When you think of the phrase “eating right”, I’d bet you have the concept of healthy foods pop into your head, complete with a cornucopia of rainbow veggies, fresh fruits, and whatever else you consider healthy.
For me, this phrase has a completely different meaning.
I try to be an honest person…and this issue has been weighing on me for a long time…and because this blog is based on food and nutrition, I feel I need to be honest here.
I struggle with eating.
More specifically, I would classify myself as a compulsive overeater.
I’m going to start from the beginning…
I grew up with two older brothers, who ate voraciously. In order to get what you wanted at the dinner table, you had to eat fast.
Eating quickly became a habit.
I always loved food growing up, especially my mom’s cooking. I loved to eat, and did so freely.
In 7th grade, I began to use food as a tool of power to control things. I was homeschooled that year, and after lunch I delayed going back to learning by eating more food. As long as I was “hungry” and eating, I could delay class (I did not like homeschooling).
I gained weight, of course.
But even more problematic was the developed habit of eating beyond satiation.
The next year I became suddenly aware of my problem – my mother called my “bulging gut” to attention. She seemed shocked and distraught, and I was embarrassed, ashamed, and highly defensive. I did not like that feeling.
She enrolled me in a highly intensive “boot camp”, which met once a week and was the bane of my existence. I’d always hated exercise, but this was exercise plus shame.
I did not like my mother’s efforts to try and “help me”.
At times, eating more was a sort of revenge.
Freshman year was awkward, fraught with low self-esteem and lack of confidence. I became more aware of my body. I didn’t like it.
The next summer, I cut down on food. I lost 10 pounds. Everyone commented on how good I looked when school started. Boys started talking to me. My mother said nothing.
I was glad for my weight loss, but I wanted to lose more. So I restricted my eating…which was more of an effort during the school year.
Yes, I counted calories…yes, I restricted myself unhealthily. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was starting to become an obsession – calories, calories, calories. I knew the calories in everything.
My course load was much more stressful that year, as I started to take AP classes. I got less sleep. I never lost any weight, but I gained a few pounds back. This I attribute to the lack of sleep and the eating regime I developed after school. During school, I could control myself, because what I brought was all I could eat.
After school, fatigue, exhaustion, and stress kicked in, and food became a comfort. I ate after school when I got home, and again at dinner. I wasn’t really hungry at dinner, but it was a family obligation and how could I resist more food, more comfort? I ate when I wasn’t hungry. I ate to discomfort, and hated myself afterwords.
It was the beginning of my binge behavior. My body was fighting the restrictive diet.
I continued to restrict myself, but didn’t really lose weight again until the summer after junior year. That was my lowest weight, and I loved it…but I always wanted to lose more. I wanted to look at myself in the mirror and see a perfectly flat stomach.
I gained a little weight senior year, but the summer after I didn’t lose much. Not back to my lowest…
College was a completely different ball game. First semester, I think I stayed pretty consistent with my weight. I remember looking at myself, and finally accepting my weight. It was a point in my life where I was finally content with my body…but it didn’t last.
Second semester, I gained weight…largely as a result of stress-eating. I gained weight this summer as well…poor sleep, late hours at work, and the stress of a promotion all contributed – but the main issue is that overeating continues to be a problem for me. I stopped meditating, practicing yoga, and doing morning workouts. I stopped caring for myself the way I did during school. I got a bit depressed…making it all a vicious cycle.
So that’s why I’m here to tell you that eating right is not just about what food is healthy blah blah blah, cause that’s only half the battle.
There comes a point where you have to recognize that the physiological and psychological aspects of you interact with each other.
The body effects the mind, and the mind effects the body.
I am choosing to be honest with you right now.
I will come right out and say – I am a tangled mess.
I struggle with overeating every day. It’s like a drug, an addiction, and I need my fix…I’ve tried many things to try and control myself, but many times they backfire, making things worse…
So what now? I don’t know. Every day I hope for a magic moment to come, where I can eat to satiation and have no overwhelming desire to eat more.
I don’t need to change my food.
I need to change the way I think about food…
Until next time ~