Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Pain behind Compulsive Eating

i've written before about my disagreements with Mrs. Obama's War on Childhood Obesity. Children don't need war; they need many other things but not war.

Yes, it's great to get sedentary kids to move and to teach them about fruits and veggies and grilling BUT that avoids the root of the problem -- the pain behind compulsive eating. In my experience, if the average kid isn't encouraged to get off the couch and eats more fried food than broiled, he may well end up with a certain amount of extra weight but obesity, that's another (mental health) issue entirely.

i grew up with heavy food -- pancakes and waffles for breakfast, big sandwiches for lunch, meat and pasta for dinner. but my parents and my brother and sister weren't overweight. they ate as much as they needed to nourish themselves  and then went about their lives. my mom played the piano, my dad gardened, my sister was cheerleader and my brother, quite the intellectual.

me, i ate. those are my memories. and when things felt stressful -- my parents hated each other, i had no friends, i only thought about food....i ate more.

it was the emptiness i fed. there weren't enough pancakes (always my #1 binge food) in the world to fill up my loneliness. 

the key seems to be in helping us learn how to truly feed our empty souls, because the answer definetely is not in Aunt Jemima. nor, i think is it truly in outdoor activities in broccoli.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


i'm fascinated by obesity and compulsive eating. Why not, it's my story

although i spent years as an anorexic and bulimic, it's obesity and compulsive eating that feel like "home" to me. that's what i am -- a compulsive eater, hwo sometimes masqueraded as anorexic

food was my world. sophomore year of college, i gained 70 pounds in six months. i couldn't sleep, i couldn't breathe, i wouldn't do anything but eat. yet, for all the pain -- emotional and physical, i kept eating. and eating. eating.......

when i was obese, i was miserable -- emotionally demoralized and physically uncomfortable most of the time.

emotional pain -- the terror that i couldn't, wouldn't stop eating, the shame that i'd grown 12 sizes in six months, the certainty that i'd never be anything to anyone.

physically, i hurt. my thighs chafed daily, my bra strap left deep angry marks on my still narrow shoulders, my belly rolls folded and folded, making it uncomfortable to sit.

and still, i ate.

in the years i was starving, all i thought about was food. i made long, endless lists of all the food i would eat if i wouldn't gain weight. it was huge amounts of high calorie mixtures -- pancakes drenched in butter and syrup with bacon and eggs, pecan pie with wet walnuts, ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream,

with bulimia, i ate all those foods and so many more and then purged, starved and binged again trying to fill the bottomless pit that was my soul.

if weight gain were not an option, i would have eaten constantly all day without breaks.  when asked, hypothetically, what i would do if i found out i had only hours to live, i wanted to pull my car into Applegate's Dairy in Montclair, NJ and eat ice cream until the end.

such a sad life, limited to food

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Behind Overeating

i have never much equated overweight and health issues, because i thought that was unfair and judgmental. sure, some ailments seem aggravated by excess weight, but i certainly know thin people with heart trouble, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholestrol, etc.

but this week, james gandolfini and my very overweight brother had heart attacks. my brother is just fine and healing nicely but with the strictest of orders to change his diet immediately.

and now that i'm working at a restaurant with an all-u-can eat salad bar, i see numerous folks laboring under the burden of layers of fat.

and so, i am even more fascinated than ever (if that's possible) by people's food habits, particularly the desire to eat and eat and eat.

it's in me -- i'm, by nature, a compulsive eater. i understand the desire to drown myself (my emotions) in food.  for me, it's a huge sadness that wants to be comforted, and i find i get a little sad watching very large folks load their plates.

i'm hostessing at a family restaurant with decent food, fairly reasonable prices and that, aforementioned, all-u-can eat salad bar. lots of our patrons are older and many are overweight.
most folks who come in want to sit right near the salad bar and complain with notable bitterness when there isn't something available in its exact vicinity. this seems understandable when the customer is using a walker, in a wheelchair, in a cast, etc. but so  many an able-bodied individual gets visibly angry when seated in a farther corner. yet, it's a pretty small restaurant.

the salad bar is lavish and one serving  often seems more than a meal. but folks go back three and four times and then eat a main course and often, dessert.

what is the insatiable appetite for so much food and with no work (a tiny walk to the salad bar) involved.

is it an emptiness -- a feeling that there won't be enough food to fill me, that i won't be able to tolerate even a few short steps to get to the food i need.
does anyone have any other ideas?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


 Loneliness. Aloneness. Just happen

i don't really understand. i've been reaching out and going out. 

i don't really understand. 

has anyone else gone thru a time like this?