Interesting Phenomenon


So I’m reading yet another book about a young man who got up to over 450 lbs before he took his life back.  I’m still in the introductory phase so I’ll post more about it when I’m finished.  As usual, I’m hyperventilating during the sexual abuse parts and feeling rage and sadness during the alcoholic dad parts and crying during the parts where he’s teased and ridiculed.  I can’t wait until the part when I get to rejoice in his victory…if I make it that far.

See, I’m noticing an interesting phenomenon as I’m reading these books.  One that has me freaked out, confused and intrigued all at the same time.

It seems that every time I get to a tough part, I get something to eat.  Sometimes it’s something healthy but most times…not so much.  I’ve been simply observing the last few days (which is code for eating it anyway) but now I’m trying to be more present and figure out what the fuck is going on in my head.

The authors of these books describe, in vivid detail sometimes, the food that gave them comfort and how it made them feel.  They remember very specifically what they ate and how much.  They remember feeling of fear or comfort or sadness and those descriptions are, apparently, triggers for me.

But here’s the thing, when I think back to my own troubled childhood I can’t remember eating.  I remember cooking, shopping, standing in line at fast food restaurants, arguing with my mother about how much I ate, my mother and father arguing about how much I ate, etc., but I can not remember putting food into my mouth.  I can’t tell you what, even my most favorite foods tasted like nor can I remember getting any comfort, love, companionship or thrill from eating.  Anything.

I guess it’s safe to say that when you look up “unconscious eating” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of me as a child.  Further, since I’ve been battling my weight since the 3rd grade, and I was fairly active as a child (walked everywhere, pom-pom girl, cheerleader) it stands to reason that there was a whole lotta eatin’ goin’ on.  Why can’t I remember it?

My next therapy appointment is going to be a doozie.


It’s also interesting to note that when I began to “control” my weight with exercise and food choices, that’s exactly when I began smoking (age 16).  Then, when I quit smoking is precisely when my drinking began to increase and spiral out of control.  THEN when I quit drinking the food was back – specifically sugar.

Clearly this needs much more investigation with someone with whom I feel safe and I that I know that is trained to help me through this (therapist..duh) but I need to put a band-aid on this hemorrhage now before I “bleed” to death.  As such, I’m going to do a few things to stem the flow:

  1. I’m going to go upstairs, away from the kitchen, after dinner and try not to eat after 7:00 pm and before 7:00 am.  Now that the twins are living at school and my oldest stays in his room when he’s home, I can use the bonus room to watch TV.  Staying away from the food and eating all my meals within a 12 hour window may just give me the sense of control I crave in these situations.
  2. I’m going to try to be more present as I eat.  I want to slow down and pay attention to the textures and flavors of my food in addition to paying attention to my feelings as I’m eating.  Yeah…that feelings thing is going to be the hardest.
  3. Of course I’ll keep walking, walking, walking – Scandal may just get me skinny.  I have to admit – the show is really good.

Guess I’d better buckle my seat belt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


14 thoughts on “Interesting Phenomenon

  1. Sherri! I love reading your posts over a nice cup of coffe in the morning. You inspire me in so many ways. I’ll be rooting for you this week and will apply some of your routines to my life! Good luck with the treadmill. I’ve been loving mine and when I want to quit, I say …quietly….I am energy….
    Works for me….

  2. I think a lot of drinkers have issues with sugar. Maybe it is biological in addition to being psychological. It seems like there is still a lot that isn’t fully known about addiction/alcoholism and the sugar thing…or maybe I just don’t know about it! Self-awareness has always been the start of true change for me, though. I have to feel something in my bones. It sounds like that might be happening for you. Anyway, thanks for sharing your process with us. It is inspirational. Hugs!

    1. I’ve seen and read about this theory before so this article is really timely. Whatever happens I’ll at least sleep better by following this plan and that’s always a good thing.

      Thanks for the link!


  3. I’ve never had an issue with food as comfort but I have with money as comfort. Growing up, there was clear line between the haves (my dad’s side of the family) and the have nots (my mom’s side) and I got pretty clear signals on which side was better. I never had to spend a dime (I was a kid and didn’t have my own money to spend) to get the message that emotional security only came with financial security. I would guess that it’s possible to not have any clear memories of you personally using food for comfort to get the message that it was comforting. It’s really interesting to think about. I love your quiet determination. 🙂

    1. Thanks Karen. I’m sure that once I unlock some of those iron doors in my head where I’ve been hiding shit for 50+ years I’ll start to remember. Not really sure how I feel about that…yet.


  4. I’ve been struggling and overindulging the sugar thing since I quit drinking. I agree with jenthesoberist , there has to be a strong link. Your making me think I need to bring the treadmill up from the basement!

  5. I am the same, Sherry. I stuff my face to stuff my feelings. I am becoming more aware of this as the time passes. Your posts are really helping me see more clearly in the mind-body-spirit connection. Thank you for helping me.


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