First of all, please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are so many people throughout the world who incorrectly use food as a comfort rather than nourishment, especially Americans! I myself have struggled with emotional eating that leads to endless extra calories and therefore extra pounds! I understand how depressed, angry, mad, and discouraged it makes you feel... especially because you are going through nursing school in the midst!
I know you posted this a while ago, but I just came across it and wanted to give any advice/help that I could. I hope you have already began to move forward and that you no longer are in the same position as when you posted this originally, but if so... don't worry! You can and will beat this!
First of all, take a few deep breaths (yes, right now!). It's great that you cut out caffeine - that def. helps lower stress levels! Try to incorporate other relaxation techniques into your daily lifestyle. For ex, anytime you are beginning to feel antsy/on the verge of wanting to pig out, take at least 10 big/deep/slow breaths. Get yourself a glass of water. Keep your mind in reality "Hey, I'm okay!" Figure out what is stressing you and journal about it. Phone a friend. Go for a walk. Paint your nails. Put on some soft music and stretch. Whatever you do, try not to panic or go towards the kitchen. Easier said that done, I know.
Losing weight is hard, and tackling emotional eating is even harder. However, you can tackle it and overcome it! If you have tried and tried and tried on your own, you may want to look into therapy or seeing a nutritionist. Overeaters anonymous groups would be excellent as well! Also, write down a list of a few friends that you can call anytime you feel like you are about to binge. From personal experience, some may not really know what to say/how to help, but there are definitely some who will understand and will be willing to listen and give you advice. For those who don't really know what to say, that's okay - just let them distract you and give you support!
Here are a few tips I know that will help:
#1 Eat breakfast! Your body is starving in the morning when you wake up, and eating breakfast provides the adequate fuel necessary to make you strive throughout the day. Multiple studies show that those who eat breakfast ate less throughout the day and were far less likely to binge/pig out! Translation? Breakfast eaters lose more!
#2 Support support support. Maybe ask a friend to try to get healthy with you, or at least make that list of supporters you can call when feeling down!
#3 Do this for YOU and you only. You said that you weren't happy with your weight and body right now, so have the mindset of "Hey, I'm not happy right now so I'm going to do something about it for ME, bc I deserve it! I'm going to tackle this once and for all" ... and really believe it.
#4 Remind yourself that exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that literally make you happier. I once read in a magazine that just 20 mins of exercise can improve your mood for up to 12 HOURS! Whenever I don't feel like working out, I remind myself of that and it really does work!
#5 Walk walk walk. I hate working out... why would I go voluntarily put myself through that when I would much rather sit on the couch and eat potato chips watching my show of choice? However, walking is so easy! It actually relaxes me and forces me to take time out for myself. Try to walk outside because sunlight will also make you feel happier, and give you vitamin D! If weather doesn't permit, treadmill/elliptical/whatever you wish.
#6 POSITIVITY. Guess what? You're going to mess up... we all do! All you have to do is say "hey, it's okay - I'm only human. I'm going to move forward from this second on and do better!" One day of messing up is not going to matter in the long run.
I hope that helps!
In a similar post I responded to, someone had asked ideas of what you should eat to keep your body fueled and still lose weight. This is what I typed to them; it's information on what to eat at every meal that I have personally received from a dietician a few years ago.
Breakfast: grain + fruit + dairy (skim milk, fiber one/all bran, cereal, fruit, granola bar, yogurt)
Snack: carbs + protein (carrots, hummus, 100 calorie packs, fruit, yogurt, rice cakes, laughing cow cheese, string cheese)
Lunch: carbs/grains + protein + veggies + side (meat, whole wheat bread, tortillas, frozen veggies, salad, low fat cheese, granola bars, baked chips, pita)
Dinner: protein 1/4 of plate (meat, eggs) + carbs/starch for 1/3 of plate (pasta, bread, any grain) + veggies for about half the plate
BEST OF LUCK! Try not to beat yourself up... you can do this! Know in advance and make sure you understand that it takes time. Like I said, I've struggled with the same problem and it took me a year and a half to finally wake up and do all of the above. Eventually, months later, the pounds were off. Losing just 1-2 pounds a week is ideal; anymore is close to "crash dieting" and can be gained back easily. I know it doesn't seem like much, but think about it: thats 4-8 pounds in a month! It will add up as time goes on, and your body and mind will thank you.
I wish you the best.