Weight Loss Support - Hoarding food




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IanG
12-31-2013, 10:21 PM
I have complained about this before in various posts but it's driving me nuts. I am such a hoarder with my diet/healthy lifetstyle foods that it is costing me $$$ and, perhaps, giving me cause for concern.

I eat a ton of canned fish (typically 5 cans a day of different ones), so I actively seek out the best varieties and buy them. And then stock up. A lot.

Add to that kimchi, tabasco sauce, seaweed, various pickles (e.g. quails eggs, garlic), beans, vegetables, eggs and the desire to keep stocks both at home in a mini-fridge (separate from the rest of my family) and at my office in another mini-fridge and I am definitely coming to the conclusion that I am losing it. Yes, I bought the mini-fridges too.

I have literally hundreds of cans of fish in my possession right now.

So that's the bottom line.

Is anyone else hoarding? I pray not as bad as me.

I have become obsessed with what I eat. And I am not sure that is a good thing. Like it was when I just didn't care.


kelijpa
12-31-2013, 11:05 PM
Ian, you know what they say, well maybe you don't, but the first step is admitting to yourself that something might be amiss. Actually the wording is more like, admitting you are powerless, not sure if that applies to you in this situation, but if it's causing you concern it deserves attention.

I've had my lazy Susan cupboard filled to the point it wouldn't turn hardly, I kind of tough loved myself by making myself use the stuff, I know I have these tendencies, not just with food, so I try and stay aware, like now I've discovered Bolthouse farms dressings, I want to buy every one and try it, but I already have a bunch of dressing in the fridge, I've been measuring out 2 tablespoons when I use them so I know I won't use them up quickly, but I am a little annoyed that I didn't buy another one tonight at the store.

Anyway, just like we make rules for ourselves about the foods, quantities, etc. that we eat, maybe you need to make some rules for yourself about using something before you bring something else in.

I know from personal experience it's not easy to do, but otherwise we end up drowning in stuff, whether it's cans of beans, fish or clothes, etc, etc, etc.

I'll be thinking of you and wishing you success in keeping yourself healthy in all aspects.
:sunny:

In your honor I'm going to make myself get into my closet like I was kind of thinking about doing over this holiday weekend and see what needs to be donated or tossed, like a bunch of CDs for the computer that's out in the shed and never going to be used again...

alaskanlaughter
12-31-2013, 11:19 PM
while I don't hoard...I do tend to hide foods that I want to keep for myself to eat....usually I take them straight to work...sometimes i'll discreetly put them behind other things in the pantry because no one will look that hard in the pantry....I do tend to get possessive sometimes about the things I buy specifically for me


IanG
01-01-2014, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the advice. I'll start to eat my pickings then. On-plan, of course.

SparklyBunny
01-01-2014, 12:16 AM
I was reading this one book on how to organize a home and it said to keep an inventory of certain products so that you don't keep buying the same things again and again. I know that you are aware that you already have those things, but perhaps it would be a useful mental tool to literally list everything that's in your possession with their expiration dates. Then when you feel like you need to buy more, you can look at the list and try to override the urge with making a rational decision. Besides, being organized and having the feeling of being in control might soothe the mind that wants to hoard.

IanG
01-01-2014, 12:19 AM
Thanks SparklyBunny.

happybug
01-01-2014, 03:56 AM
My only concern would be that you'd get a big stock of this stuff then get sick of eating it, which would then be a waste of money. It's not a bad idea to stock up on unperishable items when they're on special, but if the stuff you're buying is going off faster than you can use it then it is probably time to not buy so much. Oh, I see you have hundreds of cans, then, yes maybe time to cut back, LOL, or open your own store.

rubidoux
01-01-2014, 04:19 AM
I don't have this problem with food, but I sew and I have fabric hoarding tendencies. The thing that worked for me (and I have hardly bought any fabric since I adopted this line of thinking) is to decide that the fabric store was an extension of my fabric storage, but better bc I don't have to pay for the fabric till I buy it. The place where that gets sticky is when there is a good sale or it is a fabric that I won't be able to find later. I have managed to convince myself that I am better off storing MY fabric at the fabric store even if it will cost me three times as much when I'm ready to use it. I still have a hard time if its something gorgeous that I won't be able to buy when I want it later.

This line of thinking has worked a lot better for me than other strategies, such as "I can't buy more till I use x amount," or "I can only fill a set amount of space with fabric."

ReillyJ
01-01-2014, 04:58 AM
Maybe it's because you fear you might run out of finances one day to eat the way you want to eat and are eating now to maintain your weight loss?

This is a fear of mine, i do visit my local food bank as times are tough around here and it's mainly my husband that eats that food and i buy my salads, greek yogurt, etc. and while i can't stockpile these things, i am fearful that one day i will be forced to eat food that i do not want to eat.

Maybe this is what you're going through?

Wannabeskinny
01-01-2014, 10:00 AM
Not exactly. When I was at the height of my secret binges then yes, I would hide junk food in strange places like my closet, my bookbags, my car, the coat closet, the linen closet etc. When I was having a bad day and needed food for comfort I stocked the fridge and pantry with chips, dips, bread, soda, etc. It was comforting to have around even if I didn't eat it all at once. Could that be happening here?

When we started eating whole foods and made the decision to eat a lot of raw foods every day the first thing we did was clear up the pantry. We don't eat canned food to the extent that you do so you might find half a dozen cans of tuna, a few sardines for my husband and a pile of canned anchovies that I use for cooking. My pantries are pretty bare nowadays. But I do know a thing or 2 about organization so I'll try to help because I remember the days of stockpiling.

1. Buy fresh food every day - I walk to the store on a daily basis and buy fresh produce/fruit/meats. Fresh food is so much more nutritious and eating fresh makes me feel fresh.

2. Do a pantry raid every month. We do this with our freezer. Sometimes I throw chicken breasts in there that get lost and once a month we raid the freezer and fridge and make a creative dinner using bits and bobs of things.

3. When you buy something on sale, don't put it in your pantry unless you take out all the identical items in there that you already have. So you bought a case of tuna? Pull out the tuna you already have and eat it first. Don't put anything new in the pantry until you finish what you have. That means that your hallway or countertop or corner of the kitchen will have a pile of stuff there that needs to be eaten. Hoarding is easy to ignore if it's all behind a closed door. But if it's right in front of you it will prompt you to get rid of it.

4. Keep a list on the inside of the pantry door of what you have in there. Every time you remove something from the pantry cross it off. EVerytime you put something in, write it on the list.

5. I keep a running grocery list on my smart phone, one for the market and one for costco.

6. Don't buy things just because they're on sale. Only buy the things you need. This is how we get into trouble rather than saving money. We each have to choose what is important to us. I'd rather have a sparse pantry and money in my pocket rather than look into my pantry and feel overwhelmed. It turns out that not buying it saves me more money than buying it on sale.

LaurieDawn
01-01-2014, 03:18 PM
I am sort of trying to develop this behavior, actually. I work a lot of hours, and almost always eat at my office. I tend to not eat after I leave work, unless it's an after-work-out snack, and tend to eat my first meal mid-morning at the office. But I went to my filing cabinet yesterday morning to get some food that I thought I had stocked up and realized I didn't have enough for the day. I have eggs stocked, but those take some time to be out of my office and prepare in the basement kitchen (yes - we have a basement kitchen at work - how cool is that?), and I didn't have an opportunity to go prepare them because I was working on deadline. So I got the familiar panic about not having available on-plan foods. I, too, stock up on the same foods at home (for weekends, mostly) and at work so that I don't have to think about food very much, but can be on plan.

So, I absolutely see the utility in what you're doing. I also have financial insecurity in my background, as a previous poster mentioned, so I am definitely into making sure I have enough in times of scarcity.

This is one of those "good problems to have," IMHO. Based on the sheer numbers you mention, you probably are doing too much hoarding, and I think you've gotten some good suggestions about how to address it. But it's way, way better than the alternative -- not having what you need to maintain your health and weight loss when you need it.

Mountain Mamma
01-01-2014, 03:43 PM
I don't have this problem with food, but I sew and I have fabric hoarding tendencies. The thing that worked for me (and I have hardly bought any fabric since I adopted this line of thinking) is to decide that the fabric store was an extension of my fabric storage, but better bc I don't have to pay for the fabric till I buy it. The place where that gets sticky is when there is a good sale or it is a fabric that I won't be able to find later. I have managed to convince myself that I am better off storing MY fabric at the fabric store even if it will cost me three times as much when I'm ready to use it. I still have a hard time if its something gorgeous that I won't be able to buy when I want it later. "

We're talking about HOARDING. What you're describing is fabric COLLECTING!! ;) I don't hoard either - that closet of fabric is, um, a hobbby. :joker:

IanG
01-01-2014, 09:29 PM
Wow. Lots of suggestions. Thanks. You have made me reflect on my motivations for this. And I think I have a few.

One is clearly an obsession with what I am eating, which I think has come about through dieting over the past 11 months constantly thinking about what to eat and what not to eat. It is a symptom of anorexia to hoard, but the big difference - or so I read - is that I hoard but I also eat.

Secondly, I love - dare I say crave - variety. I like to know I have choices in my resticted diet. So that makes me buy lots of different stuff if I can.

Thirdly, I don't want to run out of a variety so I stock up. This might be the most irrational fear...that the store may run out, so I get the fabric analogy.

Fourthly, the shelf life on this stuff is years so the discipline of "it will not be good to eat" is pretty much absent.

But some good news. I was on my way to a store today to buy some more cans (of mackeral). But decided to go home instead as I already had enough. That's progress.

Wannabeskinny
01-01-2014, 10:18 PM
I think roubidoux example on fabric is great, not to be confused with collecting. Anytime we store more than we need out of FEAR it is a form of hoarding.

Ian, I did not know that corollation between anorexia and hoarding.

If you're feeling seriously overwhelmed by your pantry then you may want to try donating a good chunk of it. Clearing a space can do wonders for your state of mind and well being. There is enough for everyone.

Bellamack
01-01-2014, 10:26 PM
I don't have this problem with food, but I sew and I have fabric hoarding tendencies. The thing that worked for me (and I have hardly bought any fabric since I adopted this line of thinking) is to decide that the fabric store was an extension of my fabric storage, but better bc I don't have to pay for the fabric till I buy it. The place where that gets sticky is when there is a good sale or it is a fabric that I won't be able to find later. I have managed to convince myself that I am better off storing MY fabric at the fabric store even if it will cost me three times as much when I'm ready to use it. I still have a hard time if its something gorgeous that I won't be able to buy when I want it later.

This line of thinking has worked a lot better for me than other strategies, such as "I can't buy more till I use x amount," or "I can only fill a set amount of space with fabric."

I too was going to post that I do it with Fabric! to the point of being ridiculous, I absolutely have banned myself from the shops, UNLESS I need something to finish a started project. I am embarrassed how much fabric I have, I could open a shop. lol

kelijpa
01-01-2014, 11:00 PM
I think the reference to "collecting" was a kind of a joke,a way we rationalize...

I have a bunch of fabric I inherited from DH's grandmother...

Ian proud of you, I got rid of some things I was ignoring on top of my dresser, thanks for that! I did some laundry today, so the closet tomorrow. :D

Best to all :sunny:

IanG
01-01-2014, 11:52 PM
Would anyone like to exchange some canned fish for divine, hard-to-come-by fabric?

krampus
01-02-2014, 12:16 PM
You're just planning ahead, and being polite. Koreans have separate refrigerators for kimchi because of the smell.

It's definitely toeing the line though. What else do you think about or do for fun?

thesame7lbs
01-02-2014, 12:27 PM
Ian, I have hoarding/hiding tendencies, too. And I know what you mean about becoming obsessed with food, and can see how those two practices can easily intertwine.

What do you think would be a reasonable number of cans to have? Pick a number, x cans of mackerel, y cans of crab, z cans of salmon. Write it down, keep an inventory. Then, if you really can't keep to that, if you find yourself struggling with that number, rationalizing why you need more, you might consider talking to someone about it or doing some self-help reading?

I hate the food obsession -- I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling it.

Larry H
01-02-2014, 12:35 PM
Ian,

I tend to be an impulse buyer and as a result have too much food. I found out that the following plan works for me

1. Inventory your food stash at work and at home.
2. Then make a shopping list of items you really need.
3. Go to the grocery store and buy ONLY the items on your list. NOTHING ELSE

Arctic Mama
01-02-2014, 01:10 PM
I do this with my sardines to some extent, but I wouldn't call I hoarding because I don't have an emotional component to it. It's cheaper and makes sense to acquire them at discount, in large quantity, when is eat it every day. But I'm not storing 'just because', but rather because I'm eating them every day :)

It sounds like you have a good handle on this - just keep it in perspective and manage what you already have and I think you'll be fine.

JohnP
01-02-2014, 02:16 PM
You're pretty far from a hoarder based on your post.

What concerns me is the amount of fish (canned or otherwise) you're consuming. I have tried to determine what is safe to avoid long term mercury poisoning but it seems that we simply don't know.

5 cans a day may be putting you at risk.

GlamourGirl827
01-02-2014, 02:27 PM
Ian, I am really glad you posted about this. I have struggled with this for many years, but it is only when I am restricting/dieting. I didnt know that it is something present with anorexia, but that makes sense. In case you havent seen elsewhere on the boards, I have a long history of starving (days weeks or months) then binging (for days week even months of out of control eating).

In my earilier years I lacked insight into what I was doing (food hoarding) but aftetr many years I have mentally and emotionally approached this and this is what it was for me.

I had "safe" foods. Foods tht I felt would not make me fat, but really it was food that I could eat without guilt, without scolding myself or belittling myself for hours and hours afterwards (I'm so fat, weak, I ate XYZ). My fear was that I would run out of my safe foods and eating something else, anything else produced such anxiety that hoarding those safe foods helped make be feel less anxious about it. I still do this, but I literally talk myself through it on a daily basis. Sometimes I try to eat unsafe foods that are on plan just to deal with the anxiety it gives me.

Then at some point this seems to shut off, something just triggers a binge and I find myself eating eventhing I couldnt before because now I can do it "guilt free"...until I start restricting again...but during binge times...NO hoarding at all!!

Wannybeskinny posted a thread on the general chatter board, a link to a video regarding what its like to be anorexic, and its so true. The noise that comes from eating unsafe foods. And safe food vary from person to person, and mine have even changed at times depending on what new nutritional information I learned.

I should also say I came from a very financially stressed background, but some how I dont think thats playing into this as much as the reason I explain above.

I dont know if this is what is behind your food hoarding, but if it is, I hope my post helped. :)

Vex
01-02-2014, 04:27 PM
I do wonder about what JohnP said, as I've read that as well about mercury poisoning. We get warnings about that from the game and parks commissions on not to consume too much fish that we've caught.

I wonder if that applies to canned...saltwater fish or if that's only a problem with freshwater fish here in the US.

Probably worthwhile checking into that.

IanG
01-02-2014, 10:03 PM
Thanks for all the great advice, responses and concerns and from so many of my 3FC "heros" too!

On mercury, I try to be careful with that. I eat mostly smaller fish lower down the food chain where this is likely to be less of a problem (e.g. sardines, anchovies, wild salmon).

The stuff I limit, but still eat occassionally and store, are albacore tuna, some of the bigger mackeral and (fresh, not canned 'cos it's real hard to find) swordfish.

To be honest, though, I'm willing to take the risk of mercury, PCBs etc. given the other health benefits (e.g. Omega 3s, lean protein etc.). But if I start going mad (sorry...even more mad), you'll know why. :dizzy:

However, if I were a woman looking to have a child some day, I am not at all sure I would play this game given the potential risks to infants. And my very young kids won't be getting this diet either as per mom's instructions (but a little oily fish won't harm them every now and again).

That being said, I enjoyed 4 cans today with some 'fresh' fish...Bar Harbor canned kippers, Polar canned Jumbo Lump Crab, a pouch of Good News Tuna Company smoked Albacore tuna and some fresh smoked salmon with 10 anchovies (I buy raw anchovies salted in a 2.2lb can, fillet them and soak them to reduce the sodium). All eaten with a hearty salad as is the norm. And oats for breakfast.

Arctic Mama, sardines are my go-to too. I currently have 30 cans at home and 20 cans at the office. Yum. (I've started that inventory Larry H!).

Krampus, I also eat kimchi (daily) and love it. I would stock more of it but I eat it too fast so a stash never builds. I should learn to make it but I'm too lazy so just buy Lucky Food's kimchi instead. It's wonderful. But does smell of smelly feet (don't say that to a Korean!). I guess those extra fridges are an investment then!

kaplods
01-02-2014, 11:06 PM
Hoarding is a term I reserve for dysfunctional stockpiling - when you have so much stuff, you can't find or can't get to what you want when you need it, so you go buy more even though you know you have it somewhere. Or when your stockpiles are taking over your living space to the point you're embarassed to let people see your home or a significant part of it.

At one point my collection of craft supplies crossed into a hoarding situation. Hubby bribed me to cull the hoard with the promise of new furniture and storage for the room.

I still have stockpiling and collection issues with craft supplies, and food items.

Foods I have collecting issues with, or have had in the past include especially low-calorie sweeteners, pickles, powdered drink mixes, canned fish, oatmeal, gluten free flour mixes and noodles.

I have a plastic storage container a little bigger than a shoe box devoted to Crystal Light and similar drink mixes and another of low-calorie teas, coffees, and hot cocoa and another for flavoring syrups and extracts and another for a huge assortment of soup and bouillon cubes mostly from the asian market.

For a while, I had a huge assortment of canned fish and shellfish from the asian market - mostly in curries and other strongly and uniquely flavored curries and sauces. I still usually have an assortment of at least 5-10 cans, I usually don't let it get bigger than that because we now live only a couple blocks from a well-stocked asian market.

I also have about 30 bottles and jars of asian condiments - fish and soy sauces, vinegars, rice wine, hoisin, seasoning and soup pastes, chili pastes... the shelves on the fridge door are packed.

I also love asian snacks like seasoned nori strips and "prepared" squid or cuttlefish (essentially pink shreds of sweet or sweet and spicy squid/cuttlefish jerky). I usually have at least a few packages of seafood or seaweed snacks of some sort on hand. The squid is my favorite.

We have a huge walk-in pantry in our kitchen (almost as big as our last apartment's bathroom), so there's a lot of space to fill before food item stockpiles become unmanageable, but we're pretty much ready for the zombie apocalypse.

IanG
01-02-2014, 11:15 PM
Thanks kaplods! I am not at all at your definition of hoarding, so that is useful and comforting.

I just keep very generous stocks.

But, like you in the past, I do enjoy collecting pickles (especially Amish!), canned fish (obviously) and oats. Ouch!

delmarva
01-03-2014, 01:23 AM
Another Sardine lover, yay. I hoard them too. With them, you have no mercury worries.

GlamourGirl827
01-03-2014, 08:44 AM
Just wanted to say, another oat "hoarder" here! lol... ;)

Wannabeskinny
01-03-2014, 09:16 AM
With the hoarding shows now we have an extreme example that most of us can't identify with. However, if you feel like you're keeping things out of fear, anxiety, maintaining a sense of calm, or whatever then even if it's not the extreme definition of hoarding there is still a problem. It seems like you've hit a nerve there, like you've figured out that this might cross into problem territory and you're not comfortable with that. No harm in addressing this issue.

freelancemomma
01-03-2014, 12:15 PM
Just wanted to say, another oat "hoarder" here! lol... ;)

I have the opposite problem: I'm a compulsive discarder. (For some reason we seem to be a rarer breed than hoarders.) This has on occasion crossed over into pathological territory. For example, when I was 15 I decided that certain items of clothing no longer belonged in MY MOTHER's closet, and proceeded to discard them. Needless to say she was not amused. I have also been known to discard clothes I bought just a few days ago because they "didn't fit" with the rest of my wardrobe.

For the most part I have the compulsion under control now. Still, when something goes missing in our house, the first place my husband looks is in the garbage can.:o And I find it hard NOT to discard very small portions of leftovers.

I would never hoard food (especially food I like) because I would be tempted to eat it "ahead of schedule." I keep only enough food for our family's immediate needs in our fridge and cupboards.

F.

PUPMOM5
01-03-2014, 01:57 PM
freelancemomma, I also am an compulsive discarder. DH knows that a lot of things just aren't safe with me and you'd think that would lead him to put things "where they should live" (my phrasing) if they're important but he doesn't. It drives me nuts. He also knows if he can't find something to check the trash can. I didn't know there were other people like me. :)

EasySpirit
01-03-2014, 02:20 PM
I agree with Wannbeskinny. If you think you have a problem, address it. If you are comfortable with your supply, and do not think you have crossed a line, let it be.

Personally, I have watched the hoarding shows a few times, and find them troubling. The people featured all seem to have issues with keeping trash - - in my opinion, they are slobs! It is one thing to collect (hoard) basic supplies because you have an irrational fear; quite another to have empty wrappers, pizza discards, half-empty paint tins, dirty paper plates, etc. all piled every where, every which way. I will never watch another hoarding show again - - I feel they are taking advantage of people with obvious mental problems.

alaskanlaughter
01-03-2014, 02:28 PM
freelancemomma, I also am an compulsive discarder. DH knows that a lot of things just aren't safe with me and you'd think that would lead him to put things "where they should live" (my phrasing) if they're important but he doesn't. It drives me nuts. He also knows if he can't find something to check the trash can. I didn't know there were other people like me. :)

it's called "downsizing" LOL and I do that too....several years ago when we bought our house and had to move into it, in the middle of winter, I did most of the packing and discarding and I was extra efficient at discarding so we wouldn't have to haul all that stuff with us

when summertime rolled around and it got hot outside, I realized I had thrown away ALL of my summer clothes....every single last piece....because I had packed in the winter and didn't need them at the moment LOL

Wannabeskinny
01-03-2014, 02:48 PM
I agree with Wannbeskinny. If you think you have a problem, address it. If you are comfortable with your supply, and do not think you have crossed a line, let it be.

Personally, I have watched the hoarding shows a few times, and find them troubling. The people featured all seem to have issues with keeping trash - - in my opinion, they are slobs! It is one thing to collect (hoard) basic supplies because you have an irrational fear; quite another to have empty wrappers, pizza discards, half-empty paint tins, dirty paper plates, etc. all piled every where, every which way. I will never watch another hoarding show again - - I feel they are taking advantage of people with obvious mental problems.

Hoarding on that level is a type of mental illness. My friend's mother was like that, you couldn't walk into her house because of the piles. At the time I could not understand why someone needed to stash dozens of empty boxes of cereal but I know it's not because the person is "slob". Slob is not the right word here, it's beyond that and hoarders of this type do deserve a little sympathy.

Besides, you can call fat people a type of hoarder. We build a cocoon around ourselves, a type of security blanket that makes us feel protected.

IanG
01-04-2014, 09:15 PM
Thanks. I am clearly not "hoarding" in the extreme sense. This is using up half the floor of my small pantry, at best, and a couple of shelves in my office. My main concern is that I am enjoying buying new types of canned fish I have not tried and canned fish I know I like, even though I have enough to subsist on (with my current diet) for a month or so. It's the enjoyment I am struggling with, even when I know I already have enough to eat for quite some time.

It's coming from a place where I know I will enjoy eating the food (at breakfast, lunch etc.), just not now. That's the link with anorexia, I assume. Seeing and having the food but not eating it (although I do eat...a lot...just at the right times).

memememe76
01-05-2014, 01:00 AM
The posts about "hoarding" and anorexia is interesting. I never realized the connection, but can see it now.

I was so worried that if I had anything in my kitchen, I would only end up eating it so for awhile I went grocery shopping everyday and bought only enough for what I would eat that day. Over time, I was able to keep some food in my fridge or cabinets and only ate them when I was planning to eat them. That I have more than one box of crackers and I don't tear up the package until I intend to eat them with my soup is an achievement I am quite pride of.

But now I am a bit of a hoarder. As a Canadian, it's cheaper to buy stuff in the US so I try to buy as much of my groceries when I go to the US as much as possible. That means "hoarding" because I can't go the US all that often.