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Not Sure What To Do

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Old 02-06-2014, 05:12 PM   #1
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I've always had a sneaking suspicion I'm an overeater, but I never faced it. And now that I'm finally starting to, frankly it scares the heck out of me.

I feel completely helpless when it comes to food. I've been overweight my entire life and everything growing up always revolved around food and treats. My husband's recently deployed in the Army and it's turned me into a bottomless pit now that I'm alone...out of sadness, boredom...whatever I'm feeling. I don't think I've ever binged, but recently I've been eating every 45 minutes to an hour. It's usually a sandwich or some sort of snack. Bag of popcorn or something. But I end up eating about 8-10 times a day, up until about an hour or so before bed when I finally force myself to stop. I'm literally full all day long.

I know this can't be normal, but I don't know what to do or how to stop it. I don't even know if I'm what you could diagnose as an actual overeater or not. This certainly isn't the first time I've done this - when I lived with my parents for years I would hide food in my room and eat it when no one was around. Constantly eating just to make myself feel better. What do you all think? Also, do you have an advice?
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:21 PM   #2
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I know what you mean. I've learned that I am not a binger, but I am certainly an overeater and have a disordered relationship with food. I use it for comfort, as a cheap, convenient source of pleasure. However, about 2 1/2 years ago, I got on a plan to lose 45-50 lbs., succeeded, and I've been maintaining it for more than two years. I certainly have not overcome my obsessiveness with food, and to be frank, I don't think I ever will. However, I have learned to cope with it by using a few strategies that work for my lifestyle:

1) I calorie count, and I start my "day's" calories with my most unpredictable, high-calorie meal: dinner. It's easier for me to regulate breakfast & lunch.

2) I cycle my calories, so I have a weekly total rather than a daily total. That allows me to eat high calorie meals at times with no repercussions. I allow myself to pig out about once a week, and on the other days, I don't deprive myself, but I don't pig out either. I eat lower calories (1600 or so) about 3 days a week, moderate (1800 or so) about 2, and high (2500 - 3000) two days. For instance, today is the last day of my work week, and I like to celebrate that by eating whatever I've been craving. So, tonight that was two organic hot dogs w/ fries and a pint (yes, the whole pint) of Talenti Sea Salt Gelati. Of course I don't eat like that most of the week, but knowing I can eat like that a couple of times each week makes it easier to stay within calories on the other days.

3) One of the most helpful things I've done is take up a hobby (learning to sew). I believe getting other interests besides food is really important. I know that many people make food and dieting a hobby, i.e., reading dieting blogs, spending a lot of times on forums like these, etc., and more power to them. However, for me, doing that tends to feed my food obsession, so while I'll pop in here now and then, I prefer a hobby that takes my mind off of food. With sewing, for example, two or three hours goes by in a snap, and before I know it, it's already time to start dinner and I haven't had to white knuckle it through all those hours resisting snacking.

I'm sure others will pop in with some advice. For instance, many have had success with intuitive eating (there's a thread devoted to this somewhere on 3fatchicks). For various reasons, that never worked for me, but it may work for you, so you may want to check it out.

Best wishes to you!
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:38 PM   #3
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Its not clear whether you are eating from boredom or depression. You could be mildly depressed and if not you could become so.

So i suggest you start out on a good foot by talking to a nutritionist and dietician. Work with them for a while. If they tell you that you might be depressed, then get yourself diagnosed by a suitable person.

Your unusual appetite is triggered by hormones i think.

If it is just boredom, then look about for a new engaging activity. Maybe a job, or hobby. I'm recently starting a business where i work from home most of the time and go to market on the weekend. I am so engaged in my activities that i do not feel the need to eat out of boredom and i am usually a big boredom eater.

Try not to panic about what you are doing. Stop the worrying. It will probably just make it all worse. Instead go and get professional help to get you on track.

Or if you don't want to, work out an eating program, and work on your mental resolve. You might find that you appetite will abate suddenly with the resolve. But if you can't make that work, get professional help.

I certainly found this time when i started, even though i was struggling with some stuff, that the idea of working with mental resolve really helped me switch my brain works, if that makes any sense.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:52 PM   #4
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I know that for me I had gotten into a habit of just eating every little bit, even when I wasn't really hungry. I realized that I just sort of had it in my head that if I doing something sedentary I had a habit of pairing it with eating.

So if I sat down at my computer then I might get some nuts. Or if I was reading then a serving of chips. Or if I was watching TV, having an ice cream bar. None of these were necessarily horrible by themselves but it all added up to a lot of extra calories (and not good calories either).

This is still something that I'm not perfect with. And, I'll never be the type to eat only at 3 meals a day. But, a few things have helped:

1. I calorie count and do WW points. So, I know what kind of range I want to eat in each day. I record everything.

2. I use a Fitbit and I aim for a certain calorie deficit each day.

3. I don't buy junk food snacks for the house any more. If I want chips I'll have a single serving back occasionally. Or if I want a cookie I will get one at Subway with a meal. I buy a lot of berries so when I want to eat on something I am more inclined to go get half a cup of blueberries which are a lot better for me and fewer calories than a serving of chips.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:08 PM   #5
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I think you are mildly depressed. I think it would be hard not to be with a husband deployed. Do you have a good support system such as family or a neighborhood army group.(assuming he is army) You need to find something to keep yourself busy.

Plan out your meals. Maybe you are eating too many carbs. Carbs craves carbs. I eat every three hours while awake but most of it is planned or generally planned.

I use my fitness pal for determing calories. I also use a fit bit but if you have a iphone there are some great free apps for helping you with fitness.
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Old 02-07-2014, 09:03 AM   #6
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You don't need to be diagnosed, you know what's going on with you. And if you're not happy about it then you'll find a way to change it, welcome to the boat!

Question, what do you do all day? Do you work? I got the impression from your OP that you're sitting around the house all day. No judgement, just trying to find where the improvements can be made. If you're not working then maybe you can find something to do, a part time job, a hobby, a class you can take, anything to get your focus on something other than eating. I've been there, still here! I'm a stay at home mom during the days. When the weather is nice it's fine cause we can go out to the park and walk and play. But in February in the middle of the worst snowstorms the NE has seen in a while we're pretty much stuck in the house. And it's so easy to reach for food all day long.

Something that's really helped me with that is to only allow certain times for eating. The kitchen is closed at those other times. I used to think it was ok to snack all the time because they say it keep your metabolism going, and small frequent meals was all the rage in the diet world. But I realized that doesn't work for me. It just keeps me focused on food all the time, every hour or so and that's debilitating! So after breakfast I just got to used to not eating anything until lunch. Same with dinner. It's a matter of just making it habit.

The worst time for me was 4pm - that's my witching hour! But I found this wonderful flavorful tea called India Spice - it's got cinnamon and cardamom and clove and it is so aromatic that when I sit down to drink it in the late afternoon it really feels like a treat - a fat free-calorie free-good-for-you kind of treat!

Recently I've taken up Intuitive Eating which really focuses on eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full. It's helping me relearn how to eat based on hunger alone. One of the mantras that I tell myself all day long is “If a craving doesn't come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it.”

Let us know how you're doing, I hope this helps.
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of the input! To answer some of your thoughts: it's not simply hormonal, and there's a definite possibility of mild depression which I've been combating for almost 3 years now. I come from a family chock full of depression and alcoholism, so it's a big issue on my list. Needless to say though, there are plenty of improvements in that arena!

As for calorie cycling, it seems like a definite option. I've tried everything from South Beach to counting calories to Weight Watchers...and more. I always go back to overeating and gaining what little I had lost back.

I'm doing a lot better today and really focusing on avoiding the snacking in between meals. I have multiple hobbies, and yes as of right now I'm unemployed, but hopefully the applications I'm constantly sending out will result in something soon so I can stay busy. I've also been focusing more on my cross stitch and crocheting projects....I think that will definitely help.

Again, thank you everyone for all of your input. I love the 3FC forum and frankly, I'd probably be stuck in the same old rut I was a year ago if it wasn't for this place.
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:40 PM   #8
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Just from reading your post I can relate to so much of what you had said. I also related to every response that you got as those are all things that I have tried. I never got any kind of freedom from the obsession with food until I started doing a very structured version of Overeaters Anonymous. With this plan I have finally found the freedom that I spend my entire life searching for. If you have anymore questions or want to know more about it feel free to PM me or email me at abby.hartman311 at gmail.com
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:41 PM   #9
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Depression is caused by and/or causes hormonal changes - a dip in seratonin to be exact. Since you can pin point that it's that exactly then I urge to seek some counseling. It does so much to help navigate the solitude of depression and medication can be quite helpful.

Also, I think it's good to do something active. Physical activity lifts the spirits and gets you thinking clearly again. Crocheting is lovely, but it's fattening... haha sorry that's an inside joke. My mother always used to rag on me whenever I tinkered with a hobby that required me sitting on my butt. She used to say "can you find a hobby that's not so fattening?" Anyway, I don't know anyone who hasn't benefited from physical activity.
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
Crocheting is lovely, but it's fattening... haha sorry that's an inside joke. My mother always used to rag on me whenever I tinkered with a hobby that required me sitting on my butt. She used to say "can you find a hobby that's not so fattening?"
Hilarious!
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Old 02-07-2014, 08:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
Also, I think it's good to do something active. Physical activity lifts the spirits and gets you thinking clearly again. Crocheting is lovely, but it's fattening... haha sorry that's an inside joke. My mother always used to rag on me whenever I tinkered with a hobby that required me sitting on my butt. She used to say "can you find a hobby that's not so fattening?" Anyway, I don't know anyone who hasn't benefited from physical activity.
I do work out 4-5 times a week, varying my activity to keep my body confused. On top of that, I do at least 50 sit ups a day to keep my core muscles toned. Yes, some of my hobbies require sitting around on the couch, but when I'm not doing those I'm constantly doing other things like cleaning/house chores, going for walks, and heading to the gym for my work outs. I'd like to think my activity level is perfectly acceptable.
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Old 02-07-2014, 11:37 PM   #12
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Sedentary activities keep me lean. They don't take that much time to do, or much thought or energy, but keep me entertained enough to not eat away the hours! Such as browsing on the internet, drawing etc.
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:51 AM   #13
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Thank you!!!!! Kinda having a similar issue and I found this extremely helpful.
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