A compulsive overeating usually starts in childhood, by soothing yourself with food, whenever you're upset.
This behavior continues subtly – reaching for food, instead of allowing yourself to discover that an upset is temporary, and you can comfort yourself without having to eat.
Love/Hate relationship with food.
Over-eaters are usually preoccupied with food: dieting, weight, ‘good food’, ‘bad food’, calories etc. However, compulsive over-eaters use food to relieve emotions.
Like the bulimic, they've tried time and time again to stop their behavior. Often they try too hard, going on a strict diet- and it works while you're on the diet but once off it, the emotions take control and food becomes a pacifier again.
Dieting can be too depriving for an over eater. When cravings become unmanageable it leads to a binge.
Don’t confuse weight gain with obesity. Not every overweight person has an eating disorder.
Through a gradual change in lifestyle and often with the help of
cognitive behavioral therapy
you can overcome compulsive overeating. Sometimes it seems impossible, but I can assure you it's not.
Support groups such as Overeaters Anonymous are useful in overcoming ‘food addiction’. Check O.A. groups in your area.
A few helpful suggestions
Read this list every day.
- Make a list of your good qualities – which have nothing to do with food.
- Recognize your trigger foods. I have a client who binges on pasta. Now she goes out to eat pasta. She doesn’t keep it in the house.
- Get in touch with your feelings. When you feel you must eat, stop. Find out what emotions are really going on. You may be angry, bored, or hurt. Deal with the issues. (Often the same trigger words for AA works for over eating Hungry,Angry,Lonely,Tired. (HALT)
- Learn to love and accept yourself. We usually are harder on ourselves than anyone else.
- Live one day at a time and if you binge, don’t condemn yourself. Changing behavior is a process.
- Find a network of people or a support group led by a person trained in eating disorders.
Changing a compulsive overeating disorder doesn’t come over night, but don’t give up. Others have done it and so can you.
Compulsive overeating? Find out. take a test..
Stop thinking you'll NEVER change.
More about food addicts
Coaching can also help you change
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Source: Boston college Eating Awareness Team. Adapted from: Siegel, M., Brisman, J., and Weinshel,M. (1997)