Overeaters Anonymous

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I have been toying with the idea about doing a blog post on this subject for a while now, and I kept putting it off, because I realise not many people want to know about others problems!

But you know what?  It is MY problem and this is MY blog, detailing the goings on in MY life, and right now this is going on!  So if you don’t want to read about it, please leave the page now…………………………………………

I have had a weight issue for many, many years and you only need to read through this blog from past posts to see how I have tried over the years to lose the weight, and to be honest WITHOUT success!  I have always felt I have other issues relating to food, but no one would listen.  Finally on the 18th August ’11 I decided to seek professional help and made an appointment with my GP.

She has agreed I have an eating disorder, and before you throw your hands up and go no you haven’t, look at the size of you!  There are different kinds of eating disorders as she pointed out!

I took an online survey that is recommended by the National Centre for Eating Disorders and I scored 50, which basically means :-

You have a sub-clinical eating disorder, which means that you have anorexic feelings and behaviours. Generally, you feel out of control around food and may, at times, feel taken over by someone else who does the eating for you. You know that your eating behaviour is not altogether normal, but it is not quite serious enough to warrant medical attention. Yet you devote a lot of energy into trying to control your eating, thinking and worrying about food and weight and being otherwise unhappy with yourself.Perhaps you are not altogether aware of just how much eating has come to rule your life and play havoc with your self-esteem. You would like to get away from food but you can’t – it is part of family and social life and it is bound up with celebrations such as holidays Christmas and birthdays. As much as you would like to, you just can’t relax on these occasions. Or, if you do, there will be a heavy price to pay. It is draining you of energy.

Possibly, you feel that your behaviour around food is a personal weakness – a deficiency in your willpower – or you are just plain greedy. Or, you have learned to hide these impulses under a mask of rigid control. Either way, you have totally lost touch with, or trust in, your natural hunger. Hunger is your friend and your enemy at the very same time.

It isn’t correct to blame yourself for your relationship with food. Eating problems are not a sign of personal weakness or psychological damage. But concerns about eating can take over your life, ruin your self-esteem and make you perpetually depressed.

Food may mean many things to you. It may be your secret friend, your comforter or the only way you know to break life’s rules. Help yourself to let go of worries about your weight – and give up dieting. These concerns underlie most of the problems people have with food. Learn to think of food as something that heals the body and gives it strength, energy and passion.

If you are near the upper scores for this category, do consider a short spell of counselling with an expert in eating disorders. This may help prevent your problems from getting worse and causing damage to your health. The first port of call could be your GP or contact the British Psychological Society or the British Association for Counselling who would advise you on eating disorder specialists in your area.

Types of eating disordersCompulsive eating
You feel you eat enough, but you can’t stop eating. However much you eat, you keep on having more. At times, it feels as if you have been taken over by someone else, and you can feel physically bad and very guilty when you stop but you do it again anyway.You might make promises to stop, but, whatever triggers you, starts it off all over again and you feel out of control. You try to diet and you can’t even get started, or you may lose weight, only to put it all on again and even more. You have probably tried lots of diets but you may be fatter than ever.

It seems like an unending cycle of eating, remorse, dieting and overeating again. You feel very ashamed of your eating habits and so you may eat a lot in secret. You can’t make sense of what you do. You long to eat normally like everybody else, just take food or leave it. But it’s never enough.

Bulimia
You have tried to lose weight earlier in your life but you started overeating and you thought that getting rid of it would be a good idea to stop you from gaining weight. But it has gone out of control and now these secret rituals of bingeing and purging rule your life.

You can eat just one bite too many and that can set things off. You eat large amounts of food, forbidden food: sometimes you don’t even taste it, then you get rid of it. It makes you feel very bad, ashamed and ill but you simply cannot stop.

You long to be able to eat normally, or at least stop doing these terrible things to yourself, but you are terrified of gaining weight. And so it goes on and on and, although you long for help, you don’t dare let anyone find out.
More on bulimia nervosa.

Anorexia
You have lost a lot of weight. People are worried about you but you wish they would leave you alone. You don’t need any food, you are in fact terrified of gaining weight but you can’t admit that to yourself least alone to others, so you pretend that everything is fine. You cant remember when dieting turned into a full scale obsession with being thinner and thinner but you cant worry about that now- all you care about is how to eat as little as possible and get as much exercise as possible to lose even more weight as quickly as you can.

You are cold and you have lost your periods (if you are a girl) and you’re depressed but that is because you are feeling fat and ugly, so whatever you eat is still too much. You know you are in trouble but you don’t want to think about that now. Lets just lose another pound. Then you might hate yourself a little less. But that doesn’t work, either.
More on anorexia nervosa

How interesting is that?  I can totally relate to what they are saying, I do use laxatives, and so whilst I may not make myself sick I try to control my weight in other unhealthy ways.  I do also binge.

So I have started to seek serious help!  I have been referred for Cognitive Behavourial Therapy, that I have my first session on the 14th Sept and I am also being referred to our local Eating Disorder centre for help.

I am starting to feel very motivated, that I can control this.  I won’t say beat it, and the reason why I say that is because I am also joining an online support group for Overeaters and they use the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous and so whilst I will control it, I think it is something that you learn to control and live with, and I am not sure if it ever really goes away!  But I certainly feel I can sort it!

So some big steps for me happening over the coming weeks, and whilst I am happy about them I am also scared, nervous and embarrassed!  I have finally admitted to those close to me what I do and I think that is the first step, and whilst I know I have their support, what I am hoping doesn’t happen is that they to start monitoring what I eat and do when we are together.  This needs to be controlled by me and actioned by me and only I can rectify it!

I will be checking back posting about my progress, because I feel that there are some people out there that will be keen to monitor it but not only that, they may be in the same position as me and it is good to know there is help out there for you just may need to search for it!


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7 responses »

  1. Good for you for posting about this! I had similar mixed feelings when I began posting about my anxiety. But as I have stated on my blog, writing about it helps me to work through it, and if people don’t want to read it, they can skip my blog for that day.

    While I don’t personally know the ins and outs of eating disorders, the same philosophy you mentioned holds true for the anxiety – it’s an everyday battle that one will need to continuously work on. I may never overcome my anxiety, but it’s something I can control with CBT.

    We’re all supporting you during your journey through this. Take care and keeping writing about it! =)

  2. Ah, now your question on twitter about CBT makes sense! In that case I retract my comment about it. CBT is good for behaviourial disorders (for breaking patterns and negative behaviour, etc) so it will hopefully help you retrain your brain not to be negative about yourself.

    I’ve now been in therapy for 18 months for my stuff, and one thing I’ve learnt is that everyone is crazy – it’s just we’re all crazy in different ways. The minute you mention your own problems, other people will tell you about their own, or their relative’s. The nature of mental disorders means people don’t like to talk about them, but as soon as you do you realise you’re not alone and most people know someone going through something similar. :).

    And you can talk about whatever you want on your blog! Don’t hide!

  3. Sharon, you get my support too. I’m not sure if it’s relevant or not. But I once saw a blog or a website somewhere were the person had photographed everything they ate each day for a week. Then at the end of the week they had created a grid of the photos so you could see everything in a single picture.

    I can’t remember what the aim of doing this was, may be to help with the recording of the quantities or similar.

    But you are doing the correct thing with seeking professional advice.

    Steve

  4. Good for you, Sharon. I am glad you are seeking the support you need. I know other Philofaxers, including myself, have mentioned struggling with similar issues. I strive with my children to model healthy eating behavior, but they learn such negative messages regarding food, diet, and body image so early.

    Writing about it is a brave step. I just downloaded a Kindle free preview of a book by Marianne Williamson entitled, A Course in Weight-Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever. I’ll dm a prayer from it to you.–don’t want to break any copyright laws. 🙂 Take care. x

  5. Sorry for the delay in commenting – I am a little behind with my blog reading. Just wanted to add my support for you. Surround your-self with professional help and the support of friends and family… we are here for you x

  6. Sharon I am now catching up on blog reading after my hols and I think you are a very brave lady indeed to admit this. It is great that you have sought professional help and I hope that you get all that you need as sometimes accessing CBT is a real nightmare on the NHS. I will be supporting you virtually as well. 🙂

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