What I Ate Wednesday: Emotional Eating

It’s been a long week and a half at our house and you can see the evidence of some of the stress in my eating.

I’ve been an emotional eater for as long as I can remember. I turn to sugar loaded carbs (cookies being my favorite) when things are hard and I need an emotional pick-me-up. Now I know that this doesn’t work… I end up feeling worse later, the sugar makes my mood swing, and I have guilt about eating because I’m sad or stressed which makes me more sad and more stressed. Yet, it’s still so easy to do!

Husband had a huge training course to prepare and then present in Virginia this week. He worked over 100 hours last week getting ready for the course and then left yesterday for the week. He stayed up until 3:50am and then woke up at 5am to drive to the airport yesterday morning! Him working constantly means that my load has been heavier than normal and that the kids (especially the older ones) are feeling more needy. We are all ready for things to calm down and get back to normal.

So this is what I ate yesterday while Thomas is out of town.

The kids wanted eggs for breakfast, and so egg it was. I always have plenty of eggs ๐Ÿ™‚

I ate two fried eggs that were extra “gooey”, just how I like them!

Snack: I found a magical bag of my favorite Christmas treat hiding in the cabinet. There were just a few left and I ate every single one. And then I ate some dirt dessert that my Mother-in-law sent home with us Sunday night after dinner at her house. The kids had pulled it out, I didn’t say no, and then I ate some straight out of the pan. That’s a perfect example of emotional eating… I didn’t even think about it.


Lunch: Tuna on a whole wheat tortilla, pickles, spinach, and some fresh pineapple.

Can you see stray piece of Swiss chard that made it into my spinach bag (the stem is red)! I thought that it was so cute. On a less emotional day I would have had a salad since I hadn’t had a single veggie today and it was already lunch, but that’s not what I did.


Snack: Fruit Smoothie (frozen bananas, fresh pineapple, 2 whole peeled oranges, plain greek yogurt and water):

This was super sweet and delicious! The kids needed some more popsicles to munch on so most of the smoothie went into the popsicles molds for later and then we all had a cup outside on the trampoline. The weather has been gorgeous and that is such a blessing. Being able to play outside makes hard weeks so much better.


Dinner: Salad and some left over pizza

I was feeling the lack of veggie guilt and so I made a very boring salad. I need to go to the grocery store terribly but sometimes survival mode doesn’t lend well to shopping for me. I’d just rather hunker down at home.


We really did have a great day. We played outside, read books, the baby napped pretty well, I cleaned up the winter trash that blew into the yard and collected along the fences (which had be driving me crazy for weeks), we played with my nephew and sister-in-law… it was fun! Dinner went well. The babies were so dirty that night; everyone is a little sick, so between the boogers, smoothie, and sand box they needed baths. Everyone was out and clean except for Kimball (the two-year-old) when Henry hollers, “KIMBALL POOPED IN THE TUB!” Oh heavens. So I look and there is all kind of nastiness in the tub with about 1,000 toys. I’m ashamed to admit that I yelled at him. I yelled that I was going to throw away all of his toys too. Now I’m not a yeller on a regular basis and so when I do it really upsets everyone. The big kids scattered, Kimball cried naked in the tub filled with nastiness, and then the guilt hit. Oh that mother guilt! I calmed down, paper toweled out what I could, turned on the shower, rewashed Kimball, and got him out. The I got everyone dressed, teeth brushes, story read, prayers said, and tucked into bed. I still had a whole tub of germy poopy toys to deal with. I washes, rinsed, bleached, and rinsed again all of those silly toys.

So between the guilt of yelling at a two-year-old and having more work after the babies were in bed then I wanted, I was grumpy. I sat down at my computer with some of the most delicious cookie chips and ate a whole bad. Yes. A whole bag.


And there you have a little glimpse of my emotional eating at it’s best… errr worst?

And I know I’m not alone…

Are you an emotional eater? What food do you typically grab on a hard day?

And on the opposite side… how do you control your emotional eating? Any tips and tricks?

Thanks for letting me be honest. You are some of the most supportive people that I know and I thank you for that.

Have a great day and lets enjoy the fact the it’s Wednesday! Only 2 days left until Husband gets home ๐Ÿ™‚


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33 Responses
  1. Loretta Colberg

    Potato chips are a big stress food… Then there are crackers and cheese… Interestingly not sweets but salt are what I mindlessly turn to. When I try to resist temptation I might dole out in a very small cup almonds with salt. Making a small turkey sandwich with Dijon mustard, lettice and tomato on whole grain bread is a good deterant… Protein rather than sugar can stem hunger or perceived hunger then sugar/ salt that causes the blood glucose swings……

  2. Jodi

    Lol, my babies are grown with kids of their own. I have three grands so far. Two, 2 year olds and an eight year old. All have pooped in the tub, on floors, etc. (recently too). It’s part of life and potty training. Don’t let that get to you. Laugh about it rather than yell. Then you celebrate the fun and have something sweet for a reward. Much better than calling it emo eating ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Michelle Kuah (@esculentdreams)

    I totally an emotional eater.. be it relationships, family drama, tension b/t coworkers, colleagues, or friends… it really becomes an endless cycle near-impossible to break ๐Ÿ™ Personally, I feel like my tolerance has started to top off at a lower quantity, so instead of eating 5 chocolate bars, I’ll start to feel sick after 1 (which, in all honesty, is more of an occasional indulgence).

    Funny how I stumbled across your WIAW through another site! Glad to be following along ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Wednesday!

  4. Kim

    I am such an emotional eater. I gained 40 pounds in a few short months after having my second baby in 13 months! I later lost it all and have been able to keep it off for the last 9 years, but something about this FRIGID winter in Iowa, away from family and friends has caused me to gain back 10 pounds. And then I feel frustrated and upset and stressed and so I eat more! My food used to be ice cream. As in sit on the couch and eat straight out of the container every.single.night. Now it is candy. Any chocolate candy. Oh the Easter Candy is killing me. And the Mega M&Ms that just came out. I am trying to replace the candy with air popped popcorn. Much healthier and lower in calories. I have tried to stop the evening snacking but I know from experience I just can’t cut it out all together, so I need to replace it with something healthy and low in calories.

    1. Melissa

      I’ve tried the no snacks thing too and I just can’t do it either. I try to stick with protein though so that I feel more full and then fill in the gap with something like popcorn (like you said… such a great idea). Let’s all just hang out at night and laugh so hard all the calories don’t count. Deal?! And then maybe we could talk out our issues too ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I can relate to this! I do this all the time without even realizing until it’s too late. And it’s not only when I’m having negative emotions…I eat emotionally when I’m happy too! Like I need to celebrate or something. It’s annoying.

  6. sara

    I am an emotional non-eater. I just don’t eat when I get stressed out, this stresses me out more and I get oh so cranky. Usually myself, or someone who is very brave, has to say “here eat xyz” even though I shoot them death rays from my eyes, then I eat it, and my blood sugar is back to normal I can function enough to get a healthy meal in my system, and go back to stressing out.

  7. Oh, golly, I can totally relate. I’m an emotional/stress eater too. Like you, I go directly for the sugary carbs. Bread, cookies, cake, frosting by the spoonful, honey, ice cream, even peanut butter and honey by the spoonful will do in a pinch. Anything sweet, basically.

    I don’t keep any candy, ice cream or baked goods in my house and I am this close to getting rid of the peanut butter. Seriously, it’s that bad sometimes. And then, I feel horrible about an hour later because I ate too much peanut butter and I gave myself a belly ache.

    It’s a vicious cycle, but I’m trying to get in the habit of doing something else when I think I need to eat something because I’m stressed or having an emotional time. Drink water, do some yoga, brush my teeth, make some herbal tea…anything but eating sugar.

    Thank you so much for this post – I’m glad I’m not alone!

    1. Melissa

      Great ideas Callista! I’m going to have to just try harder to remember them. The tea is a great idea… calm the nerves and fill the belly. Plus it doesn’t take much time, effort, or energy which is what I feel like I’m short on when stressed. Thanks a million for commenting. It really does mean a lot to me.

      1. The kicker is that I know exactly what to do, but I don’t do it.I let my emotions and stress get the best of me ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for stopping by my blog! It means a lot that you took the time.

  8. Marianne

    Oh, yes, stress eating, my old friend and nemesis. Totally unhealthy and I can feel just disgusted at myself after the fact BUT it has gotten me through a lot of stressful times without tearing anyone’s head off. Still, I want a long life, so horrible idea. My go-to is simply sugar–cookies, ice cream, chocolate, or candy. Occasionally I go for Cheetos puffs or potato chips too. My only sure way to avoid is saying no at the store and never bringing home. Exercise makes me think twice sometimes.

  9. I used to be a total a total emotional eater, and there are definitely still some instances where I am. But for the most part, I’ve found that if I allow myself to eat my “binge-y” foods whenever I actually want them (with a large dose of moderation in mind), I don’t get much of an urge to binge on them when I’m upset. Instead I use other ways to chill out – yoga, watch a movie, listen to music, exercise, read, etc. With all that said, things happen, and sometimes we lose control. And it’s not the end of the day.

    1. Melissa

      Love those ideas Holly! I think in the midst of a bunch of little kids to tend I have lost all of my other coping methods… they take time or energy or noise ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe it’s time to find something new! Thanks for the thought. And I loved your post yesterday too BTW. So many people suffering from what you were addressing. I need to email you about it sometime!

  10. Michelle L

    Oh, heavens yes, I am an emotional eater. Nearly every night after the kids go to bed, I head straight for a bowl of cereal. The last couple of years I’ve gone from two big bowls of a cereal, to one cup of cereal and some almond milk. I consider this a victory.

    How do I control emotional eating? it’s really hard for me to do so. I always have gum on hand. If I feel like I need sweets, I eat a few chocolate chips. I never buy candy. My downfall are tortilla chips though. I have a hard time staying away from those. So, knowing that I love tortilla chips, I buy organic blue corn ones. That helps me feel better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Honestly, some days are terrible. Most days are good. If I’m feeling really hungry and know I want something RIGHT NOW, then I will eat a few tortilla chips while I’m sautรฉing some broccoli and carrots. I have a few “quick” foods that are delicious, and healthy. Cucumbers and hummus. Sautรฉed broccoli and carrots. A piece of homemade bread and homemade jam (skip the butter!). Granola and yogurt. Fruit and yogurt smoothie. They might not be what I’m craving, but usually they do the trick. Occasionally though, I will make oatmeal chocolate chips cookies and stick the dough in the freezer, where it disappears before I have a chance to cook it!

  11. Susan Carroll

    I was initiated early. With my first, he was splashing in the little plastic pool with the neighbor boy, then yup, he made a big poop. Oh the first time mother humiliation. Now I would just laugh. Your story will be bringing laughs for years to come. When you no longer have to worry about it happening again, of course.

    1. Melissa

      Oh Aunt Sue how I love your comments! I have had plenty of poo in my life (PLENTY just today!) but it was just the last straw kind of thing. LOL and I can’t even imagine the day when I don’ thave to worry about poop. Another 15 years???

  12. you totally deserved that whole bag of cookie chips-poop in the tub and no husband? the worst! Those chips look delicious by the way, and I’m hoping I don’t see them next time I go to the grocery store ๐Ÿ™‚ I am totally a stress/guilt eater-I can’t keep anything in the house because I will eat. it. all. but then, if I don’t keep it in the house I just end up making brownies. or cookies. or eating chocolate chips by the fistful.

    1. Melissa

      Oh my heart Katie. Those cookie chips are divine. Super normal ingredients (nothing weird at all and only like 120 calories for 5. Not too shabby! And I try not to keep it in the house wither! The pretzels and the dirt dessert were from my MIL and the cookie chips came in the mail. DOH! Everyone else is out to get me ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Danielle

    I heard something once that said that cravings (I think probably especially true for emotional eating) come in surges. I am not the greatest at this, but sometimes I will tell myself I can have whatever it is if I still want it in ten minutes. It helps! So much of the desire is just mental.

    1. Melissa

      That’s such an interesting idea! It is totally mental so if you can wait then maybe it will work. Try this next time I’m feeling needy. Thanks!

  14. Kaley

    Haha. I’m with you girl. Our school is right behind a McDonald’s, so on rough days my first response is to walk across the parking lot to get a Reese’s McFlurry or chocolate chip cookies (theirs are surprisingly delicious!). I’m all about sweets all the time, but especially when I’m emotional.

    I don’t want salt when I’m emotional, but tortilla chips are a trigger food for me. I can’t eat only a handful. It ends up being the whole bag. I can’t buy them for myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Bless This Mess - About Me

Iโ€™m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, Iโ€™m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Letโ€™s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

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