Category Archives: Body Image

A Look into the Mind of the Food Obsessed

Last night as I finished up dinner (Chipotle Burrito Bowl thanks to Andy!), I started to think about how my life has changed over the last few years.  I thought about how my views on myself have especially changed.

When I was in high school I had virtually no care in the world.  I was fearless and definitely had a zest for life.  Also at this time, I didn’t have negative thoughts about myself or my body.

I honestly can’t remember ever being worried about what I was going to eat next and how it would make me feel.Will I feel fat and bloated? Will I feel gross? Will I vow to not eat this much again? Those thoughts were non-existent in my teenage mind.  That is until this point in my life when tragedy struck and I began using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with life rather than actually working through things.

From about 18 years of age until my early 20’s, I was pretty food obsessed.  Sure, I still enjoyed myself and I have a lot of great memories from this period in my life, but I struggled mentally with self acceptance.

Freshman  year of college, 2004

I started an online journal on a fitness forum around this time and was excited to interact with others that shared the same passion for nutrition and fitness. The forum is now deleted…and I am thankful it is! I don’t think I could go back and re-read my posts.

But to be honest, this was a very unhealthy time for me. The interaction with most people was based on strict dieting and obsessive exercise habits.  Most everyone was after the “perfect body” and being at the “perfect weight” and so almost everyone’s journal was about being on a diet.

Source

I admit that I got sucked into this life (or perhaps the life was sucked out of me?) and I read everything I could get my hands on pertaining to dieting and fitness.

I even toyed with the idea of competing in a Figure Competition and ended up training and dieting for 6 weeks (read more about it here).  I ended up quitting(not ashamed that I am a quitter! Best decision I could have made).

I  went through a period of being depressed and down on myself, since I was suffering a terrible rebound. This filled me with anxiety and more negative thoughts about myself.

Food Obsessed

During this time in my life, I think that food ruled my world.  As much as I enjoyed it, I feared it.  I thought about it constantly.  What will I eat next? Am I getting enough protein in this meal? Should I be eating carbs this late in the day?

On the outside I looked completely normal (at least I think!) and didn’t really discuss food and dieting with anyone around me (only online).  But there was certainly a mental battle happening inside.

A Look into the Mind of the Food Obsessed

I’ve tried to dive deep into my memory to show what it was like for a period in my life.  Here is what I have come up with. So let’s take a walk down memory lane into the mind of the food obsessed:

Alarm goes off, I wake up and go to the bathroom.  I pee first because I need to weigh myself.  Surely my pee weighs a few pounds and I want to get an accurate reading.  I see the number on the scale and hate it.  I should not weigh this much.  Why don’t I weigh 135lbs or less? I am 5’7 and I should weigh 135lbs, not 140lbs.

As soon as I wake up, I instantly think: When am I working out today? What will I eat for breakfast? It needs to have the perfect combination of fat, carbohydrate and protein.  And I need to make sure I am getting at at least a gram of protein for every pound that I weigh.

My workout will either be lifting heavy (no more than 6 reps because higher reps are useless) or I will be doing a 25 minute HIIT session on the treadmill.  Steady state cardio is for the birds.

I pack my lunch and snacks before heading off to work as a Graduate Assistant Heaven for bid I am without a snack or without a plan. I’d be lost without my protein shake. I need that protein!!

I am starving by dinner time.  But how could that be? I am eating enough (5-6 small meals a day..it’s the only way to eat) and a 300-400 calorie meal should be more than filling.  I had a tablespoon of peanut butter for God’s sake! That good fat should be filling me up. But I begin to daydream about pizza, cereal, and ice cream.

I eat the ice cream. Then the cereal. Then I lose it and eat whatever I can find. Toast with peanut butter? Sure, why not! I’ve already ruined my day. Oatmeal? OK! I am a loser and can not control myself therefore I will stuff myself senseless and go to bed upset.

I repeat this sequence of events for years…

During this time in my life, I still felt like I was a happy person. But my idea of happiness was all wrong. I believed I was supposed to feel this way about myself.  I believed that happiness came when I reached a certain weight and could maintain it.  I believed that if and when I competed in a figure competition everyone would praise me and announce that, yes, she has the perfect body! Hip hip hooray! I believed that happiness was based upon looks and appearances.

This was my food obsessed mind at a glance.  Luckily, things have changed.

Eating just to Eat

Last night of course was Taco Tuesday…and surprisingly we are still not sick of it! I think we’ve been on our Taco Tuesday kick every week without fail for well over a month, if not more.  Bring on the Mexican food! 🙂

For our tacos we had:

  • Re-fried Vegetarian Beans
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Salsa
  • Hot Sauce
  • Chips

I made a taco pile and enjoyed a glass of Skinny Girl Margarita.  I just can’t seem to eat tacos without it!

It was a delicious dinner but I was completely stuffed.  Two taco piles will do that to ya I guess!

Family Walk

After dinner Andy and I decided to take the dogs for a walk.  We have not done that in so long so it was nice to get out and spend some quality time with our lil’ family.

Plus, these two crazy monsters needed to do something with their never-ending energy:

Who, Me?

This is just our warm up

We walked around the neighborhood for about a half hour and enjoyed the nice, warm evening.

When we got back everyone was looking a bit tired

I'm not ready for bed, I just need to rest my eyes

Andy and Sophia even shared a special moment relaxing on the couch:

She is quite the Diva in the household

Eating just to Eat

Once I sat back down on the couch and caught up on the latest episode of Millionaire Matchmaker (holy first date in the hot tub!), I felt hungry. Well, to be honest I wasn’t all that hungry but I really wanted something sweet to munch on.  A small bowl of cereal did the trick!  Sometimes I eat just to eat.  There, I said it 😉

I don’t care that I do this sometimes and in fact, I enjoy it.  I enjoy food so much and sometimes I do just eat simply because I want to.

I also sometimes eat because I am bored, tired, happy or upset.  I admit that I do use food for comfort from time to time.  But I am OK with it. I don’t do it often, but I do think it’s completely normal to want something to comfort you, and for me it’s sometimes just a warm, filling meal.

My focus on food and exercise has changed dramatically over the last few years.  I’ve gone from meticulously counting grams of protein, carbs, and fat (especially during Figure Competition prep) to counting scoops of ice cream at Dairy Queen (and making sure I get plenty!)

I’m not saying I don’t care about what I eat (because I do!), but I certainly don’t go crazy.  I’ve found a balance that works for me.  To some, my diet may be unhealthy.  I mean I ate tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream at dinner (which is just fine by me).  But by others’ healthy living standards it may be junk.  It’s all just food to me and I like it all.  The good, the bad, and the extra greasy.

Question:

Do you ever eat just to eat?