Compulsive Overeating is simply the dysfunctional control of one’s eating behavioral pattern.
This might seem unbelievable that what most like to refer to as “a food addiction” is in existence. But it is real. However compulsive overeating isn’t an issue of “substance abuse”, similar to drugs and alcohols, but a habit that runs deep, covering a lot about what a compulsive overeater feels in connection to food.
Compulsive overeating becomes a challenge when an individual becomes susceptible to obesity and similarly weight-related health conditions as heart diseases, and metabolic syndromes, social stigmatization on body weight and depleting self-esteem.
What compulsive overeating is and isn’t
Compulsive overeating is classified as a singular eating disorder on its own and also, as a symptom of more advanced eating disorders as Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or Bulimia Nervosa.
Compulsive overeating is not an addiction to food as a whole. Here’s a descriptive persona of an individual experiencing compulsive overeating disorder:
“I work in a healthcare center but can’t get my health taken care of, Ironic, I understand. But the thing is, my condition of overeating is not as simple as those of an alcoholic who only has to give up on the substance completely and still survive without it. I’m human and will need food for daily survival.
And for me, food is more than just what it is thought to be for others.
As a child who had a compulsive cook and eater as a mother, I had learned to attach a good feeling with food. Its mere presence made my childhood fun, even in hard times. This made food a companion for me.
I have been through several dieting programs that have proven unsuccessful. It is not a weight problem for me but an attached dependence on bowls of food and snacks to give me that solace I enjoyed as a kid, which I sought now”.
Here are the salient points you should get from this:
- Overeating goes beyond stuffing yourself with food at gatherings occasionally.
- It is more of a battle of a psychological attachment or dependency than a battle of an addiction to food.
- The solution goes beyond declaring a restrictive diet on yourself.
The major challenge
Compulsive overeating is mostly a result of an oversight on the psychology behind the eating habit. It is more of an attack on your personality and will power, which should not be. This makes the prevention of compulsive overeating nothing much, but a repetitive cycle of on and off restrictive dieting.
To strategically curb compulsive overeating, we must first understand the following on how it starts:
- It can come as a coping mechanism for overeaters, that brings relief daily or momentarily on anxiety or stress, elevate a blissful feeling or soothe a sad emotion.
- As a mindless or subconscious habit that is second nature, having been incorporated from childhood for some, such as a created anticipation for food or treats for things accomplished.
- Environmental connections: This most at times has to do with loneliness or boredom.
Common signs of compulsive overeating
- Insatiable feeding past a state of fullness.
- Fast eating over a short time pace.
- The guilty feeling after overeating.
- Eating without a reason (a why): Especially when not famished or mandated to.
- Feeling forced by an inner weakness to overeat.
- Seeking solace or relief with food consumption.
Practices are not effective
We should note these practices that never seem to work but rather worsen the disorder. They include:
- Going on restrictive dieting: This is more like a sudden stop on a craving that would result in an on and off cycle, give a false view of yourself and lead to a complete fall to eating beyond control.
- Pep talk about how obese or out of shape you are. This is done to bully an overeater emotionally, into doing something positive about their condition.
Ways of curbing compulsive overeating
- Avoid starvation: The point is to change to a healthy feeding nature not harm your health leading to worse health conditions as anorexia. Skipping meals can result in an increased craving resulting in overeating, and by this, we’re back to square one.
- Seek therapeutic support: There are support systems available which help reduce the impact of stress, boredom or loneliness in the fight against compulsive overeating. Also, the help of a therapist will help unravel the psychology triggering you to overeat.
- Incorporation of temperance: The inhibition on compulsive overeating should not be drastic. It should be done in moderation as you walk towards achieving a healthy feeding balance.
- Environmental restructuring: This is seen to help tweak the autopilot mode attached to the habit. These tweaks can involve changing your present dining location at home or work if in an enclosed place, use a more open environ. Have a clean kitchen and fridge, with most of the foods you have a predilection for, replaced with healthier alternatives.
- Becoming mindful: Paying attention to how you feel at the present moment – mindfulness, will help analyze the “whys” behind any urge you feel to eat or overeat. This becomes helpful especially when you have just had a moderate meal or are not hungry.
- Avoid labels: This might be as a result of social stigmatization’s or a self-proclamation, but it never helps but exacerbates it all.
In conclusion, you should know that the challenge of compulsive overeating is not with your willpower, self-control, or body. With just the necessary steps, most of which have been highlighted you will be on the path you want to be. We’ve got you!