Monday, July 15, 2013

Food as your coping mechanism

I've written many, many times before about addiction transfer.  You can find some old posts below.

I absolutely advocate therapy after gastric bypass.  Not just a support group.  One-on-one, intense therapy to figure out WHY you need to self-medicate.  Whether it's food, shopping, alcohol, sex, drugs, or anything else, sometimes "everything in moderation" cannot apply!

Just because I'm aware of a problem doesn't mean its automatically fixed.  On the contrary, sometimes being aware of a problem almost makes it worse for me.

I am trying to be aware of the compulsive eating.  Since I can't binge on shopping, I don't want to start gaining weight.  Why do I have to binge on anything?  Or, why can't I be addicted to the gym or something healthy?  I could be the first girl who has a broccoli addiction!  I hate broccoli, by the way.  My mom still puts it in the blender and dumps it in salads so I can't pick it out.  

I am a compulsive overeater.  I am reading a book about this issue but, sadly so far, they are only focusing on those who have spent years in diet mode (they are giving permission to those in constant diet mode to actually eat when they feel hunger).  I left diet mode a long, long time ago (I haven't felt real hunger in years).  I have spent many years in binge mode and I need help.  I wrote a post recently and a friend said it really hit home for her.  And somehow, talking to her about it really finally put the puzzle pieces together.  It was all information of which I was very much aware.  However, it didn't really make sense until I talked it out with my friend.

Of course my life was more of a disaster AFTER weight loss surgery.  Of course I didn't need anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication until AFTER I lost the weight.  It really has nothing to do with the weight.  It has everything to do with losing my coping mechanism, FOOD.  And of course I would go back to that behavior the minute my body would allow me to eat more than a quarter cup of food.  I put my body through a traumatic incident, all with no way to cope with all of that stress.  I turned into a complete psycho because I didn't know how to deal.  Admittedly, part of why I started talking so publicly about my weight issues was so that I would shame myself into losing the weight (again).  It's all so sick.  My brain is very broken. 

Now the first year after gastric bypass isn't too bad.  It's the "honeymoon" phase.  I was losing weight almost no matter what I did.  I exercised only moderately.  I tried chocolate at like two months out.  I still lost well over 100 pounds in less than a year.  Compliments aplenty are given.  You don't need to find solace in food because you are a Goddamn super model every time you walk into a room.  Men tripped over themselves to open doors for me.  It was an interesting conundrum and sometimes I found myself not trusting people.  Would you have been this friendly to me when I was fat?  But, I looked good, so who cares?!  (The disillusionment starts at a about a year out when your stomach kind of "opens up" and you're able to eat more food and you are now having to actually control what you eat.)  I went through a similar mind-fuck/high after the year of plastic surgeries.  It's all about the high, though, and now I am constantly chasing the dragon...

I couldn't admit that I was a compulsive overeater until after surgery anyway, so I guess I wasn't prepared to mentally deal with the loss of FOOD.  I didn't feel like I overate just when I was happy, sad, stressed or anywhere in-between.  Of course, I was not a compulsive overeater.  "Those people" who binge and compulsively eat too much hide in closets and consume entire gallons of ice cream or a whole pizza.  I have never done that.  Well, no, I don't do that, but I DO graze.  All.  Day.  Long.  It's a prong on the same fork.  I eat more food than my body actually needs to survive.  And only because my brain tells me to do it.  If I try to control that behavior, it generally leads to a freak out and eating even more food.  I swear, I can't win.

Talking about controlling eating habits when you are a compulsive overeater isn't going against Health At Every Size.  I do not have healthy eating habits, and that is something I am now trying to learn.  I'm a little frustrated with myself for waiting this long to truly starting trying to fix the problem and I can only hope that I don't have to spend ten more years getting it under control.  Maybe I am like an alcoholic and I will always be considered in recovery, so every single day, I will have to keep worrying about how food is going to control my life that day. 

For those who have deal with compulsive food issues, how did you/are you dealing? 

I've been ranting a lot.  I'm a pretty angry fatty.  Here are some other posts that you might enjoy after reading my latest rant:

If obesity is a disease, then why do I have more health problems after losing 165 pounds?

I'm a healthy fatty

Let me explain...


  1. I have compulsive eating issues. I cannot remember a time when I was able to eat candy and baked goods without feeling out of control. Since childhood, I have eaten those foods in secret and sneaked and schemed in order to get them. I once threw cookies away so I wouldn't eat them, then later came back and picked them out of the trash. No lie, I am addicted to these foods.

    I am able to keep my food issues under control now, but only by avoiding the foods that trigger overeating for me. I tried the whole intuitive eating thing, and it absolutely did not work for me. I ate a bunch of candy and gained ten pounds.

    Now I stick very closely to a Paleo style of eating. Getting rid of the wheat and sugar has made a huge difference for me. Now for the most part I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. When I bring problem foods back into my life, I quickly lose touch with my satiety signals and start overeating again.

    I know there's a lot of debate over whether food addiction is a real thing or not, and if it is, what the appropriate treatment is. I don't know if what I do would work for anyone else, but it is what works for me, so I'm done questioning it. I will still always have underlying issues with food. I will never be able to just eat whatever and have that work out well for me. But my current system keeps me at a weight I can live with, keeps my body feeling good, and keeps a few troublesome health issues under control.

    1. You know, I was starting to do a little research on psychological versus physical addiction. Whether "food addiction" is real, for some of us, the compulsion to use it to cope is certainly very real. And it is well known that certain food makers put additives in their food TO make them addictive. I guess I need to get to the place of just not eating certain things. Cupcakes, for one, now that jellybeans have mostly been banned. :-/