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Old 01-28-2012, 06:41 PM   #1
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Question Has anyone figured out what caused them to start overeating in the first place?

My question is how did you figure it out? And I'd love to know why although that's pretty personal.

I know OA isn't about figuring it out but I'd still love to know.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:08 AM   #2
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I think I was simply born with a large appetite. My mother tried to bottle-feed me according to a doctor's recommended schedule, but apparently I used to scream bloody murder after every feeding -- until she gave me a whole extra bottle. When I was four, I discovered a large box of chocolates left by some guests and ate the whole thing. Apparently my dad said, "Good, she'll get sick and won't want to eat chocolates from now on," but my stomach withstood the experience without any problem and I continue to love chocolate to this day.

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:13 AM   #3
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There are a couple things... the found convenient food was cheaper.. and quick.. my family never had much money when I was younger so we grew up on frozen and processed foods.. also I found myself to be a stress eater.. sad.. anxious.. what made me feel better?? Of course ice cream.. cheesecake... a variety of appetizers delivered right to my door.. now I try to stress clean my house.. lol its more beneficial
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:23 PM   #4
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This is a great question. I've been trying to figure this out for myself for years!

I grew up in proverty, and we were always short on food. When I went to college, I had free range of the entire cafeteria. I gained (and lost) weight, but only began to have a SERIOUS overeating problem after I received radioactive iodine to "treat" my thyroid.

After that, even when my hormone levels were considered normal, I would binge, overeat, be really emotional if I did not get the food I was looking for, etc.

I have a hunch that my hormones and what I eat really guides me. I've come to this conclusion due to my thyroid hormone history, how I ate when I was pregnant/nursing, and what my cravings were when I was on or off birth control meds.

I've also discovered that I am sensative to wheat gluten. When I eat a lot of this, I don't feel the "I'm full" signal. I can quickly fall into a frenzy of never being satisfied with what I am eating... and quickly binge on carbs and other foods.

It's almost like having a chemical inbalance in my body. Weird, eh?

I'm still trying to figure this out. I agree - stress definately contributes. So does lack of sleep and not getting daily exercise.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
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I think this is an excellent question!

I'm not sure I know the answer,but I think it may because I was a picky eater when I was a kid. I strongly disliked the taste and texture of a lot of "regular" food. Green vegetables has a very strong unpleasant taste to me. I always felt like I could taste the chlorophyll. I also did not like if say, the juice from my green beans touched my mashed potatoes or my meat. I didn't like anything to have ever even been close to a green or red pepper or an onion. (I still prefer not to eat anything that has even been in the vicinity of a jalapeno).

I have memories of seriously disliking the family meals my mom made, and school lunches- both always hot meals, w/plenty of boiled canned green veggies to foul it all up. The smell alone made me feel ill. This led I guess to me filling up instead on sandwiches, chips etc. Fast food/junk food was extremely rare for us growing up,but I sure developed a love for it early, because all the other stuff was just repulsive to me and I had to eat something! Bologna sandwiches were my junk food before I had easy access to hamburgers. I stayed at the high end of a normal weight range through sheer willpower most of my life, but I ate BADLY, almost all junk. I seriously rarely ate any vegetables other than lettuce and frozen corn on the cob. Then a few years ago when I went into a serious bunch of life crises and major 2 year long depression, I stress ate and comfort fooded myself to over 200 lbs.

Funny thing is, once I started taking control again, I've found that many of the foods I hated as a child, I now love. Of course now there are steamed veggies, instead of that awful canned stuff, so it all tastes so different and the texture isn't all slimy and icky. I'm honestly amazed I didn't get scurvy though from the many years I had almost no vegetables and very little fruit.

So for me it was a combination of developing a love for the least healthy foods, then stress eating/emotional eating the crap out of it.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:10 PM   #6
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Ive always had the issue of not eating enough, like my body just wouldn't give me the signals to remind me Im hungry until I was beyond the point of hungry it would hurt. Then I would eat really fast and eat WAY to much because as we know it takes a few minutes for our brain to catch up with our stomach. Then I would be so full I felt sick.

Most of my under eating stems from depression due to job loss and money issues. The over eating came from high calorie fatty fast foods that were a "quick fix" to my hunger pains.

Honestly I still have trouble some days with under eating but calorie counting and having to write everything down has helped me remember that I should eat BEFORE I feel starved so I dont binge.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
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As a child, I was always denied the delicious yummy (bad) food while my older brother and sister were allowed to have all they wanted. I was fat and they were not.
Because of this, I've never really freely allowed myself to have a stupid cookie when I wanted, or the whole package. Or a bag of chips. Sometimes I'd treat myself, but it wasn't without severe guilt associated with it. A relationship with food isn't supposed to be like that. It's made me obsessive about food in a way, and I hate it. I can't just have a little bit at a time because I'll not be able to stop thinking about it until the package is empty and the food is out of reach. Instead, I keep foods around me that I hardly even like in an effort to not eat too much, and it really sucks. I need to fix myself. A psychiatrist would probably help! (half lol/half serious!)
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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I've watched Oprah a number of times and that question has been raised many times. I've thought about it and realized that I don't have any deep dark psychological issues that cause me to overeat. I plain just like food and I want it when I'm tired or stressed. One thing I do know though, is that eating out at restaurants or eating junk food is such a "treat" because I didn't get much of it as a child. I come from a large family and we couldn't afford such things. So now, when I want to "treat" myself, guess what I do?
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:50 PM   #9
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I think eating a lot of refined foods makes you feel hungrier just like you said. Once I get started, it's hard to stop. Stress and lack of sleep are HUGE factors.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:52 PM   #10
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Hmmm....Stress cleaning. I'll have to remember that one! However, that's the last thing I want to do when stresssed!
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gertie140 View Post
I think eating a lot of refined foods makes you feel hungrier just like you said. Once I get started, it's hard to stop. Stress and lack of sleep are HUGE factors.
Yes! The more processed carbs I eat, the more I crave them. When I eliminate processed foods it takes a few days, but the cravings go away. It's getting through those few days that's really hard.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:48 PM   #12
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Eating is a favorite recreational activity for me, always has been. And I have always had a bottomless appetite - if something is enjoyable to eat, I'll quite happily keep eating it until it is gone.

That is all there is to it for me - no deep-seated psychology, no childhood trauma, nothing to understand or root out of my psyche.

Developing control over my overeating, therefore, has only been a matter of finding ways to continue to enjoy the pleasure of food, while exercising discipline to avoid eating too much of it.
High weight: 275 (August 2009) *** Low weight: 155 (October 2012)
Today, working off a partial regain. Current weight: 189.
* Make the best choice I can make, with every choice.
* Remember that the temptation in front of me is not the last of its kind that I will ever see; say "I'll pass today."
* Say "no!" to my whiny inner five-year-old.

Last edited by carter; 01-29-2012 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:04 AM   #13
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I'm not 100% sure. Some days it's not that I necessarily overeat. I just eat things that aren't good for me which is enough to gain weight. I know that when I was a younger kid my diet was very balanced and restricted. But when my parents got divorced when I was in highschool, my mom became very lax about how we both ate. I don't blame my mom, but I think it opened up a world of processed foods and carbs for me. And so when I got to college I didn't really know how or want to eat things that were better for me. And it was downhill from there.

The funny thing about my binges is that it's a flavor that I get addicted to. For example, I might crave Mac and Cheese. And then all I want to eat is Mac and Cheese for every meal. I don't eat tons of it at one time. I just may eat it for days or weeks. And then all of a sudden I'm sick of it. And then I'll be on to a new flavor. Unfortunately it's never broccoli that I crave. Breaking these cravings is really hard.

Sweat Pea from Sucker Punch - "‎Who honors those we love with the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us, and at the same time sings that we'll never die? Who teaches us what's real, and how to laugh at lies? Who decides why we live, and what we'll die to defend? Who chains us, and who holds the key to set us free? It's you. You have all the weapons you need. Now fight!"
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:58 PM   #14
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I was very healthy and fit until my second job out of college. That second job....it was so high stress that I literally spent all of my time at work afraid of being fired. There was barely any time I wasn't. 50-72hrs per week, every week, I was afraid and so were my coworkers. I was a breadwinner with everything to lose. The company overworked us, underpaid us, and made it sound like if we didn't work well over 40 hours per week we'd be fired. One of my coworkers came to work with whooping cough for a month because they were too afraid to take time off. I know exactly when I put on every single overweight pound, and this was it. Then I was laid off, lost my apartment we were forced, as newlyweds, to move in with my in-laws. I had the time to work out then, but at the same time I had insomnia so severe that I literally had to drink regularly to get any sleep at all. I didn't gain, but neither did I lose.

So, now I'm done with three of the worst years of my life and finally have the health and financial circumstances to focus on Me, for once. I've found, though, that I have two persistent issues from the **** I went through: 1) I am so, so angry that someone as hard-working and independent as I am had to suffer through all that work abuse and unemployment very much alone, and 2) I have trouble not cleaning my plate when there's not enough to be used as leftovers, because I developed the habit during poverty of never wasting anything. I even hesitate to throw out food that is older and not as fresh as I'd like.

Seeing everyone else's reasons makes me feel a bit silly--doesn't anyone else out there have a job situation you can blame for overeating?
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:37 PM   #15
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For me it's a whole heap of things.

I grew up in a fat family, was taught bad habits and they take some breaking. I was a single teenage mum so had no money as such I relied on cheap convenience foods.

However there is a huge amount of social conditioning in there too. I was taught to eat my feelings, cried as a child received a hug but also a biscuit, fell off my bike get a choccy bar for being a brave girl. I soon learnt that if I had emotional or physical pain then food would provide comfort.

Add to this some bullying for being the fat kid and I learnt that even though I couldn't control their behaviour I could control my eating so I starved myself but the emotional pain would get so much I'd binge and not be able to purge it all.

I had an abusive relationship and I'm a rape survivor. He destroyed what little confidence I had, told me everyday I was fat and ugly and I believed him. It became a self fulfilling prophecy.

My fat has become my safety blanket. If I stay fat no one will love me and I won't get hurt, if I stay fat no one will desire me and I won't get attacked again.

All in all I'm a psychological mess but starting to face my demons and battle the bulge.
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