I don't know how many of you watch Ruby, but her show has been very eye opening for me. Netflix just recently put seasons 1 & 2 on instant view so I was happy I could finally see them. But her journey in just the first few seasons has just made me see my addiction to food in a different light.
So what I'm wondering is, in the show someone said
"All addictions start with some type of pain or trauma in Childhood or adolescence."
What I am wondering is, is this true for you? I believe over eating is an addiction for the majority of us...so did it start then for you?
As for me, I believe it did. Although I was always kind of husky, I didn't start over eating until about a year after my Mom died when I was 4 years old. I remember stealing food from my Dad's room at that time, I remember I would get so sad, and I would CRY for my Mom (literally SCREAM for her). And my Dad just couldn't handle it (never came in and hugged me or anything) and would let me just cry myself to sleep. That's when I turned to food. I found it helped me stifle the feeling of loss, grief and anger.
The reason for this post, is I have started on a journey of letting myself go back to that little girl. I am starting to think I might need professional help, because I don't think that I have let myself deal with all the emotions that came with losing her so early in life. And sometimes I believe that is where the root of my over eating is. I don't like to feel pain, or loss, or even anger a lot of the time. I stifle those feelings with food.
Anyhow, this is getting long, but I was just thought it might help others to be able to open up about their experience with food. I hope others feel like they can share, but I understand if you can't. :)
12-23-2010, 07:45 PM
I believe that "some addictions start with some type of pain or trauma in Childhood or adolescence." I know that losing your mother must have been extremely traumatic for you. Both of my parents lost theirs when they were under 10 and it has had a huge impact on their lives. I really think working through these feelings with a therapist could be very productive for you.
The only thing I question is what I call the "Prince of Tides" theory of emotional issues. Like in that movie, once Nick Nolte remembers a childhood trauma, his issues dissolve away. I think life is more complicated than that. That we all go through varying degrees of trauma as children, and that yours was worse than most. And I think each person reacts to it differently. You got the message that no one was there to take care of you at a very young age and you started to take care of yourself with food.
Trying to take care of yourself by feeding your emotions actually comes from a good place, in my opinion, it just doesn't have a good result. There's a book called Feeding the Hungry Heart by Geneen Roth that I think is quite good on this.
It takes a lot of bravery to start thinking about these things and I sincerely wish you good luck on your journey.
12-23-2010, 08:05 PM
I think it was true for me.
I was never thin, and had issues with weird diets starting at age 9 (I was being abused pretty much every way you can imagine by people in my home and outside of it) BUT, I dont think I had a serious problem with food until my mom kicked me out and sent me to live with my gparents for good at the age of 14. They got custody of me right after. Even though living there was so nice and so much better and no abuse and very loving...I couldn't help feel so abandoned and just...worthless. What does it mean when your MOM doesn't want you, but she wants your sister she had with her current husband? It was so hurtful to me. When I moved in with my gma I started to seriously overeat, and when I gained I didn't deal with it well.
I started starving and abusing laxatives and then binging and was just such a mess. I wasn't like that when I lived at home. I was 'chubby' at most.
Until just now I never even gave that a second thought.
I don't think realizing these things makes your problems disappear, but I do think you can't begin fixing them if you don't know what they are.
12-23-2010, 08:17 PM
Jess - I do totally agree with you. I don't believe that everything will be totally okay and better once I deal with it. But I believe there will be some healing for me there, which may help me cope better with emotions. Sometimes I think I don't know how to deal with emotions as a result of the stifling them with bad food. Your response was very helpful, I will have to look into that book. :)
Lottie - How horrible for you...I can't imagine being abused, I think that would have been VERY hard to cope with. I worry that my nieces and nephews will feel the same way you do at some point, they were abandoned by their mom who got pregnant by another man, and still has that baby, but left her other 4 kids behind...
Thank you for responding both you. I started to wonder after I posted if it was to deep, or to personal. But I think its good for me, its starting the process of healing I think. :)
12-23-2010, 08:48 PM
For me, it doesn't matter. I don't care what the cause of my eating issues are, I want to deal with the here and now. I can't change the past but I can change the future.
12-23-2010, 08:57 PM
I think that can definitely be the case.
It wasn't for me, though. I had no childhood trauma that triggered my bad eating habits. It was means, opportunity, and just an enjoyment of eating.
The Last Noel
12-23-2010, 08:58 PM
I suppose this sounds true. I was a lanky child and I resemble my lanky father in every other way besides my "emotional eating". I can recall the exact time and day it started too. Though not significantly traumatic it was a formative time when I was 13. I guess I can blab about it if no one minds.
When I was 13 my father had the grand idea to move us out to the country and raise us city kids in rural areas like he had been brought up. I was very much a city kid though and I found I had nothing in common with any of the other children and they teased me incessantly for my braces (among other things). My parents were not communicative in raising me. I cannot recall a single sit down talk I have ever had with either of them. Instead I ate and listened to music. I ate constantly from the moment I got home from school until I fell asleep at night. This went on for 3 months and I gained 50 pounds. At the time my parents also juggled me back and forth off and on medications for various "mood disorders" (a common ploy of the mid-90's pharmaceutical companies). Every time I changed a pill I gained weight. They moved us back to the city soon after the 3 month mark.
I dont like to think back to that time because I dont like to give myself excuses or dwell in the past. I have also tried very hard to forgive my parents.
Sadly I am still an emotional eater when times get tough it takes great willpower for me to not stuff myself to sickness.
12-23-2010, 09:48 PM
Its very interesting to hear everyone's opinions. Thank you for sharing. :)
Part of what I think has been happening too, is a repeat of the behavior I mentioned in my first post. I lost my very first pregnancy this summer. And there is the same emotions there, grief, pain, loss, anger...and I have started turning to food yet again...
So even though I understand those who don't think the past offers anything to help you, I find that it does for me. Because according to Dr. Phil (lol) relevant past behavior is an indicator of future behavior. And I am seeing that at play in my own life currently. So for me, I think its about exploring how to deal with my emotions. Especially with loss and grief.
But we all have to do what we need to, and for some that doesn't require exploring their past. For me alot of it is my emotional health as well. I think not only does my Mom's death come into play with food and being overweight, but it comes into play in a lot of other aspects of my life. So that's the main reason I think I need to deal with it.
Sorry! Off my soap box now. :)
12-23-2010, 09:48 PM
I think we all look for reasons that we ended up "the fat ones"....
Some people are skinny by nature... I'm sure lots of those people had trauma in their lives at some point too.
I had no trauma... but I had family that insinuated that I was too big all the time. I wasn't too big... I was normal... just not skinny enough for them.
Anyway... I have often thought that my rebellious nature made me get this way because "they" can't control me... If I want to be fat.. I can be fat!
But that's kinda crazy... I mean who really wants to be fat?
I think the best way for me at least... is to let go of the past, don't look to the past for answers, look to the future for answers ... we can't change the past, only the future, so there is no since in over analyzing it.
I wish you all the best of luck :)
12-23-2010, 10:26 PM
Well I think everyone has to find their own path and professional help may help you. I was speaking about my personal feelings toward the past.
I started gaining weight around age 5 and I was definitely overeating and binging. I don't remember it all but my mom did provide me with some details. I gained most of my weight between the ages of 5 and 14. The one thing that changed that helped me lose the weight I've lost so far is I realized I needed to have some love for myself and care about what happens to myself in the future.
12-23-2010, 10:39 PM
I also think it's important to remember that not all food addicts are fat, and not all fat people are food addicts.
For myself, I spent over a year in therapy because time after time after time I was sure "this is the time i'll be successful" at dieting, only to crash and burn after a short time, or lose some weight and then gain it all back and then some. I was convinced I was going to "do it", I committed to it, I was determined, but always the same results.
Looking back over my childhood, there was absolutely no trauma whatsoever. I thought perhaps I was romanticizing my childhood but nope, it was kind of perfect. I was always praised for my humour, my good grades, for being pretty. I was never belittled or made fun of - was always made to feel important and worthy of love in every respect. I somehow managed to turn that into being a spoiled little brat INSIDE as a grown up -- I'm so awesome, i should be able to eat like a linebacker and be thin! LOL geesh, I had to beat that little snot into submission more than once, but by jove I think i've got her handcuffed now ;) So, no, not all fat people are trauma victims, not all food addicts are fat, but there usually IS 'something' more going on with those of us 100+ pounds overweight - it's not just 'letting things slide' for a few months right?
12-23-2010, 10:47 PM
No trauma or unusual events here. Perfectly average childhood with very nice and involved parents. Normal weight through high school, gained the freshman 15, the sophomore 15, etc. and then went to a high pressure grad school where I turned the pages of my law books with one hand while the other scooped up M&M's. Went from constantly playing sports to constantly sitting in a library studying.
Nothing more complicated or deep than that.
12-23-2010, 11:31 PM
I think it's as inaccurate to say that all addictions start with trauma as it would be to suggest that none of them do. If I track the traumatic events in my life alongside periods of weight gain, there's no connection. However, if I track my weight gain alongside activity levels, the connection there would be glaringly obvious.
Every mind and every body is unique.
12-24-2010, 12:26 AM
No trauma here. I just like to eat.
To PinkHoodie, Lottie and everyone who is overcoming childhood trauma at the same time as losing weight: More power to you and my heart goes out to you all.
12-24-2010, 12:32 AM
Thanks again for all the replies. Please don't think I was saying it is this way or its not. That's why I wanted to start this thread, because its helping me understand more.
You are all great. :)
12-24-2010, 02:50 AM
I'm 18 months older than my brother. We were both bottle-fed. My mother always used to tell the story that I was "so good" when they brought him home, until the moment I saw him being fed. Then I cried and cried, because I thought they'd given him my bottle.
This has affected me at my absolute core, and I have the absolute knowledge that in every relationship of affection, I will sooner or later be replaced, no matter how "good" I am. My head tells me that's not true but, at heart, it is just my absolute truth.
For a long time it did affect my attitude to food too - food = love, love can be withdrawn/given to another instead, grab food while you can.
The lightbulb came to me about 20 years ago, though, since when I've -twice - become the fattest I've ever been. This time, I'm really battering the weight down - but the replaceability never seems to leave me.
12-24-2010, 07:46 AM
For me? No. But I'm proudly weird and always have been. I got fat because I didn't know what a portion was and wasn't moving nearly as much as I thought I was.
For my brother? And emphatic definitely. I mourn the loss of who my brother could have and should have been because a traumatic event from our adolescence sent him toward alcohol and he mains a severe alcoholic 20 years later.
I came out unscathed because I was determined to. I have now lost weight because I was determined to.
12-24-2010, 07:55 AM
So even though I understand those who don't think the past offers anything to help you, I find that it does for me.
This is all you need to know. ;)
I have found something else about myself, and it's probably true for a lot of people. Some people's growth gets stunted due to a traumatic event. Like an alcoholic may never mature past the age when they started drinking. My emotions never matured past the age of a 12 year old, exactly the age when my parents screwed up. A few summer ago my father accidentally did a near repeat of that event (really complicated to explain, sorry), and my emotions returned to that of a 12 year old. I reacted the same way as a 34 year old as I would have as a 12 year old. :dizzy:
It's not surprising you have a reaction to food, especially since it's what's you turned to in your time of need. I think recognizing that is at least extremely beneficial.
Also, I'm extremely inter-reflective. It's just therapeutic to come to terms with how I tick. So I think it's really neat that you are turning inwards while you fight this good fight. ;) You're doing well.
12-24-2010, 11:10 AM
I came out unscathed because I was determined to. I have now lost weight because I was determined to.
I'm an adult survivor of sexual abuse. I didn't start medicating/comforting myself with food until an adult when the voices in my head that belittled me became unbearable. I also didnt' gain weight until I no longer was getting enough physical activity to support my food intake. For me it was a combo. I dont' think that any one thing caused my weight gain. But it wasn't until I accepted, forgave and truly loved myself that I was able to lose the weight. It has been a life altering experience. I applaud anyone who is willing to address childhood trauma to heal themselves.
12-24-2010, 02:11 PM
Wow, there are some amazing people on this board!! Thank you for sharing with me, and supporting me. It may seem weird, but you are all helping to see myself in a different light. I am a huge believer in the saying knowledge is power. I have found that in my fight with PCOS.
Thank you so much. :)
The Last Noel
12-24-2010, 02:11 PM
Pink Hoodie I am very sorry for the loss of your first pregnancy. I know all too well how devestating that can be and my heart goes out to you. Dont give up on trying. :)
12-25-2010, 03:05 AM
I used to believe this, in fact I think I got my bachelor's degree AND master's degree in psychology, largely to understand and hopefully cure myself.
I think it only seems to be true, because no one escapes childhood or adolescence (or life in general) without some kind of trauma. If you're alive and human, you can point to trauma in your life and believe that it caused any problem you want to blame on it.
I spent decades trying to address my emotional issues, and largely by accident, I learned that emotional issues weren't causing my eating any more (or any less) than my eating was causing my emotional issues.
A lot more of my food issues and even emotional issues (far more than I ever would have expected) are physiological. If I eat a lot of carbs, my emotional state is less stable than when I eat only lower-carb, lower GI whole foods.
I wasn't eating because I was crazy, I was feeling crazy because of what I was eating.
When I eat well, get decent sleep, exercise, and generally take good care of myself, my coping skills are stronger and easier to use.
If I eat crap, don't get decent sleep, burn the candle at both ends, put my needs last... my weight loss and my mental health suffers.
I think it can be a chicken-egg dilemma. Does trauma cause overeating, or does overeating exacerbate trauma? I think the answer is yes (to both). It's a self-perpetuating cycle that snowballs. The worse you eat, the worse you think/feel. The worse you think/feel, the worse you eat, an endless downward spiral.
The good news is that the reverse is also self-perpetuating. The better you eat, the better you think/feel. The better you think/feel, the better you eat (so long as you're paying attention and making the effort).
12-26-2010, 01:43 AM
Kaplods...there is wisdom in your post. Thank you.