I eat, it's what I do. If I am happy, bored, angry, anxious, stressed, worried or excited. I eat.
Compulsive Overeating defined
Compulsive Overeating defined
People suffering with Compulsive Overeating have what is characterized as an "addiction" to food, using food and eating as a way to hide from their emotions, to fill a void they feel inside, and to cope with daily stresses and problems in their lives.
People suffering with this Eating Disorder tend to be overweight, are usually aware that their eating habits are abnormal, but find little comfort because of society's tendency to stereotype the "overweight" individual. Words like, "just go on a diet" are as emotionally devastating to a person suffering Compulsive Overeating as "just eat" can be to a person suffering Anorexia. A person suffering as a Compulsive Overeater is at health risk for a heart attack, high blood-pressure and cholesterol, kidney disease and/or failure, arthritis and bone deterioration, and stroke.
Men and Women who are Compulsive Overeaters will sometimes hide behind their physical appearance, using it as a blockade against society (common in survivors of sexual abuse). They feel guilty for not being "good enough," shame for being overweight, and generally have a very low self-esteem... they use food and eating to cope with these feelings, which only leads into the cycle of feeling them ten-fold and trying to find a way to cope again. With a low self esteem and often constant need for love and validation he/she will turn to obsessive episodes of binging and eating as a way to forget the pain and the desire for affection.
Make sure you read the powerful quote at the bottom of the original page
I was a nice lean kid, I swam competitively from the time I was 6 years old until the summer I was 13. I spent preschool through fourth grade at a private school. There was one classroom per grade. I knew everybody, for the most part we got along but just like in a family kids bicker. I loved my friends and was comfortable there. My brothers' experience at the private school was not as kind.
For a multitude of reasons my parents decided to move. In the meantime we switched to the local elementary school for my fifth grade year. At semester the new house was nearly done and we switched to the new school district. At almost the exact same time I got braces, not the cute little squares they glue to the middle of your tooth now but the big metal bands surrounding each tooth, oh and I started getting breasts...before the other girls. I don't think I made a single friend through that 5th grade year.
6th grade rolled around and I did make one close friend. She had moved from a different school and she was a lifeline for me. By the middle of 7th grade I was starting to really gain weight. I was 5'3" and 135 pounds that spring for our National Junior Honor Society induction. I remember having to shop in the adult department for the first time to find something to wear. I didn't think too much about it yet but there was a group of very cruel girls who pointed it out, over and over and over again. Within a couple of years there was a handful of boys giving me grief as well.
My closest friend moved away after 7th grade and although we stayed in touch I was left searching for friends again. I made a couple of good ones and met lots of nice kids, one of those friendships has lasted a lifetime. I made some friends in theatre and forensics in high school. I got my drivers' license at 16 and started working at Steak 'n Shake...yeah, that was real good for the girl with food issues already, and my second job (which I kept into my first years of college) at Country Kitchen, again really wise decision on my part. I met my first serious boyfriend there. On graduation day I was 187 pounds. I thought I was so big and so huge. If only I could push a button and go back and look like the absolutely stunning pictures of me when I thought I was so incredibly large.
I went away to college on academic and theatre scholarships, not far but far enough to actually be away. My boyfriend dumped me after over a year and less than four months after my first sexual experience. My friend sexually assaulted me. My life spiraled. I was making some friends but no one close enough to really share with yet. I was too ashamed to tell my parents. I changed dorms with the excuse that I wanted a private room. I started hanging out with friends, a little drinking, a lot of throwing my needy self at boys. A lot of self-medicating with food. I think that is when the already serious problems began escalating. Lots of drama later and I completely screwed my junior year of college up, I appealed an academic suspension and was able to give it another semester which I blew. I transferred to a small private school closer to home in hopes that I could pull myself together. It didn't happen. I didn't graduate.
I went to work after having run up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. I was 24 when I met my husband and we had a long commute for our relationship (four hours one way) until a few months before our wedding almost two years later. We spent the next almost 4 years battling infertility. In May of 2004 we finally got pregnant, with TWINS! I was very careful about eating the right way but a twin pregnancy and two months of bedrest weren't good for the food issues at all. I gave birth and dropped most of my pregnancy weight almost immediately then spent two years gaining it back.
I went on antidepressants 3 years ago to treat PMDD which made my world balance for the first time in a long time. I started Weight Watchers and I lost 40 pounds. We couldn't afford the prescription I was on and it had to be changed and with it the control over my eating was gone. I missed a WW meeting and then another and finally quit going altogether. It took a year but I gained 30 of it back and then SURPRISE we were pregnant. After nearly four years trying to conceive the twins this was nothing we expected and nothing we were prepared for but I was thrilled, after my husband got past the shock he was too.
I was soooo careful while I was pregnant with our little miracle. I only gained 15 pounds. I was able to breastfeed him from point one which helped me lose my pregnancy weight. I was able to wean off of the not-quite-as-effective antidepressant because my PMDD symptoms were gone while nursing. I started gaining my pregnancy weight back. The stress of twin four year olds and an infant wasn't something I was able to cope with well. I think things have really spiraled for me again. I now weight what I weighed at 9 months pregnant with twins. It is horrifying really. I have friends who weigh the same as the amount of weight I need to lose to be healthy. It is crazy, it is depressing.
I was approached by my mother yesterday. She is terrified that I am killing myself, she wants me to be healthy and strong. I want to be healthy and happy. I don't want to sit around thinking about what I want to eat next. If I can sneak some kind of crap while the kids are in bed and my husband is out mowing the lawn. Wondering if I will be able to stop at one ice cream treat or if I will eat the box full before I am done. We discussed surgical intervention. I have thought a lot about it but I don't think it is something I can do right now, it would entail too much cost and too much sacrifice from my family. I want to learn control and I want to continue being able to eat with my family, not to only have the ability to eat a half a cup of food at a time.
So, my plan for now is to:
1) Talk to my general practioner this week and go back on my original antidepressant (which now costs 1/3 of what it did three years ago).
2) To seek help from a counselor specializing in eating disorders
3) To get back to Weight Watchers or use Spark People to track my food intake and keep my calories down each day, to do it honestly even when I overeat.
4) To be accountable to my mother by weighing in front of her once a week.
5) To find and attend an Overeaters Anonymous meeting or many.
I am praying that over the next months I find some answers as to why I am so out of control.
This blog is for me, it is to help me remain accountable but if it helps one single person out there I will be thrilled. Please cross your digits and lift up prayers, if you believe, for my success.
Food is my addiction, unlike other addictions food is not something that can be eliminated from my life in its entirety. Please let me find balance.