overeating and depression | INFJ Forum

overeating and depression

Discussion in 'Health and Wellness' started by myst, Apr 5, 2010.

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  1. myst

    myst Community Member

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    This thread could fit in a bunch of categories. I picked this category since it doesn't have many posts yet, so hope it's okay. Anyone dealing with overeating due to bad moods or depression? How do you deal with it? Do you focus on your controlling your mood or on controlling the eating? Does whatever you do work? I'm not sure if this would be similar to people who tend to undereat, but if anyone wants to post about that, that's fine with me too.


     
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  2. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    The best solution is to monitor what you eat. If you are overeating from depression, chances are that you are craving carbohydrates and eating them. This is unhealthy.

    What you want to do is focus on eating protein and good fat. If you have to eat carbohydrates, go for vegetables and some fruits (instead of crackers, cookies, icecream, etc). This way, you will have a better balance of energy and can still feel full, and it should help you regulate your moods better as well.

    Easier said than done, and the effects aren't instant either, but it is still a great course of action.
     
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  3. IndigoSensor

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    I actually eat a lot less when I am depressed. It takes a lot of effort for me to go eat. It just feels unconfortable to me. What I try to do is set a regimented scedule for myself so I force myself to eat, even if it is just a little. "I will go to dinner at this time, no question." I usually can make myself obey if I plan it, and if I don't I will try and order myself food.

    I see this as a parallel to overeating. In times of depression it is hard to motivate oneself, but it isn't impossible. At least remain aware of what you are doing, set goals for yourself ahead of time and stick to them. Even if it means physically moving yourself away from the food and going elsewhere.

    You know it is bad, use that knowlege and allow it to drive you to do the right thing.
     
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  4. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Maaaan, I could write a book on this.

    Unfortunately, if food has become your "default" for problems, then it's a habit you've learned and you have to find a way to break that habit. There might not be any quick fix to breaking the habit, either, because what you want is not to feel bad...and if you don't use food you'll find something else to take food's place (which is still not solving the feeling problem).

    I wish I had a quick fix answer for you, but I don't. You'll have to find the root: Why are you depressed, and what's making you feel depressed? The food is the band-aid, but the wound isn't getting better.

    Now to help you think, you might try some endorphin-releasing activities like watching a funny movie or exercising, or choosing an activity you love instead of using food as the comfort...but those things can equally become problematic later on down the road. But sometimes it just helps to break the coping mechanism habit so you can concentrate on the real problem.
     
  5. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    i've done this, i lose self control when i'm depressed, and indulgences of all kinds seem justified. how i deal with it is to make myself eat slower than normal, there's less of a chance i'd overeat that way. doesn't always work tho
     
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  6. Siamese cat

    Siamese cat Madame Cat strikes again

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    Binge eating is from what I've read on that subject lately now in the same category as bulimia and anorexia.

    Since I do have some experience with this I'll offer my two cents about it. Being a person who feels a lot in general, and having very strong reactions about everything, when I got depressed I felt the biggest emptiness imaginable, I felt helpless and hopeless about everything and in a way eating a lot gave the impression that I'm filling that emptiness. The downside of this is that most people will choose carbs for this purpose and metabolizing them in the first hour you get the sense of having more energy but later it just gives you the falling feeling in energy levels. You tend to sink even lower. Since the eating habits and mental clarity are strongly related, here the person is falling into a pattern of binging and establishing a very bad habit that is hard to get rid of.

    In my experience it should be dealt at the same time, meaning working on establishing better eating habits and working on your depression issues, which as I understand is the same as treating bulimia and anorexia. Eating every three hours, and eating complex carbs is essential, since the metabolism of complex carbs is slower and insulin levels will go up and down more slower which is important in establishing good energy levels during the day. Also eating slower as May suggested and eating lesser portions more frequently, and finding some activity to fulfill that emptiness that depression gives you is also a good. Exercising also helps and if you have some support from the family and friends you can get the control of your eating habits sooner than later.

    It's tough and takes time but it is manageable.
     
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  7. Entyqua

    Entyqua Forgotten
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    I too have some experience in this...And like Siamese cat said, this issue is on the same level as Anorexia, and bulimia...I used to turn to food when I was down...I wouldn't say it was binge eating, but a big mac there, a piece of cake here, perhaps some ice cream there...

    First step. keep a diary of everything you eat in a day.
    Second: Calculate the amount of fat, calories and other bad stuff you consumed.
    Third: Cry over how much you ate
    Fourth: find the underlying cause of your depression.

    Step four is the hardest, but it must be done...Like Arby said you will just find something else to fill the fixation...Smoking, Drinking, drugs...or worse...Your body is craving an outlet, let it be your voice, mind, or whatever...Get the toxin out...Perhaps get on medication for the depression.
     
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  8. sassafras

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    In order to get rid of a habit (or in this case, the impulse to reach for food when you're feeling down), you need to attach a negative association with the action that is strong enough to overshadow the pleasure you gain from partaking in the habit. Or eradicate the beliefs and the psychological causes behind the behaviour in the first place. Unfortunately, with over-eating, the situation is a bit complex.

    Like any habit, over-eating has long-term and short-term benefits. The short-term benefits are obvious. Beyond the oral-fixation and the satisfaction of cravings, the thing with food is that it provides an instant dose of pleasure. In a world where we're taught that rewards come after hours, days, weeks or months of back-breaking work (sometimes with no reward in sight!), food allows for a unique solution in that is offers instant gratification. And unlike drugs or other such decadent habits, it is a normal, everyday function of a living organism that just happens to be pleasant.

    Unfortunately, the entertainment and the exploding diet industry has threatened to encroach on that. Suddenly, eating must be a mindful, restricted activity that aligns it with the principles of delayed gratification in order to obtain yet another lofty, society-established goal. Every where you go, you're assaulted by all these complicated diet theories; all the lists of things you should eat and lists of things you shouldn't eat; which seemingly harmless food combinations are actually dangerous, and which surprising "super foods" can make you healthier. Not to mention, the visual of the entire song and dance it takes to get to the gym and sweat it all off. It all so complex and jumbled, that suddenly, a normal, balanced meal at dinner time which otherwise might have been a pleasurable experience, carries all the negativity and the pressure heaped on by society.

    So, of course, the people who find comfort in food must now look for ways to step out of that negative sphere of influence, and they usually do it by upping their dose and thus, rebelling against those expectations in order to get their relief. Which is why one chocolate bar or a handful of chips won't do it; that's being 'health conscious.' That's still being in line with the draconian expectations of society and that doesn't satisfy that empty pit you feel. After all, chances are, if you're depressed, on one level or another you already don't feel like you're able to keep up with society no matter how hard you try... so the last thing you want to do is comfort yourself in accordance to those expectations!

    That's of course, just one theory of why depression offers itself up so readily to self-indulgent behaviors, but it's (forgive the horrible pun) food for thought.

    The other theory is that you actually want to gain mass in order to put on psychological and biological armor. Biologically, the bigger you are, the better you are at protecting yourself. Psychologically, the more weight you gain, the more you can excuse yourself as being a work in progress. By focusing on your fail-and-fail-again efforts to lose weight, you're distracting yourself from addressing other, more intimidating psychological issues. These might be the long-term benefits of over-eating and again, like the theory above it, are actually related to issues of frustration and "protecting" yourself from society. At the core, the problem is feelings of powerlessness.

    Of course, I don't claim to know that this is the case for everyone. There are dozens upon dozens of psychological theories that might be used to explain over-eating. Still, it is my opinion that most people might fall in between the two theories discussed above... and if they ring true for anyone here, it might be beneficial to start by looking closely at the beliefs that lay foundation to the issue. Frustration? Lack of self-confidence? Fear of success/failure? Authority issues? They may read like pop-psychology buzz words, but they're actually a very good place to start narrowing things down for yourself.
     
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    #8 sassafras, Apr 5, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
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  9. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Blind Man Being Lead to Nowhere
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    I can so relate to this. This for me at least is an ongoing battle of will and overcoming weakness.

    This is is so true. Talk about coming to close to home.
     
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    #9 Blind Bandit, Apr 5, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  10. Entyqua

    Entyqua Forgotten
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    Perfect answer...I know that I have worked through a great deal of my "issues" but having been so sick recently most food is revolting to me...nauseating to the point where I am rewriting my whole menu and meal plans so i never have to eat specific things again. I am not saying this is the answer...just saying that This makes perfect sense...I just cant word things as well as you can oh great one!
     
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  11. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    When I am depressed, I do self-destructive things.

    For better or worse, excessive exercise/movement seems somewhat self-destructive to me, so when I am depressed, I will eat lots, but also run or cycle until I am close to collapsing.
     
  12. OP
    myst

    myst Community Member

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    Well, I tried to post on here yesterday but either the website or my computer wasn't cooperating.

    Yeah, that makes sense.

    Entyqua, I've done the calorie counting food measuring thing for a long period (I don't remember if it was a whole year) and it probably helped some. But it was extremely time consuming and didn't address the desire to overeat. So I've decided it's probably not productive for me, although I think it is really good for a lot of people (especially people who don't know much about nutrition yet or people whose bodies gain weight easily I guess).

    That's helpful, especially hearing that it's manageable from someone who dealt with it! I do the exercise and slow eating part. I usually think if I do some of the things that might replace the eating, like reading a novel, watching a movie, taking a bath, etc., I'm wasting time when I should be studying. The eating takes time too but it's not as much of a one-time time commitment.

    Yeah, I 'spose I knew this (that it's not easy to fix). I think figuring out the depression part is probably more important for me but wanted to read what worked for other people too.

    I'm still interested if anyone who has personal experience dealing with this successfully or somewhat successfully wants to share their experiences.

    Thanks for all the responses everybody
     
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  13. Norton

    Norton XXXX

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    I eat more when I'm happy. If I get depressed, food nauseates me and I lose weight. It takes all kinds, I guess.
     
  14. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Thing is, I'm not sure if I'm "there" yet, myst. In some ways I feel like the alcoholic or the drug addict taking one step at a time in their fight for sobriety. I don't want to say I'm at the top, because I'm not. I'm becoming more of a conscious eater, and I've found an exercise routine I honestly enjoy doing daily. Does that diminish the problems in my life? No! Do I have things I could really be depressed about? Surely. But eating excessively - or drinking, or smoking, or drugging - won't make the problem go away. It'll make it worse, and the depression in turn will become worse.

    For me, I needed to find positive, encouraging coping mechanisms. I have one for my spiritual life, and now I'm discovering one for my physical life. Which makes it easier for me to deal with my mental life. Friends and family are helping that avenue of my life, tremendously.
     
  15. OP
    myst

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    Thanks Arbygil!
     
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