Compulsion. The one word in the English language of which I have an intimate understanding. I am simply compelled to eat. I am never satiated. The hunger I feel may not be physical but it is a HUNGER none the less. My life only exists in 3 states. I am either eating, fighting not to eat, or distracting myself from eating.
When I am eating, I am in a happy place. The world is muted and for a brief moment I enjoy a blissful state and such a wonderful relief. It's a relief not fight it anymore. Often times it doesn't matter what I'm eating, just as long as I'm eating. This blissful relief can sometimes lead to me giving into my desire to binge. It normally starts with me binging on veggies. A pound of lettuce with a mere tsp of oil and vinegar dressing followed by a pound each of green beans and broccoli. I try to use these low calorie foods to calm the beast but they can backfire and just enrage it.
The hunger demands more and I move on to fruit. A pound of frozen mixed fruit and a pound of frozen blueberries with a cup of yogurt. Nothing bad so far and not overly caloric but still a HUGE amount of food. By this time, I only want more and am now in full out frenzy mode. Oat bran mixed with protein powder sweetened with calorie free syrup is next. I easily polish off a 1000 calories of this mixture all the while deciding what to eat next. POPCORN - 130 grams of it (no don't take time to weight it I just know how much the bowl will hold). It's air popped but drenched in olive oil. When I get to this point, I'm numb and very full but still want to eat more! I desire something with high calorie density, nuts or raisins maybe. In the very worst of times, I seek out cookies, ice creams, and candy. Let me back track, tell you where I am, and how I got to this point.
I basically started out life obese as far as my memories go. I became obese at the age of 4 and was over 60 lbs upon entering kindergarten. By 28, I was 420 lbs. As far back as I can remember, I have craved food and it's solace. My binges during that time were truly legendary. Miraculously now, at the age of 36 I am 190 lbs with 12 percent body fat. Yes, it's a miracle because as you've read the compulsion is still with me. I've achieved and maintained my weight loss with my food choices, exercise and most of the time sheer willpower. None of it has mattered, I am still HAUNTED by my desire to eat. So I search. Search not for a method of controlling the compulsion, I am already "controlling" it. I search for a way to eliminate it completely. If the program cannot rid me of this burden then it is not what I seek.
Is OA the solution? Can it disarm my beast? I can only find out if I ask (and perhaps try it).
02-25-2009, 06:54 PM
Welcome -in need of solace-
Great first post. It is truly not willpower. Willpower has allowed many of us to lose tons of weight over and over again only to regain, or even if not regaining, then to be on a 24/7 treadmill of food thoughts. Call it compulsion, call it obsession- it is real and it is SO strong.
Sometimes I feel that having the OA subforum in the "Chicks in Control" area is not the best fit because the premise of OA is that we by ourselves can not control this. The analogy to alcohol is that we are unable to enjoy and control our overeating. If we are controlling it then we are obsessing, and if we are "enjoying" it, we are in that crazy place of food food food.
I would certainly suggest that you give OA a shot. I can tell you that after over 40 years (since my earliest memories) of always thinking about the next meal or what food I can eat, and also never being satisfied, the principles of OA have allowed me to not have food be my "higher power"- ie: not to be completely controlled by food. It is not about ME controlling food versus food controlling me, but that food is not the focus of my every thought. Talk about dropping the rock or the baggage! I wish you the best. Please ask more questions and check in.
02-25-2009, 07:11 PM
hi in need of solace.
i really feel for you and i completely understand.
i really hope you can get past this. something that is beginning to help me is learning mindfulness techniques.
i'm sure there are other ways, drugs, antidepressants, and what not, but i would rather explore non-chemical, non-invasive techniques before i go that route. drugs always have side effects--i learned that the hard way.
Meditations of all forms are good ways to learn mind-body connection.
one method that is helping me is the Alexander Technique. it is best learned with a certified instructor, but the instructor i saw recommended this book to me:
i know it seems weird, and i was going to pm you about it, but maybe it will help someone else too.
I can't imagine living my life controlled by this, and i hate to think of you being caught in this trap too.
hope you are free someday soon! :hug:
in need of solace
02-26-2009, 11:46 AM
Thanks for the thoughtful replies.
Right now, there is an imaginary world that I'd like to live in. In this world, food holds no power over me.
I don't feel the constant need to eat.
I find satisfaction after eating a normal amount.
I actually know what it's like to feel full and NOT want to eat anymore.
Maybe this world isn't exactly imaginary because I know other people that live there. However, to me, it seems like a complete fantasy.
If I could sum up what I really need in one word… that word would be FREEDOM.
I've asked myself what I'm looking for with this post. I want to know that OA will grant me this freedom. It has to be a solid, unshakeable belief that the program will work or I know I will not give it my all. Only after getting a first hand taste of the real pain my obesity was going to bring to my future, did I "know" I had to lose weight.
I sometimes reread my weight loss journal and see how that painful knowledge motivated me. Without that absolute belief in a better future, I would have failed. I would have lost hope and given up completely. Will Overeaters Anonymous be the way to a better future and freedom? If don't belief it down to the core of my existence then it won't be.
Seems like a Catch 22, no?
Really, this post is about convincing myself to give OA a shot. Even if someone were to post a reply that said they were in my exact position and OA worked completely for them, I really wouldn't KNOW for myself. Maybe what I need comes from step 2.
Maybe I’m just rambling…
Anyway, I'd love to read more insights on OA.
02-26-2009, 04:51 PM
well, i've not been to OA. i post here because i know that i am most definitley an anonymous overeater. being such, i can relate to what you are going through.
Not long ago, as in less than a year ago, my outlook was as destitute as yours. I honestly could not see myself being any different physically, mentally, spiritually etc. I saw myself etched in the binge and diet cycle reality.
But you have to know that change is real. change can happen to all of us, and change can happen to you. You've already made changes. I know this or you would not have lost the amount of weight you have.
I can't say that OA will work without a doubt, but maybe some one who does OA can give you better input.
but just believe this: As sure as you can change your body, you can also change the way that you think.
It's happening to me. slowly but surely. nothing drastic or overnight, that's for sure, but i know it's happening. when i over eat now, i feel bad and i don't like it. when i snack on fruit and veggies, i feel health and vitality and i like the feeling.
One thing that is helping me is talking to people on here. getting ideas. then looking into them on my own.
checking out some books on healthy lifestyles, and magazines. Reading them, educating myself. and also trying new things, even if they seem small and insignificant at first.
I think immersing myself in the health and fitness culture helps me change my outlook.
On finding freedom: it helps me to think of fruits and veggies as things l like. I think most people at least can agree that they like fruit. it's just that it does not have the addictive hold on us that processed junk foods do, and we mistake that addictive hold as a preference for that food. when really we don't prefer those foods so much as we just can't say no to them--they have us imprisoned. With fruits and vegitables, we can enjoy the taste, but when we've had our fill, we can walk away, and that's a healthy relationship with a food.
Of course, you've posted earlier that you do indeed binge on salads and fruit, so maybe that's a bad example...can you instead, use your imagination and really visualize the type of lifestyle that would include you not bingeing. Only eating moderate amounts of food. not deprivation, of course, but a satisfying meal 3xper day. Then can you really imagine and make yourself believe that you like being that way?
it's not a cure all, but a starting point.
thinking like that helped me in the past...
in need of solace
02-27-2009, 12:15 PM
Thanx for all your kind words, Kaebea! :)
As you say, immersing one's self in health and fitness is EXTREMELY beneficial. Learning about nutrition and exercise started me on my journey. Healthy food choices are not my problem. I cut out processed "food" from my regular diet almost 8 years ago. I still crave it but it only creeps back in during the worst binge moments. My last albatross is my food obsession/addiction/compulsion. To have the life I want and need, I must be free of it.
A quote that I like is, "whoever you can become, you already are". Not sure of the source but it could be a variant of the St. Gregory quote, "Become what you already are..." I know I already am the person I want to become; I just have to find the process to unleash him. I must make him part of my conscious mind. This person is obsession free and not governed by a constant desire to eat. As you already know, it's hard to believe this person really exists when you're constantly fighting your compulsion.
02-27-2009, 05:27 PM
great quote. puts things in the right perspective.
I'll be gone for the next 2 weeks, but just thought i'd check my threads here real quick before i do the dreaded packing...
I wanted to ask real quick if you are a) on any medications
and b) if you have looked into supplements.
that's great that you're off processed foods. Quitting sugar has had such a big impact on my binge urges. sometimes the compulsion to eat could signify a deficiency somewhere. I've had good luck taking supplemental Spirulena and Chlorella the past week or so. it's made a big impact, i can just tell I feel more energetic and better overall. Other things that have helped me are salt water flushes made with sea salt first thing in the morning. Not sure how it works, but i def feel better when i take that.
I've had luck with accupunture for curbing food cravings. Maybe research herbal remedies for food cravings? see a naturopath?
they might be able to give you some insight that conventional medicine wouldn't.
just some thoughts. not sure if that's your style, but they are things that have helped me. I know what you're going through and how much pain it causes. I realize myself that i wont be free of my weight and binge/eating problems untill i resolve the mental obsession.
be back in 2 weeks!:)
in need of solace
03-04-2009, 12:27 PM
Not on any meds. Just a multivitamin and fish oil capsules for my daily omega 3.
For me, it's more than just a food craving. Even when I'm very full I still have the desire to eat. It's like my satiation switch is never turned to the "DONE" position. I don't know what it's like to honestly say, "I don't want anything else to eat." I may not be physically hungry all the time but I do HUNGER for food regardless of when or what I've eaten. I'm not sure an appetite suppressant (regardless of the form) would do anything for me.
It's a battle between my nutritional/healthy lifestyle knowledge and this constant desire to be eating. I don't have to tell you how trying the battle can be. It wears me down and I lose control. Depending on what's going on in my life I may be able to go months without binging. Sure it feels good to wake up the next day and know I won yesterdays battle but it doesn't diminish the ever-present desire. In a way, I feel like I'm under constant siege.
The only good thing I can say about this battle is that I will never stop fighting against this damnable compulsion. I will never give up hope that I can overcome it and be free.
03-05-2009, 09:15 AM
I'm wondering if you have tried OA yet. It is wonderful place with people that know and understand. It's a 12 step program based on AA. It has done wonders for many, myself included. If I were you I'd check it out, what can it hurt? www.oa.org will give you times and meetings in your area.
"Serenity is not the absence of the storm, it is peace within the storm."
in need of solace
03-05-2009, 03:31 PM
Thanks for the response patd.
No, I've not tried OA... yet.
Can you go into more details on how it's helped you personally? I'd love to read about your experience.