Compulsive Eating at Thanksgiving Dinner

*Sigh*  I knew going into the holiday that it was going to be rough.  I always have a tough time when  there is a buffet of some sort.  I’m pretty good with “meal” foods, but it’s the buffet of desserts that gets me.

The first step of OA is to admit that you are powerless over food. Well, once again I have proven that this is certainly the case with me.  I am weak.  It’s as if I can’t be trusted around certain foods.  It makes me feel disappointed in myself, that I don’ have the self-control to stay away.  I should never take the first bite.  I won’t bore you with the details of what desserts I ate, but suffice to say that I took the proverbial first bite, thought the bites were really good, and had some more bites.  This happened with four different desserts.  At home , on a regular day, I can take the first bite, but when I’m not in my home and it is some occasion where there is a lot of desserts, this sickness clouds my rational thoughts.

Now, the fact of the matter is that I only went over my calorie count by about 250 calories.  I could have done tons more damage, and in the past I would have in a heartbeat.  I consider myself as having kept my abstinence because even though I compulsively ate more dessert than I planned on,  because thankfully I was able to put on the brakes before it got worse, I didn’t continue the eating at home and today I’m right back on track.  But ugh, I still felt a little full after we got back home last night.  I never eat until I’m full.  For SO many years I used to eat until I was physically ill, but for close to two years I have not done that.  I did not like feeling that fullness I felt last night.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that going over my count by 250 calories is not the end of the world.  It was the compulsive behavior that was so upsetting to me.  It is just always a hair away from the surface and can easily cross the surface at any given moment. 

I have put Thanksgiving dinner behind me, there is nothing I can do about it now.  All I can do is make today a good one (which I did) and continue to take it one day at a time.   Still, it sucks to feel week, powerless and out of control.  I know all the tricks, made my plans, didn’t frame the desserts in some negative way and yet, I still succumbed to the compulsion.  It’s like I can talk the talk but I can’t walk the walk. 

I hate that I’m probably going to go through this for the rest of my life.  While I would love to avoid family dinners, special occasions, etc. and stay safe in my home cocoon, I know that that is not a reality.  I have to live my life, which includes these dinners and events.  I need to either find a better way of dealing with the compulsion, or just assume I’m going to go a little overboard, let it happen within reason, be kind to myself about it, then just get back on the horse the following day. 

This sucks.

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7 comments so far

  1. innerpilgrimage on

    Do you think perhaps we’re just programmed from youth to binge on Thanksgiving Day? I was just fine on Wednesday, when I had my Thanksgiving dinner with my family, but I nearly went out of my pretty generous plan (15 calories to spare) on Thanksgiving Day, itself. This was a leftover day. I should have had zero trouble. Yet I guess I ate like it was Thanksgiving . . . because it was the day. Oh, and I had serious emotional eating issues come up (family frustrations), which made it difficult.

    I was not hungry, but I wanted to eat for eating’s sake. I was thinking how nice it would be to just sit down with chips or popcorn or something “snacky” like crackers. In fact, it was so bad I was craving midnight, when I would roll over to Friday’s food plan! It was a relief to hit bedtime, finally.

    • love2eatinpa on

      i know, it is just the whole holiday eating season, isn’t it? everyone just expects to go overboard, it’s almost the norm, it’s socially acceptable. a person who has a normal relationship with food though, can eat too much at the holidays, perhaps put on a few pounds, but can easily go back to their normal eating habits and boom, the weight comes off, it does not start a period of binging. anyway, it sounds like you did some emotional eating. sorry that happened. you are not alone.

  2. Lara on

    Have you had therapy? I have dealt with a lot of the feelings/experiences you have and therapy helped treamendoulsy. Eating 250 cals over your limit is not compulsive eating. That is normal, healthy thing to do now and then. Most normal weight people eat way more than tat on Thanksgiving. Food is meant to be enjoyed. It has taken me a long time to get to that place but it feels great and I hate to hear of other people suffering so much with eating.

    • love2eatinpa on

      hi lara,
      thanks so much for writing. yep, i went to therapy about a year ago and started up again with a different therapist who specializes in compulsive behaviors and is a recovered compulsive eater himself. so great to talk with someone who can not only relate, but have the knowledge to help me! anyway, i really appreciate what you said. i am normal weight, in fact, some would think i’m under weight, but as you can see, i still suffer. if you read my latest blog you’ll see that i’m grappling with not being so strict with myself. i would love to hear more of your story, you are inspiring, do you have a blog?

      • Lara on

        That sounds like a great therapist. The one I went to specialized in the gamut of eating disorders but had not dealt with it herself. I don’t have a blog, just an avid blog reader 🙂 I have gone to both extremes from being diagnosed with AN in college and then years later dealing with binge eating/compulsive overeating. In between I had many years of being super strict and restrictive and maintained a healthy weight (albeit in the lower end of normal range) and I think it was those years of strictness that led to the binge eating. It was like my body said enough is enough, feed me LOL The book Inutitive Eating was very helpful for me and really helped me re-frame my attitude about food and weight, hunger, satifaction, etc. I have re-read it several times and refer back to certain sections frequently. I think I will always be a “work in progress” in regards to weight/food and will always have to be mindful of my natural tendency to eat emotionally but the freedom that comes from living (and eating) normally is truly wonderful.

      • love2eatinpa on

        thanks so much for sharing your history with me. i definitely want to get that book! i just went on amazon to order it and there seem to be a bunch of books that start with “intuitive eating”. could i trouble you to please give me the full title/author? i too feel like i will always be a work in a progress, just like an alcoholic is always an alcoholic no many how years sober they are. you are inspiring! i would love to reach the wonderful place you are at now. please keep reading me and writing if you have the time. it’s always great to hear from someone who has made it to the other side. : )

      • Lara on

        Sure, the full title is Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole and Else Resch. In many ways that book helped me more than therapy. The authors have a website too: http://www.intuitiveeating.com/
        (no way affiliatd with the book, just a big fan)!


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