Overeating and Overweight: My Relationship with Food and My Body #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day 15 in the A to Z Challenge. The O is, for whatever reason, a difficult letter. I didn’t have an inkling what I was going to write about until today and then made up my mind several more times. I finally settled on two O words: overeating and overweight. Today, I am going to describe my struggle with emotional eating.

I remember when I was as young as five stealing candy from my parents. So did my sister, but I was always the one initiating it and taking the most. My parents thought it was funny.

Despite this, my diet was relatively healthy until I enrolled into mainstream secondary school at age thirteen. Then, my eating quickly got out of hand. I ate sausage rolls every single day. I also bought large amounts of candy every week, which I’d eat in one sitting. My parents noticed, but other than giving me a bit of a talking about it, they didn’t help me change my behavior.

I don’t really know why I overate in the first place. It was more of a habit, an addiction perhaps, than that it was tied to clear emotional distress. Of course, I suffered chronic stress, so that may’ve contributed.

I had some ritualistic behavior around food too. I didn’t know a thing about calories, but I wrote down everything I ate. This was often ended with a piece of self-hatred. It was true t hat I ate too much, but I made no attempt to change it other than by berating myself for it.

I was curvy from early secondary school on, but always maintained a healthy BMI somehow. This didn’t change till sometime in 2012. I rapidly started gaining weight and continued to gain weight until the summer of 2017. Then, I tried to lose weight. I lost about 10kg and then started gaining again. I haven’t been weighed in in several months and am pretty sure that, though I am not where I was in mid-2017, I’ve gained some considerable weight.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t like the way my body looks and the fact that I am at increased risk for illness and premature death. However, in a sense, I’m too lazy to really do something about it. It’s true that, once again, I experience a ton of stress and I think about overeating on a daily basis. However, I can resist the urge most days. I don’t eat the whole can of peanut butter or something. In this sense, I have the willpower to keep from bingeing. I would really love to get myself to stop doing it altogether. Since tomorrow is my usual shopping day, I am resolving here not to buy myself candy this week.

What Emotions Drive Me to Bad Habits? #Write31Days

Welcome to day eight in #Write31Days. Today’s post, like last week Monday’s, is yet again focused on emotions. I took another prompt from The Self-Exploration Journal. It asks what emotions drive me to bad habits.

I have a few self-destructive habits, some of which I engage more regularly in than others. For example, I overeat on average at least once a week, but only self-injure by cutting occasionally. Then there are these little habits that I engage in so often that I barely even notice them anymore, such as nail-biting or most recently teeth-grinding. Just a few minutes ago, my husband asked me to stop grinding my teeth.

Basically, I can be pretty sure that the type of emotional state that drives me to engage in all of these bad habits is stress. Stress is usually thought of as a type of anxiety, but it is not necessarily fear that drives it.

I tend mostly to engage in the little bad habits, like nail-biting or teeth-grinding, when not feeling much of a clear emotion at all. Rather, I tend to be in a state of worry, thinking in circles.

When emotions do reach the point where I notice them, they are pretty close to boiling point already. When this happens I may engage in self-harm behaviors or overeat.

When I look closely at what emotion causes me to engage in these self-destructive behaviors, I see that it is usually a sense of loneliness. Loneliness is not an emotion or so I’m told. At least it isn’t a primary emotion. Sadness is and that’s often what’s underneath this sense of loneliness.

Anger can also drive me to engage in self-destructive habits. Usually though, I am angry at something too minor to matter. The emotion underlying this anger is once again sadness.

What emotions drive you to bad habits?

My Relationship with Food

Today, I’m paging through the eBook Journal Writing Prompts for Child Abuse Survivors. It is definitely worth it. One of the prompts, in the third chapter, which deals with shame, is about your relationship with food. I am going to write about that today.

I am fat. There I said it. I am no longer obese, fortunately, but I still need to lose over 20lbs to be at a healthy BMI. Besides, my body fat is concentrated primarily on my stomach, which means it’s all the more dangerous for my long-term physical health.

I have a long history of disordered eating. When I was around 14, I “wanted” to develop an eating disorder. No, I didn’t read pro-anorexia sites, though I probably would have had I had access to the Internet back then. I didn’t really want to have anorexia, but I wanted badly to overcome the painful relationship with food I had by this time, and my way of doing so was to develop an even more harmful attitude towards it.

The origin of this even more harmful attitude was probably shame. My parents would regularly yell at me for eating too much and I badly wanted to break this habit, but I didn’t knowhow.

I didn’t stop overeating, but I started obsessing over how it’d make me fat. I started keeping food logs and commenting on how much I’d eaten, but it didn’t help me actually stop overeating.

I remember at one time calculating my BMI, which was a little above 20 at the time. I thought that should soothe my mind and it did in a way. I wasn’t fat, after all. Looking back, I now realize said BMI calculator was geared towards adults and a BMI over 20 is in fact overweight for a teen.

I never developed a full-blown eating disorder, even though a part of me engaged in a lot of disordered eating patterns, including purging, up till fairly recently. In fact, this part of me – she’s called Agnes – was the one reasoning last Wednesday that diarrhea is a good thing because it helps me lose weight.

I’ve had a fairly normal relationship with food over the past year or so. At least in terms of behaviors. I no longer purge, rarely overeat and do exercise regularly. However, like I said above, my thought patterns are still pretty disordered.