I sedate my emotions with food. Up until recently I had convinced myself I was eating to help deal with them. I realize now that I was using food to avoid dealing with my stess, emotions, problems, & fears. I was self medicating.
When I 1st started going to Overeaters Anonymous I was told to try & make the connection between the foods I crave to binge on and the feelings I'm having at the time. I had convinced myself I was unable to do that. Figuring out that connection just seemed too scary for me. I had convinced myself that all my attention needed to be on fighting my urge to binge, & that any effort spent trying to figure out what emotions I was feeling when I wanted to binge would have taken away my focus & ability of staying on the wagon. I realize now I was fooling myself. The truth is if I had figured out the food cravings I was having & the feelings that those cravings were connected to I wouldn't be able to avoid those emotions any longer.
Despite my best efforts l figured it out. When I'm wanting to binge on foods like pizza & fried chicken it's because of emotions. If I'm craving cakes, pastries, ice cream, etc I'm doing so because of stress.
As soon as I figured this out I realized I had been using food my whole life so that I wouldn't have to deal with the emotions or the stresses of my life. also realized I had no idea how to deal with life without binge eating. I realized if I stopped binge eating I'd be forced to deal with my life, my emotions, & my stresses. The thought of doing that petrified me!
I started making outreach phone calls to OA members who I had developed trust with & asked them, "if I stopped bingeing how would I learn to deal with my emotions? How long would it take to learn healthy ways to deal with my life?"
The 1st person I called told me they had no idea how I'd learn to feel & how I'd learn to deal. She simply said to pray & take it one day at a time. That wasn't the answer I wanted. I felt I had a problem & that I needed answers for it! Real answers! I called 3 people that night & each person gave me the same aggravating answer. "Put it on Gods shoulders & concentrate on today, don't worry about tomorrow."
I felt like they were no help to me at all! I remember being in a panic. That night I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking, "I'm not going to be able to hide from my emotions without food! I don't know how to do that! How the heck could I be expected to learn to cope with my emotions suddenly after 30+ years of avoiding them? I feared being abstinence from destructive eating because I'd have to stop binging cold turkey! I wasn't going to be able to slowly & gradually stop drowning my emotions with food. There was going to be no weaning the food binging away slowly as I felt I was capable of dealing with more emotions. I was going to have to deal with whatever I was feeling right then & there as soon as I became abstinent fron compulsive eating.
The next couple days I stressed & worried, yet I DID NOT allow myself to binge. Without deadening my emotions with food I was able to figure out a few things about myself. I learned that my fear of coping with my emotions was there because my Step-Dad & my ex-wife had never developed the ability to handle stress. They'd allow stress to build & build until they'd explode & physically abuse. I realized my greatest fear was that if I didn't use food to sedate my feelings, fears, & emotions I'd start to store up everything inside me & I'd end up exploding & hurting my loved ones like my stepdad & ex-wife had. Very quickly I also realized I didn't have to worry about that. I wasn't that type of a person. When there's a problem with my loved ones I've always desired to talk the problems out. I have never been the type to make myself feel better by abusing others. I have never been the type to use my loved ones as whipping boys. That's just not who I am. I'm not an angry & explosive person. I've learned it's ok if I feel my emotions, it won't cause me to become an abusive person. I'm not saying I'm comfortable feeling my emotions yet, but I acknowledge it's ok for me to do so. Feeling my emotions won't cause me to hurt my family or become abusive.
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