Overeaters Anonymous - Psychobabble and history of eating disorders




jendiet
11-17-2011, 11:23 PM
I just feel something needs to be said about this.

Does anybody feel this way??? When I was younger I was a target for sexual abuse especially as an inexperienced and naive teen. I tried so hard to be pretty and thin and fit in....but then I got sexually abused repeatedly.

I used to get hit on multiple times in public, and it would make me feel "pretty" or a little uncomfortable--but now it is like I am transparent, and sometimes I think that is good. I am in a relationship, so not looking for anyone--but I just remember knowing I must loook good, because guys noticed me.

I wonder how much of my uncontrolled eating and subsequent weight gain is some sort of protection from unwanted attention. But then I feel fat and ugly.

I'm afraid if I get back to looking attractive, I will get unwanted attention again...but part of me wants to look good again.


jendiet
11-20-2011, 12:45 AM
Did I post this in the wrong forum????

kaplods
11-20-2011, 02:17 AM
I wouldn't say it's the "wrong forum," but folks who aren't in OA, might not have seen the post.

While I've never been sexually abused, I did spend most of my life trying to unravel (or at least identify) the emotional "trauma" that I assumed must be at the root of my obesity (because it has long been assumed, even sometimes today, that obesity was often - if not usually - reflected some type of emotional damage).

In order to "figure myself out," I not only sought counseling, I chose psychology as my field of study (and received my BA and MA in psychology).

The "best" theory counselors had to offer, was that I used food to anesthetize the pain, trauma, and shame of being adopted - and my resentment and jealously of my younger siblings (my parents bio-kids).

I immediately saw huge flaws in that logic.

1. I was so proud of being adopted that I would explain it and brag about it not only in school, but to strangers. At four years old (not yet overweight) I would apparently say even to adult strangers "I'm 'dopted, that means I didn't grow in my mommy's tummy, they picked me out from the baby store."

2. I gained weight at around the age of 5, which means jealously of my parents bio-kids couldn't be the cause, because the bio-kids came along 9 and 11 years later.

and

3. Even when they did come along, I never felt that my parents loved my brother and I (adopted but not bio-related) any less than our younger siblings when they did come along. Nor did my younger sisters, in fact the youngest when she was 3 or 4 declared that she wanted to be 'dopted too - because it wasn't fair that Mom and Dad got to pick Steven and I out special, but with her and her sister, Mom and Dad had to take whatever they got (it's funny that she and I had the same view of adoption as youngsters. My parents never told us that they got to pick me and Steven out, but that's how my sister and I both interpreted it).

I always did think I was an emotional eater, though - until my doctor encouraged me to consider low-carb dieting for my insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. I had never given moderately low-carb dieting a long trial, because I thought it was very unhealthy and I had only ever tried extreme low-carb dieting, and probably because of blood sugar issues, I'd always felt ill on extreme low-carb dieting.

Eating a moderately low-carb diet and sticking with it, taught me that I probably wasn't fat because I was an emotional eater - rather the high-carb diet was making me both obese and emotional. When I switched to low-carb, the bizarre mood swings didn't miraculously disappear, but they did improve miraculously.

This may not sound like it has anything to do with what you're asking, but I think that it does. I did sometimes view my obesity as a way I protected myself and coped with emotional issues.... but I also learned to think that way.

Did I really use food to cope, or did I BELIEVE that I used food to cope, because it was a theory that was handed to me, even from the time I was small.

In many ways, from early childhood, from my parents, teachers, and just from watching society's treatment of obese people, I internalized the message that "Because you're fat, there must be something deeply wrong with you mentally... you must be lazy, crazy, or stupid or in some other way seriously messed up."

But was it true, or did I just believe it because everyone said it?

Was seeing a potentially positive side of obesity a "reason" for my obesity or was it just "sour grapes," a way to feel that the obesity did something for me.

I dated less than my peers, but I dated, and I had a better history with men than many of my female friends and relatives, because I never felt that my weight made me desperate. I never dated jerks just so that I could date more. I knew that great guys who dated fat girls were harder to find, but they weren't impossible to find.

Reading the book "The End of Overeating, by David Kessler" really resonated with me. The animal studies clinched it. Carbohydrates (especially the sugar/salt/sweet flavor combination) is extremely easy to overeat... even if you're a lab rat, especially if you're under any kind of stress at all.

Carbohydrates have a narcotic-like effect, so that when you're stressed, eating these foods has a medicating effect. Rats (especially those with traumatic histories and genetic predispositions) are just as likely to self-medicating with salty-sweet carbs as humans. Self-medicating with food is a good thing (in the short term).

In a sense, it doesn't matter how we became addicted (whether trauma drew us to the addictive substance, or because our families pushed salty-sweet carby stuff on us from the time we were infants).

I wonder how many of us would be crack-addicted if our parents, babysitters and grannies were pushing it on us virtually from the womb.

I do think that emotional issues can lead us to food as a strategy for coping and self-medicating, but I'm not convinced that obesity is generally caused by an underlying emotional difficulty. I think that other factors, play as important, or even more important roles.

The book The End of Overeating, changed my life - because it made it so obvious to me that obesity wasn't some illness that could only be explained by a mental or emotional defect.

When I viewed and treated the high-glycemic foods and salt/sugar/fat combinations as if they were the dietary equivalent to heroine, I had more power over my food.

There are some drugs that are "addictive" whether or not a person has a predisposition towards addiction. Sure a lot of people can use alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and even marijuana and cocaine "responsibly," and others can't. However, there are some drugs with such "addictive" properties, that virtually no one can use them without becoming psychologically and physically dependent on them.

Some foods are the equivalent of caffeine and alcohol. Abuse is possible, but not inevitable. Other foods are the equivalent of heroine or meth... difficult to use without abusing.


I'm not saying that the emotional/psychological issues aren't relevant, I just wonder if we've been taught to make assumptions (and even make emotional issues a self-fulfilling prophecy).

When I thought that obesity was caused by being lazy, crazy, or stupid, I saw a lot of evidence that proved to me that I was one or all three of those things.


jendiet
11-30-2011, 01:17 AM
very good post kaplods. I do believe in alot of what you are saying. I sometimes think my drive is sabotaged though. I prayed for an answer to my obesity, and I got a book called the carbohydrate Addict's diet.

I have used the principles both in the actual recommended diet AND the beginning journey of the Heller's when they did not realize they were tapping into intermittent fasting.

I do see better results with both. However, I keep fighting and going back to regular eating. I want to get that down, before I move on, yet--I can't. And it is a cycle. I want to be normal, I eat what seems normal--I fail and eat abnormally, and I start over.

kaplods
11-30-2011, 02:32 AM
I have the same struggles, which is why it's taken me 7 years to lose 101 lbs.

But, I keep at it, just as I hope I would if I had any other "substance problem."

Even with drug addiction, many people experience the relapse/recovery cycle over and over. But even if your relapse time surpasses your recoveries, every moment in recovery is a moment not spent in the thrall to the substance.

I can be in control, or I can surrender control to the carbs. Every moment that I'm in charge, is a moment that's better just because I'm in the driver's seat of my own life.

I'm not sure "eating normally" truly exists. I'd highly recommend the book, The End of Overeating, by David Kessler. Unfortunatley obesity (in this country) isn't about eating abnormally - it's more about eating normally - eating, and even overeating carbohydrates IS normal, sadly).

Inflammatory diseases have skyrocketed, and there's some fairly persuasive arguments that our modern diet is at least partly to blame. We're a nation of "abnormal" eaters. Not everyone get's obesity. Some people get autoimmune diseases, inflammatory conditions, metabolic disorders (which are often autoimmune disorders)...

Alcoholism and alcohol relapse would be "normal" too, if we put vodka in our children's baby bottles, and in our children's lunches - and we were raised ot believe that life's happiness depended upon alcohol - and to some degree that's what we've done with high-glycemic, concentrated, processed carbohydrates.

jendiet
12-04-2011, 01:54 AM
I am interested in that book. Kaplods.

It makes sense that we placate with "cookies" when they are young. Later on we resort to a "cookie" makes me "happy" or soothes me.

carbs do soothe, that is why we are addicted to them. If we don't have another way to cope, we will resort to the most simple ingrained method.

BeeMom
12-05-2011, 01:52 PM
Here's the difference - You aren't a kid anymore. You have more resources now. You have a different brain than you had then. You have the experience of protecting yourself in other situations. You probably used to run into the street, too, but you don't do that anymore. Your adult self can do this.

kaplods
12-05-2011, 07:17 PM
What I found so interesting is that even animals (which we probably can assume aren't reacting from deep-seated psychological issues as a result of their parents' child-rearing style), overeat in response to certain foods.

Now we do have "higher brain function" that allows us to bypass instinct - but to do so we have to be off auto-pilot. When we act without thinking, we're going to act just like the animals that we are. Bypassing and outsmarting our physiology is very hard work - often harder than it has to be.

I could eat 1100 calories of white bread toast and jam and still lose weight, but I'd be so crazy-hungry that I'd want to chew my own leg off.

I spent 35 of the last 40 years of dieting unaware that low-carb/high-fiber dieting was a breeze compared to high-carb/low-fiber/low-fat dieting.

Why diet "the hard way" when you can make things easier - so that you can rely on "autopilot" a little more.

I can keep high-carb treats like chips, pastas and crackers lying around the house and have to use white-knucked willpower 24/7 to lose weight - or I can keep only non-trigger foods in the house, so that autopilot (which has a component of laziness) can work for me rather than against me.

Setting up my environment, so that it's easier to succeed than fail is a very important part of changing any behavior that has become second-nature or "autopilot."

It's exhausting to have to be on guard every waking moment, so it generally makes more sense to clean up your environment so that it takes more work to eat trigger foods than it does to eat the foods that are less likely to precipitate a binge.

recmom
03-03-2012, 08:01 AM
I just feel something needs to be said about this.

Does anybody feel this way??? When I was younger I was a target for sexual abuse especially as an inexperienced and naive teen. I tried so hard to be pretty and thin and fit in....but then I got sexually abused repeatedly.

I used to get hit on multiple times in public, and it would make me feel "pretty" or a little uncomfortable--but now it is like I am transparent, and sometimes I think that is good. I am in a relationship, so not looking for anyone--but I just remember knowing I must loook good, because guys noticed me.

I wonder how much of my uncontrolled eating and subsequent weight gain is some sort of protection from unwanted attention. But then I feel fat and ugly.

I'm afraid if I get back to looking attractive, I will get unwanted attention again...but part of me wants to look good again.

You are not crazy. I have worked in mental health for 10+ years and have seen countless patients use their weight as a physical means of protection. They describe exactly what you do, being thin equals being a target for sexual abuse. Perhaps seeking therapy on this very specific issue would be helpful.

neon_zephyr
03-18-2012, 03:52 PM
It is common for survivors of sexual assault to develop eating disorders afterwards. You might feel like you've dealt with what happened, but if your body is still trying to protect you and armor you and you're aware of it, then you haven't fully done so and your mind is crying out to you for help. You should go to a good counselor who knows about sexual abuse, body issues, and empowerment and see if you can work through the trauma to heal yourself.

tommy
03-18-2012, 09:40 PM
This is a subject riddled with misinformation and often a lack of any substantive trustworthy data. I know I had an eating disorder by kindergarten/first grade. There was nothing horrid going on. I was loved and had a huge extended family. My sister also struggles with weight but just within a socially acceptable 20 pounds and does not have the "obsession". I truly believe I am wired differently. As time went on, society added expectations and judgments which probably lead to it just getting worse. By 14 I was anorexic. A lot of hard times and work have removed the addictive obsession. I have to continue to define my relationship with food and be extremely vigilant.

neon_zephyr
03-18-2012, 11:43 PM
This is a subject riddled with misinformation and often a lack of any substantive trustworthy data. I know I had an eating disorder by kindergarten/first grade. There was nothing horrid going on. I was loved and had a huge extended family. My sister also struggles with weight but just within a socially acceptable 20 pounds and does not have the "obsession". I truly believe I am wired differently. As time went on, society added expectations and judgments which probably lead to it just getting worse. By 14 I was anorexic. A lot of hard times and work have removed the addictive obsession. I have to continue to define my relationship with food and be extremely vigilant.

I don't mean to imply that sexual assault or violence is the ONLY reason for problems with eating, simply to reassure the original poster that it is not uncommon for those with sexually exploited pasts to have body issues that are sometimes linked to disorders, so it is not something to feel ashamed or isolated by.