How to End Food Obsession: Part III

It’s been a while since my last post on ending food obsession so I thought I’d add my third installment today.

To be honest, ending food obsession is an ongoing battle.  We reach for food (or other substances or other outlets) when things seem out of our control.

I know this is true for me.  When I am under stress, I want something that will ease my  mind and give me that sense of control.  Food has been something I have used to cope.  But because it causes me to get obsessive with it, I’ve learned to break this pattern of thinking and behaving.

I’ve had to get to the cause of the stress and look deep within myself, which is not easy.  It’s much easier to stuff my face with food or to start a new diet to comfort myself and to gain a false sense of control and security.  Looking deep into what I am really feeling and experiencing is the more difficult choice, yet the one that brings the most clarity and eventually peace.

Give up Control

We as humans loathe change and we loathe feeling out of control.  We want things to go just as we planned and for many of us, when things don’t go our way, we freak out. 

When I got into my car accident a couple of months ago, I felt that I was not in control what so ever.  I was stranded on a highway for over 3-hours in the snow and felt terrified and alone.  I had to spend the night in a hotel in a random town and I was upset that things didn’t go my way.  And to be honest,  I turned to food at this time.  I stuffed myself silly with junk food.  I wanted to feel better because things were not going as I had planned.  I wanted to feel good and I wanted to feel in control of something. 

I continued to stuff myself for a couple of weeks after the accident.  I didn’t write about it because I was embarrassed that I had ‘relapsed’ so to speak and turning to food to cope.

However, before this pattern got the best of me, I beat it.  I made the decision and made a conscious choice to actually deal with the fact that I didn’t have control over that situation and things like that happen in life.  We can’t escape that!  I can not control everything in life but I can control how I deal and cope with these situations.  And after a couple of weeks of being ‘off course’ (and not to mention feeling miserable about myself), I changed my thinking. 

Making Positive Choices

Life is all about making choices.  We have the free will to do whatever it is we want.  It’s in our best interest to make positive choices and to go through life with love, compassion, and understanding, but sometimes we don’t always do this.  We make decisions that bring upon negative consequences.  In most cases, when we make a bad decision or choice, we learn from that mistake by suffering the negative consequences.  Every choice we make has a consequence, good or bad.

Choices

For instance, when I live in a food obsessed world the negative consequences I suffer are guilt and shame.  Guilt and shame is something that I can change.  I don’t have to feel this way, but I choose to since I am making the choice to do something that harms my body, mind and spirit and I know deep down that my behavior is wrong.

However, anyone that suffers from any kind of obsession knows that you do get something from it.  We wouldn’t do something so often if it didn’t give us something back in return.  And for me, it’s a sense of control and comfort.  Yet what I have come to realize is that that sense of comfort and control is fake.  I’m masking what I am feeling and hiding underneath a layer of false security.

I’ve had to completely overhaul my thinking and behaviors.  I’ve had to retrain how I react to situations and I’ve had to form new habits and behaviors. How have I done that? I work on looking deep within my self, my Soul, the true essence of my being, and separating that from my physical body.

Spirituality

I’ve mentioned before that I am not religious, I am spiritual.  My beliefs help me tremendously with how I think, feel and act.  I don’t want to preach to anyone on this blog (that’s not what I am about, but I don’t mind sharing what I personally feel), but having a belief in something that is much more than the physical Earth that we live on, has been my life savor.

Spirituality

Separating YOU from your BODY

I read a lot of books on spirituality and they help me tremendously  (I am currently reading this book and just read this book, which was fun).  I read a little bit each day (or at least try) and that allows me to get daily reminders that I am more than my physical self.  For me, separating the true essence of who I am (my soul) from my physical body is key in beating food obsession.  When I am able to separate the two, I see things differently.  I think differently. And most importantly, I act differently.  I am a much kinder and caring person to myself and to those around me.

One Day at a Time

On Tuesday I had the urge to binge eat.  I was bored.  I had already finished my dinner and even dessert.  But I wanted more.  I wanted to be “comforted” for some reason.  (**Side Note: Let me be clear: I was NOT physically hungry.  I was actually past my fullness.  I don’t want to confuse anyone that restricts their intake.  If you are hungry, then by all means EAT.  But I had eaten probably well over 2500 calories for the day and was full).

Inside, I wanted to be more “full” though and feel the comfort from food.  In particular, I wanted cereal.  Bowls and bowls of it.  Something about cereal attracts me to over eat it.  It’s like it’s never ending because you can keep pouring more and more bowls! But I didn’t do it.

My urge to eat came about around 6pm.  I made the choice to ask myself what I truly was missing.  Or what I truly needed.  And the simple answer: I was bored.  I was on the couch watching TV and wanted something to do while watching TV.  So I decided to give myself something else to do besides eat.  I tried on clothes!  I’ve been meaning to do this.  I wanted to go through my closet to see what sorts of clothes I had before I did some more spring shopping.

This diversion from my food thoughts was key that night.  I was no longer bored and actually had fun trying on my old clothes coming up with new outfits.  I even picked out something to wear for Easter.

By 9:30pm I actually felt real hunger and did end up having some cereal.  But just one bowl.  I didn’t keep refilling my bowl (I’ve done this in the past…refilling over and over again until completely stuffed).  I just simply had a snack and got ready for bed.

Listen, I am not perfect (and don’t try to be!) and I don’t have this all figured out.  I really do take this food thing one day at a time.  And while I am comfortable around food and enjoy it immensely, especially in social situations, I still have times when things in life to get to me and I turn to it for that sense of comfort and control.  This is something I am beating little by little.  Each success I have is another step towards ending food obsession and even greater steps towards my own personal development and growth. 

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18 responses to “How to End Food Obsession: Part III

  1. It is an ongoing thing isn’t it? But the key is, like you’ve done, to learn from your past and recognize those feelings and doing something about them…like you did! 🙂

  2. I am trying to tell myself “one day at a time” too right now. Its helping. (And I tend to do the exact same thing with cereal.)

  3. You’re so right, it is an on-going battle and one we must fight through almost everyday. There are good and bad times and that usually relates to current situations in our life. Recognizing this allows you to deal with your emotions in much better and more positive ways! Keep up the good work lady 😀

  4. I can so relate to this! The past few days I have given in to that urget to binge. Its something I have struggled with for a long time. It is such a process to get over. All of your points are so true! So true. Thanks for the reminder. Yoga has helped me alot with all of it…but it still creeps in from time to time.

  5. great post!… really hit home for me! i lead an active lifestyle and eat very healthy but suffer from the same urges to binge eat in certain situations. i’ve reached a point where i have identified most of the triggers for bingeing (alcohol, dinner parties, skipping ~200 calories during the day and subsequently waking up in the night for snacks) and am aware that i don’t like how it makes me feel . i am open and ready to find solutions and ways to overcome it. this post really helps!

  6. I love you! You are so right that turning to food is something that will always be there pulling at us to do. I still feel it in every tougher situation I face. I would say pretty much weekly I want to turn to food for comfort. There are still times that I do (although thankfully its been awhile). The things you mentioned help you overcome it are the biggest help to me as well. I love finding other distractions and of course my spiritual side helps a ton too. Great post Lindsey!

  7. I’m so so thankful for this post. I’m sure it took a lot of courage to actually post this, so good for you! I strongly identify with this, even though no one would ever guess it. I’m still in college and do eat much better than the “typical college diet” and am pretty active, but my problem lies in mindless eating. Ohh the cereal problem- I seriously can’t keep it in my dorm because the box is gone in a couple of days. It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘healthy’ cereal- I’m still eating without being hungry and giving myself stomachaches from overindulging. I really appreciate your tips on things to distract you..I find it’s almost always from boredom also!

    You go girl!!

  8. Loveddd this post. This: “We wouldn’t do something so often if it didn’t give us something back in return. And for me, it’s a sense of control and comfort” is so true which is why it is SO tough to break out of the cycle. But you’re right, that sense of control is fake. Thank you thank you for another insightful post!!

  9. Great honest post! I think we all deal with this at some point. It is a choice and sometimes our choices aren’t always right, but luckily we get another chance to make another choice down the road!
    Great job overcome this obstacle.

  10. Wonderful post! There have been many times where I lose control of my fitness, be that injury, fatigue, or sickness. When this happens I always want to turn to food, thinking well if I can’t workout then I can just control what I eat that much more. Last weekend I made the choice to binge on fast food late night with the girls, as I sat eating eat I started to realize how much this food was unpleasing to me, and the next day my body felt it as well. I still struggle with making good choices and not turning to working out or food for comfort.

  11. I am just beginning with this journey myself. I am now trying to work on, if I have a bad day, not beating myself up. Talking bad about myself, or saying oh your so fat…blah blah.
    I wouldnt talk to my best friend like that, why do I do it to myself?
    Thanks for this post!

  12. ahhh this is great! i just found your blog and it’s totally uncanny that i wrote a post a few days ago about freedom – which is totally relevant to food obsessions. i really like what youve written!

  13. This was an amazing post. I have been going through this same seeking journey and you hit it right on. The key to ending the cycle is to separate the soul from the physical body. It’s so true!!!! We are not what our bodies are, they are just shells of our essence. It’s like a car….our souls are the drivers, the car is just the way we get around… LOVED this post!!!! Thanks for being so wonderfully real!!!

  14. This is SO true. I’ve been there so many times over… especially with that darn cereal. But it’s definitely a learning process that needs to be taken one small step and one small success at a time. And having healthy, NONfood distractions does make all the difference. I’ve been doing much better at stopping, assessing how I REALLY feel, how hungry I may or may not be, and the real reason behind my hankering for stuffing my face, and been doing a lot better at diverting the thinking and finding something else to do. Chugging liquids is an instant helper as well!
    Great post 🙂

  15. I do the same thing with cereal. So honestly I just don’t buy it. 1 bowl never fills me up and I eat and eat and eat until I feel gross. I seriously ate an entire box of cinnamon toast crunch in 1 sitting. I was so embarrased and felt so nasty afterwards. But when I bought the box I knew exactly what was going to happen. It was like I was separated from my body and my mind was screaming don’t do it…but I did. I haven’t bought a box of cereal since.

    • What helps me is actually KEEPING those “off limit” foods in my house. I learn to have them when I want them and they loose their appeal. Once in a while, I have a bad night and eat too much (when I use food to cope), but for the most part, my cereal lasts me a while. Try it…keep foods that you don’t think you can have in your house and give yourself time to let them just be ‘there’ and not something you need to have all at once. I do the same thing with ice cream, candy and chips.

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