When I spent 12 thousand pounds on the first Gastric band I had, before it slipped, I did consider just spending the money on some kind of therapy for (what I now accept) as an eating disorder. I guess I dismissed the idea as I hadn’t fully come to terms with what was actually going on in my brain? Over eating isn’t an eating disorder, I’m just greedy!
Now I have gained perspective and taken a long time to think about my actions, tendencies and behaviours surrounding food. I realise that of course my eating habits would be seen as a disorder. The definition of any eating disorder is thus:
Of course Anorexia and Bulimia are probably the most common disorders that come to mind when we think of eating disorders and I guess that in my case, I didn’t ask my G.P for psychological help because for a long time I simply thought I was just a big pig who likes food too much. It was when I began to analyse closely my eating habits that I realised that my behaviours were addictive and disordered.
Many of you will have struggled with food addiction so will be all too familiar with the behaviours, but for those of you that aren’t, here is a little taster of my experiences.
First thing you do when you wake up is think about food even if you are not hungry. You plan in your brain what breakfast you are going to eat and simply cannot concentrate on anything else until you have eaten it. Then you might look at recipes to cook or ideas of what to have for lunch. This isn’t done in a pleasurable way but more an obsessive one.
If you are at work, you literally cannot think of anything else but eating something at break and what It might be. You always pack snacks in your bag to take to work otherwise you get anxious. You hide your eating from other people.
If you are trying to lose weight, you constantly calorie count (I’m sure a lot of people do this in a normal way) but in your case it begins to become overly obsessive. You rationalise with yourself about food. Talking yourself in and out of eating certain things.
Food shopping is a pleasure and a curse. It makes you like and hate yourself at the same time.
You eat when you are not hungry. You are actually never hungry nor full. Perhaps your stomach is so over worked that it just can’t tell anymore?
People ask…do you have an eating trigger? You wish you knew because you can’t detect one. You eat when you’re happy, sad, confident, lonely, confused, joyous, ashamed.
You wake in the middle of the night and cannot sleep unless you have eaten the whole tub of ice cream in the freezer. Your brain nags at you until you give in.
Every waking moment all you can comprehend is food related and when you are asleep, you dream of food…
Having my band done was amazing (once I had found the right point, which actually in hindsight was never) because it did something to my body that meant I no longer thought about food. I still loved to cook and eat out but I wasn’t as obsessive. I could leave food on a plate and feel content, not anxious. It was a revelation.
Now, 7 years on from my original surgery, with my band not working as it should…I am returning to my old habits and behaviours. How will it stop? Who can I ask for help? I’m so confident with most of my life but reaching out for help with this particular issue is so painful and embarrassing.
I hope, that in time, I can reach a place where I no longer have an unhealthy relationship with food. I hope that moment is not too far away.