But I Deserve It…

As I walked home from work today after another 12-hour day, I thought about what I could order for dinner.

I have literally nothing in my refrigerator right now, and even if I did, I had zero desire to cook anything at 9pm.

I started thinking about what I could order and started having a little fight with myself. (Internally, of course. I wasn’t that girl walking down Fifth Ave. talking to herself, although don’t put it past me.)

The first thing that came to mind was pad see yew. It was my default “I don’t want to cook, I’m going to order” meal when I lived in D.C. (Kanlaya, for any D.C. people.)

I deserve it, I told myself.

Seconds after I told myself I deserved it, I asked myself why I deserved it.

I’d like to think I keep a pretty moderate attitude about food. I try to eat healthily most of the time, but I really don’t think twice about it when I don’t, since I know, at this point, I can get back on track relatively quickly, and that I generally exercise enough to offset what I’m eating.

But thinking I “deserve” some sort of food? I think that’s a slippery slope to emotional eating, and with work being pretty intense right now, I’m not going to slip down that slope and gain back all the weight I worked so hard to lose.

I deserve taking care of myself. (Things my therapist and I talked about today.) That involves working out and eating the food that will take me through some stressful days. That involves making time for spending time with friends and family and making time to cook (I guess? haha) and making time to do the things that will keep me mentally healthy. That’s what I deserve.

Wine? Well, I always deserve that.

What do you do for yourself when you’re stressed? Are you an emotional eater? I was, and I know I still have the tendencies, but I try really hard to not give in to them…most of the time.

26 comments on “But I Deserve It…

  1. Kelly @ No Thanks to Cake

    I ran across your post via Twitter tonight, and I’m strangely comforted to know that I’m not the only one who’s struggling on the edge of emotional eating tonight. While I know there are SOOO many people that experience it, there’s often an alone feeling associated with it. It’s just me and my takeout (for example.)

    I don’t have any magical answers on how to resolve it… but right now, I’m focused upon keeping myself BUSY. And, I’m making sure evening workouts are in tact so that I can workout instead of EAT.

    Thanks for being a kindred spirit to me tonight. My post will publish in the morning, if you have any interest in reading a similar tale. xoxo

  2. Michelle @ oats n' bows

    Emotional eating is such as slippery slope. There are so many positive emotions tied to eating, that it’s hard to separate the negative. I’ve struggled with it BIG time in the past, but it’s really just something that I’ve learned to take one day at a time. Your mind gets to you sometimes, but willpower eventually prevails.

    Thank you for sharing your emotional eating woes… it’s always nice to read something relatable. 🙂

  3. April C.

    Funny you posted this tonight because I did the same thing on the way home! It was around 9:30p, finally heading home, and the lure of drive-through was fierce. I mentally walked through everything in my kitchen of what I could possibly eat. I decided I needed to continue to eat healthy, stay within my calorie range for the day, AND save money.

    I’ve had a really stressful last two weeks so wine was last nights reward but tonight, I went home, ate from the kitchen, and feel much better.

    Proud of you for hanging in there and treating yourself well!

  4. Cathryn @ myheartscontent

    I am SUCH an emotional eater. Portion control is my biggest weakness as well. We have had guests here for three weeks (!!) and they’re not that into healthy eating and I’ve watched my resolution fade and my waist get more and more bloated over those three weeks. I’m not blaming them at all, this is MY lack of control. They left today and I resolve to start afresh tomorrow!! I’m excited about eating hummus, carrots and yoghurt again.

    It’s an interesting one though, deserving food. I read a great quote….you’re not a dog so don’t reward yourself with food. I think there’s a lot of truth in it but when we DO want to reward ourselves, what alternatives are there that aren’t expensive and are fast and motivating? I have yet to find one. Apart from cheapo Sinful Colors nail varnish at Target!!!

  5. michelle

    I am such an emotional eater and I struggle with that every single day. But I keep reminding myself that I deserve to eat better and that usually sets me straight.

  6. Maureen

    I’m totally a stress/emotional eater. It’s a slippery slope for me as we’ll, so I try really hard to get back on track and not beat myself up when I do slip. For me, it helps to try to have a balanced approach to food all the time, so even when I do slip, it’s not so bad.

  7. Nicole@ livingthesweetlifestl.wordpress.com

    This post really hit home for me…thanks for that because I feel like with all the nonsense I have going on in my life right now I have been letting my healthy eating slip….a lot. I totally tell myself that “I deserve” certain foods because I had a bad day or some other silly reason when I know I will just feel crummier after. I am working on getting back on track and this post has definitely helped.

  8. Martha @ running in mommyland

    I am in the throes of emotional and binge eating right now. I actually went to my doctor the other day, because I need some help (the stress of my divorce has initiated the spiral). It’s a very slippery slope to reward with food, or to use it to cope, but it’s very difficult to make it (forever) go away. I’m not sure the desire to eat to soothe every goes away once you know that it can work, albeit temporarily.

    I admire you for writing about this. You’ve come so far with your running and eating, but I know how scary it is to find yourself tempted by old patterns.

  9. Monica

    I always joke that I eat my feelings. I try really hard not to keep feelings (junk food) in my house but its a struggle. This week has been challenging and last night I left a team dinner feeling disgusting. I try to remember that feeling for as long as I can to try to avoid overeating in the future. Its not easy! Hang in there!

  10. Katie @ Livehalffull

    I struggle with this too!!! I used to turn to take out also when I had a stressful work day, was tired etc. Now, I try to make a conscious effort to give my body what it needs. Usually that’s a lot of water and a healthy meal! And a workout!

  11. Melissa

    I love the sentiment here! I deserve to take care of myself! Great thought, Theodora. I’m a stress eater, shopper, sleeper, etc – and I also rationalize it with an “I deserve it” attitude. You’re right though – I deserve to take care of myself, and in long term ways (not quickly fading fixes)…

  12. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats

    Oh gosh, I’m definitely an emotional eater. It’s hard to find other types of awards when you can’t afford things like mani/pedis, spa treatments, new clothes, etc as often as you can afford $5 for froyo. Something I need to work on!

  13. Dori

    YES I am the same way. I always think that a stressful day means I deserve some kind of treat. Like I earned it by being so hardcore or something? I am definitely an emotional eater, although ever since I started finding workouts I love they are FAR better for me after a stressful day. A Refine class always makes me feel a million times better. I think it has to do with not only the endorphins, but the fact that I can’t think about stressful things while I am there because I have to think about the exercises.

  14. Diana @ The Chic Life

    I definitely have this thought when I’ve had a particularly long day at work. I’ve always heard you aren’t supposed to reward yourself with food, though I sometimes do it anyways. But, I try to do rewards of other small things like a special hand lotion, nail polish, lip gloss, or magazine. If I go the food route, I try to stick to treats that are small and/or healthy-ish, like a hot cocoa with soy or lower fat milk sans whipped cream or a truffle or 2 from a local candy shop.

    When it comes to needing dinner after a long work day and I know I don’t have much in the way of groceries, I do have the “I deserve it” thought from time to time. Usually, I try to reward myself with something that is delicious but also something I’ll feel great after eating, like a delicious Mediterranean meal with hummus, tabbouleh, etc. I love it, and it’s a treat, but it’s also pretty good for me, so I feel like it’s a win-win. 🙂

  15. Anne

    I’ve always been an emotional eater, too, and 35 pounds lighter, that hasn’t changed one bit. If I start thinking about something specific I want, I’m hard pressed to concentrate on anything else until I consume it, meaning it’s sometimes more constructive for me just to cave. (Wonder what your therapist would say about THAT healthy cycle, ha.) To keep the cravings at bay, I usually allow myself to order pad see ew (my hungover, er, comfort food) once a week, which seems to reset the cravings back to alert level 1. Moderation in all things, right?

    1. Barb

      @Anne: This is how I feel. If a crave something, but don’t let me eat it…I end up eating other things but eventually come back to the thing I wanted due to my mad cravings. I don’t eat fries anymore and only drink pop on the weekends. What helps me is buying salads from Trader Joes twice a week for the week for work and home. Then I always have something more nutritious to eat.

  16. Shay

    yes, I agree that if I don’t eat something I am craving for, I can try to replace it with another food but still go back to the food I am craving for. However, I think I am more in tune with my body. I listen to my body and give it what it wants. When I eat food without any oil for a period of time, I would suddenly crave for fries. So, I go get myself some fries. When I am stressed and I crave for cake for tea, I go get it. When I am not, then I don’t. I keep chocolates at my desk and have a block or 2 everyday. I am a creature of habit, so when I get used to eating healthier foods, I normally go back to those. After eating out for years (I’m in Asia, so it is not expensive to eat out every meal), I get really sick of them anyways. I prefer home cooked food these days.

  17. Emily @ www.main-eats.com

    I am such an emotional eater…it is definitely something that I need to work on! I KNOW that I feel icky when I don’t eat well but I don’t always act like I know that. I’m trying to be more mindful when I eat…easier said than done!
    Great post!

  18. Liana@RunToMunch

    It’s weird growing up I used to never reward myself with going out to eat since my family never got take out but as I moved out of my parents house and got more into the American style of living, I now do think to myself hmm I deserve a cookie when tired. Not sure if its cultural or emotional eating… something to contemplate next time I walk to GT Cupcakes

  19. Sara Thornton

    I most certainly am an emotional/stress eater. I just started my journey on WL and honestly I think about this “but I deserve it” thing all the time. I do this but I don’t realize it until after, although I am catching myself more and more. I don’t understand what that really means. BUT I DESERVE IT.. No? I don’t think anyone “deserves” unhealthy habits! It’s not something that you award yourself to have something taste delicious BUT potentially killing you. I must press passed these ridiculous thoughts!


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