This Post Was Hard.

I don't know how to write this.
I've been struggling to write this post for some time now, and it just doesn't seem to come out right. So I'm just going to put it out there and (try) not to overthink the presentation. So apologies ahead of time if it's quite random.

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Food comforts me.
You know how you hear smokers say "I need a cigarette!" or you sit with a smoker and their hands visibly shake as they puff while you have that conversation about whatever frustrations and anxieties they are having at that moment? Maybe you are that smoker.
And so am I.
Except...for me, it's food, and it's less immediate. I guess.
Whenever I have a stressful day at work - which is A LOT, and especially lately - I don't come home and have a beer or a glass of wine to take the edge off like most normal people. I eat food. When I'm stressed or anxious, I want to eat. No, I don't want to get home at nine o'clock at night and prepare a meal of steamed freaking veggies and baked chicken. I want to get home and have a nice plate of Chinese take-out. Or spaghetti with more garlic breadsticks than is anywhere near necessary. When I am frustrated I want to have a good cry and go out and order a bacon cheeseburger with sauteed onions and barbecue sauce.
When I wake in the morning, the first thought in my head is:
f o o d.
When I first awaken, my stomach is growling and ravenous and even before coffee, I need to eat to take the hunger pain away. I feel like I can't function without food first and foremost.
When I am in the midst of the stressful-est of days, two thoughts dominate my mind:
1.) Aaaagggghhhhh!
and
2.) I want ________.
Of course I have some patterns in my eating, but not for the sake of this post. Those patterns are for another time. This is mostly just stress and emotional eating, to which I have no real pattern. It's not like "I'm anxious, therefore I need crunch and want tortilla chips."
If only.
Sometimes I want cheesy popcorn.
Sometimes I want ice cream.
Sometimes I want homemade texas cheese fries.
Sometimes I want pizza.
Sometimes I want gooey brownies.
Sometimes I want McDonald's french fries.
Sometimes I want Chinese.
Sometimes I want a chicken sandwich.
There is no real pattern except that it's whatever happens to sound like the thing I most want in the world (food-wise) right then.
But even when I get it, I tend to not feel satisfied. I mean, I do.
But I feel like there is something wrong with me because when other people have a brownie they seem to feel sated and happy they had chocolate and like "Oh, too much of that would make me feel awful!" and I'm over here like I had a brownie and now I want another brownie.

Now - don't get me wrong: sometimes I eat healthy. When I have a healthy, nutritious breakfast, I always feel better physically. My body feels stronger and more energized, even if I do get hungrier quicker. (Dude, seriously? I try eating healthy lunches at work and my stomach is growling less than an hour later. If I eat Pop-Tarts for lunch, I'm tired and sluggish, but at least I'm not hungry.)  Anyway...yeah...I go for a few days eating healthy and my body feels better, but emotionally, I feel...lacking and out of control.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I have a problem with food. I mean, I know I do.
But I'm admitting to you guys that for me, comfort eating isn't "I had two Kit-Kats this week - gasp!" For me, comfort eating is a daily - if not every meal - thing. Food is one of the ways I cope.

There are times when I wish I was a drinker instead of an eater. It is so much more socially acceptable to be someone who goes through a bottle of wine or two a night starting with a glass after work. It is 1000 times more socially acceptable to be someone who gets drunk in order to stuff away nervousness and insecurity and frustration than it is to be someone who eats to calm down those feelings of inferiority and pressure and anxiousness.*
I would be an awesome alcoholic if that was my drug of choice. I would be the best! But alas. My love/hate/comfort/merry-go-round of self-loathing and despair and trying to start each day new and be better and failing every day and all that is involved in the whole thing...well...that began when I was a child when I learned to use food to cope and I guess I just grew up with it and it stuck so I never got too interested in drugs or heavy recreational drinking.

..........................

I think that's all I've got for now.

*I'm not saying I think alcoholism is easier or cooler or anything, I'm just saying that socially, drinking to excess is more acceptable than eating to excess.

9 comments :

  1. I get it. All I can offer is that you should know you are not alone. I know that there are not mNy places where one can find that fact. I may write about my own struggle... You inspired me.

    Stephanie xo

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  2. Personally I think eating is better, health-wise, than dealing with stress with alcohol (or other drugs).

    I am the same way to some extent, I am almost always hungry and I get hangry AND I have pretty low blood sugar so when I feel it I *have* to eat or I'll get weird.

    So I always have snacks on hand. Some healthy, some not. But the thing is, when I want, I don't know, ice cream, I will make myself eat a meal or drink a ton of water first and then I can have as much ice cream as I want and that way I don't mistake my craving with actual hunger, you know?? Anyway you didn't ask for advice so I hope I'm not overstepping with that.

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  3. I'm glad you decided to just write it out and not "over think" it :) I think you wrote a very coherent post. My husband deals with some of the same issues, once he starts eating, he just wants to keep eating. He says once he "has the taste of blood (food)" he needs more. A food vice is so much harder to "fix" than cigarettes or alcohol, because those two you can abstain from. But food? You have to eat!

    And when you choose to eat healthy, remember that you actually have to eat MORE because a plate of broccoli isn't as calorie dense as some poptarts :)

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  4. There is a falser than false statement in your post and a truer than true statement in your post. The falser than false one is that drinking is more acceptable. It may appear to be more acceptable but it isn't. Truly. People look down on a girl who drinks heavily, the same way they look down on a girl who can down 2 whoppers, french fries and a milkshake and want more. The truer than true statement was this: "My love/hate/comfort/merry-go-round of self-loathing and despair and trying to start each day new and be better and failing every day and all that is involved in the whole thing...well...that began when I was a child when I learned to use food to cope." I am the exact same way. It all began as a child. We learned to use food. It tasted good. Felt good. Comforted us. Filled a void even though it was the wrong void and we have brought that comfort void filling habit into adulthood. As of yet, I have not found a different way to cope with my need to fill that void. I have not found an alternative route, but I know and follow many who have. I also know and follow many who are in the same boat. You are not alone in this boat. So many others, including myself, are in it with you. :D Just thought I would let you know that. Happy Sunday. Be blessed.

    Kristen
    http://themiscellaneousmom.blogspot.com

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  5. "and I'm over here like I had a brownie and now I want another brownie."

    I know this feeling EXACTLY. Or at least exactly as you've described it here. Even when I'm eating normally and in an okay place food-wise, other people talking about how they ate "soooo much" baffles me a little bit. I'm always like, "Six Oreos? I put away a package the other afternoon." Binge & purge cycles have sort of warped my perceptions of "too much" so that even though I know what a portion looks like and I eat regular, reasonably-sized meals, my brain just doesn't GET it.

    Thank you for writing this. It's an extremely personal thing to talk about, but so important TO talk about because of the shame surrounding so much of this. I wouldn't blame you one bit if you needed a cigarette after hitting "publish." (;

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  6. Hey buddy, I pick up what you are laying down. Its hard when you are looking online and there are examples of the extremes-- "starve yourself!" and "Don't listen to them, love yourself no matter what!" Its hard when you are somewhere in the middle. Recognizing habits and attitudes we have with food is a good thing though. Most people never even recognize the patterns.

    You inspired me to write my own post about this stuff. Let's keep talking about this stuff.

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  7. I know what you mean. In some ways, I am the same. Two pieces of a Kit Kat is not an indulgence to me. I usually have some kind of treat every day. And I indulge in food rather than booze too- though I have that as well!

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  8. i think you are so brave for sharing this story becky.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this Becky! I can pretty much say ditto to everything. Even though I made a lifestyle change (yes, I hate the word diet!) 6 months ago I still struggle with emotional eating. I have depression & anxiety disorder which makes it even more difficult. I walk into the kitchen more times than I should. I open the fridge & cupboards, silently whine a little & walk away. It is a constant battle with my mind. Targeting the fact that I want to eat because I am tired/stressed/emotional & not because I am hungry is a huge step. Just yesterday I picked up the small bag of Ghirardelli dark chocolate that has been sitting on my counter unopened for a week. I picked it up three times, each time thinking about the taste of a single piece of chocolate. Even though I had the calories for it left in my day, I set it back down. Did I want it? Hell yes I did! Did I need it, maybe... No! I wasn't hungry, I was just in the "mood" to eat. I often joke that at least people with crack additions are skinny! Food addiction is horrible & many people just do not understand it. It's harder than drugs, alcohol, & cigarettes, because you can not give up food cold turkey (Mmm, turkey!)... You have to eat, you have to be around food many times a day, you can't just go to rehab or slap a patch on your arm & be done. It is a constant struggle for the rest of your life. But, at some point you realize that your life isn't going to be much of one if you don't try to battle it every day. Six months ago I couldn't walk to my car without being out if breath. What kind of life is that? I wasn't even walking fast, I was just walking. I didn't want to be exhausted every time I went up stairs. I didn't want to sweat just from walking through the grocery store. All these things & more started to add up & my want to not be this way anymore got stronger than my disire to eat an entire cake. I still eat what I want, I just eat less of it & less often. And, I actually enjoy it more. I eat without guilt. I don't know if you are looking for a place to help with weight loss but I have found awesome support with MyFitnessPal. Seeing people my size or larger reaching their goals is mighty motivating. Plus, the food diary has been a real help to realize just how bad my eating habits were/are. I applaud you for taking the time to be so truthful about your love/hate relationship with food. I think many of us can relate to it too! :)

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