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Old 04-19-2019, 11:55 PM #1
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Default Using food to help cope/distract

I'm not sure if this is an eating disorder, so please forgive if this is the wrong section. Anyways, I was hoping to maybe get some advice or alternatives instead of using my relatively recent tendency to eat junk food to help cope with/distract from negative emotions and moods...

It's difficult for me to enjoy anything now really, including things I used to, so eating food is pretty much the only thing that makes me feel good, and helps distract from negative emotions and moods at least for a small period of time.

I've never had this problem until now, and what makes it worse is that not only do I really want to eat healthier, but my food benefits were recently cut in half too, so it's definitely something I would like to get under more control.
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:52 AM #2
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Default Re: Using food to help cope/distract

They have proven that the chemical reaction that happens when we eat food as a way to mood alter is real and hard to overcome. Are you in therapy?
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:18 PM #3
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Default Re: Using food to help cope/distract

Hello Photonate,

sorry you are struggling. A lot of doctors and dieticians now refer to the stomach as "the second brain" because there is such a strong link between gut health and mood. What we eat affects our mood and our mood affects our stomach. With junk food, you can get into a loop whereby your body craves that type of food the more you have it and the more you have it, the worse your mood is because you're lacking good nutrition. So, finding a way to break that loop could be really valuable.

From behaviorism we know that people are much more successful in changing their behavior if they replace a problematic behavior with something else rather than simply trying to eliminate it. So I am wondering what you could replace the junk food with? Sounds like you are trying to self-medicate in a way with the food...its your response to negative feelings. I think the key might be to find an alternative way of responding to the negative thoughts/feelings.

There are lots of options out there...different for each individual....physical exercise (cardio can give you a nice buzz and mood boost)....mindfulness, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Can you sometimes predict when you will have a craving for the junk food? Like in the evening after work or something? When you know its about to happen, or right when you feel it starting, try replacing the food with another option. Changing your environment could help. If you tend to eat the junk food at home, head outside for a walk or a jog or browse around a bookstore. You could bring some sugar-free gum to chew if there's an oral component to your cravings. If there's a restaurant or drive-through you go to, avoid that particular place/direction while you try a replacement activity.

Are you lonely? I've had a few friends who said they ate more when feeling isolated...they were trying to comfort themselves with food. One friend told me: "For me, food is love!" If that's part of your struggle, maybe you could try volunteering or sharing a hobby you enjoy with a group. There are MeetUp groups in a lot of places. It's a way to connect and have fun with new friends; not a dating site.

Here are a couple of guided meditations if you're interested:

LET GO of Anxiety, Fear & Worries: A GUIDED MEDITATION ➤ Harmony, Inner Peace & Emotional Healing
YouTube

GUIDED MEDITATION - Clearing Negativity
YouTube

I wish you peace, hope, and a bright future. You deserve it!
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:21 PM #4
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Default Re: Using food to help cope/distract

Btw, your Sagan quote is beautiful! That made me smile. Perhaps you would like to post it on our Beauty Thread

The Beauty Thread


I find it really comforting to read other people's contributions on that thread. Just an idea for you. No pressure
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:39 PM #5
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Default Re: Using food to help cope/distract

You are not alone in doing this, many many people comfort with food!
Sometimes it can help to keep the hands busy with handheld games, spinners, knitting, needlework, (i learned American Sign Language and practiced,) and keep the mouth busy with a few strong flavoured candies (could be sugar free or not,) ice chips, sips of water, flavored water, tea.
With regards to your benefits being cut, many farmers markets, and some grocery stores will give you double your money on fresh produce when you pay with benefits. Feel free to ask! You can slice many veggies like carrots and beets thin, bake them crisp, and make a healthier "chip." Get creative with lots of sweet fruits and and savory veggies. Ask vendors for ideas. Ita stretches your dollar, is healthier, and makes them a sale.
All the best to you!
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