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Banjo

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I'm gonna go ahead apologize in advance for the length of this post. I'm here because I'm (surprise!) a compulsive eater. I'm not a stress eater, necessarily. And while I DO love my sweets, I'll overeat things like asparagus, brussels sprouts, and cabbage, too. I don't feel good or get a "high" from eating, and I eat regardless of my mood. If there's food I like sitting out, I'll eat it. If I don't eat it, I'll think about eating it until I finally do, and then there's a snowball effect. I'll tell myself not to and that I won't, but I'll "know", feel deep down that I'm going to eat it. I can't stop myself, I just eat to eat.

Background - I've been heavy most of my life, though there have been occasional dips in my weight. As recently as 2 years ago, I weighed 315 lbs, and this time a year ago I weighed 282 lbs. Over the last year, I'd managed to drop all the way down to 215 at the end of June/start of July. I went from barely being able to squeeze into size 44 pants to fitting comfortably into 34s. I dropped my weight by not bringing junk food or sweets in to my house, cooking smaller portions of food, improving the quality of food I ate (lots of veggies, fruit, lean meat, fat free milk and cheese, and whole grains), cutting out soda, and avoiding fast food restaurants.

The problem is that since hitting that 215 mark, I've since gone back up to 230, and given my history I'm worried that trend will continue. In early July, circumstances forced me to move back in with my parents, who, quite frankly, eat like crap. I'm surrounded by junk food, and their meals usually include beef or pork and a buttload of cheese. My mom swears she can't live without everything baked in cheese; my dad swears he can't live without butter or hamburger.

To make matters worse, the office where I work is being closed, so we've been provided with lots of lunches from restaurants and snacks provided by management and clients. I'd like to move out soon, but I need to find a roommate and my work situation makes it difficult for me to move out because I'll be working at an office in a completely different city and I don't want to move until I actually transfer.

Both of my parents are overweight. My mother is a diabetic, as were BOTH of her parents, and I've talked to her about keeping crappy food out of the house for her health, not just mine. She takes a defeatist attitude and says that genetics aren't in her favor so she should just eat what she wants. I'm told that I don't have to eat it if I think it's bad for me. It's fucking infuriating to be told "Just don't eat it" or "Eat less" as if I didn't already think of that. I've been training in martial arts for ten years and I push myself hard when I work out on my own - in other words, I have a little self discipline and If it were that fucking simple I would've done it already.

My weight gain and inability to get back on track has me frustrated and worried. Ultimately, I lost weight by avoidance of "bad" foods for me, but at this time, I'm pretty much surrounded. And I'd like to move out, but that simply isn't feasible right now. I'm scratching my head and wondering if anyone has any suggestions. The weight loss was such a relief for both my joints and my self-esteem and I don't want to go back.

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Hi Banjo -

Sorry it took so long for someone to get back to you. Are you in therapy at all? Therapy can be very useful for managing these difficult behaviours. A good therapist with experience dealing with eating issues should be able to help you explore some options in terms of how you can better handle the triggers in your environment.

It sounds like you are in a difficult spot with not being able to control your exposures. Can you try portion control at all, or is that completely impossible for you?

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