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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I posted this to my blog yesterday, but forgot to post it over here. :)

Over the last 3 years of losing weight, I've learned a lot about myself. You start to notice patterns in the things you do when you really pay attention. In losing this weight, I feel I've become more aware of myself in a lot of ways. I've always had the pattern of overeating when I am stressed or upset. For as long as I can remember, food is the thing that I think of first when I am stressed. As a little kid, I was overfed by family members who also overate, and it was just something I learned early on in my life as a way to cope–with anything. Of course, as I became an adult no one else had control over what I ate, but when you've done something your whole life it's hard to change.

People are quick to assume that because I've lost weight, that I'm "cured" and have it all figured out. The truth is that when you're a food addict (as I believe I am) there isn't a cure, and I certainly don't feel like I have all the answers, even though I am light years from where I was. Like an alcoholic or drug addict who is trying to be clean, you are managing an addiction–one that is always there, lying dormant, like a benign tumor ready to turn malignant and destroy you. Something can trigger a binge and sometimes I am able to get past the one binge, and other times it will continue for a whole day, or longer. My bingeing episodes are not as frequent as they used to be, but they still happen sometimes.

For me, I have a hard time not overeating or bingeing around the time right around when my period is due. I feel hungry and crave sweets horribly. At that time if there is junk in the house, it's all I think about it. I'm also in a very foul mood whenever it's TOM, and that makes me want to eat even more.

When I am upset or depressed, I also want to binge. I know that doing it won't help, but it makes me feel somewhat numb, and I can imagine that is why some people drink themselves into oblivion. You want a distraction from whatever it is that making you upset, even when you know it's only temporary.

I've noticed when my bouts of insomnia occur, I want to eat constantly. I think it's true what they say about you wanting to eat more when you're tired.

Food can't be escaped. You see it and smell it everywhere you go. Unlike a drug addict who can live without drugs, we can't live without food. Food addicts still have to eat and it's not always easy not to overeat. People who've never had a weight problem are sometimes quick to judge overweight people. Many people who are at a normal weight also overeat, and they just don't gain weight. It's hard to understand how food can feel like it controls you if you've never experienced it.

I'm discussing this because I think many overweight people are food addicts, binge-eaters, or both. I know I am both, and for a long time I had a hard time thinking of myself that way, but it's what I am. I ate myself to the point that I was over 300 pounds. Anyone who repeatedly eats to the point they are almost sick but can't stop has a problem, and it's not just that they like to eat, like many overweight people will say.

Everyone likes food, but when you are eating and eating and gaining weight to the point where you have health problems and continue to do it, it's not about just liking food. There is another reason for it.

The point of this blog post is that no matter how much weight I've lost, I still struggle at times. Sometimes I go along for more than a month or two doing just great, and then it's like my brain becomes fogged over, and suddenly I don't give a crap anymore. Maybe this is normal, maybe it isn't, but I know that I am not ever going to give up myself. The thought of ever being as heavy as I was and remembering what it was like is enough to keep me going. I just cannot go back there.

I've never pretended to be perfect. I make mistakes all the time, and will admit that. Maybe there are people who eat perfectly all the time and never skip workouts and never feel negative, but that's not me. I try not to make excuses though, because that gets you nowhere. Every day I do the best I can.

I do try my best to be positive, because I don't want to discourage anyone, but I am going to tell you like it is. Losing weight is hard. There is a constant battle going on in my head. I long to have a life where I don't have to think about what or how much I eat. I gain weight back at lightening speed from slipping up a little bit, and it makes me crazy. If I want to keep this weight off, it will have to be a daily thought for the rest of my life.

Do you struggle with binge eating or food addiction?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you the honesty. I too am a binge eater, and being tired, which is often, is a huge trigger for me. I have to push past the lie that food will make me feel better. It does not. It's encouraging to know I am not alone and that it can be controlled. emoticon
    1931 days ago
    I found your words inspiring. It is difficult, every day. However, if we continue, one day at a time. It can be done. Keep the faith.
    1941 days ago
    It's a Catch 22!
    1951 days ago
    Great post!!! Very informative and helpful. Thanks for sharing!
    1951 days ago
    From a food addict myself, this hits a chord. Thank you.
    1952 days ago
    I definitely have had problems with food addiction and binging off and on, but I've been on a healthy eating streak since March and am hoping I've finally found the pattern that works for me. A big help has been my dad, who used to offer me junk food all the time but stopped doing that a few months ago. Also, I changed departments at work from an area where there was always food to an area where my supervisor and co-workers are all on diets. It seems like all the planets aligned and everything that could help me get back on track suddenly happened this year. I know I can't count on my environment staying like this forever, so I'm hoping I'll be able to maintain the habits I've developed when things do change. I've already been tested a few times and have succeeded--I even turned down my lifelong favorite dessert, homemade from my mom's recipe. This holiday season will probably be my biggest test.

    I hope everyone has the same luck I have. It's not just luck, though. I've felt like giving up many times over the years but you have to keep going until you find what works. For me, giving up wheat products has helped eliminate my cravings--for someone else, there might be a different solution but you just have to keep trying.

    This is a good blog, and I agree--at least to me it feels like an addiction. For me, that meant making drastic, but sustainable changes to what I choose to eat. Some things I can't eat in moderation, so I avoid them and I'm developing the will power and confidence to tell food pushers "I DON'T eat THAT."
    1952 days ago
    I love your honesty. Today I overate after doing okay for a couple of days because I am tired of thinking about it constantly, tired of the mental tug o war going on in my brain. Sad that I can't "fix" it and be cured.

    Then I read this blog and you tell it like it's forever for some of us. I guess I assumed if I fit into smaller clothes my brain would work right. Now I see that I still desire health and that it isn't ever going to be easy. To tell you the truth, I am a bit relieved. I can box with something I know is not imaginary. Thank you for this today. Off to log my stuggles with food........ONWARD!
    1952 days ago
  • RAMONA1954
    I agree totally! I'm a binger and I feel like I'm a food addict. Sometimes it's so hard to resist and I give in. That used to derail all my good intentions. I'm better about getting back on track if I have an episode. I feel like I'll be fighting this the rest of my life and that it'll never be "safe" for me to be around food for long. There are days my willpower jumps out of the window and sails away. Fortunately, I'm getting better are reining in myself. That doesn't mean some days I don't eat everything in sight but I log it all in, no matter how bad, so it reminds me of what can and will happen if I don't keep things in check.
    I'm so proud of all you've lost in weight, and what you've gained in your life. Keep up the fantastic work!
    1952 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog. And so much information and truth to all of it. I have been over weight all of my life too. Lost 110 Pounds about 4 years ago and was so weak I could hardly walk or do anything else. So I began eating to try to gain my strength back and have put on a lot of weight. This is before SparkPeople. Have Health Problems. Very hard to exercise now. So I understand what you have and are going through. I think You are doing a Fantastic Job with Your journey. Keep It Up. Never Give Up. WTG!!! God Blessings to You and Everyone. Have an Enjoyable Day. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1952 days ago
    Oh my goodness, so much truth here.

    My BF caught me doing this thing... we have a part of our area that has a chickfila, outback, wings place, etc all in the same block. if I drive by there with my windows down, I take deep breaths like I'm some drug addict trying to get it in my system. Even the smell, over and over again, makes me want to turn my car into the lot. It never gets easier. Some days I REALLY have to force myself past it.

    I think the more you learn about yourself, the easier it can get, but it never goes away. I know for me, preparation is key (don't get caught without a plan because I'll melt down) and recognizing when I am stressed so that I don't try to calm it with food.

    But does that mean it works 24/7? NO. So we also need to remember to keep up the journey and not let it be our downfall. I too think about it every day and wonder what it would be like not to have that little extra mind burden all of the time. It can be SO tiring, and some days you just don't want to deal with it anymore, but you MUST or you will fall.

    You're doing SUCH a great job and putting up an awesome fight - keep it up girlfriend!
    1952 days ago
  • COOP9002
    thanks for sharing. it's always been intriguing to me just how much life is about balance.
    1952 days ago
    very true cant help eating at times
    1952 days ago
    I get where you are coming from. For me I always ate normally growing up. However, if mom had said at supper that there is enough for two porkchops each and I only ate one and was full and asked to save the other one for later, mom would say 'it may not be there, one of the boys or dad may eat it', so I would sometimes force myself to eat it. I may have socially overate in university, but it wasn't until I was an adult until I began to binge eat because of stress. I was an active kid, and when I became an adult I was not so active, and that was not a good combination. I may have been a little overweight, but I didn't have any food control issues. Since it wasn't until I was an adult when I developed my binge/serious overeating problems, and they are mostly triggered by stress, I hope to be able to get a better handle on them.
    I totally agree with this: "when you are eating and eating and gaining weight to the point where you have health problems and continue to do it, it's not about just liking food. There is another reason for it."
    However, I don't necessarily agree with this: "I'm discussing this because I think many overweight people are food addicts, binge-eaters, or both." I don't think that a person overweight by a couple, 10, or even 20 lbs may be a food addict or binge eater. Some, sure, but possibly not many. They may just enjoy food and their body weight may not easily sit within the normal BMI. To make that statement true in my mind I would change the word overweight to obese.

    Thanks for sharing, it is good to know I am not the only one who struggles a lot. Some days/weeks/months are way easier, but some are not. Losing weight *IS* hard.

    1952 days ago
  • HERA22VA
    I agree!
    1952 days ago
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