Wednesday, July 01, 2009
I am realizing that the momentary feeling of bliss does not fix the long term misery I feel. It feels so good when I am eating three breakfast burritos in the parking lot of Jack in the Box. Yet when I am done I feel ashamed, guilty, and overwhelming sense of lack of control. I tell myself that I am weak, disgusting, and that I won’t do it again, but I do over and over. Desperation hits and I want to make up for going overboard so I don’t eat anything else that day. Often I reason with myself that “I haven’t had anything to eat all day so it is okay” even when I know it isn’t.
It sounds like the problem is food but it is far from it. Masking my feelings, holding them down inside, I feel nothing but the craving for whatever food of the moment is. The regrets, insecurities and fear that I have are separate from the food. The food is just a short term fix to the years of been a dysfunctional human being.
I am transfixed on eating to avoid the pain. Yet I know the pain is always there but for a flitting moment pure joy. It is similar to being high. According to the Addiction and Recovery.org (http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/defi
nition-of-addiction.htmi), the medical definition of addiction is to meet seven criteria as illustrated by answering the follow questions:
1. Tolerance. Has your use of eating gotten worse over time?
2. Withdrawal. When you stop overeating, have you ever experienced physical or emotional withdrawal? Have you had any of the following symptoms: irritability, anxiety, shakes, sweats, nausea, or vomiting?
3. Difficulty controlling your use. Do you sometimes eat more than you would like? Do you stop after a eating a healthy amount usually, or does eating lead to more eating?
4. Negative consequences. Have you continued to eat even though there have been negative consequences to your mood, self-esteem, health, job, or family?
5. Putting off or neglecting activities. Have you ever put off or reduced social, recreational, work, or household activities because of you would rather eat?
6. Spending significant time or emotional energy. Have you spent a significant amount of time obtaining food, eating, concealing food, planning to get food, or recovering from your eating physically? Have you spend a lot of time thinking about food? Have you ever concealed or minimized your eating? Have you ever thought of schemes to avoid getting caught?
7. Desire to cut down. Have you sometimes thought about cutting down or controlling your eating? Have you ever made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your eating?
If you answered yes to at least 3 of these questions, then you meet the medical definition of addiction. I answered yes to 95% these questions yet it is hard for me to say I am an addict. I have NEVER used illegal drugs, I appropriately use prescription drugs and I rarely drink alcohol. Let’s be honest the food I choose tastes awesome; I probably wouldn’t eat it if it didn’t taste good. It is so hard to come to the realization, that something that makes you feel so good, even though intellectually you know that it is bad. It is maddening!
I know that it is physically harming my body. My joints and legs hurt all the time, my feet and ankles swell due to the pressure of my weight, I can’t tie my shoes, and I find it hard to breath. I think that is the realization that my eating habits were out of control. I knew I was hurting but I continued to eat even though I knew it was bad. It is a spiraling effect. The worse I feel , the more I eat and the worse I feel. It is overwhelming and I feel hopeless. How do you fix something that is so ingrained in your mind such as feelings? Is it possible to change your feelings and behavior by exploring them and owning them? I think it is. I truly believe that once you understand yourself and come to terms with the lament, shame and insecurities that shape you , you can rise above it and move forward. Lee J. Colan in his book 7 Defining Moments said it well when he wrote, “Since we fear most that which is unknown to us, defining moments of change occur when we choose to know our fear”.
So what is my plan for overcoming this problem? Mark Twain said that “One learns through the heart, not the eyes or the intellect”. Work on identifying my feelings, expressing my feelings and coming to terms with those feelings is a big part of recovering and changing. I can’t afford to go to a treatment center. I can talk though and I will begin a eating disorder therapy group. I am journaling my thoughts in this blog. I am participating in individual therapy with a Licensed Medical Social Worker who specializes in eating disorders. I am reading books on the subject and participating in forums.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
It was Albert Einstein you said "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." I have been a member of SP for some time but I didn't have much sucess because I kept sabatoging myself. Thinking "if I don't eat lunch and dinner I can overeat my favorite foods". I might even overeat something healthy but I would eat and eat and eat it. I was feeling out of control and overwhelmed then I came across something on the internet, the tell tale signs of an eating disorder. It was shocking to me. I have been overeating for 20 years and I never really looked at why and what triggers it. I could identify with every symptom. So I went to the doctor who referred me to a therapist who referred me to group therapy. I found there are alot of resources and treatments and it is totally realistic to overcome and change eating habits but probably not without hard work and determination.
Almost everyone overeats occasionally. But if you have a binge eating disorder, you'll consistently have some or all of the following symptoms:
- Fear of not being able to control eating, and while eating, not being able to stop.
Isolation. Fear of eating around and with others.
- Chronic dieting on a variety of popular diet plans.
- Holding the belief that life will be better if they can lose weight.
- Hiding food in strange places (closets, cabinets, suitcases, under the bed) to eat at a later time.
- Vague or secretive eating patterns.
- Self-defeating statements after food consumption.
- Blames failure in social and professional community on weight.
- Holding the belief that food is their only friend.
- Frequently out of breath after relatively light activities.
- Excessive sweating and shortness of breath.
- High blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
- Leg and joint pain.
- Weight gain.
- Decreased mobility due to weight gain.
- Loss of sexual desire or promiscuous relations.
- Mood swings. Depression. Fatigue.
- Insomnia. Poor Sleeping Habits.
It's a behavioral disorder marked by episodes of uncontrollable eating. If you have binge eating disorder(BED), you consume unusually large amounts of food at a time--often but not always in secret and until you're uncomfortably full. This eating disorder is similar to bulimia, but people with BED don't try to compensate for their binges by purging the food; that is, they don't try to get rid of it through vomiting or taking laxatives. You may feel overwhelmed by shame and embarrassment about both your weight (whether you're overweight or not) and how you eat. Most people with BED are overweight or obese, but the disorder also appears in people of normal weight.
A national survey recently found that 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men suffer from binge eating disorder at some point in their lives. It's also estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of people trying to lose weight on their own or following commercial weight-loss programs have the disorder. Binge eaters tend to be older than people with anorexia and bulimia, and slightly more women than men suffer from binge eating disorder.
So in the next blogs I write I will discuss the information I have learned and journal my experience in individual and group therapy as well as other treatments I research. I don't want to say that everyone who is obese has an eating disorder because that is incorrect. I just think that the it is hugely unreported as to the amount of people that have an eating disorder and that those people can be any age, not just younger people.
I do know that you can pass your eating habits to your children as you are their most important and influentencial role model. My daughter's age 21, 18, and 11 all have symptoms of binge eating. My oldest daughter is in treatment for bulimia. So thus my motivation to change the way I approach emotions and food is to pass on those habits to my girls.
My goal is to raise awareness about binge eating disorders... emphasizing always that eating disorders are NOT about food and weight; They are just the symptoms of something deeper going on, inside. If you suffer from binge eating disorder you are not alone, and that complete recovery is possible. The more you know, the more you are equipped yourself with the tools of change. If you have any eating disorder, you can find help. You can recover. And you deserve to do both.
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