Saturday, April 26, 2014

part 4 of 7 Non food triggers in emotional eating- Anger

Part 4 of a 7 part series:  Non-Food Triggers in Emotional Eating- Anger
The first part of the series links are below.
Part 3: Identifying non food emotional eating- Avoidance: decisions, problems, & dreaded discussions
Part 2: Identifying non-food emotional eating- Stress
Part 1 :  Identifying non-food emotional eating triggers: Being Tired.

 I don't get angry very often. I'm usually a pretty positive, "does it REALLY matter?" sort of person. I'm also human, so I feel angry from time to time and that's okay. As long as I don't take my anger out safely on another person or animal or do something destructive physically or emotionally. I can feel my anger feelings and be okay.
I'm talking the normal feeling of anger, not pathological or dysfunctional stuff!  See my special note below!

** Special note: If you find yourself being physically or emotionally abused as the result of someone elses' anger- get help from a counselor, the Domestic Violence hot line, or Verbal Abuse  resources. Be careful about it. Verbal abuse always, always comes before physical abuse in family situations. Seeking help may put you in harm's way, so follow the computer safety procedures  and the counselors guidance so that getting safe doesn't escalate the situation. Domestic Violence crosses all economic, cultural, and financial spaces in life. It's very common. If you know you are taking your anger out on someone physically or emotionally, get help with a counselor that treats anger. Help stop the cycle of abuse.***

Back to today's topic:
I used to turn to food to deal with most of my emotions.  Instead of feeling anger, I ate around it. That caused my body and health harm. Staying emotional/binge eating free AND in weight maintenance means that I have to feel anger. It's okay and I do so safely.

Frequency: Not often. I'm just a happy, positive person most of the time.

What happens: Problem detection I'll start to reach or even think about eating outside of my regular routine. If I'm not tired, stressed, or avoiding something, I might be angry. Usually there's a specific event or occurrence that I'm involved or feel slighted.

Correction:  Once I identify the anger feelings. I allow myself to feel angry. For about 1-2 minutes. That's it. I feel angry longer, then I'll head out for a walk to decide if I need to make a plan to deal with whatever it its. It helps me to think: Do I need to take action?  How will this effect me 5 minutes, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years down the road. Most of the time, it's something little. If it's something big, then I can make plans to have a discussion, change my thinking, or problem solve further. 

Prevention:A couple of things really help me feeling anger and not eating my angry feelings.
The blue font. This stuff doesn't happen overnight. Start where you are and work on it.

1. Counselor (2 years of counseling-non-food issues) gave me a list of a personal bill of rights. It was not this list Family Bill of Rights, It was not this list- Anti Violence Bill of Rights .
It was very much like those lists. Those are my perfect rights. I go back to the list for boundary setting with others. I didn't learn all that I needed from my family of origin- and that's okay. I'm responsible for learning as an adult and filling in the blanks.This is closely tied to setting good boundaries. Draw a circle around the angry person. Don't go in there!

2. Saying " Does it really matter?" ( 8 years- in my 40's) and letting some things go. So many things are minor and just don't matter. Letting it go releases me to moving on to better things. Things that DO matter. Key in not sitting in Karen Stew too long. There's only cortisol, stress, and time wasted in Karen Stew. No use in brewing that for very long. Think how much time and energy you get back from a 1-2 minute stew time vs a 1-2 week/month/year time.

3.  Saying "Of Course" (2 months, additional tool for life!) I learned this recently from a Rich Roll podcast and Osher Gunsberg. See episode #76 ( link below)- "Of Course". Add that to anything, say I find that something isn't what I thought it would be, or someone does, says, or writes something that gets me a little angry.  
Example #1 "Of course, some people are going to write that "Paleo is a fad, Paleo is not sustainable" Of course, they are getting paid as affiliates of big food or small food that sells grain. Or they've been "grain-washed".  It's okay, it's their perfect right to believe and blog about (and profit)  WHATEVER they want.  I would have said the same thing about 4 years ago- around everything in cinnamon toast or Skinny Cow Ice cream (cringe!)
 I won't change peoples' minds. I did change my mind. That's cool. I'm not here to change everyone's mind. I'm here to share my story so that, if it fits, you can adopt your own changes and tools for long term weight maintenance/loss.  That's your perfect right to take what you need, unsubscribe, etc. Paleo won't be everyone's solution, (heck, Rich Roll is plant powered and yet I still learn a ton from him!) and that's okay. (side note: I do believe that Paleo/Primal/Clean eating-living is underused in long term weight maintenance- but that's another blog topic!)

Example #2: "The cat's litter box is not getting scooped!" Of course, because I haven't implemented a good checks and balance chore system and I haven't enforced any consequences. I play a part in my own anger management and actions.  Failing to stop and look at the part I play in my own stuff is also key. Eating won't get or keep the cat's litter box clean. Pay's to have effective fixes and to own your own stuff.

RRP #76: Osher Günsberg: From Chubby Kid to Plantpowered, Marathon Running Host of Australian Idol

 Have you ever eaten to soothe emotional anger? How did you/do you cope?  

Different views



  1. I soothed to eat anger, still. Like you though, fortunately, bouts of anger are few and far between. And if/when I do eat from anger, it is extremely short-lived. Like you, learning coping skills outside of food are critical, and need to be developed, over time. It again is forming new habits.

    Great post!

    1. Good to recognize it and deal with it, Gwen. Key step in long term maintenance.

  2. Eating was the way I soothed myself when stressed. I learned to distract myself with activities to burn the energy. I started to run or clean. The beauty, both activities would give me time to get lost in my thoughts. If I picked up a broom everybody in the house would disappear, afraid I'd put them to work. I got a chance to calm down and mentally work through my emotions.

    1. Lol running stitches. Movement does help. The time and the energy. Better choices than food.

  3. I think anger is a key issue for a lot of people with weight issues. I think it is often very deep anger, going back a lot of years.

    I think the anger, as you mentioned, is often related to boundaries. I would add priorities.

    If I am doing my boundary work and living according to my own priorities, then I am much more at peace within my own skin and in my environment.

    The same way that eating too much or the wrong thing is a red flag (that something is wrong), feeling angry is also a red flag many times. If I am angry with other drivers, in traffic, that is a major red flag for me. If I can look at them and simply think - that is not very safe, or they must be having a very bad day, then I know I (within my own skin) am in a goof place.

    Another major red flag for me is realizing I am angry with my husband. He is a safe thing. He is not going to leave me. He is probably not even doing to get angry back at me. So when I feel angry at him, instead of just talking thru something, I know something is not well/right with me.

    1. Good place
      Love auto spell . . .

    2. It's good you recognize it , Vickie. I can't tell you how many times ( usually Instagram ) where weight loss bloggers get upset and sooth with food. I can spot it right away , since I used to have that same behavior. It feels much better to set those boundaries. I wish that I'd learned this sooner. Better late than never

  4. These series of posts are excellent Karen.....thanks.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks for stopping by , Jan. :)