’m going to share my thoughts on topics that spring up as I go through my bootcamp/diet program (they can call it a meal plan all they want but it is a DIET. I’m not sure how sustainable this is long-term, but that’s for another post.)

Did anyone recognize the reference in my title? It’s from one of my favorite shows, 30 Rock. Mitch and I joke that I am like Liz Lemon (Tina Fey’s character) partly because she is kinda dorky and awkward (yeah…) and also because of her penchant for emotional eating. This post title was something Liz Lemon said after getting to an argument with one of the other characters.

Sitcom jokes aside, I’m learning how much I really stress-eat at work. There are so many times when I get out of a meeting, or have a ton of emails come in at once, or there’s some PR “fire” to put out, and as soon as I come up for air so to speak, I often immediately look for something to eat. If I have healthy snacks I’ll maybe have that, but if someone brought in cookies or something (which only happens almost every day), I would grab one, maybe just 1/2 of one, justifying it with the fact that I worked out that morning, or I “needed” it at the time.

Are cookies evil? Of course not. But eating to soothe some mental anxiety is not great, and I’m realizing that it might have been a hindrance to my weight-loss efforts as of late. So while my new diet is rather restrictive, I think maybe I needed someone telling me I “can’t” have something to make me look at why I wanted that something in the first place. I know I won’t be able to abstain from office treats forever, but for 3 months? Possibly.

I am definitely an emotional eater, but I don’t eat when I’m sad, I’ve learned. I eat when I’m stressed (see above) and when I’m bored. Since I get stressed out rather easily (I need to get back into yoga), I need to find other coping mechanisms than grabbing anything sugary or carb-y nearby. Right now, I do reality checks: “Hallie, you aren’t hungry, you just want to eat. Go make some tea and do something else for a few minutes.”

More about Stress/Emotional Eating:

Psychology Today: Stress and Eating talks about the relationship between food and stress and the effects both have on the hormone cortisol.

Back in Skinny Jeans (an awesome blogger who doesn’t blog at that site anymore but the archives are cool) wrote: 5 Ways to Avoid or Stop Stress Eating.

The Mayo Clinic posted an article about the whys of emotional eating and suggestions for how to stop. For me, “Know Your Triggers” is the biggest one there.

Do you struggle with emotional eating? What are you favorite tips/ways to avoid eating when not physically hungry, fueling for exercise, etc.

Tomorrow night I’m going over to Mitch’s mom’s house for dinner. I am bringing my own chicken and zucchini to grill while they have steak and cheesy green beans. Then on Thursday I’m driving up to LA to watch a taping of The Soup. Does anyone watch that show on the E! channel? We love it, and I hear Joel McHale is really nice in real life. Yay!



  1. I embrarassed as I do have a LOT of stress eating thoughts but Im distracted my the mchale.


    all things mchale.

    lets talk about chicks man.

  2. I’m such an emotional eater…happy, sad, nervous, whatever! I’m working on that part, and also working on only having healthy stuff in the house so that if i DO emotionally eat, its carrots rather than cookies.

  3. I really try to eat ONLY if I’m hungry. MAny times I find myself moving towards the kitchen out of boredom (that’s the number one reason I eat), but then I think about it and nothing sounds good, therefore I must not be hungry. Many times I will just drink water or go outside for some fresh air. Both of those help me stay away from food when I’m not hungry.

  4. I am a emotional eater – basically every emotion but happy I tend to turn to food. I’ve definitely been trying to only eat when hungry, which isn’t easy, but I have made improvements.

    Really the best ways that I’ve found to avoid emotional is; catch it before it happens and find out WHY, try to take your mind off of food and do something you enjoy, talk to someone, drink water and tea, exercise, or if I really can’t aviod eating I try to go for raw veg.

  5. You have great taste in tv! I love 30 Rock, and I love The Soup! I hope to hear what it is like live!!

    I eat out of boredom all the time. I’ve gotten better about realizing it, but it’s still hard.

  6. I’m a boredom eater. That’s why scheduled eating works well for me. Usually, if I follow my “hunger cues” I end up eating way too much because I confuse boredom with hunger.

    I used to watch Talk Soup all the time! Isn’t he coming out with a new show this coming season??

  7. What a great post! I also have stress eating issues. I’v ebeen able to curb it at work by keeping a thermos of warm chamomile or white tea at hand. When I get too revved up, I take a minute to pour a cup and notice the aromas.

    That works at work, but after I get home it’s a different story. First thing I want to do when I get home is raid the pantry and crunch, crunch, the stress of the day away. I’m a work in progress…

  8. I used to combat stress/boredom eating two ways: first, scheduled eating like someone else said. I would plan a small snack every two or three hours so even if I thought I might be hungry, I would know it was only 30 minutes or whatever until the next snack. Second, I would take a walk or call someone to take my mind off it for a few minutes. I would also freeze some chocolate treats so if I wanted a dozen, by the time they thawed out I could usually stop at 1 or 2.

    The strange thing is that now that I HAVE to eat every 1-2 hours or I get faint/nauseas, now I realize how much I ate out of boredom before. It’s amazing how much you start not wanting to eat when you are told you have to haha.

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