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.


  1. Wow, I was just random flipping through blogs, and I came upon this. I've always had a bad relationship with food. I believe by the time I was 8 years old I was already restricting, and by the time I was 10 I was extremely underweight. I stayed a very low weight until my sophomore year of high school, when I became very depressed and stressed out all of the time, which is when I started binge eating. I never even came close to being overweight (at my highest I was 130 lbs at 5'7) but the mental agony was almost unbearable. I am currently struggling again with both restrictive dieting and binge eating. At my lowest I was 105, which is not too bad, and I am currently 111 lbs. Just reading about your struggles broke my heart, but at the same time made me feel so much respect for you for overcoming such extreme struggles, heartache, and mental anguish. My love and respect goes out to you.

  2. SavyBanana; thank you for writing and so honestly.

    restrictive eating and binge eating - the loneliest cycle i know. i wonder what's going on in your life that you're in it now?

    All this blocks from doing what we can be doing in our lives. why do we do this to ourselves?

    1. It is, it really, really is the loneliest cycle. I've struggled with low self-esteem for a very long time, and it's still a huge struggle, but right now I think restricting has a lot to do with control. A lot of the time I feel like my weight is the only part of my appearance I have a say in. It's very destructive. And then I binge when I feel I can't take it anymore and just want to give up and give in. Losing myself to such emotions is scary.

      I agree; having such a strained relationship with food prevents us from doing so many great things in our lives. I honestly don't know why we do it, but I can say that I think our society is really screwed up and puts extreme pressure on women, and it's messing with our heads... And our lives.

      (Btw, I just changed my name from TheSavyBanana. I'm the same person, I swear.) :)

  3. SavannahR; i'm also an alcoholic and drug addict and have done a lot of 12 Step work. the central focus being that, in fact, we have no control and when we try to control,we are doomed to fail. i believe that -- our bodies need and require a certain amount of food and they will do what they must to get it. so every period of starvation/restriction will inevitably lead to a binge.

    moderation is really, really, really hard, but it's doable.

    yes, we women get so much pressure to be "attractive". blugh.