I Apologize – This Post Is Ridiculously Heavy.

(No pun intended.)

Flower

I was talking to my friend last night about our mutual struggles with food. About how, in many ways, we use food like addicts use anything. We are also both former smokers, so we are familiar with dependency. The frustrating thing about food, is that you just can’t quit when you realize you have an unhealthy relationship with it. There’s no cold turkey with food. We were discussing that because we both have our own emotional dependency on food; a dependency that is thwarting any potential weight loss.

To me, it’s worse at night. I get anxious or stressed and the only relief I get is from eating. I’ll make a pot of mac-n-cheese, or eat a bowl of cereal, or a PB&J. Sometimes I do all three. I’ll do it in secret where no one can see me. I’ll sneak out for a quick drive-thru run. All things that push me above my caloric intake needs enough to have me consistently gaining weight even though I’m in boot camp. So, I’m in great shape and am strong, but I’m the same weight as I was the day I came home from the hospital after having Wes.

But – regardless of the shape I’m in, or the number on the scale, I have an unhealthy relationship with food. It is where I turn when I get stressed or upset or depressed. And that is the most important issue for me personally. It keeps me gaining, which means that heavier weights are around the corner. Unless I nip this in the bud.

I think I probably replaced smoking with food. I can see my history of food dependency and have watched it escalate since I quit smoking. And if I’m don’t figure out how to really deal with this, it will keep escalating. Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I have ever done, now I’m wondering if I just replaced that dependency with something else.

But, like any addictive behavior, it’s not that easy to just stop. I’m starting small, I’m trying to conquer my late-night eating habits. If I binge or do any bad eating during the day, that’s irrelevant, I’m choosing now to focus on not eating past 6:30pm. Last night was hard, because I really wanted that fix, but I did okay. I still had that late-night piece of string cheese (WHAT?) but at least it’s not 1000 calories of random food combinations.

Late-night eating isn’t my only issue, but the more I treat this like I treated my smoking, the more I realize that this is not as easy as just “dieting” for me. I have to completely change my dependency on food, learn how to do fill the needs that food fills, in other ways. And theoretically, not do it with something else unhealthy, as it seems I did when I quit smoking. Since I can’t just quit food cold turkey, like I did with smoking, I have to change my relationship with it.

I’ve spent my fair share of time in AA or NA meetings in support of friends and family. Those experiences on top of my own battle with smoking, have taught me that these battles last a lifetime. I’m slowly, but surely, realizing that this is not about just losing weight. Or even getting healthy. It’s about those things, but it’s first about my unhealthy, dependent relationship on food. The last several years, it’s how I deal with stress and anxiety. This is now a habitual behavior that I am not longer in control of. I see that now. You can’t work out as hard as I have for four months – and still be gaining wait because you’re having 4th and 5th meals between the hours of 8pm and 10pm every night – without recognizing that there’s a problem. It’s not about cutting fat grams, or eating primal, it’s just about food and my emotional dependency on the act of eating. Especially at night.

So…I recognize this battle before me for what it is. I see that some things I can not change – but others I can. I can not change the need I have to use food to quell my nerves or ease my sadness, but I can recognize that eating doesn’t actually solve those problems. I can try to quit visiting that well, time and time again. Realize that the nourishment I seek is not there. Right now I’m focusing on trying, one day at a time, to stop eating past 6:30pm. (We eat dinner around 5 or 5:30pm.) These hours, after the children go to bed, are when my weaknesses really show their face. My emotions are heightened and my need to ease my mind is the deepest.

There are other times during the day where I succumb to the allure of eating. If I’m stressed out at work about something I’ll go straight to the vending machine: hungry or not. If my post-work life is anxious, we’ll eat out somewhere that allows me to binge. The emotional pull of eating – not even food, just eating – follows me all day. But for now? I’ll work consistently on the evening binges and hope that the emotional healing I do as I try to find ways to cope that don’t involve my kitchen, follows me through all hours of the day.

The thing is, like last night, when you quit any addictive behavior, you don’t feel better at first. I feel like I slept horribly because those late night meals that I use to ease my angst were not there, so the stress just snowballed in my mind throughout the night. The initial days of quitting any addictive behavior are always the hardest. This is why I chose to quit smoking years ago, the day before E went to spend a week with his Dad. So I could avoid taking out my stress on him. I’m feeling that same stress now, that fear that I’ll never be happy or at peace again. That without those late-night meals, I will just turn into a fiery ball of stress and nerves and never know peace again.

I felt the same way when I quit smoking. Which is why so many fail at quitting. The despair of living without an emotional crutch you’ve used for so long, it can make you give up. So, I’ll relish in this funk and remember that – as it did when I quit smoking – it will pass. The gray skies left behind from giving up that unhealthy remedy – they’ll clear up eventually. And hopefully I can emerge with a better grasp on my own emotional well-being and get to know myself as someone who doesn’t run to the pantry every time she feels anxious or sad.

One day at a time.

49 Comments

49 thoughts on “I Apologize – This Post Is Ridiculously Heavy.”

  1. I wish you the best of luck as I struggle with my OWN food issues. I really believe you can do this; you’ve already set a precedent when you quit smoking.

  2. I do it to. I’ve never been a smoker but there is some kind of dependency there. If I’m down I get a bar of chocolate and the endorphins cheer me up for a while – but whats making me feel that down in the first place? Is it just something bigger than I’m ignoring?

    I had a cold before Christmas and I felt rotten but I’d near enough stopped eating – I just wasn’t hungry – but now I’ve put back on any weight I lost (and probably some more)

    So how do we sort our dependency on food without going to the extreme and ending up with an ED?

  3. Are you in my head? Because this is *exactly* what I’ve been struggling with the past week, down to the comparisons with quitting smoking. I struggle so much with getting a handle on my eating and I think to myself, “if you could quit smoking cold turkey, why can’t you quit with the overeating?” I find myself wishing I still smoked…but then I’d be fat and a smoker, not a good combo.

    I also really like how you say it’s not about food, it’s about EATING. It’s that comfort we get from filling our bodies to max capacity, because then we don’t have any room left for the stress/anxiety/etc.

    Also, have you looked into OA at all? From what i understand it follows the AA/NA pattern; if you’re familiar and comfortable with that, you might like OA.

    Oh, completely off-topic, what is up with the trees at Toomer’s? isn’t that awful??

  4. I always admire the way you write so honestly about your self.

    (Have you thought about seeing a therapist for the short term to get a handle on your stress and anxiety?)

    Good luck – I’m rooting for you!

    1. Yes, I have, I just haven’t made the step. I’m intimidated by the concept and never sure where to start – but I have seriously thought about it. Just need to make the steps that way, I guess!

      1. I struggle with anxiety issues as well, and the therapy I’ve been in for the last few months has been fantastic. It took me years to get there, but ultimately it was just a phone call to my Dr. for a reference that made the difference. I had avoided that call for years. Scary to do, but well worth it.

      2. I also struggled with this step. (I am in school to be a clinican social worker too). So when I started at going to thearpy a month ago it actully was a good reminder that I have the choice to work on my issues vesus struggle alone. It is hard to speak with a another human about problems that are very personal and often secertive in nature. I have found it really helpful. I no longer I feel that stigma attached to seeing someone. Good Luck Zoot! YOu rock!

  5. I hope you’ll keep writing about this. The other mom at the bus stop and I have been talking about this very thing—and about how it’s given us a better understanding of other dependencies. And, as you say, there’s no cold turkey with this, so it’s like an alcoholic trying to just be a daily social drinker. It feels impossible to me, it really does.

    1. DUDE. It is impossible. I swear. This is harder than any diet I’ve ever tried, or any workout program. Just trying to give up emotional eating, only eating when I’m hungry, 3 days and it’s KILLING ME. Not even 3 successful days. 3 kinda okay days. And I’m a WRECK. I have been so dependent on that late night eating to ease my mind that I’m a total basketcase.

      *sigh*

      But at least I feel like I’m finally working on this at the root of the problem. Losing weight, excercising, none of these things get to the root. Which is why they don’t work. The root of the problem is I deal with anxiety by eating and the more anxious my life, the more weight I gain.

      I just keep looking back to how hopeless I felt when I quit smoking. How I never felt I’d be happy again. And I know it passed. It just took awhile, and the cravings to smoke still pop up regularly, but the happiness does return.

      At least it better.

    2. That is an apt analogy, the alcoholic/social drinker. In some ways, those of us with disordered eating patterns will always be “in recovery” with food; like Zoot said, though, it’s not as if we could avoid eating all together, so it just becomes that much harder to avoid triggers.

  6. Oh you are brave to write about this and I think it’s great that you have. I’ve struggled with using food to cope with emotions since I was a teenager. It’s the most socially acceptable addiction out there, isn’t it? I am personally leaning towards going to therapy specifically for this (because I too work out a lot and never lose weight b/c of binges). But books that have helped me when I truly use them are “The Food and Feelings Workbook” and a lot of Geneen Roth’s books. Good luck!

  7. I’m right there with you. I work nights, and I realized soon after I started that I’d never sleep at all if I drank coffee or soda during my shift. I started eating to keep my energy up, and now (of course) the only way I can feel like I’m going to make it all the way through is to eat.

    Like you, I’m not hungry, but I “need” it in some other way.

    Thanks for being brave enough to post about this – it helps.

  8. I understand where you are coming from. What I try to do is not keep many snacks in the house (and only healthy ones when I do), and not keep things like extra cereal (a huge weakness for me) or quick-fix meals around. Basically, all we grocery shop for each week are the meals we are planning to eat… nothing else. That way I can’t just snack on something, or prepare a second dinner, because that would mean there wouldn’t be dinner or lunch another night. I basically meal plan every single meal I am going to eat for a week, and keep only those items in the house, and then give myself a little more flexibility on weekends when we might go out.

    Obviously, this is much easier for me than it probably is for you, as I only live with my husband and don’t have to worry about three kids who might eat different foods than us or get to have snacks throughout the day.

    It sucks to do it this way, but it’s what works for me right now. I still snack at night, but lately it’s been grapefruit or dried fruits, because that’s all I keep around. My husband bought a bag of chocolate chips this past weekend because he’d been having some chocolate cravings lately… of course, half the bag is gone already and he probably doesn’t even realize it’s been opened. I eat less now, because I make less available. If it’s in the house, I’d eat it. This is why I don’t buy chips or ice cream anymore… it’d be gone in a day.

    Good luck! I’m glad you wrote this and I hope you keep us updated on your progress!

  9. I struggle with food issues as well and have my whole life. I’ve done lots of therapy and go to a support group every week, both of which help a lot. It’s very overwhelming but ODAT (one day at a time) is right! :)

  10. FWIW, I have trouble with anxiety sometimes (usually triggered over health worries, real or imaginary — I wrote about it years ago here). As I mention in that post, the big thing that gave me relief (and still does to this day) is exercise. Does that not work for you in this regard, or is it possible that you could switch to doing some of your exercise in the evening, to burn off some of the anxiety chemicals and maybe take the edge off? Just a thought. I know from experience how hard it is to work on the underlying issues or try to change how I do things when the anxiety itself feels so bad.

    BTW, I absolutely love your blog, how open and honest you are and how much you obviously love your family. I really look forward to your posts. :)

    1. Exercise is weird for me…I don’t really like doing it. HA! The boot camp is great for an odd variety of reasons, but I just can never find a way to make it work when eating is at it’s peak for me. I’ve tried several times at suggestions from friends/family to replace eating with exercise, but it doesn’t seem to work. I wish it did. But I have tried – thank you for the suggestion.

      I think I need to stop before I eat and really examine what is making me do it. I usually make the decision to binge so quickly, and then am done in minutes, that I never really think about what’s making me do it. Part of this is to try to figure that out. The generic answer: Stress, anxiety, sadness – but I’m hoping to get to the root of those things and maybe try to treat the underlying issue.

      I don’t know…writing it out like that and exercising would be much easier. :)

      1. You certainly have a lot of stress in your life. Please forgive yourself for feeling stressed. Make sure you are drinking enough water. It does make a difference.

  11. Thank you for writing this. It’s so honest – and speaks so truthfully about the way I feel about food. WAAANNT, NEEEEED. It’s never simply a matter of hungry or not, and that’s sad. It’s definitely begun to show – looking through pictures of my daughter’s 3rd birthday I realized that I looked better 8 months postpartum than I do now. That’s a hard thing to face.

    I like the one goal you’ve set for yourself – nothing after a certain time. I may have to try that. Thank you for putting this out there and creating a little pocket of community.

  12. This post brought tears to my eyes because I do the same thing. I’m very much an emotional eater. Last night I was in bed almost asleep but kept thinking about a PB&J until I finally made one and ate it with a glass of milk. Calories I didn’t need and I wasn’t even really hungry. Pretty much all my jeans are to tight and uncomfortable. I bought sweat suit sets just because they are comfy. I really need to get a handle on this because diabetes runs so strong in my family. I’m 41 and at that age where if I don’t change now I won’t do it. My Mom is diabetic and had a stroke last year–that should have big a HUGE wakeup call to me but it’s just made me eat more because I’m worried about her. Sigh….I need a good kick in the butt to make a change. Thanks for sharing (((HUGS)))

    1. also wanted to add that my daughter is a Girl Scout so I’m driving around with a car full of GS cookies. I won’t bring them in the house because of the temptation of “just opening one box” which will lead to many boxes. The whole out of site/out of mind thing has helped with those.
      Have you tried chewing gum when you are having cravings? I’m not much of a gum chewer but I have found in the past that when I was craving something sweet, a stick of sugar-free gum would curb the cravings sometimes.

  13. Thank you for writing this!!! I am going through the exact xame thing right now. I am a recovering addict (7 years) and a former smoker as well. I think I went from those addictions straight to a food addiction and am now in a very unhealthy position. I didn’t even realize until recently that I had replaced those unhealthy addictions with a food addiction. I began weight watchers and started losing weight, but felt very depressed. And then I realized I was depressed because I no longer had a crutch! And I’m struggling. Last night, I actually thought about starting smoking again to ease this pressure! Crazy, right??
    I won’t do that, but I’m really not sure where to go from here, but I too, like you will take it one day at a time. And hopefully become a more balanced emotionally healthy person.
    Thanks again!

    1. I’ve been terribly depressed the last three days I’ve been really trying to focus on this Addicted To Eating thing. Being without that crutch seems to be turning my anxieties and stress into outright sadness. It’s tough. BUT – I went through this with smoking too, so I’m just hoping I can get past it eventually like I did then. I think about starting back smoking all the time – I know what you mean – but I don’t. *sigh* But that’s the Crazy side of any addiction, right? The part of you that still wants what was SO BAD for you, even after it’s been gone for so long.

  14. I wish you the best of luck. I find that listening to my favorite mix of songs through headphones really helps me emotionally.

  15. We all finally bottom out at food, meaning all addictions…sugar is the final frontier. Plan your food so you know whats coming next and eat breakfast, that’s all I know. Hope it helps, M

  16. Great post and sobering too. Very very early this morning I checked on to read my daily blogs, this one stung me hard. So I came back to process it because it spoke volumes to me. I read through all the comments and each and everyone has a valid “ah ha” moment to them. What is amazing to me is the way you wrote it and outlined it in such a way that made all of us think and relate.

    It’s no secret that most of us in this world struggle with something, but why, and how does it really impact us. Like I said this was a personal “hey dummy see what she is talking about”…

    Perhaps when you exercise you have it in your mind that you are depleting your system and you think you should eat, it’s like a earn it and burn it.

    Instead of therapy, maybe a little food altering to get you on track. Ok to eat after 8 if it’s eggplant or veggies. Who wants them when you are stressing?

    Not really sure, but I am so in your corner, and I think if you figure this out for all of us, you have Noble Peace Prize material.

  17. Oh Kim :-/ You are so brave and strong and awesome, and I want to be you when I grow up. I have the same problem with emotional eating late at night but haven’t quite mustered the strength to attack it. Plus, I am very overweight so my family all has their two bits to say about what I *should* be doing, even my sisters telling Mum apparently that she should “stop making excuses” for me. Of course, none of them has been in my situation – Mum’s come the closest at least from the weight POV because she was pretty overweight after she had my younger sister, and she hasn’t had a healthy relationship with food. I really do with it could be “cold turkey” sometimes…it seems it would be so much simpler. I was doing fairly well, lost about 50 in the last year, but now I’m at a plateau and I haven’t made the choices that will help me get past it and I’m so discouraged.

  18. Well Said, Amen, and I’m right there with you!
    A year ago, I even managed to gain weight while taking prescription weight loss meds!

    I’m holding still now, and would like to drop more, but every day is a struggle. I want to eat everything all the time.
    Keep vocalizing your feelings and know that we are here to support you! You may help us as much as you help yourself!

    Hugs!

  19. I really don’t have much experience with this (if anything the other direction – not eating), however I did have a thought about getting your husband involved. Have you discussed this with him and asked for help? Maybe he can help distract or redirect you late nights when you are struggling? Just a thought…

  20. I really relate to this…. I am EXACTLY the same way. Your plan of focusing on just one thing right now seems like a good idea. Since you are not eating after 6:30, I am going to try that to. I think it will help me to know that someone else out there is also doing it!

  21. I feel IMMENSE guilt after I eat. Like, I can’t stop thinking about it if I eat something unhealthy or a ton of food. I believe that I can instantly see it on my thighs, stomach, or whatever body part I’m feeling insecure about that day. I know that I don’t always see food in a healthy light; I’m completely aware of this fact. One thing that has helped me though is giving myself permission to eat. Joel’s doing Nutrisystem right now and on this diet he HAS to eat dessert. So I’ve started eating dessert (like pudding cups and stuff) so that we can eat together. It’s kinda working for me but it really works well for him. Having a lot of structure in a food plan is good for us.

    Thanks for posting such an honest respose about a tender subject.

  22. (longtime reader, first time commenter!)
    Wow, you struck a chord, huh?

    I could echo everything everyone before me wrote, but I’ll simply tell you that I have your issue as well as BED (binge eating disorder). It is such a struggle every day – honestly, how much TIME do I devote to thinking about food/eating every single day? What a waste!! A few years ago I saw both a nutritionist and a therapist about this…oddly the therapy didn’t help much, but I loved my nutritionist. She had me keep a food log and write down how I was feeling as I ate something. Ouch…but it worked. I HATED writing down my binges at night. Also, I had to treat myself as “an honored guest” – meaning a plate or bowl for all my food, and taking a seat at the table. No grazing at the fridge or sneaking from the cupboard.

    Also, the book Shrink Yourself is pretty awesome. It opened my eyes to a lot of issues.

    Best of luck Kim. Keep us updated.

  23. I admire you so much for putting this post out for all of the world to see. After Shane died I felt like I would NEVER be happy again. And then I went shopping and that made me happy. So now here i am with a house full of things I don’t really need and that momentary happiness gone. I am slowly but surely getting better about it, I actually stop to think before I just throw it on the counter to purchase but it is so hard. I think we all struggle to find a balance after heartbreak or anything that leaves us feeling a little like we are out of control of our lives. I know that my happiness starts with me and not things or other people. I have actually started to put myself first now and that seems to be helping. Because if momma ain’t happy – nobody’s happy!! :)

    I just think after all we (you and I) have been through in the last 15 years, we are such bad asses. Seriously, think about all the hard, hard things that life has thrown at us and my God how great we have handled it all. Seriously, bad.ass. And honestly I don’t have very many friends who have faced the challenges we have that understand really how hard it was. Very rarely do I let myself think about how hard life has been. We have lived through more life and death than most people our age should ever have to.

    Just for the record, I really looked up to you in college. You were everything I strived to be. Generous, a great friend, funny and just all around awesome. I wish we were still close but realize miles and time come between people. I just wanted you to know that you have and still do make huge impacts on my life and the way I go about it. We all have our crutches, it doesn’t make them ok, but we do have friends to talk us down from that ledge for a reason. If you ever need a distraction from anything you can call me. I will talk you through it. I am still here after all these years and would gladly do whatever I can to help you through this time. And I am usually up pretty late so a late night phone call wouldn’t bother me in the least!! I would actually enjoy catching up!!

    Love ya girl!!

  24. Ironically, I pulled up your blog to read while I enjoyed the dessert I caved in and bought myself today. A couple of days ago I learned that a Crumbs Bake Shop had opened very close to my office. I had been blissfully unaware of this before then. I only got through one full work day with this knowledge before deciding that I was stressed enough to “deserve” a treat. I know I’m going to experience a sugar high and then a quick crash and feel awful, but oh my goodness does this thing taste good.

    Good luck with this, I obviously can relate to where you are coming from! Just putting it in writing and sharing it with us seems like a positive step.

  25. This morning I had a fight with my husband, and after he left for work I made a 1/4 size batch of cookie dough and ate it.

    To be honest with you, I couldn’t read every single word in this post because it’s too close to home. In 2009, I got my thyroid under control and went on Weight Watchers, and I did so well for 8 months. I lost 30 pounds. Then I got pregnant with my 2nd son. I lost another 20 while I was pregnant/when I had him.

    In the last month, I have gained 10 of those pounds back. My eating is bad. I haven’t been going to my WW meetings for the past 3 weeks and when I think about the weight I’ve gained, I just want to EAT more. It’s like a horrible neverending cycle. I need to start counting points again, and to exercise, and to take care of myself. Mentally, I get it. But emotionally, it’s not that easy. I’m terrified I can’t do it.

    I’ve written about my struggles a little bit, but I never feel I can be completely honest about the things I do – the things like the pot of mac and cheese or the extra food at the drive through when I’m alone. Thank you for sharing this, because it makes me feel less alone, and I know it’s doing the same for a lot fo people.

  26. Posts like this are exactly why I read your blog (That, and you have the most adorable kids ever. And also I want to be your friend). You write about everything, even the stuff that sucks, and it always makes me feel so much less alone. I have the same emotional dependency on food that you describe, and I don’t know how to stop. Like you said, food isn’t something you can quit cold turkey. So how else do I fix it?

  27. I SO relate to this post. I have had an unhealthy relationship with food for as long as I can remember. But it got especially out of control after the birth of my daughter. I use it to mask my feelings, to make me feel better, to fill a void. I’ve joined Weight Watchers and have done really well, but then something will come up and I find myself shoving food in my mouth. It is so cyclical. One thing I had learned is to not beat myself up about it, because the second I do I end up right back at the fridge or in the pantry. Sometimes you have to say “It’s okay, I’ll do better.” We are so much harder on ourselves than anyone else. Here’s hoping we all learn to be a little more forgiving of ourselves and maybe overcome that emotional void that we are trying to fill. Thank you so much for writing about this.

  28. I love this post, thank you so much for it. I have struggled with the same thing for years. I’ll do ok for a while, but then something sets me off and I’m sneaking food all the time. Diet coke is a huge crutch for me to, it’s the first thing I crave when I get stressed. I will sneak out and drink one, or hide bottles around the house for when I need one. I hide it because I am embarrassed for my husband to know I slipped up again, that I have no will power. I’ll make excuses to run out of the house to disguise the fact I am going to hit up a fast food joint and scarf something down.

    Something that has been helping me is “I can make you thin” by Paul McKenna. The mini series he did on BBC and then on TLC is much more helpful then the book for me, I bet you could find it online. He teaches about emotional eating, and things you can do to redirect, and ways to give yourself relief (release those endorphins) that normally you would only get while eating. It sounds hokey, but he teaches different visual and physical ways (like tapping methods) that seem to really help me in terms of drinking diet coke. The eating part I was doing better till I got pregnant unexpectedly, and now I eat because I am stressed about what might happen (I have a bad track record with pregnancy) and I convince myself it’s a craving and that I need to eat it to keep from getting nauseous.

    I never thought about the smoking being linked to it, but I never did really think about food and want to eat and cook all the time until after I had quit smoking 7 years ago. It makes sense that I swapped one vice for another. Now if I could find another vice to replace the food one! It’s nice to know there are others that struggle with it as well and you have a cheering squad in all of us. Keep us updated!

  29. I hear you. I love eating. I love food. I think about this daily at work, because two girls I eat with just don’t love food. They hardly ever finish their lunch. Dude, I ALWAYS finish my lunch. Hungry or not, there is no way I’d be throwing out half a deli sandwish. Especially not half a deli sandwish that they paid $7 for! That’s like throwing money on the garbage!

    When I was recovering from my eating disorder, it was so SO hard because of exactly what you said — you can’t just quit food. You HAVE to eat it, multiple times a day. They tell drinkers and drug addicts that the only way really beat your addiction is to never tempt yourself… but how can you do that with food? If I could just take vitamins that would give me all the calories and nutrition I need, it would be so much easier. But no… one day at a time, as you say. And although I still struggle with eating vs. being hungry, it is now about 1000 times easier than it used to be for me. I hope it will get to that point for you too.

  30. I battled with anorexia and then bulimia throughout my teen years (it is possible to go through both, unfortunately). The cycle of self-hate that can happen is truly horrible, and I commend you for battling through this. How did I stop? I credit God and a sincere desire on my part to never, ever participate in a food addiction again. I didn’t want to die. Nothing I nor my parents had done worked, and I was in a steady downward spiral. Then one day I was able to not give in to the binge/purge need (at that point bulimia was rampant in my life)-something that had never happened before (I suspect a Higher Power at work there)-and I have never given in to it since.

    All of that to say, you can do it. Although I’m still weird about food, I am no longer addicted to it. Coffee, on the other hand, I’m not sure I could give up:)

  31. I’m with you on this one! Have you considered starting with shifting to other foods in the evening like raw carrots, or air-popped popcorn as a first phase? Or an even gentler easing-in is possible to: I switched from ice cream to low-fat frozen yogurt, to no-fat sorbet in the evenings. It’s all about the baby steps instead of cold-turkey for me!

  32. Oprah’s dude Bob Greene recommends starting an evenint tea ritual to help keep you from evening snacking. The act of preparing and drinking the tea keeps you busy and gives your tummy something to do.

  33. I see this post has struck a nerve…I, too, am addicted to food. For example, today I had some not entirely bad news from a repeat mammogram (micro calcifications, not clumped together) but that was my reason to stray from my yogurt or oatmeal only breakfast and lunch and have an egg & cheese breakfast sandwich and a salad for lunch. Granted…not the worst choice, but still. Dave is going to join a gym with me next week, and I’m looking forward to that :-) Hang in there, Kim!

  34. I know this blog is a month old but I’m slowly catching up on all the blogs of yours that I have in my Google Reader.

    I can relate more than you know to this blog. I have been an emotional eater since I was a child. If I was feeling sad or just a little bit rubbish, I was cheered up with a McDonalds, KFC, cake, chocolate bar etc. Now at almost 25, I do the same thing. I DO NOT cheer my daughter up with food because I don’t want her to be in the same boat as I am. I have been fighting this since I decided I needed to lose weight at 17. I managed to lose 40+lbs and for some amazing metabolism I have acquired, I’ve kept most of it off. I do exercise though, not as much as you, but I’m more active than I was 40lbs ago. I’m also a past smoker who found it so much easier because I could just quit. I so wish I could quit eating because it would make my life a lot easier.

    I am doing better as of the past two weeks. I’m learning to understand that I’m in love with food and sometimes I just need a Snickers to cheer me up. A Snickers, plus a Twix, plus a packet of crisps plus sweets is not acceptable – and yes, I have eaten that (probably more) in one evening.

    I hope you’re doing better with this. It’s definitely a roller-coaster to try and figure this whole thing out. I try not to think of my binging days as “FAILURES!” but as a lesson in how NOT to do it. I try and write in my diary or play a computer game that takes me mind of eating. Or I just go to bed. Even if it is 8PM.

  35. Hey Kim,
    I’m just catching up on my blogs and felt I needed to comment on this post.

    First, thank you for being so candid. This is an issue that I struggle with and obviously a lot of others do, as well. I see myself instilling the pattern in my daughter, too. Whenever we have something stressful or traumatic in our life we turn to food. After I was in a car accident with my daughter (everyone was fine, thankfully) my mom came over and immediately went out and picked-up bags of fatty food so that we could sooth ourselves. Such a terrible pattern!

    I have to agree with some of the earlier comments though that suggested looking into therapy. I know it is scary and overwhelming to contemplate, but I think addressing the root issue of why you are feeling so anxious and sad will help solve the problem for the long-term vs. the short-term solution of just addressing the eating. Carbohydrates increase serotonin levels just like SSRIs such as Prozac, so that is why you are feeling so sad. Your body has gotten used to having extra serotonin and now you are going without and it is like being in withdrawal.

    You are an amazing mother and wife and I am always blown away with all of the great things that you accomplish. I know that you can tackle this, too!

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