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My600lbLife
189
Posted by6 months ago

How common is all this stress eating shown on My 600 Lb Life and WATN?

I've been laid up from surgery the last 10 days or so and recently got TLCgo. Been binge watching My 600 Lb Life and WATN and an extremely common theme running through nearly (if not all) episodes is eating in response to stress or emotion. I've been really stressed. I've been really depressed. The move was really hard. I'm dealing with family problems. And so on.

I tend to lose my appetite in response to stress, so I can't personally relate to this dynamic with food. But I admit that occasionally when I get totally stressed out I'll bum a cigarette from someone and go hide somewhere to secretly smoke it so my wife and colleagues (I'm a doctor) don't find out. I assume the concept is similar - using a "thing" to cope with stress.

I'm wondering how common stress eating is in general. How many people on this forum turn to food when they are stressed, depressed, lonely, anxious or bored? And how big of a problem is it for you?

135 comments
92% Upvoted
level 1

The levels of obesity in UK and US suggest it is common. Certainly I have always self-soothed through food, and this is a generational pattern due to a mixture of extreme poverty in my parents’ childhood and intergenerational trauma. Food is the main external self soothing tool one can access as a child, as alcohol, drugs etc don’t become available until much later. I also used reading as a child to self soothe/ dissociate from my environment but that’s much less common!

176
level 2

Chocolate and a book. Perfect stress relief. Yup I'm overweight big time lol

66
level 2
Op · 6 mo. ago

Reading, yes. I often retreated to my room as a child and curled up and lost myself in a book for hours. It was the perfect escape.

I still do that, come to think of it. When I've just "had it" for whatever reason I still sit down with a good book and just chill for a few hours.

38
level 2

I also used reading as a child to self soothe/ dissociate from my environment but that’s much less common!

This was me. At first it was because I begged my mom to teach me to read because I wanted to be like my older sibs who were already in school, then I was reading on my own before I went to school. It was like someone handed me keys to a kingdom, as I got older I always had my nose in a book.

2
level 2
· 5 mo. ago
HIT ME, DADDY!

That was a really good response.

1
level 1

The people on this show are beyond stress eaters. They eat the way a drug addict does drugs. That’s why they need to stop for food one hour into the road trip to Houston. Imagine instead of them stopping to get fast food, they are stopping to hit the crack pipe. That’s also why they wake up in pain, miserable, horrified at what they have become, but they can’t wait to eat and get really antsy, angry and irritable while waiting for their meals. They say that eating makes them so happy and makes their problems disappear for that short amount of time- but it’s the eating that is destroying them.

157
level 2
Op · 6 mo. ago
All-Seeing Upvote

Yeah, this show is very similar to Intervention. The substance abuse creates problems that are solved with more substance abuse which creates even more problems that are solved with more substance abuse. It's a very similar vicious circle that plays out in both shows. With extremely similar excuses and justifications.

The jarring thing on My 600 Lb Life is the family is literally bringing the substance to the addict, buying it for them, serving it to them like it's all okay. That's like supplying your 35 year old daughter heroin 10 times a day while she lies around in bed.

It's just weird.

73
level 2

It's gotta be the shittiest addiction... At least with the other things you can quit the habit entirely, but not with food. You gotta eat. Plus food is used recreationally all the time. Birthday cake, gingerbread men at xmas, Halloween and Easter candy. It's always right there in your face, even on TV and in movies, where stuff like crack and heroin likely isn't, and if it is it's not celebrated like it's a happy joyful thing.

29
level 2
· 6 mo. ago
It’s not a matter of faith it’s a matter of science and physiolo

And it’s what they are eating. Everything has salt, sugar, tons of fat, high fructose corn syrup, big caffeinated sodas. I have given up sugar and caffeine for a time and the withdrawals were terrible. Giving up the large quantities of it they were eating would be horrendous.

6
level 1

My sister has a difficult time eating when she's upset. When our dad died, she could barely eat (and she was very overweight at this time). She's since had bariatric surgery and lost probably over 200 lbs. For me, I tend to turn to food if I'm very upset, though not immediately. I could be starving, but if someone upsets me, I immediately lose my appetite. As time goes on, if I stay upset, I tend to overeat after a few hours. I think it's very common. One reason might be that some parents give their kids "treats" when they're upset so that they'll stop crying. It becomes ingrained that food = happy.

43
level 1

I had a really stressful bout in college. I don't smoke. So I'd walk to the gas station at the corner of my street every single day and get a cherry Pepsi and a bag of chips or gummies. Sometimes all 3.

I would never buy these things from the grocery store because that means I'll eat them every day. But I took the time to walk to the gas station every day and buy them so 😵‍💫

Anyways, that was my form of stress eating. Cherry Pepsi was my cigarettes. And I say that because whenever I was even mildly inconvenienced, I would start to CRAVE cherry Pepsi.

45
level 2

I smoked and enjoyed my Cherry Pepsi! Until I had a lung removed but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly loving my large popcorn and Cherry Coke at the movie theater 😊

13
level 2

Omg cherry coke is mine too!!! And it’s so good once you open that flood gate it’s hard to stop

11
level 1

I am a stress eater - like to the extreme. Am also am emotional eater. I know many people at opposite ends of the spectrum. Some lose their appetite, and others will spend $150 on one meal for the comfort that eating brings them.

Its more common than people think, and a LOT of people do it secret for fear of judgement.

25
level 2
· 6 mo. ago
Ow mah leg!

The big meal at the end of the day used to be the only thing that kept me going through work stress, family stress, money stress, etc. I had to do a lot of work to find other avenues to deal with my emotions and still sometimes slip up.

7
level 2

I dropped a ridiculous amount on money on DoorDash binges when I went through a bout of depression last year. Emotional eating + food deliver services are a brutal combo for sure!

8
level 1

Me, personally, when I get extremely stressed, sad, or scared, I cannot eat. However, all the stress in between “perfectly fine” and “severe”: emotional eating is A Thing for me.

15
level 1

Eating my emotions is something I’ve done most my life, until I addressed some major issues in my life…lots of good therapy. In grad school I researched the link between childhood sexual abuse and eating disorders…extremely high correlation. Addiction is usually started by avoidance and then continued until some sort of intervention is made. For me, I needed to remove myself from my family of origin dynamic, face and process the abuse, then I was able to address the behavior. We all have emotional responses to things…binge eating is just one behavior. As with all behaviors, it can get to the point where it is life threatening…weight is the easiest thing to see. Some people spend…that isn’t me and I can’t imagine living with debt or loans or any type of financial burden. However, I still carry extra weight and have to stay cognizant of my eating. The weight shows so people see it…until credit scores show up in neon letters on people’s foreheads, my struggle will be the most obvious. Note I say struggle and not fault or flaw…we’re all where we are and hopefully it’s further than we were and not as far as we will be ❤️

43
level 1
[deleted]
· 6 mo. ago

I definitely stress eat--comfort food is there for you! It's anecdotal, but once I started managing my stress better (read: quit a toxic work environment) the pounds really dropped off, in large part because I wasn't drowning my sorrows in alcohol or a fat, greasy burger. Also less stress/mental exhaustion means more energy for things like going to the gym.

11
level 1

Stress and emotional eating is really common, so is eating when you're bored - thats what I'm doing right now!

11

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A place to discuss TLC's My 600-lb Life. My 600-lb Life is the only show that explores what it means to really, truly lose the weight. Don't be a dick.
Created Jul 4, 2015

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