Are you a compulsive over eater? Do you think you eat way more than you actually need to, blindly making your way through an entire bag of chips after an upsetting phone call? There are a lot of things that cause us to seek out food but they aren’t always the right reasons. Sometimes we don’t eat to satisfy hunger but instead eat to get over something stressful or as a reward for something we accomplished. Compulsive eating falls into several categories including binge eating, and more often than not is caused by something psychological. Using food as a crutch, relieving stress or filling a void in your life can not only be detrimental to your health, it can end up making you feel out of control and humiliated after an episode. It’s important to understand what triggers the behavior, and if it feels like a serious problem that calls for emotional eating treatment or is just a temporary reaction to stress that you should keep an eye on.
If you’ve ever made room for that slice of cheesecake after a full meal then you have had a compulsive emotional eating experience however temporary lapses in judgment aren’t always serious. Using food from time to time like this is human nature but you can’t let it become a cycle. This is when a compulsive eating experience becomes an addictive over eating disorder, and it is important to treat it as such.
There are a few ways to find out if you are one of the many who suffer from compulsive overeating and treatment is necessary. Do you…
• Blindly eat beyond need when you’re feeling stressed out or depressed?
• Reward yourself for doing a good job with food?
• Feel like you are safe after eating?
• Feel like there are some foods that you can’t say no to?
• Feel like your self sabotaging yourself?
If you experience any of the above you probably have to consider that you have a compulsive over eating disorder. This disorder can disguise itself as hunger but it is much different and extremely unhealthy if it is left untreated. It comes on suddenly unlike regular hunger, hitting you with an overwhelming desire to eat, and typically is associated with an emotion. Emotional eating also resonates around certain foods. Typically, normal eating habits include portion control and eating smart food choices and for the most part find them satisfying, understanding that they will lead to good health. Compulsive eating is usually at the opposite end of the spectrum where enough is never enough and usually consists of consuming excessive amounts foods with high sugar, fat and sodium content.
If you are able to identify the signs of compulsive overeating when it comes to your eating habits and what trigger them, you can try to fight it off on your own but unfortunately it isn’t always easy; if it was there wouldn’t be so many reported cases out there. Even worse, each and every time you give in to your compulsive desire to eat you probably are encumbered with feelings of sadness, regret, shame and overwhelming guilt. It’s important to learn that these feelings can be offset by other actions and not simply more eating. You need to start your treatment by identifying the inciting incidents that trigger these feelings, and then learn how to fix them which is where contacting professionals like FINE to FAB for emotional eating treatment can be life changing.
The first thing that is often suggested to do before or during treatment for compulsive overeating is to keep a food diary. Write down what foods you turn to when you are feeling the urge to eat despite not being hungry physically. Write down what happens right around the time you get an urge to start eating. Is it someone you are talking to? Something at work? Problems in your relationship? What is causing you to start over indulging in all the wrong foods, mindlessly eating until you’re uncomfortable? Once you identify the cause you can begin addressing them by coming up with healthy escapes.
Healthy escapes for your emotional eating triggers will allow you to deal with them appropriately and get over feelings of sadness, loneliness or guilt without turning to food for comfort. These escapes can be anything from just reading a good book or watching your favorite movie to exercising, listening tom music, playing an instrument, dancing, taking a hike, playing a game or just taking a long and relaxing bath. Whatever your hobbies are, or how you prefer to relax, these actions will play a key role in getting you over your disorder.
Of course once you figure out the problems that act as catalysts to your over eating, it was take some time before it no longer is a constant, daily struggle. You’ll probably have to fight off the urges that are there, embedded into your psyche for awhile; similar to an alcoholic resisting a drink. Luckily this struggle is a much easier one to deal with without the pressures of your emotions sinking in on you, but they require determination, confidence, and the support of family, friends and/or your FINE to FAB consultant.
Once you admit you have a problem and address your emotional triggers, you’ll also want to get your daily meals under control. Start only allowing yourself to eat three meals a day and then enjoy light, healthy snacks in between eating every three hours. It might be a rough transition at first but eating like this will give you plenty of energy, help you lose weight and get your self confidence back; well worth the effort don’t you think?
Making these changes and transitions in your life can be quite difficult and one of the best things to do is ask for and accept the help of those around you. The support of your friends and family will make breaking this physical and emotional habit much easier. Make sure to talk to someone with experience to help you when you need it. In addition, there are many eating disorder specialists out there to help you in your time of need such as the people at FINE to FAB. Their caring and devoted consultants will understand your struggle and be able to relate and help fix the problem. Remember the food is not the problem but the symptom to what is eating you.
Get the support you need and do whatever it takes to live the healthy and happy life you deserve.
If you need to get a handle on your fear of being not good enough, please reach out. We can help you can get on with your life.