Men and Emotional Eating

The stereotypical image attached to emotional eating is of the depressed woman sitting in front of a television with a container of ice-cream, spoon in hand, watching a sad movie. You don’t have to be sad to be an emotional eater, and you don’t have to be a woman.

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I love eating. There isn’t much I won’t eat, whether I like it or not. Eating makes me feel good. The better it tastes, the better I feel. I’m not an eat-to-live sort of person. I live to eat. I spend a great deal of time thinking about my next meal.

Eating can’t be bad, right? We need it to live. Yes, but.

Yes, but I overeat. I overeat because eating makes me feel good. It makes me feel happy, like I’m high. Before I begin eating I promise myself I’m going to be mindful, eat with control. Once the food passes the lips I’m a shark and there’s blood in the water.

Feeding Frenzy… then the Guilt Fest. I eat to feel better about overeating. It’s illogical, but it makes sense when I’m chewing. It’s a quick fix and like any quick fix, it only deals with the symptoms and not the cause.

As a man, when I overeat, the assumption is I lack willpower, or I’m just pigging out. This is what I told myself, too. My overeating is more than hedonism and it took me years to discover I was using food like a drug, more specifically, an antidepressant.

The real issue isn’t food or eating. Like any person who uses emotional eating to fill a void, I am looking for some control in a busy, stressful life. As a parent and teacher who spends every waking moment serving others, I’m looking for moments of completely selfish joy.

Emotional Eating is a monkey on my back. It is something I struggle with every day. Some days are good and some are not. I try to always remember food can be enjoyed in moderation. I try to eat slowly. Before I consider a large portion, dessert, or seconds, I try to take a moment to ask myself if I want it or need it. It’s a work in progress.

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Feature Photo credit: h.koppdelaney / Foter / CC BY-ND

Frog Photo credit: jamasca66 / Foter / CC BY-NC

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Comments

  1. KC says:

    Dude. Right there with you. Food just tastes so good. The shark and blood in the water analogy is dead on.

  2. Nick says:

    Thanks for posting. There tends to be such a social stigma when discussing men and food and you definitely said it right, that it often gets incorrectly attributed to lack of will power.
    My relationship with food has always been stressful. From starving as a loud in a poor family where we didn’t know the next time we would see a trip to a legitimate grocery store, I tend to eat everything in front of me and often until I hurt die fear of it being unavailable later.
    The contrast to this is the fact that I often forget to eat during a hectic work day, running from thing to thing and not taking the requisite moments to thing about the fact I haven’t eaten in fourteen hours or taken a drink of water in eight. Then I find myself on the way home craving nourishment and rewarding it with further bad choices of fast food or candy.
    This has obviously led to poor health and an embarrassing waistline. Yet, the cycle continues because it is such a difficult struggle and so hard to food sympathy as the big guy needing to talk about his eating problem without someone making a joke out of it.
    Like most posts here it is definitely encouraging to know that I’m not the only one. Thanks James.

  3. Shawn says:

    I am all to aware of my propensity for this, and often times I lack the esteem to care. If there’s a bad day, I’ll have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Oreos: a minimum of a row. Mashed potato volcano with a butter lava flow.

    I can’t stand how water tastes from time to time; I know it’s a filler and free of calories. I should munch on carrot sticks or whatever.

    I have a addiction-driven personality. There’s a lot of underlying issues that I need to address psychologically, I think, to get this under control. And a lot of what Nick posted is spot on as well.

This is what I think...

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