I am a compulsive overeater

A Self-Love reflection from Mara

Today I love my body, even though it is so sore from working and covered in mosquito bites. I love that it’s tough, and so rarely lets me down no matter how much I ask. I love that as I learn to listen to it better, it responds with equal love and nurture. I love that learning to take care of it isn’t as difficult as it once was, and I love this newfound relationship is more about feeling good than punishing it for its cravings. I love that learning to eat food in moderation means that I can have chocolate cake without guilt, and I love the feeling of my stomach being satisfied without being weighed down and stuffed beyond reason.

I am a compulsive overeater.

I was reading through Mary’s post today

I ate because something in my brain told me I needed to eat everything.  If it was gone I would be fine.  So I ate all the food without thinking of the calories or caring much what it was or what it did to me.  I was obsessed with food and knew it had to disappear for me to clear my mind.  So I often ended up getting rid of it by eating it.  I ate because quite frankly I couldn’t stop thinking about the food.  I knew that once it was gone I couldn’t think about it because it wouldn’t be there to torture me with it’s existence.

As she stated in the post, she wanted to cry…and so did I.

I don’t want to admit that I am a compulsive overeater. Hello, my name is Michelle..and I am a compulsive overeater.

If you leave me alone after an hour of telling myself ‘No’ to the desserts, I will more than likely take ‘samples’ of as many things as I can. Simply stating that ‘it was so good, I had to have one more little bite’

-or-

If left with left-overs from the party of the night before, I will most likely eat them the same night, even if I am not hungry or for breakfast as quickly as I can.

It’s as though food talks to me. Well, the food/binge monster in my brain. I suppose it’s similar in many ways to having a mental illnesses where voices honestly do tell you to do things.

After the guest post from the Compulsive Overeater I went to Overeaters Anonymous and did their little quiz

Welcome to Overeaters Anonymous. This series of questions may help you determine if you are a compulsive eater.

  1. Do you eat when you’re not hungry? —YES
  2. Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason? —YES
  3. Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating? —YES
  4. Do you give too much time and thought to food? —YES
  5. Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone? —NO
  6. Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time? —SOMETIMES
  7. Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone? —YES
  8. Is your weight affecting the way you live your life? —YES
  9. Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal? —YES
  10. Do you resent others telling you to “use a little willpower” to stop overeating? —NO
  11. Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet “on your own” whenever you wish? —NO
  12. Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime? —NO
  13. Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble? —YES
  14. Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition? —NO
  15. Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy? —YES

Have you answered yes to three or more of these questions? If so, it is probable that you have or are well on your way to having a compulsive eating problem.

9/15 — YES and 1 sometimes. That’s 10/15…66.6% 2/3..

It’s a very VERY sobering to say….I have a problem with food. Me and food have a very fucked up relationship. But, can I say something..something that hit me today…

I FEEL FREE. It’s like I’ve admitted where I am. I have given myself a tool, a label, a strategy and approach that makes sense. I suppose sometimes the whole process that I’ve gone through has been one of self-discovery and self-admittance.

Since doing the quiz..and trying to ignore the results..and then reading through Mary’s post…I am ok with it all. What’s even more amazing is the concious level that I am able to process the thoughts that I have EVERYDAY when it comes to food.

Example:  I have left-over pizza in my fridge and cheesecake

Normally:

  • Michelle, just eat it…even if it makes you sick. It’s gonna get soggy. You deserve it. You’ll work out double time tonight for the cheescake and pizza if you eat it today. You’ll eat a small dinner.’
    • Spend HOURS trying to silence those thoughts.
    • Then binge.
    • Feel terrible.
    • Workout out of obligation and try to start over tommorrow.

With this new awareness

  • Michelle, just eat it…even if it makes you sick.”
    • I don’t want to interfere with my cardio workout, so it’s not worth it.
  • It’s gonna get soggy.
    • It was so good, and you know what..if it get’s soggy that’s ok. If it doesn’t get soggy..it’s not going anywhere and I can have it later today and/or tomorrow.
  • You deserve it.
    • That’s really not how I am going to look at food.
  • You’ll work out double time tonight for the cheesecake and pizza if you eat it today.
    • I will no longer punish myself with working out.
  • You’ll eat a small dinner.
    • Bullshit I am going out to Chinese food. And you know what? I will choose something that is reasonable. You, little binge monster…won’t be able to make an appearance there either.

It’s amazing HOW much I think about food. To be totally honest, it’s exhausting. As Mary wrote, it’s hard to tell people what it’s like to have this constant conversation in your mind.

My name is Michelle. I am a newly self-identified compulsive overeater…but I am free with knowing that it’s not all that I am AND that I feel more strength to overcome this than I have felt ever.

~M

31 thoughts on “I am a compulsive overeater

  1. MizFit says:

    I know I always say it but LORD WOMAN you are lightyears ahead of where I was at your age.

    Where you said “its exhausting” completely resonated with me.
    I worked with people with addictions (nonfood) and they made the same remark CONSISTENTLY.

    Ive worked with people who (eyeroll HERE) didnt believe that food could be an addiction (other counselors) and your words here made it so flippin clear that INDEED it is an addiction like all others and one which you cancancan over come.

    • Mish says:

      It is an addiction. My body physically reacts to sugar. I get ‘high’ then I crash. Much like a heroine addict…I can imagine. If that makes sense.

  2. John says:

    Before this year I would have scored 14/15. If I don’t make my new changes for life it will be 14/15 again I’m sure.

  3. love2eatinpa says:

    hi michelle,

    i found it quite freeing as well to find out and embrace there was a ‘label’ for this food problem of mine.

    i feel kinda bad that i’m the one who set the stage for you to take the test, but on the other hand, it does feel good to know what you’re working with now, right?

    embrace it, put it in it’s place in your life. one place, not the whole place, as you so well know.

  4. Marisa (Loser for Life) says:

    I can answer yes to most of those questions also. I have know this for quite some time. After much and many years of beating myself up, I have finally realized that I can’t feel guilty anymore. It is what it is. There are days when this issue will rear it’s ugly head and I have to try my best to get through it, but if I fall, I have to move on. No beating myself up. I don’t think it’s ever a condition that will go away. I can push it back, deep in the depths of myself, but I don’t think it will ever go away. Managing it the best I can is all I can do.

  5. megzzwinsatlife says:

    O M gosh Michele what an eye opener.. I answered Yes to every question except one and I am in tears as I sit here and write this… I never considered myself a compulsive overeater but I am the definition of one.. Just last night I bought all this junk food and sat in my room and ate it and then instantly felt guilty and then told myself I will start tomorrow.. I can’t go one through this cycle anymore as it is killing my body and killing me.. I am going to end up losing everything in life.. My boyfriend says he is sick of me being tired.. I keep going in this horrible cycle and it needs to stop.. In-fact it has to stop now!!! I want to get married and have kids and nobody wants to be with someone who can’t get control of themselves..

    Thank you for posting this and letting me share how I feel.. It is a huge eye-opener.. You truly are an amazing person!!

    • Mish says:

      ((HUGS)) God, I can TOTALLY relate to how you’re feeling. It’s SO not easy. It’s damn hard to kick the old habit. I remember when I was dating my ex, I would binge, feel terrible, stay away from him..no cuddles/sex/hugs etc. I always felt like I was on egg shells cause it was too much to let him love me..cause I didn’t love myself. I am going to say that perhaps it’s time to speak to someone about it. Perhaps say to him, your BF, that you’re really having a hard time and that you’re taking steps to help yourself. Remember that it’s not easy, but that you do deserve to love yourseld. FURTHER, e-mail me at anytime.and I mean that.do it!

  6. Merry Mary says:

    This one thing makes me glad that I wrote that post months ago and finally worked up the courage to post it. Because you know what? It’s okay. It’s okay to admit this. It’s okay to struggle with this. I know how exhausting it is and how much you just want to be done with it.

    But I truly believe self reflection (with help hehe) is a good thing. You now KNOW what the problem is. Just like a medical condition, once you know what something is you can go about finding a way to treat it. And you are already on your way with that, by reframing your thoughts. That’s still my hardest point and without support I can still totally crumble on my resolve and go back to the old way of thinking. But I firmly believe in you and the fact that you can overcome this. You are wiser and stronger than almost anyone I’ve met.

  7. missyrayn says:

    Michelle I’m so proud of you for acknowledging this. Now that you know what the issue is you can start working towards getting healthy. And Mary and others can show you it can be done.

  8. Tay says:

    Go you!!! You came out with some great self knowledge in this post. And I can relate to it all. I ALWAYS take little samples of things whether I’m hungry or not. Just because it’s there. And i really need to start working on thtat.

    • Mish says:

      It’s the ‘costco/sam clubs’ syndrome as I call it. it’s hard to kick..and you know what..I may never be totally past it..but I am SO much more aware of it now.

  9. RNegade says:

    Michelle, Welcome to the club. Free lifetime membership! Millions strong! Best of all, we’re all human, just like you, and none of us is perfect. Or needs to be. The best part? You never have to be alone with this problem. Support and understanding is available from many different sources. And you are already a wonderful help to others.

    Hugs!

    “The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”

  10. Steve says:

    Oh my god…

    ‘Michelle, just eat it…even if it makes you sick. It’s gonna get soggy. You deserve it. You’ll work out double time tonight for the cheescake and pizza if you eat it today. You’ll eat a small dinner.’

    That sounds just like me, except my name is Steve..but you get the idea. And that little quiz thing? Shit. I rockin’ a yes to almost all of those questions. I knew I had food issues, but never really considered myself a compulsive overeater, at least to the point where I could be labeled as such.

    Wow. Welcome to the club (woot?)!

  11. Kara (@ Kara's Marathon) says:

    You. Are. AMAZING.

    Admitting it and acknowledging it really is the hardest part — it’s all downhill from here! I don’t mean to be flippant about it — it takes tons of hard work and reflection, and there are setbacks along the way — but I’m confident you are in the right frame of mind to overcome this and come out better and happier on the other side.

    Good luck, and congratulations again!

  12. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' says:

    You’re definitely not alone! I so appreciate your honesty on the blog. I, too, still have visits from the binge-monster– he’s a hard thing to tackle!! (oh, and I answered YES to almost every question, too!)

    I shared my story on my blog today, and it feels just a little better having it “out there.” I feel like food addiction, like any other, is something you just have to take in baby steps. We’ve admitted that we have problems. Now on to conquering them!!

    Keep your chin up, and tell that binge-monster who’s boss! 😉

    • Mish says:

      Megan you’re a strong woman to be sharing your story. It’s such an important thing and I hope that you continue to heal and grow. You totally can.

  13. amanda says:

    I can relate and answered so many yes to the questions. I am actually thinking about attending a OA meeting next week in my area. I talked to my husband about it, it wasn’t a long tark because this is hard to talk about with anyone face to face but I did it.

    • Mish says:

      ((hugs)) remember that it may be hard at times, that you’ll feel like you’ll never get through it…but YOU will. E-mail me anytime..please.

  14. Sarah Mitchell says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I, too, have grappled with food and eating when I’m not hungry. Call it what you want – emotional eating, overeating, compulsive eating, pigging out, lack of self-control, bingeing, – I’m of the opinion there’s something chemical at work here.

    My family is riddled with alcoholics. I’m not one of them but I absolutely have the same sort of issues when it comes to sugar. After decades of struggle and out-right battle, I have to believe that the way my body metabolizes sugar must, in some way, have something to do with the way alcohol can grip some people.

    Having a food problem is much harder than a drug or alcohol problem, in my my opinion, because abstinence is not an option. What I have discovered is if I eliminate sugar and all artificial sweeteners from my diet, it’s easier every day to manage all the rest of my food intake.

    The sad part about this problem you, the rest of your avid readers and I suffer from is that it gets all twisted up in our psyche causing loads of self-esteem issues. Society is not aware. I don’t believe much research has been done, really. The quick-fixes give us all a sense that we can master our problem and get on with our lives but the underlying problems continue. I can’t help thinking after years of dieting that I was never really addressing the problem at all. Instead, I was needlessly and fruitlessly torturing myself. Once you fail at a diet, then failure becomes part of the mix.

    I discovered the sugar thing in my middle-age. As you’ve already discovered, once you can put a name to something or even have an explanation, the whole thing gets easier to manage. Self acceptance is important. I know I will never be without this issue in my life. Like recovering alcoholics, I know I have to take it one day at a time and get to a sugar-free diet if I succumb to temptation.

    For me, honestly facing my issues was the first step to progress. I avoided doing it for years but now that I have it’s all so much easier. As someone said before me, it’s exhausting to be in a churn all the time.

    • Mish says:

      I couldn’t have written it better. It is an addiction and if someone doesn’t believe me..then they should watch me shove 10 cookies in my face in 15 minutes, then walk 15 minutes in blistering heat to buy an ice cream, eat it, then go back and buy another one from a different cashier. Then come home to bake cookies and eat 1/2 of them, then eat dinner..and go to be crying. Perhaps they could jump in my head and hear the ‘validating’ voices that keep be shoving food in my face.

      I get it know though. It’s just part of who I am.

      Thank you for writing that Sarah. I know that so many people can relate to your words.

  15. Linda P. says:

    I love this post, only sorry I’m late in seeing it. I’m also a compulsive overeater but I’ve been in a program for almost 10 years and I just want you to know the difference between you knowing you’re a compulsive overeater and in actually going to a program and recovering with other people and a higher power of your conception. The difference is that you’re still using willpower, you’re still making a decision, and you still will have those food thoughts flying into your head day and night – something we in program call “the obsession of craving.” I know it well.

    In program, that’s gone – like a gossamer wisp. Lifted off you. I, who once couldn’t stay on a diet through LUNCH each day, who used to weep after my weight watchers weigh ins, who used to plan my binges like an army general, who weighed 211 pounds always and now weigh 130 always, haven’t had my binge foods for 9 1/2 years and not because I’ve gotten so great at dieting. Trust me, it would’ve been impossible for me to get great at dieting. It’s because now I can’t concentrate on the objects of my obsession, not that THAT makes any sense!

    Every day I’m grateful for this amazing thing that happened to me, that I got to start living life and not just living food.

    • Mish says:

      That’s fantastic Linda. I am really glad that you have found a space whereby you have found success 🙂 Such an inspiration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s