Help out there for food addiction
I have been obsessed with food all my life.
My earliest memory is of trying to steal chewing gum from a dairy when I was very young.
I can remember most occasions - birthday parties, Christmases - from what I ate or what the food was. I was skinny but I became obsessed with my body image from about eight years old.
My mother could never have treats in the house because if she brought anything like chocolate, I would hunt it down like prey until I found it. Then thinking I would just have one, I'd end up going to and from the hiding place until the whole lot was gone. Then the remorse and self-hatred and fear would set in.
The same behaviour continued, even when I was 30.
I remember being away with friends at a beautiful lodge in my late twenties. Loads of people had arrived and everyone was unpacking food. My overriding thought was that I wished everyone would get out of the kitchen so I could eat. Nobody knew I was thinking this, but it occupied my whole mind. Eventually everyone did and I went to the fridge where my friend Mandy had left a king-size cake of chocolate. I thought I would have a couple of bits and ended up eating all of it. I didn't mean to, I couldn't help myself.
I then freaked out because I knew she would find out and I was nearly sick with guilt and fear. I went to another room and recall almost tearing my hair out worrying what she would say. Sure enough, later she went to the fridge, opened it and let out one almighty scream. When she asked who had eaten all her chocolate I said I didn't know. I just couldn't admit it was me.
Since I was 16 up until now there has been a series of diets, exercise and binging. The binging would happen in secret when no one could see. I would hate myself after this and dread anyone seeing me. No one knew I did this and I was very ashamed.
I looked fine on the outside but had this secret life. Then I would run, swim, go to the gym, whatever, to try and get rid of the weight I had put on from the colossal amounts of food I was eating. Some times I would eat healthily for a period of time but sooner or later this cycle would start up again.
I got very thin in my late twenties but in my mind I could never be thin enough.
Eventually I stopped dieting and starving myself, which I had used as a way of controlling my weight. All I did now was put on weight and get depressed. I stopped being able to fit my clothes and my thinking was incredibly negative. All I thought about was how I could eat three moderate meals a day. But by now, every day was uncontrollable eating.
Around this time I had heard about an organisation called Overeaters Anonymous.
I rang a woman who had been like me but was now no longer compulsively overeating. From her I got hope.
I found out that Overeaters Anonymous is a group of people recovering from overeating, bulimia and anorexia nervosa.
Since finding out about Overeaters Anonymous, the greatest freedom for me is that I now no longer constantly think about food and don't have the driving compulsion to overeat. I don't diet and I am not obsessed about my weight.
When I was in the hell of my addiction to food I use to think there was no one else like me. Today I know many people who have had similar experience's like mine related to compulsive eating, anorexia and bulimia and I am no longer alone.
I have finally found a solution after years of searching and trying many other avenues.
If your eating is causing problems in your life, perhaps Overeaters Anonymous can help you, see: www.oa.org.
The author's name was been withheld to protect her identity, due to the sensitive nature of this story.
View all contributions
Should SBW have been given an exemption?Related story: (See story)