Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I've always been an emotional eater.  Had a fight with a boyfriend? Drown my sorrows in ice cream. Bad day at work? Scarf down a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. Kids driving me crazy? Nothing a loaf of fresh bread and some gourmet cheese can't fix (especially if paired with wine!).  

When I was in my teens and early twenties I would literally eat myself sick with incredible amounts of food so that I wouldn't feel the pain of my emotions, but rather that in my stomach and throat from the eventual vomiting that would follow. I avoided gaining weight from these binges by sticking my fingers down my throat or ingesting laxatives. 

Thanks to therapy, anti-depressants, some wisdom that comes with age and the support of friends and family I was able to control my bulimia by the time I reached my mid-twenties. The emotional eating never fully subsided, however.  I still ran to food to comfort me, as many of us do (it's so common that there's even an eHow article on how to stop it!) .  Beating bulimia, unfortunately, brought on my initial weight gain.  Looking back I probably needed it then - 5'8 and 120 pounds is pretty small.  It wasn't until a few years later that my weight once again became a problem.  This time, however, I wasn't too small.  

Our first move to Seattle was exciting but also very difficult for me.  I was used to having tons of friends, a job and freedom to roam wherever and whenever. Now I found myself in a new city with a new baby and the only person I knew - the Spicy Chicken -  was out of town more than he was home.  So I did what I knew worked and filled those voids with food (and shopping, but that's a completely different post).  Most women who struggle with their weight post-pregnancy are dealing with weight the gained while pregnant.  I, on the other hand, gained most of my weight after Maggie was born.  The months after I had her were really tough.  I felt like all I ever did was nurse her and I was always tired.  I started watching soap operas.  Yes, it got that bad. 

A few years later, however, I had friends, a job and another new baby on the way. We'd found an anti-depressant that really worked for me (after quite a few that didn't).  The voids were filled and I was finding that exercise was a much more effective way to deal with stress and emotions than eating was. I did I triathlon.  I did a 10 K. I felt great. Then we moved in Omaha.  

Not surprisingly my weight shot up once again.  Eventually we settled in to Omaha, however, and I started to get back on track.  Then we got transferred to Charlottesville. 

Do you see a pattern starting here?

It's been almost five years since we moved to C'ville and we have no plans to leave (though we are moving across town).  I have an incredible group of friends, I'm doing some fun part-time work and fill the other hours a day trying to be the best mom I can be.  While the Spicy Chicken travels more now than ever we've developed a routine that works for us and I only bitch about it once or twice a month.  I miss my family in Minnesota and Texas but I don't feel that void like I used to as my parents visit on a regular basis and the friends I have here are truly like family to me.  I work out at Clay three days a week and fill the other days running and hiking with Scout.  No voids.  No room for emotional overeating, right? 

Of course that's not true.  But filling my life with other positive things - and working the past few years on having a healthy relationship with food - has definitely changed how often I turn to it for solace.  Instead of throwing down an entire day's worth of calories when something goes wrong (and inevitably it will) I turn to my running shoes - or my friends- or Wii Zumba (yes, I have actually started doing this, but don't expect any videos to be posted here!).  Some days I turn to my computer - like I am right now - to sort out my feeling as I write it out for all the world to see.  Amazing how therapeutic a blog post can be!


  1. Hi Amy - thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I think it's great that therapy helped you with the eating disorder. Does your husband help you with the food and exercise issues?

  2. Lisa - he's definitely a big supporter of mine. He's a great cook so I turn to him to create healthy meals that I like - and lucky for he he's fabulous at it! He's turned me on to so many foods I never never thought I liked. I'm even - little by little - starting to enjoy cooking, too, which is a big feat for someone like me! Thanks for your response - look forward to watching and reading as you continue to kick butt!