2

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE EATING DISORDER

AM I DEPARTING FROM MY NICHE ?

Perhaps so, but overall health is the “umbrella” topic of general interest for most people who work out. Whether we exercise to prevent diabetes or to look better in a swimsuit, our eating habits are part of the process.

There is another reason that I want to write this post. I can best write from my own experience, as opposed to relying strictly on research on the subject matter. I have been on eating binges often and as recently as a few days ago.

I have been told that I am OCD. And with good reason. Maybe my secret motto is ” Anything worth doing is worth overdoing”. As a consequence, I don’t drink alcohol (for fear that I would drink too much). I don’t smoke anything and I don’t even drink coffee.

But we can’t quit eating.

So, I must deal with guardrails to avoid eating binges and to stay in shape. This must not be too different from the life of an alcoholic. The good part is that I can relay to others how I handle this issue and still maintain my fitness. Certainly there must be others who tend to be obsessive compulsive.

I have found that I can’t buy lots of groceries at one time, unless I am buying fruits, vegetables and foods with lots of protein. I can’t deal with a bag of chips or a half gallon of ice cream. Nor can I buy popcorn since the minimum number of microwave bags is three.

The problem is not that a few chips or a little ice cream would kill me. But I may eat the whole bag of chips, all three bags of popcorn or even the whole half gallon of ice cream at one sitting. I have done this. Not normally, but often enough that I have altered the content of my refrigerator or pantry.

Food can relieve stress and provide comfort. Especially if sugar, salt or fat are beckoning. Eating may then become uncontrollable and frenetic. Anxiety – driven. Frenzied.

THE GUARDRAILS

  • I have already mentioned my practice of limiting my purchase of bulk – packaged foods that can be addictive
  • Drinking lots of water helps to keep us full
  • I like to journalize my food intake. I did a post on this subject, shown here. The idea is to be accountable. Food and exercise journals provide a means to do this, as well as motivation to keep going.
  • Fad diets should be avoided. They are temporary by definition and may cause bingeing.

  • Meals should not be skipped, especially breakfast.
  • We should eat more slowly. This has been a continued problem for me. Eating slowly enables us to better enjoy and digest food.
  • Fiber helps, i.e. fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat more protein – for better metabolism and a feeling of satiety
  • Exercise more. This reduces stress. Good eating habits and working out regularly combine for me in an interesting way. If I do one, I tend to easily do the other. Maybe I simply “feel virtuous” and want to avoid lapsing.
  • Avoid low fat programs. Fats are not bad, nor are carbohydrates. Practice moderation.
  • Meditate. This is quite pleasant for me and helps me to de – stress. Here is a helpful and topical book, “The Mindful Eating Workbook: Simple Mindfulness Practices to Nurture a Healthy Relationship with Food”. And hereĀ 
    is a book on meditation for eating: “Be The Best You: Meditations and Recipes for a Well – lived Life. (Eat With Intention)”.

CONCLUDING

It seems to me that we may develop a sense of shame about the shape of our bodies, which brings forth binge eating. What a vicious cycle that is! Food becomes a coping mechanism and then it perpetuates our poor self – image.

What troubles me the most is that restaurants and grocery stores try to load us up with sugar, fats and salt. These are the ingredients that are most addictive. All the more reason to eat – and buy – more mindfully. We have choices.

My research tells me that one of the symptoms of obsessiveness is believing that everything must be symmetrical. I immediately thought of Rafael Nadal’s fidgety behavior on the tennis courts, as he precisely lines up racquets, bags and beverage bottles at his bench. Suffice it to say that if these are “quirks”, they have not adversely affected his success. I can somewhat relate to this, since I can’t deal with disorder.

EatingDisorderHope.com presents the following list of signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder:

  • Continually eating even when full
  • Inability to stop eating or to control what is eaten
  • Stockpiling food to consume secretly at a later time
  • Eating normally in the presence of others, but gorging when isolated
  • Experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety that can only be relieved by eating
  • Feelings of numbness or lack of sensation while bingeing
  • Never experiencing satiation, (the state of being satisfied), no matter the amount of food consumed.

I have at times experienced a couple of those symptoms. Have you?

Not to worry. We can be okay with OCD. Let me clarify that I have never been professionally diagnosed with OCD. A friend made this suggestion and may have been kidding. But I can recognize some of the signs, some of the time. I have certainly binged on popcorn and with chips and salsa.

I have found that I cannot study until I organize my surroundings, any more than Rafael Nadal can play his best tennis until he goes through his precise preliminary routines.

Bottom line: I know that we can be fit and healthy even if we have tendencies to binge or to sometimes be obsessive.

Please leave any questions or comments in the “Comments” box below. Or e-mail me, richard@myworkoutathome.com. Be well!

Richard

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I have a terrible problem woth obsessive eating especially when I am stressed!  I think your advice on meditation is good because it can help relieve stress. The problem with it is how boring it can seem at times, and how hard it is to focus. I will try to meditate though and hope it helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *