I realized a few years ago, that I am a stress eater. A conflict would come up, and I would immediately crave chocolate. Eating the chocolate didn't make the stress go away, and ended up leaving me with more body weight than I wanted. I've addressed stress by adding monthly massages, daily exercise, and daily quiet time, and have been able to stop normal stress eating.
But there are still two other occasions in life when I eat not for fuel or pleasure, but to fill a void. One is low blood sugar reactions. When my blood sugar dips below a certain level, all the alarm bells in my head go off, and they all scream, "EAT NOW! AND KEEP EATING" I'm only supposed to eat 15 grams of carbohydrates, wait 15 minutes, test my blood sugar again and eat another 15 grams if needed. Most of the time I can stay in control when my body goes bonkers, but sometimes I break and end up eating everything I see in front of me. I taste nothing, but my body is momentarily satiated, and the alarm bells eventually quiet down and I feel safe again. But then my blood sugar spikes from all the food and I fight to get it down again for hours. And I've added hundreds of unnecessary calories to my diet, which only makes losing weight that much harder.
The other occasion is the week before my period. Because of the dips in various hormones the week before my period, I feel miserable, and end up losing my resolve to only eat a certain number of calories a day. I crave food, and while I try my best to keep it in check, there always ends up being a night where I am dipping something into a jar of Nutella and eating with abandon.
Besides not wanting to eat those extra calories, I also feel miserable. Once I started tracking what was actually going on, it was glaringly obvious that the PMS was causing a lot of stress. So I finally decided to do something about it. My previous birth control pill (to treat my endometriosis) is meant to mimic a normal hormonal pattern, the hormones increase up each week, with a drop the week before my period (triphasal) and that drop is where the torture comes in.
So, per my doctor's gentle suggestion (for the past 16 months) I've moved to a monophasic pill (one level of each hormone) that I will take 365 days a year. No drop, no withdrawal bleeding. And hopefully a nice smooth hormonal ride for me. Even just starting the new pill last week has reduced my stress levels, and I look forward to not being tortured every month, and to not eating food that I really don't need or want.