Emotional Eating – A Prime Example

Impotent rage

I had a little tete-a-tete with emotional eating last Wednesday.

And I think it also happens to be a good example of modern stress reaction and my (almost) successful way of responding to it. 🙂


In the beginning of last week, I had to write three applications for three different authorities at the same time.  In addition to filling in 3 forms and writing several accounts to clarify my situation, I had to hunt for more than 20 different documents to add to those applications. Because I haven’t been filing my papers too well lately, my task proved to be much more difficult than I expected.

I had thought I would get everything done by Wednesday noon, but that time came and went and my brain was slowly but surely getting unglued. At some point, I sat on the floor with stacks of papers surrounding me from every angle, seething from rage.

At about 3 pm Wednesday afternoon, I decided I had gotten enough and decided to reward myself with some sweets.  I put on my clothes and I decided to take the long route to the mall (because I hadn’t had any exercise that day) which wasn’t such a good idea,  because the streets were covered with ice. There I staggered and slipped slowly forward, huffing to myself: “Life is a joyless battle, I can’t even get out without risking a cracked skull!

Anyway,  arrived happily in the mall and bought myself 200 grams of assorted sweets (marshmallows, chocolate covered sweets and some liquorice).


The break from paper shuffling, exercise and the battle against natural forces (i.e. icy streets) must have done me good, because by the time I arrived at home I was in good sprit again. But because I didn’t want waste my candy, I ate them in one sitting.

That is why my response to stress was less than ideal: it would have been better if I had put the sweets away for later use. I didn’t even enjoy eating that much candy at one time. So much for intuitive and mindful eating!

Anyway, I don’t often succumb for emotional eating. But when I do, I’ve noticed I do that when I’m angry (frightened?), frustrated and feeling impotent. Having to do business with authorities makes me feel like that. It’s like fighting against invisible giants who make unreasonable demands on you.

I’m afraid I’m in the danger zone for plenty of emotional eating this spring, because that wasn’t the only time I’m going to have to deal with authorities.

(Photo credit: Flickr/Kieran K.)


P.S. What emotions make you reach for your favorite treat?


  1. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! I have very much the same problem as described above. During my enormous stressful work project I over ate sweets, to the extent that I gain 7 pounds over two months. I didn’t enjoy any of those sweets, because I was eating them to calm myself from feeling out of control and demoralized from having too much work for one person’s responsibility. So that is what you’re describing above. I also probably would have looked for a bag of sweets in your given situation. I also love licorice a lot. <<my main sweet during crisis.

    What we are *supposed* to do is to stop to remind ourselves that we have been through similar situations. We have survived through our previous stress-attacks with less wear-and-tear than we had initially feared. You and I both under-estimate how competent we are–which may be the root cause of our stress eating.

    🙂 Marion

  2. Lori says:

    Satu – stress and happiness are my big eating triggers. Stress is mindless munching and when I am really happy, I want to celebrate (which always means food to me). It’s a tough battle, but having a plan in place for those times can minimize the damage you do with food.

  3. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! Regarding your recent comment on my blog, have you tried staggered sets? That would mean doing a set of push-ups many times throughout the day. This is what I did, and it worked. If nothing else, you will end up doing a *lot* of push-ups!

    🙂 Marion

    • Satu says:

      Hi Marion! Yes, I’ve actually done staggered sets. 🙂 I think my “problem” is mainly that I’m too impatient and that because of my difficult fall, I had to start all over again with the goal.
      So it feels like I’ve been on it forever but nothing happens.

      But I think I just have to stick to it and record my reps so that I can see even what little progress I make.

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