I’m addicted to eating.
I want to be fit and healthy. I want to be strong and lean. When I am, I’m happy with that part of my life. I have self-confidence and less self-esteem issues. I can move around the squash court faster and longer than anyone else I play. Put some food in front of me, and these goals disappear.
I am compelled to eat all the available food. I have finished many people’s dinner in a single sitting. I have made a meal by mixed coconut, coconut oil, and rice malt syrup together. It must have been about 500g of almost pure fat and sugar. I ate it all. It wasn’t pleasant, but I couldn’t help myself.
I have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder. I have never sought help. But I do think I have a reasonable idea why I do this. It’s nature and nurture.
For 99% of human life, we have been hunters and gatherers. Food was sparse and took a lot of energy expenditure to attain it. Much more energy than walking down to the shops and loading up the trolley with everything you want. So it’s no surprise to me that my natural instinct is to eat everything in sight. Part of my brain would be screaming that this might be the only food I get for days. The beginning of a recipe for failure.
I grew up having to finish every plate put in front of me and had parents that did likewise. This had good intentions though as I was a picky eater. I didn’t particularly want to eat my meat and vegetables. I am trained that all plates of food at a table must be finished. As I grew up, I transitioned from being a picky eater to the complete opposite. I want to try all the different dishes.
What do you get if you combine the human instinct that food is rare, and the training that all plates should be finished? A very liberal eater. Which I am.
I have been able to control my eating in the past with calorie counting and fasting. I grew to dislike calorie counting. I realised I spent so much time thinking about when, what, and how much I can eat next. Fasting is difficult in western society and there’s conflicting research on intermittent fasting.
After gaining 7–8 kilos in the last 6 months I decided I needed a method of control again. I thought of the criteria I needed to check off:
- Incredibly simple
- Low calorie
- High protein
- Moderate fat
I came up with a pretty radical solution. I would combine protein powder, multivitamin powder, and almond milk. Six times a day. That’s all I would consume. Once a week I would allow myself a “treat” day. A day where I could eat delicious food but not blow out and make myself feel sick.
I have never taken any non-alcoholic drugs. Never so much as smoked a cigarette. Addiction is not something I’ve had a lot of exposure to. I can’t help but think that my relationship to food is the same as a smoker to cigarettes.
I have identified my addiction to food, and I’m trying to quit.
I wrote this article for a series my partner and I are doing called: Prompt of the Week.
Each week we draw a prompt out of our jar and write an article about it. We read each other’s article then record a podcast discussing our thoughts.
This week’s prompt was: Eating Disorder
My partner’s take on the prompt: https://email@example.com/getting-over-overeating-105fc457ed18