Low Carb Challenge Day 29: Learning To Avoid Emotional Eating…


Yesterday was hard. It seemed to just start out that way. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that can shift our mind to negative things. Sometimes you don’t even know why, or what caused that mental shift. It just happens.

For me, it’s often about things I cannot have. Like a hug from my big furry 150 pound great dane baby (Molly) that died in her sleep last Spring. Or maybe a time in my life, when my children were younger and my home was full. You cannot rewind time.

There were other things on my mind too of course, things that are personal to me. We all have our wants and wishes and losses in life.

On that (long) list of things that ran through my mind, there were also foods. Cheeseburgers and donuts and ice cream and such. The whole list, things I miss, things I cannot have, seemed so large in my mind… overshadowing all of the wonderful things in my life that I do have, making them hard to even remember.

Of all the things on the list, the foods I could easily get. The other things I can only pine for, wish I could touch or feel again. But the foods I could get if I wanted to.

This is what emotional eating is all about. It’s hard stuff. I used to do just that, take what I could get – indulge in what I could, to try to satiate the void.

That was the choice I faced yesterday as I sat on the back deck and watched the rain blow through the trees. Fill the void? No… FEEL the void. That’s what I decided to do – just feel it, experience it, accept and respect it.

If I thought a donut would have fixed everything (or anything at all), I would have eaten one -or a dozen. In a heartbeat. But I already know from past experience that not only does it NOT fix anything, it just makes me feel WORSE.

No thank you.

Feelings are fickle. The mind is fickle too. You can rationalize anything in your favor. I decided to just crawl in bed and listen to it rain. What I refer to as: crawl in a hole, and pull the hole in behind me. πŸ˜› I let the thoughts swirl through my mind and just listened to them a bit, until I finally fell asleep.

I woke a few hours later, with a quiet mind (thank goodness). Quiet, but pensive. A certain sadness still, but not chaotic and aching like before. I just went through the motions of the rest of the day, with work and chores and low carb meals, feeling mostly blank.

This is new for me, and something I consider a breakthrough. FEEL the void, instead of fill it. Just experience the range of emotions, the thoughts & feelings, until they pass – without adding any more to it. That felt like a huge WIN. And that “win” made me feel good about myself, which is something I really needed (to feel).

Emotional eating is no simple thing. I know more than a few people out there can relate, maybe even you. Stress, feelings, emotional distress – it can zap your energy and really get a hold of you. It’s not a place to make decisions from, ever.

I learned something today: it will pass. I can ride it out.

Just like the storm, it died down and ultimately moved on. With no damage done – this time. And if I can get through my own internal storm once, I can certainly do it again. It was quite an empowering lesson.

Just like every time I say “No” to a bad food choice, that strengthens my resolve. Now I know I can beat this emotional stuff, without adding to it…

That’s a GOOD feeling.

Here is my Low Carb Food Diary for Day 29 of the β€œGet Lean For Summer!” 90 Day Low Carb Challenge. It’s not too late to join us if you haven’t already!

Day 29: Monday’s Low Carb Meals

I realize I’m predictable. πŸ™‚ I had my favorite low carb breakfast – again. It’s so easy and delicious though, and a nice sweet / crunch combo!

This time it was: 1/2 cup pecans, 1/4 cup Daisy brand cottage cheese, and 4 small diced strawberries. (5 net carbs and 85% healthy fat)

Easy Low Carb Breakfast (No Cooking)

I didn’t feel like eating at lunch. I was hungry, but not in the mood. I didn’t trust myself to go out either, so I just heated up the leftover cheeseburger from Hardee’s that I couldn’t finish the night before.

Bunless Burger

Dinner was the same. I wasn’t in the mood.

I just grabbed something easy: 2 Oscar Mayer Smokies (zero carbs).

Oscar Mayer Smokies : Zero Carbs

I was hungry late last night, so I made something I new I’d enjoy: raspberries & cream cheese. It’s such a nice low carb treat, and all “real food” and healthy.

It’s just 2 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese and 1/4 cup frozen raspberries (thawed, of course). That was 6 net carbs.

Healthy Low Carb Dessert

It took me over an hour to eat that, delicious as it was. I just enjoyed a small spoonful here and there with a creamy coffee. It kept me from going to bed hungry, at least.

Here’s My MyFitnessPal Diary for Monday:

MyFitnessPal Net Carbs Food Diary

Macronutrients: How & What I Track

How I Get Net Carbs in MyFitnessPal

Calories: 1357
Net Carbs: 18
Total Carbs: 27
Protein: 50 Grams
80% Fat, 15% Protein

Exercise: None
FitBit Steps: 2,208
Water: 24 ounces



I did not exercise yesterday for the first day in… I’m not sure how long. I just didn’t feel like it, didn’t have the energy – and I allowed myself that break.

I did well to make it through the day without totally blowing it with unhealthy food, which was good enough for this (tough) day.

How are things going on your end?

As always, I look forward to hearing from you!

Lynn Terry,
aka @LowCarbTraveler


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About Lynn Terry

I love making the low carb diet EASY for people with a busy lifestyle (like me!) with my KISS / Keep It Simple method. :) About Lynn Terry: Host of the Low Carb Challenge
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42 Responses to Low Carb Challenge Day 29: Learning To Avoid Emotional Eating…

  1. Holly Sweis says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Being completely honest about your feelings and eating is very encouraging. I am an emotional eater as well and as you know you get in the vicious circle of eating…that in the end makes you feel worse than when you began. But riding it through and feeling the void is a healthy way of facing it. This too shall pass…. The best thing is it will pass without the failure of overeating and having to start over again. Above all you’re left with a feeling of accomplishment that you are in control and you conquered your emotions (and eating) It’s a win!!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      That’s so true, Holly. πŸ™‚ I woke up the next morning SO happy with my choices, and feeling great again. It does pass. No need to sabotage, and make it worse than it is (er, seems) lol. πŸ™‚ *cheers*

  2. Terry says:


    Lynn, you and your readers might find this NYT article on the body’s struggle to regain lost weight interesting. They followed past contestants from the show, “The Biggest Loser”.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’ve been reading a lot about that, Terry – sad but interesting. I liked the science talk in this particular article though. That actually encourages me, or challenges me (lol) to really fight forward! πŸ™‚

      I refuse to be a statistic, or to use that as an excuse to give up or give in. πŸ™‚

  3. Yolanda says:

    Thanks Lynn for this post!!! I totally relate to this! I tapped into my emotional eating a couple of months ago but this post brings it full circle for me!!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      It was a tough one to write, but I knew in my heart that SO many of us struggle with emotional overeating. I have let it suck me in more times than I can count, which is why it took me SO long to get to this point in my weight loss journey. πŸ˜› No more!!

  4. Fran says:

    Thanks for sharing. I hope to remember this next time I am feeling crummy and want to eat my feelings.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      “eat my feelings” – such a good way to put it. πŸ™‚ I have told myself so many times in the past: “don’t feed the monster!” lol

  5. Cindi says:

    Way to go, Lynn! You should be very proud of yourself this morning. Being an emotional eater, I know what you were feeling and am so proud of you. That void is one of the worst things in life. Filling it with comfort food doesn’t fix anything and always makes it worse, as we well know from past experience, but there’s still that awful pull to stuff our mouths anyway to fill the ache inside. You described the feeling so well that I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing your feelings. Sometimes I feel all alone in this struggle and then I read your words and know I have at least one person who understands. You’re a very brave lady to put your feelings out there for the entire world to see. I’m not sure I could ever be as brave, but want you to know you’re helping me understand myself better and are confirming I’m not alone with my food addictions/cravings. I’ve been at my goal weight 11 months and 3 days and it’s still a daily struggle to stay the course. Thank you, Lynn, for allowing me to see into your life, your mind, and your soul. You have no idea how much I appreciate you and how much your words mean to me. Hugs!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you so much, Cindi. πŸ™‚ It really does help to learn more about ourselves, our reasons, the source behind our worst habits, etc. This health journey has taught me SO much about myself. It took me a lot longer to get some lessons than others (lol)… but change is hard, truth is hard, and you never find that truth at the bottom of a quart of ice cream. πŸ˜› One of the lessons I learned the hard way, lol.

  6. Terry Stafford says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I certainly know about emotionally eating and reading this gave me a new tiol, “feel the void”. Right after this 90 day challenge began I had a cookie breakdown on a Saturday while grocery shopping. We were in the process if remodeling our home. I spotted a bag if soft Archway iced molasses cookies at Krogers. And…..I ate the WHOLE bag on my 15 minute trip back to the house! I then became very disappointed in myself. I always ask myself “Why are you so bad to your body in times of added stress”? I got myself back together and here I am. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and I hope you have a beautiful Tuesday!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I did have an amazingly beautiful Tuesday – full of happiness and laughs and hope. πŸ™‚ Thank you for that! Proof that bad days (or even moments) are not to be taken seriously, just to be taken in stride.

      I’ve done that same thing before. I think the Food Guilt is even worse than the food itself. I examined that same question too: Why do I add to the stress and unhappiness? I know full well it does NOT make me feel better to binge, only worse. I wonder that we take whatever emotion we have… and add more to it. The human mind is a crazy thing. πŸ˜› lol

  7. Bridget says:

    Feel the void! I love it. Thank you for sharing, I find you so relatable and have been looking forward to your posts!

  8. Joni says:

    What a great post and I agree “Feel the void” instead of “Fuel the void” are great words to live by. It takes a lot of energy for me to get past emotional eating and these just may be the words that will help me! THANK YOU. I hope today brings you sunshine and another exciting adventure is in your near future.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      It DOES take a lot of energy. It’s easier to just give in. It’s easier not to have goals, and not to push yourself hard to achieve those goals. But “easy” (and overweight) didn’t make me happy either. THIS does make me happy!

  9. Gigi says:

    You know when i was at ny biggest weight and even now, i’ve never reslised that i was eating to fill a void but you made me realise that it was exactly what i was doing.
    I will have to keep telling myself to feel the void and not feed the void
    I NEVER want to go back to the way i was before I lost a lot if weight using food to comfort my emotions. I feel like I’ve come. Back to life again. I am more active now and i feel so much better now
    I still have a way to go with my weight loss but i am trying not to focus just on scale wins
    Everyday that i stay low carb, is a win for me
    I am in this for the long run. I love this woe. I really do not miss the foods i cannot have because there are so many delicious foods that i CAN have
    Thank You Lyn for sharing these words of wisdom. πŸ™‚

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I don’t ever want to go back either. Not to that weight, or to that way of thinking and living. I’m realizing more and more that it isn’t JUST my physical health that is improving daily on this journey. πŸ™‚

  10. desiree says:

    I’ve never thought of emotional eating in the sense of eating food because its what you can have when what you really want is not available to you. lightbulb moment! thank lynn!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Ahhh yes – because it’s easy. πŸ™‚ And because we have been trained from childhood to get a treat when we are good, or when we are sad, or just because we’re special – or whatever. But yes… when you can’t easily get what it is you’re really wanting, the mind looks for other ways to fill that void.

  11. Deb M says:

    Congrats on riding it out. I hope today is a brighter day for you! I’m working on that now, after the past 2 weeks of emotions, divorce-stress eating. I’m up 4 pounds and mad at myself for binging, but determined to get it under control.
    Thanks for showing the different options you find at places like Hardees. My divorce is getting finalized this week, and my son and I will be moving back to the midwest from south Florida at the end of the month, and I usually hate that the only real options along the roads are fast-food places, but at least now I’ve got some ideas of things to get at these places.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’m so sorry you’re going through such a hard time, Deb. Divorce is a HARD thing. I remember mine well. I’m glad though that you’ve picked up some good options & tips here!

      Being mad at yourself on top of the stress you’re already dealing with is no fun. I find it helps to have ONE thing I’m in control of – as a point of strength in hard times. I wrote about that here: http://www.travelinglowcarb.com/10307/stress-depression-dieting/ Hopefully those two points will prove helpful to you as well. πŸ™‚ *cheers*

  12. Gigi says:

    Hi Lyn
    Hope you are feeling better today
    Somehow i fel t more positive when i woke up today. I fekt like it’s goingvto be a great day. I have had many a day when I’ve crawled into a hole. Sometimes we just need that

    I wanted to ask you a question about how you cooked your squash the other day
    I used fresh squash and i think i cut it too thin, because it almost dissappeared after baking it. πŸ˜€ so i cut u p some thick pieces of squash and baked them. I did not have any olive oil, so i uses a little coconut oil. It turned out better that time except that i left the skin on-not good. πŸ™‚
    Your squash looked so yummy but mine did not quite look the same. It did taste good with I the sausage. I wonder if i should just buy the frozen squash like you did
    I have enough sausage and squash to make myself one more serving for tonight. Hope it comes out better. πŸ™‚

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I felt much more positive when I woke up yesterday too! πŸ™‚

      The sliced squash I used had the skin on as well, and when I make it fresh I leave the skin on then too. I used it frozen – put it on the baking sheet frozen. I had a hard time with some of it sticking, and it seemed to take a long time to make in the oven (to get it to brown up good). I usually fry it in a light layer olive oil on the stovetop. That turns out better, cooks faster, and doesn’t stick. πŸ™‚

  13. Michelle says:

    Thanks Lynn for being so honest. I need to learn to feel the void instead of always seeming to fill it. What a great way to think about it. Do you take any type of hormone replacement drugs? I am kind of feeling that I may be experiencing some type of hormone imbalance. I’m 45 and I’m tired most of the time, have gained 10 pounds since November and can’t get the pounds off, my skin and hair is so dry and a few other symptoms that I won’t mention here. Just curious if you take anything to help in that area. I know how to lose weight. I lost nearly 70 pounds 8 years ago and have kept 50 of it off.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Hi Michelle,

      I only had a partial hysterectomy, so I am not on hormone therapy of any kind now. But prior to the surgery I was taking massive amounts of progesterone for about 9 months… and my weight did not budge during that time. I also wasn’t super consistent. I kept giving up and going on and off plan (cycling). πŸ˜›

      Are you eating low carb high fat? And if so, how are you tracking? I ask to get an idea of your usual daily fat/protein ratios. I find the ketogenic (LCHF) diet gives me A LOT more energy. But if you’ve read along here the last 30 days, my weight loss is super slow…

      • michelle says:

        Good morning Lynn, Yes I do eat LCHF but haven’t been real faithful tracking.

        My typical day looks like:
        2 eggs scrambled with 1 tsp butter and some cheese and 2 sausage patties.
        Lunch: Tuna, mayo and pork rinds
        Dinner: a burger chopped on a bed of lettuce, cheese, mayo for the dressing
        Sometimes for a snack I’ll have SF jello with some whipped cream.

        • Lynn Terry says:

          Hi Michelle,

          Tracking was key for me, and that’s how I discovered I was eating too lean. I had no idea! When I increased my healthy fats to 70% minimum, and especially closer to 80%, I started losing weight consistently again. πŸ™‚

          Here’s how & what I track, and how I have it set up: http://www.travelinglowcarb.com/7006/macronutrients/ Try that and see if it makes a big difference for you too!

  14. Marie says:

    I am going through some medical problems at the present time and it is so hard for me to keep eating the way I should be. Because of Meds I sometimes feel so nauseous so I grab crackers or apiece of bread. So doing that, it throws my mind control off track. A little depression then sets in and I have myself a pity party. I know once I get my self back on track I will be able to get control. After reading what you said I have to find my way of handling myself with my eating.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Hi Marie,

      Sometimes you just have to take care of yourself.

      That said, if you really do want to stay in control of your health and weight during this time, which would be really beneficial – for both mental and physical strength – they do make great low carb breads.

      See: http://www.travelinglowcarb.com/5927/low-carb-grilled-cheese/ I like the Everything Bread and Everything Bagels. A hot cup of chicken broth is great to settle the stomach too.

  15. Abigail says:

    I cannot begin to express to you how much this post affected me. Beautifully written. You and I are at different sides of our journeys, I’m just beginning mine. (6 lbs. down, 64 lbs to go) But I feel like a light bulb moment just hit me. Feel the void, don’t fill the void! I made a sign saying this and hung it up so I will be reminded everyday. Thank you. I know I can do this.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      You are lucky, Abigail – I wish I had figured this out that early on in MY journey! It would have saved me a lot of pounds and a lot of tears, lol. πŸ™‚

  16. Pingback: Day 30: Low Carb Meals & Exercise (And… I Got My Happy Back!) | Low Carb Diet Tips for Busy People

  17. Betsy C. says:

    Who needs psychotherapy when we have you! Your words are so inspiring. It guess it shouldn’t surprise me that with so many of us our weight issues are tied to emotional eating… I know mine is. Between that an stress eating, I”m not sure which is worse. It’s important to find coping mechanisms though. I’m working on building a mantra around your wise words… feel the void, not feed the void. Or like Abigail says, make a sign to hang up. Thank you!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      lol, thank you Betsy! πŸ™‚ Last Fall when I was going through a really stressful time, I got up and exercised every time I got overwhelmed or upset. If I could get my pup out for a few miles to pound it out on the pavement, I would. If not, I’d find a YouTube video and do a quick/tough workout – or just dance. It helped A LOT.

      It’s smart to find replacement habits, or new ways to deal with stress!

  18. Julie Cunningham says:

    You are so inspiring even for this slacker! I am in New Orleans ( my home town) visiting relatives and high school friends and eating more of this good food than I should, but I am not eating as much as I could. This is thanks to you and this group. I hope to get on track when I get back to Nashville next week! Let the good times roll!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Have a great trip, Julie! I’m just 80 miles SE of Nashville, so it would be great to get together sometime and enjoy a low carb meal and some fun conversation! πŸ™‚

  19. DJ says:

    I love seeing where you get your meals. I despise cooking and lots of times that has derailed me on my low carb journey. I’ve been at this (more or less) for 16 years!!! I regained about 35 lbs. of the 70 I originally lost and have been unsuccessfully trying to get it back off for 3 years — I am turning 60 this year and I can tell you it’s not as easy as it was 16 years ago — calories definitely matter in my case more than carbs and I hate that. πŸ™ I have loved low carb and it’s been so good to me over the years. I am struggling to stay with it and reading your meals and journey really helps me.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, DJ. I don’t care for cooking either. Mainly that it takes so much time between grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, then cleaning up – and all for ONE person?! No thanks. πŸ˜› haha. I cooked a lot when my kids were home of course, but I find it easier to just “make food” now. πŸ™‚

  20. Tammy says:

    I love raspberries! You go girl! Looking food.. πŸ™‚

  21. Pingback: Day 53 Low Carb Diary: I Can’t Quit Now… | Low Carb Diet Tips for Busy People

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