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Eating disorder: addicted to eating?


neolithic

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I know that sounds silly, "addicted to eating," because, in theory, we are ALL addicted to eating, as, otherwise, we'd all die. But I mean I feel the need to constantly eat.

 

This is a change from the battles I've had with eating disorders, usually ED-NOS, not specifically anorexia nervosa or specifically bulimia nervosa. But, if I'm not dealing with trying to starve myself, I'm compulsively eating. I'm sitting here dealing with the need to constantly stuff my face, even though I'm not hungry. I feel incredibly guilty about it afterwards, and I either gain weight, or purge.

 

This is a type of eating disorder isn't it? I have tried to go into my own "rehab" for food addiction, or rather, snacking/feeding addiction, but I always relapse.

 

Firstly, what is this called? And second, what do you suggest?? I'm sick of food being such an enemy

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This could be bulimia. I think it's good that you came here and wrote about it. You should find a professional to help you. You will be fine, admitting and recognizing this pattern in your life is the first and most important step.

 

Take care,

 

Ilse

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If you are purging and binging eating, don't take this as a diagnosis... but from what i'm hearing it sounds like bulimia. I would suggest you talk to your primary physician and tell him/her about your problem. It shouldn't be taken lightly. You should talk to them as soon as possible. Eating disorders are not fun. Believe me...

 

I know.

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As has already been said, it sounds like compulsive overeating.

 

It usually manifests as a coping mechanism, but also extends to just eating out of boredom or because food is a "companion."

 

I've been there. Done that. It sucks.

 

It's a horrible, horrible cycle because the negative feelings that follow a binge session usually just end up leading to another one.

 

And, as you mentioned, the binging is punctuated by feelings of disgust and self-loathing that, sadly enough, lead to other unhealthy behavior like purging.

 

Also, been there.

 

Honestly, read-up on some of the nasty side-effects that come from purging (gum disease, tooth decay, heart palpitations, erosion of the esophagus, etc) and more likely than not you'll think twice before you do it again.

 

More info. on that: link removed

 

Anyway, there are several things you can do about this. You can see a therapist, which is probably a great idea because you'll be able to focus on the specific emotional reasons that make you do this. Or you can go into a facility with people who're in the same situation. Look into organizations such as Rader Programs, which specializes in the treatment of the three main eating disorders:

link removed.

 

You can also join a free, local support group like Overeaters Anonymous: link removed.

 

Well, I hope I helped somewhere in there. At least you know you're not alone in this. Even that knowledge helps some. Feel free to message me if you'd like to talk.

 

Good luck.

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Good post, YabbaDabba!

 

I just wanted to add in response to your first post, neolithic: if you eat normally, that is NOT addiction. We all need food to live. I think addiction to food is best described as a pathological need to eat, while anorexia is a pathological way to starve yourself (not all people who are starving are anorexic obviously). It is similar to all other addictions, with the difference that for most other addictions it holds that the 'choice of drug' is not something we need to survive. That is what makes an eating disorder difficult, you cannot solve it by stopping eating. On the other hand, you are forced to see what is behind this issue. If you are addicted to, say, smoking, just quitting is usually not a permanent resolution. As long as you don't figure out WHY you are addicted, there is a high risk that you will relapse and start (smoking, drinking, overeating,... ) again.

 

I wish you strength to solve this. You CAN get out of this. I have lived through 3 years of anorexia and with a good support from family, a nutritionist and a therapist, I have had no relapses since 1998. Contact your doctor, he/she can refer you to a specialist who can guide you through this.

 

Ilse

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There are a variety of books about Compulsive/Emotional Eating. Here are a few I've read. Your local library most likely has copies of some (if not all) of these titles:

 

Overcoming Overeating - Hirschmann/Munter link removed

 

Feeding The Hungry Heart - Geneen Roth link removed

 

Breaking Free From Emotional Eating - Geneen Roth link removed

 

Nearly all of Geneen Roth's books deal with this issue, actually. link removed If it wasn't for her books, I'd probably still be stuck in the cycle of compulsive eating I got into in my 20's. Her website is at link removed

 

There are a lot of other books on Compulsive/Emotional Eating by other authors, too. These just happen to be ones I've read, enjoyed and found very useful. While there were a few authors writing about the topic prior to Geneen Roth (like Susie Orbach's "Fat Is A Feminist Issue"), far as I know Geneen was the first one to outline a step-by-step way out of the cycle, not just discuss the various cultural/social reasons why someone would develop disordered eating behaviors. A search on "compulsive eating" on amazon turned up this list of books: link removed

 

After many years of recovery and relative sanity about food, I fell off the wagon about a year ago. Looking around for some resources to get back on the wagon, I discovered a Registered Dietician who works with recovering ED's using a non-diet approach. I've been seeing her for about 6 months (and constantly reading books about Compulsive Eating, the BS that is the weight loss & diet industry, and being fit and healthy at any size) and am working my way through it. Turned out the dietician's office is about a 10 minute drive from where I work. Perhaps you could find someone who does similar work where you live? On the off chance you live in central Ohio, lemme know and I can PM you my dietician's website address & contact info.

 

I went to Overeaters Anonymous many years ago when I first started to get into recovery. It was a good place to start, and I went to the meetings/worked their program for a little over 6 months....nearly a year. Had a sponsor & all that. Ultimately, though, I found their view of compulsive eating limiting and I felt it required me to permanently see myself as being...damaged, I guess...and, on some level, I felt I could be more than that. OA works for a lot of people, and it was a good place to start. But I personally feel that the 12-step model for dealing with this particular addiction/compulsion doesn't really work like it works with alcoholics or drug addicts or gamblers. People can live quite well without alcohol, drugs or gambling....they cannot live without eating. So the concept of "abstinence" or "sobriety" becomes a real sticky wicket when you're dealing with food/eating. Certainly, see if there are OA meetings where you live and attend a few. Perhaps it'll be something that will work for you (as it does work for a number of people), and perhaps it won't...but you won't know for sure until you go for yourself. Besides, OA meetings don't cost anything. You have nothing to lose by going and checking them out.

 

At one point, I ended up in a hospital's ED program with a bunch of too-skinny high school girls. I was 24 or 25 at the time, fat, working full time and living with my boyfriend. They had NO idea what to do with me, but they were happy to take my money & the money my health insurance paid them.

 

Anyway, point of that random rambling is this: personally, I found more useful, practical, substantial help early in this journey from Geneen Roth's books (and similar books) than OA or the hospital's eating disorder program. The dietician I've been seeing the last 6 months has been an absolute Godsend...and, not coincidentally, she uses many of Geneen Roth's methods/theories.

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Wow, this is my specialist area.

 

Compulsive eating...well, as is the familiar tale, I was a hardcore anorexic, then developed ED-NOS, then for the last 1-2 years.. compulsive eater ALL the way, baby.

 

The pain is unbearable. You'll know...it's like being completely crazy about something youo HAVE to do.

 

You can't go cold turkey - one needs food to live.

 

I've tried the *work through your emotions* tactic. My personal opinion- it's BS.

 

It's BS because people overeat now through there being an abundance of hideous junk around. Because processed rubbish is addictive, and if you are feeling low anyway, you're stuffed. And it's a cycle.

 

Contrary to what Roth, Orbach and co will tell you, all food is NOT equal and neautral.

 

Yes, emotion related eating happens, and is a problem, but your best bet is to approach overeating as you would smoking - it doesn't make you a bad person, but you have to realise

 

a) Ultimately, it's your choice

b) It IS an addiction

c) It's not pleasant to overcome, but there you have it

d) Food isn't all neutral. You need to eat healthily, period

 

I've seen many well intentioned compulsive overeating support board, and it just descends into all consuming *Emotional Analysis*.

 

Read *Eating Less - Saying Goodbye To Overeating* by Gillian Riley. It's THE Book. THE Bible.

 

Good luck

 

(I've been 15 days out of 22 binge free this month after reading it. This is amazing).

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  • 4 years later...

Oh my God this is exactly me. What ever happened to you?

 

I know that sounds silly, "addicted to eating," because, in theory, we are ALL addicted to eating, as, otherwise, we'd all die. But I mean I feel the need to constantly eat.

 

This is a change from the battles I've had with eating disorders, usually ED-NOS, not specifically anorexia nervosa or specifically bulimia nervosa. But, if I'm not dealing with trying to starve myself, I'm compulsively eating. I'm sitting here dealing with the need to constantly stuff my face, even though I'm not hungry. I feel incredibly guilty about it afterwards, and I either gain weight, or purge.

 

This is a type of eating disorder isn't it? I have tried to go into my own "rehab" for food addiction, or rather, snacking/feeding addiction, but I always relapse.

 

Firstly, what is this called? And second, what do you suggest?? I'm sick of food being such an enemy

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