Archive for the ‘compulsive overeater’ Tag

Dream Dinner Out as Non-Compulsive Overeater

Man, what I would give to be able to have a normal relationship with food, instead of being a compulsive overeater, even just for one night out to eat. 

 Here is how this dream dinner at a restaurant would look…  (cue the dream sequence music…)  I would read over the entire menu and see what I was in the mood for, regardless of whether or not the food had a cream sauce, if it was breaded and/or fried, if it was healthy, or what the starch being served along with it was.  Of course I would be perusing this menu as I enjoyed an exotic alcoholic beverage.

I would order whatever I felt like, maybe even opt for a creamy soup instead of a salad, or oh my goodness, maybe I would even order an appetizer that was fried.  I would have a piece or two of the bread and spread some butter on it.  I would be served all of these foods and be able to stop eating them when I felt like I’d had enough.  I would leave the remainder sitting in front of me, no problem, feeling completely happy and satiated with whatever portion I just ate.

To finish the meal, I would choose any dessert that looked good to me.  I would eat some of it until I was satisfied, then simply be able to just move the plate away or sit with it right in front of me  and not give it another thought, have no longing for it whatsoever.

In this dream, if I perhaps felt I ate too much on this night out, I would quite simply eat a bit less the next day and it wouldn’t phase me a bit.  No hunger pains or obsession for the same decadent foods.  Ho-hum, just another day.

How I wish that this wasn’t a dream.  How I wish I could eat in a restaurant just as I described,  just like anyone who has a normal relationship with food, and that the above situation would just be a regular night of eating out for me.

What would your dream dinner out as a person who has a normal relationship with food  look like?

Advertisements

The Pediatrician Confirmed our Fears

My husband and I thought that our newly-minted 10-yr-old daughter has been looking pretty thin over the last six to nine months.  She had always been a picky eater (like her mom), but her zen for desserts/junk food seemed to be changing.  Whereas prior to that time, on any given day you could count on her to be into having junk food when it was offered, she started to decline such foods on a random basis. 

My first thoughts were of happiness – my daughter had a normal relationship with food and didn’t eat just to eat, and could listen to her body’s signals that she was full or just plain not hungry – woohoo!!!!  What I would give to be  be that way!

Quickly though, those thoughts changed.  As someone who started becoming a compulsive overeater at right around her age, my radar of course went up.  So my thoughts turned to – what effect me and my eating habits and/or the peer pressure at school were having on her.

Because of my issues and being acutely aware of all the body image issues out there for kids these days, my husband and I never used the word “fat” in our house.  You would never hear the words “do these jeans make my butt look big” or the like, because we didn’t want our kids to hear that kind of stuff.  Well, as much as we’d like to keep our kids in a bubble of our protected world, they of course heard those terms and phrases at school and on disney shows (!!), so those terms came into our home.

She had always been an average weight for most of her life, but now she was looking decidedly thin.  So at her 10-yr check up last week, our fears were confirmed.  Apprarently, at this age, kids are supposed to gain about 5 pounds a year.  Well, my daughter grew only 1-1/4 inches and LOST 2 lbs over the course of the past year!  So compared to last year, her height went from being the 45th percentile to the 30th and her weight went from the 50th percentile to the 20th percentile. 

So the doctor wants to see her back again in six weeks to see if there has been any change in her weight.  At that time, the doctor may or may not send our daughter for blood work to make sure it is not a medical issue.

Assuming there is no medical problem, as she is otherwise healthy, I can’t help but wonder what part of this weight issue is from what she mimics of me and what part is peer related. After the nurse weighed and measured her, and we were waiting for the doctor to come in, I was looking at my little record book of her heights and weights and noticed the drop.  I casually mentioned it to my daughter and she made a comment about not wanting to get fat.  I know that is not something ever said in this house, however, I am her mother, her main care-giver, and I’m sure some of my sickness is evident to her in some fasion.  *sigh*  I have not told her (or my younger son) about my eating disorder because I think she is too young to really comprehend it.  But I will definitely have a talk with her about it when my husband and I feel the time is right.

So my husband and I are supposed to, in a relaxed fashion,  encourage her to eat more, such as having a snack before bed, which we haven’t done in the past.  We are hoping that by her hearing from the doctor that she needs to eat more, and our gentle prodding, that she will put some weight back on.

I Got into the Brownies

So last night we hosted a handful of my daughter’s girlfriends and our immediate family to celebrate my daughter’s 10th birthday.  Double digits!  My daughter opted not to have cake, instead she wanted brownies and ice cream.  If this were a few months ago, I would have said that brownies are my kryptonite.  If I have learned anything from my therapist, it is that how I frame things, like using the word kryptonite, has a huge impact on how I look at certain foods.  So I will correctly then say that brownies (especially homemade ones) are one of my favorite things on the planet.  My daughter and I made two batches – one plain, and one using m&m’s to spell out “happy birthday” on the top.

Well, I was doing great serving it to the kids, barely had a taste of the moist, chewy good stuff.  My husband ate a m&m brownie and told me it was really great.  Thanks, honey!  Ten minutes later he tells me the same thing.  All good intentions of course, he was just praising the chef, I get that and appreciate it.  (Although at the end of the night, after mentioning a third time how good the brownies were, he realized, being aware of my sickness, he should not have kept mentioning to me how good they were.  Isn’t hindsight great?!?!?) 

So where was I…. oh, so I was serving kids brownies and ice cream and I’m thinking – deep breath, you can do this, girl, but the need to eat some was starting to really grow.  It soon got to the point where it was practical to combine the plain brownies with the m&m-covered brownies to make more room on the table, so I consolidated and took one pan (the ones that had the plain brownies in it) into the kitchen, to, well, quite frankly, eat the stuff left behind and then wash the pan. 

Though there wasn’t a lot to eat, maybe a brownie’s worth of scrapings, I ate them down so fast.  Instead of slowly enjoying every bite and savoring, I ate them quickly because I did not want someone to walk in and catch me scraping every last crumb of the left behinds from the baking pan *sigh*. 

So when the party was wrapping up and I was bringing everything into the kitchen to clean up, etc, there sat front of me the 1/2 full pan of brownies that had both the plain and m&m’s.  The m&m ones, which my husband raved about, were calling to me.  Unfortunately, my sickness clouded my rational thinking and I answered the call.  My husband was right, they were really good. 

I ended up eating two of them and all told went over in a calories by a little bit, but not too terrible (thank goodness I ate a small dinner knowing that I could get in to trouble with the treats we baked).  Once again though, dammit it, I inhaled them, instead of savoring them.  On a good note, I am pleased to say that after eating the two I was able to put on the brakes and the brownie eating did not go any further.  

There are still about a dozen or so sitting on my counter right now.  They are not calling to me, but that can change at a moments notice.  I will do my best to be strong.

Why Can’t I Just Slow Down?

As a compulsive overeater, even while abstinent, I have a terrible habit of always eating like it’s the last food I’m ever going to be able to eat, and if I can eat it fastest I will win some spectacular prize. 

I know I’m supposed to slow down and savor whatever it is I’m eating, (and I do enjoy all the abstinent foods I eat all day) but I find it very difficult to slow down and enjoy it.  I mean, my geez, sometimes I don’t even swallow my food  before putting the next bite into my mouth.  It’s like I can’t shovel it in there fast enough. 

I know the tricks like taking a drink, putting my eating utensil down or wiping my mouth with a napkin between bites, but these things do not come to me naturally.  I have to consciously think of doing it and while I may be able to be conscious of it for a bite or two, it quickly flies out of my consciousness and I’m back to scarfing mode.   Why is that what comes naturally to most people, is so difficult for me?   

Most everything in my world is rush-rush-rush, go-go-go, so it makes sense, I guess, that I subconsciously apply that mentality to my eating as well.  I’m always in a rush to finish up so I can move on to the next thing.  I gotta slow down, but how?

Why Can't I Just Slow Down?

As a compulsive overeater, even while abstinent, I have a terrible habit of always eating like it’s the last food I’m ever going to be able to eat, and if I can eat it fastest I will win some spectacular prize. 

I know I’m supposed to slow down and savor whatever it is I’m eating, (and I do enjoy all the abstinent foods I eat all day) but I find it very difficult to slow down and enjoy it.  I mean, my geez, sometimes I don’t even swallow my food  before putting the next bite into my mouth.  It’s like I can’t shovel it in there fast enough. 

I know the tricks like taking a drink, putting my eating utensil down or wiping my mouth with a napkin between bites, but these things do not come to me naturally.  I have to consciously think of doing it and while I may be able to be conscious of it for a bite or two, it quickly flies out of my consciousness and I’m back to scarfing mode.   Why is that what comes naturally to most people, is so difficult for me?   

Most everything in my world is rush-rush-rush, go-go-go, so it makes sense, I guess, that I subconsciously apply that mentality to my eating as well.  I’m always in a rush to finish up so I can move on to the next thing.  I gotta slow down, but how?

I Survived Halloween Night

So I went into Halloween with a plan – light dinner and then I would be able to eat four pieces of my favorite candy.  Not the most well balanced nutritional meals, but hey, every once in a while you have to shake things up a bit, right?  So as we were out walking the neighborhood, which I’m sure burned oh, maybe,  a whopping 50 calories or so, I asked my kids periodically to please give me that particular candy until I got to the magic number of four. 

At one point, my husband (bless his heart!) asked – should I be taking these away from you?  But I told him,  that I was fine, that it was all part of the master plan.

So after we got home and the kids spread their respective candy hauls all over the table so we could go through it and make sure it looked safe as well as giving the opportunity to give away the stuff they didn’t want, I admittedly, when faced with a full table full of candy ate – one milk dud, one whopper, one bite each of a fun size milky way and a fun size nestle crunch.  I included the calories along with my four favs and though I went a little over in calories, I was quite pleased with myself.  Years ago, this night would have included eating candy after candy in reckless abandon, hardly even stopping to savor and taste what I was eating.

So a little later on, after the kids were in bed, as my husband and I were watching the World Series, I got hungry.  It’s interesting that even though I went a little bit over my allotted calories, I was still hungry.  Just goes to show how eating the good food keeps you satisfied longer.  I popped a piece of gum in my mouth and satisfied the hunger.

So yes, the kids’ candy is still in the house,  but there is always some amount of candy in the house from all their class parties and birthday parties they both go to and I’m able to deal.  Last night is just a bigger candy deal than just about any other night.  And this marks the beginning of the dreaded, for us compulsive overeaters, holiday season where there is always parties and food, food, food.  But whoa, I’m getting ahead of myself here, I need to slow down and take things one day at a time instead of already looking at the next few month and panicking.

Anyway, there is one more really good thing that came out of last night — keeping things under control led to  hitting 22 months of abstinence today.  No piece of candy would have been worth blowing that.

Before You Take that First Bite…

One of the things that really sucks about this addiction is that when trying to be abstinent, you know that you can’t even eat just one or two of something because you know that one or two is not enough.  I mean, who can really eat just two m&m’s or two potato chips and be satisfied?  A person who has a normal relationship with food can, but not us lucky folks who are compulsive overeaters.  One of the key sayings in OA – “before you take that first bite…” is not a key saying for nothing.   They are truly words to try to live by because that first bite always gets you into trouble.

It’s really, (no pun intended!), hard to digest that there are some foods that I will never be able to eat for the rest of my life if I am to live abstinently/binge-free.  Take for instance, one of those delicious gazillion-calorie blizzards at Dairy Queen.  If I were to indulge in one, two things would happen:  1) I would literally eat up 1/3 to 1/2 of my allotted calories for the day, which would leave me pretty darn hungry for a good part of the day (which would suck!), and 2) I fear that eating it would send me over the edge into bingeland .    Neither of these things would be a good situation.   I don’t want to lose almost two years of abstinence and start from scratch again.  No enjoyment of food, no matter how good it is, for a mere few minutes, is worth that.

This being abstinent thing is something that I want to do for the rest of my life, because I don’t want, for so many reasons, to go back to binging.  And to be abstinent, there are foods that I will probably never eat again for the rest of my life and that kinda sucks.  But being abstinent is a not just a temporary diet, it is a life change.  It is a life change that has many benefits.  So while it’s quite difficult, almost impossible sometimes, I believe it is worth it.

So Hungry Lately

I don’t know whether it’s my hormones or from a new workout (that used some unused muscles) that I did on friday, but man, I have been ravenously hungry lately.  It’s tough to be a compulsive overeater in a normal situation, but when you are starving, it makes thing even more difficult than normal.  The little tricks I use like sucking a low-calorie hard candy or drinking no-cal fluids don’t work when my appetite is this strong.  I have somehow been managing to get through it without binging, and for that I am grateful.  Every day is a struggle when the “demons” come calling and tempting me.  Fortunately, I have been stronger than the demons and have not broken my abstinence.  One day at a time, one meal at a time, one hour at a time.  I have made it through so far and hope to continue.

Less Than Two Weeks Until Halloween…

What used to be one of my favorite times of the year is coming up – Halloween.  While it is really fun to take your kids trick or treating , to see and enjoy the holiday through their eyes, it is also fun to hold their candy bags for them (which of course always get too heavy for them to carry halfway through your trek around the neighborhood) and be able to take and munch on your favorite treats. 

It’s so easy to justify that you are doing so much walking, surely you must be burning off the calories from eating X amount of candy bars, right?  Then you have all that candy sitting at home – the stuff your kids collected, plus the stuff that you gave out to trick-or-treaters.  Talk about a nightmare for a compulsive overeater!

If that wasn’t bad enough, in an attempt to make things even more fun and memorable for the kids this year, last weekend I decided to bake a pumpkin pie with them and to roast the pumpkin seeds we scooped out of the pumpkins we carved.  While it is a good thing the pie came out tasty, now it is sitting on the counter beckoning to me, along with the different flavored seeds we roasted.  

If I could just grab a few seeds or cut myself a small sliver of pie and be happy, all would be well with the world.  But of course that is not the case with me.  The sickness in me rears it’s ugly head and has me going back for more.  Though I count the calories as best I can, work them into my day and at the end of the day it all works out fine, it’s this crazy compulsive, addictive behavior of mine that I wish I didn’t have to deal with.  It would be so easy to just devour all the baked goods and subsequent candy that will be all over our house soon, but I have to stay in control.  I need to reach another monthly milestone of remaining binge-free, abstinent.  It’s just not worth it, to break all my hard work and start over again.   The delicious taste of the food for the 30 seconds it takes to scarf it down, isn’t worth all the digust and fullness I feel afterwards.  I don’t ever want to go there again, but it’s hard.  Every day is a challenge, halloween season or not.

How I Told My Husband I was a Compulsive Overeater, Final

Here is the final part of the letter, part III, that I gave to my husband close to two years ago, when I realized I was a compulsive overeater and food addict.

I do not eat in order to live, I live to eat. I think about food all the time, what I’m going to eat and how long until I can eat it. What I’ve learned is that there has to be a reason why I compulsively overeat and I need to find out what the reason (or reasons) is. I am apparently eating to fill up a void or emptiness in myself, something I feel like I’m lacking in myself or in my life. It may be some kind of insecurity, I’m not sure. I do know that I have to figure out what it is so I can get a hold of it instead of letting it keep a hold of me.

I hope that admitting this to myself and to you will be a positive thing for me. I recently ordered a book by overeaters anonymous so I can maybe help myself that way and get myself started in the right direction. Maybe I will eventually need to go to speak with someone. So at this point, you probably have a couple of things going through your mind. The first is probably, geez, what kind of whacko am I married to? Hopefully the second thing that is going through your mind is – what can I do to help her? This one I can assist you with. Going forward, would you please stop bringing treats home for me? I totally recognize that you are being thoughtful bringing home something you know that I will enjoy and I appreciate that. However, I hope you now understand that treats are often a problem for me. I’m sure that with your love and support, I can conquer this.

Thanks for reading this. I love you.