I eat my feelings. Comfort food is my drug of choice. As the alcoholic reaches for a drink, I drown my sorrows in milkshakes.
It all started in 1985, or what I refer to as the year of “casseroles and confusion”. I was 13, my mother had just died unexpectedly and a parade of friends and neighbors covered our family table with sweet and savory dishes of all varieties.
Along with this funeral food they served up awkward excuses for my mother’s untimely departure, empty words about a bigger plan and God’s will. All I knew was the more they spoke, the more my stomach hurt and I couldn’t wait to thank them and send them on their way so I could devour the shepherd’s pie, cherry cobbler, potatoes au gratin and homemade bread by loaves.
Fast forward 31 years, a divorce in 2014 kicked off a two-year long pity party potluck. Despair and mashed potatoes were the order of the day, every day.
Turns out this “habit” is more than just feeding a sweet tooth or satisfying a craving, it is a dangerous game of nutrition roulette. Binge eating is more than taking that extra bite of lunch after you are full, or the candy bar you always eat when you are on your period.
And or me and many others who struggle with this disorder, a binge is often followed by a period of calorie restriction. Some days, I don’t eat at all, I am afraid to start eating for fear that I won’t stop.
Thank goodness that I am an active person, or I might also have a real weight issue to add to the weighty one raging in my head.
But that struggle is real too. I am soft, not in my best shape and my pants are tight. The more disturbing issue, however, is the damage I’ve done that I can’t see. This roller coaster of low blood sugar to high blood sugar and back again, can trigger symptoms of irritability, depression, muscle and joint pain and could lead to Type II Diabetes. I have struggled with depression my whole life, or at least since 1985. And lately I feel like the tin man in the mornings, stiff and achy.
A recent check up and a frank conversation with my doctor inspired me to get a handle on my behavior around food. It’s time to put the fork down and start looking at this issue as more than food and feelings. I need to look at the numbers, the biology and science.
So, in addition to the therapist and acupuncturist I rely on to help me manage my symptoms and maintain my emotional and physical health, I have recently added a nutritionist to my team. My hope is that by having everyone at the table, I will cultivate a new habits that will lead to improved health. Bon appetite!