Side Project

Many of you know from previous posts that I struggle with an eating disorder, and have for basically my entire life.  About a year ago I was diagnosed as having a food addiction.  A month or so back I downloaded a book onto my Nook titled “Food: the good girls drug. How to stop using food to control your feelings.”  Well I had skimmed the first few pages and then promptly got distracted by life.

For some reason today I felt compelled to pick it back up again.  Maybe it’s the move, this whole idea about “fresh start” and whatnot?  Anyway, at the end of each chapter are some questions for you to journal about.  Since in many ways this blog is like a journal or public diary, I have decided to share these questions and my answers on here.

I want to do this for a number of reasons:

1-If I post it here, I won’t lose it.  Writing in a real journal can easily get lost.

2-Perhaps by putting it up here, I may help another woman struggling  with this little-known (or at least little-talked-about) disorder.

3-I’m hoping that by putting it up here, I will have some accountability to work through this book.  If I don’t post anything about the book for a long time, maybe someone will ask how it is going?

4-The fact is my weight may very well be the reason I don’t ovulate, and have such a hard time conceiving.  So this project is a step towards my goal of parenthood.  And I know I do not want to raise my child to think that overeating, or emotional eating is healthy.  I want to be an example of healthy living to my child(ren).  And since I am convinced my dad has it, I also realize there may be a genetic component to this (such as alcoholism in families) and want to be able to give my kid(s) constructive advice on how to deal with this should they find themselves facing this problem.

I am open to people asking questions, but please be aware that this is a sensitive topic for me so I just ask for people to stop and consider what they post before posting it.  Just like you would wish people would do when asking or making suggestions about your infertility.  Without further ado:

**Update, sorry I hit “publish” accidentally before I had finished typing.  Below is the questions for both Chapter one AND two.

Chapter 1: Understanding what’s going on between you and food

1)What is your weight and bbody history?  Did you yo-yo, are you slim but don’t feel that way, or do you struggle with being overweight or obese? I have always been overweight, although as a kid I thought I was heavier than I actually was (when I look at pictures of me as a kid I think this anyway)  I think that according to doctors I would be described as “obese” at this point in my life.

2)Did you relate to any particular eat disorder description, how or why? The book describes Binge Eating Disorder as eating large amounts of food in a short period of item and experiencing the feeling of being out of control while doing it.  I would say that sounds similar, although sometimes I don’t eat a lot quickly, but instead will eat a little, leave, come back to it, nibble, leave, come back etc. 

3)Do you think that you are an emotional overeater or binge eater? What terms would you use to describe your issues with food?  I think I tend to fall more into the category of an emotional overeater, however I feel most comfortable using the term “food addiction” as that seems like a more clinical label, with less stigma or being lazy or unmotivated. 

Chapter 2:A few things emotional overeaters have in common

1)It may seem like your eating habits are the problem, but they’re just a symptom of what’s really going on.  How does food serve your deeper needs?  Do you use it to soothe pain, for example?  Or to protect yourself from uncomfortable social situations? I think that often food serves different purposes.  It seems like often it is triggered by sadness, loneliness or some other uncomfortable mood. 

However, usually when I’m happy my first thought is “we should celebrate with X food!”  So it is more like for each situation or emotion, there should be a corresponding food.

2)Food is often a metaphor for something else, like a reward or vacation.  What does food mean to you? I think for me, food means normalcy.  For example, when I went to the movie last night with Khimmy, we stocked up on candy and chips etc, because it is normal to eat junk food at movies.  If I were to not eat, I feel like I would be raising a giant flag saying “I can’t be trusted to act like a normal person, keep food away!”  Normal people celebrate a social occasion with, say, cake so if I were to be at a celebration and not eat it, again I would feel abnormal. 

And when I am feeling down, how many tv shows and movies show the female character digging into some ice cream?  There is definitely a “comforting” aspect to food.  Also when I am lonely I feel a strong urge to go eat out so I am surrounded by people.  But I don’t like being seen as a cheapskate when I eat out so I often get a beverage, dinner, and either an appetizer or dessert.  I worked at a restaurant for a year I remember the servers sneering and complaining about people who came in and ordered nothing and leave crappy tips, and I don’t want to be that person!

And often there is a feeling of desperation, like “I don’t know when I will have this again so I must get as much as I can right now!”

3)Many disordered eaters feel a lot of guilt for their binging or emotional eating.  how can you start to forgive yourself and replace judgement with understanding and compassion? Yea, no idea here.  I try to be patient, tell myself that it is the little decisions that matter.  So even if I mess up, what matters is my NEXT decision, not my previous one. 

But it’s hard.  It is so easy to feel like if I have “ruined” a day I might as well eat all the crap I can because tomorrow I wont ever eat crap again… it’s again this desperation to get what I can while I can.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I just read your new post and realized I never commented on this one. I think the reason you get less comments on ED related posts is that you have primarily IF followers, hopefully most of whom aren’t struggling (or who haven’t struggled in the past) with an ED. I actually really liked this post, I suppose b/c I struggled with bulemia for so long. I also sent a link to that book to my little sis. She’s 22 yrs old, and has gone from 135# to 235# in the past 5 years. It’s scary for me to watch, and I really hope the book helps her. At any rate, thanks for sharing, and please don’t feel like you need to keep posts of this type to a minimum. This is YOUR blog and YOUR space for sharing/documenting what is going on in our life!

    Reply

    • Thanks for the support! I understand it’s off topic, and of course the hope is that most of my readers never know what it is like to deal with an ED. Thank you for sharing your experience with it, and I am really moved that you thought this post was good enough to share! I hope your sister can get the help she needs. Luckily there are lots of good books and professionals specializing in this topic so there is more help available.

      Reply

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