Thursday, March 11, 2010

Confession of a Compulsive Eater.

Did you ever wonder how some people are just naturally thin? You know the ones I’m talking about. They eat like teenage boys after running a marathon and yet look like they could be blown to Oz by a strong breeze. These are the ones who only gained 15 pounds during their pregnancies and after having the baby shimmied back into their size 3 jeans to head home. What makes these skinny minnies so…skinny?

I have a theory that there is no such thing as a truly “naturally” thin person. Sure some of us are genetically predisposed to gain weight more or less easily than others… But the real difference seems to be in how these thin folks relate to food.

I did some looking on line to see what a typical thin person ate in a day. The answers were as varied as the people responding. But all of them had one thing in common, their relationship with food. They ate as much as they wanted to, until they were satisfied, and then they didn’t eat any more. They didn’t stress about food. They didn’t obsess over it the way that I do. If they wanted to eat pizza for lunch, they had it. And if they got home and weren’t hungry… they didn’t eat! They didn’t feel the need to clean their plate. On holidays they tended to indulge, BUT only for that one day. Treats were…treats. They only ate them occasionally, not every day, let alone at every meal.

Sometimes I feel that I eat like a convicted felon. I eat every meal like it’s my last. I savor every bite of my meal like I may never eat again- even if I’m full. I never went without food, so I’m not sure where this is coming from. Maybe because I was urged to finish my meal before I could leave the table as a kid? That seems like an extreme reaction to typical parenting. I am aware that the way I eat sometimes isn’t healthy or normal because if I was honest with myself I would acknowledge that I hid a lot of what I ate from others. I would pig out on McDonalds at lunch and eat in my car so no one would see me. I would sneak extra bites in the kitchen before I set out dinner on the table. I was treating food like an alcoholic treats a bottle of vodka.

Why? I just don’t get it. I have a great life and a great family and an amazing husband and child. I don’t believe in “food addiction” in the sense that the daytime talk circuit has put out there. I think that there is a difference between true addiction and compulsive behavior. But I can see how some people could make the analogy. The worst thing about being an emotional eater is that the more depressed I became because I was fat, the fatter I got. Evil Vicious Cycle.

Anyway, I’m hoping that there will be a day that I can feel comfortable if I go to a party that features a buffet. But even if I am always conscious of the food around me, I know that I still have the power to listen to my inner Nancy Reagan and “Just Say No!” when temptation strikes.

So let me ask, how do you relate to to the food on your plate?


  1. Okay, so! I was a compulsive eater. I never thought before I ate, I just ate. Even 2 months into my journey I was constantly gorging myself and wondering why I did it. I was obsessed with food, I loved it, it made me happy. It was always there for me.

    I've worked on it and worked on it and my relationship with food is getting better. I don't allow snacking as I used to(whenever I wanted something), and I wait until I am hungry to eat(this is huge as it is the first time in many years that I know what hungry feels like vs. always being stuffed)! It's a healthy relationship now :)

  2. You should check out Lucy's post from yesterday- it sounds like something that might interest you from what you just said:

    I totally relate to you to. I think it might even have something to do with a feast or famine thing (i hope I'm using this in the right context). I asked one of my friends that had lost over 100 pounds what one thing she learned was, and she said the biggest thing she felt she "conquered" was the fact that she could always have that kind of food wasn't going to magically just "go away" if she didn't eat it all right then. That hit me, and I am having an easier time letting go and not overeating because I remind myself that if I really want it again, I will be able to have it. (hope all that made sense!)

  3. Great suggestion Nicole! I just checked her out and Lucy is a spitfire, but I love it!

  4. I do my best to stay in the moment, and conscious about every bite I eat. It helps me realize I am eating, and need less, believe it or not.