I’m Addicted To Overeating, NOT Food

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Self Portrait Monday 12-03-07 from FlickrThis article by Rudd Sound Bites was about Thanksgiving, but it gave me a moment of revelation that I have never imagined before.

It was this paragraph gave me such an insight:

Another tenet that has held true despite a minority of dissenters is that abstinence from the overused/misused/abused substance or behavior is highly recommended if not absolutely necessary to ensure long-term recovery. Most recovering addicts are free of their obsessions and cravings as long as they abstain from their substance/behavior. However, once the behavior is engaged in or the substance consumed, there is a high risk of triggering the cycle of craving that leads to loss of control and ultimate self-destruction.

I’m addicted to overeating, NOT food. It’s the BEHAVIOR I’m addicted to, not the substance. My biggest problem with the food addiction philosophy is the fact that I can’t stop eating. I can’t go cold turkey and even if I did, I would eventually have to go back to eating. Food isn’t the problem, though.

That stuffed feeling from overeating is the problem.

That positive mood swing I get only shows up when I overeat. I can eat a small amount of food and I won’t get that mood elevating effect. I kind of LIKE that effect, actually. Just like an alcoholic likes to be drunk, I actually enjoy the positive emotions I get from overeating. I can binge on ANYTHING, even healthy food. When I’ve lost weight in the past, I’ve done it by bingeing on healthy food.

Basta! Enough! No More!

Cold turkey. I CAN go cold turkey. I can eat tiny amounts of food all day long and stay in control. When I was at my healthiest, that’s how I did it. I ate whatever I wanted in SMALL quantities. That’s because I was “on the wagon” and had been for some time.

Detox… That’s where I’m headed for the next 28 days. Detox from that overstuffed feeling that I enjoy so much. If I can go 28 days without overeating, I will be able to conquer this again!

Thanks, Rudd Sound Bites! I needed that change of perspective more than you’ll probably ever know.


13 Responses to “I’m Addicted To Overeating, NOT Food”

  1. Misty Says:

    I, too, crave that overfull feeling. I hadn’t ever considered that I could/should try avoiding that for long periods of time in order to break the addiction. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Ali Says:

    Hi Laura, I’m trying to decide why I overeat. I don’t think that I enjoy feeling overfull. I really enjoy tastes of foods. Especially cheesy foods, (pizza, cheesecake) fatty meats and and sweets. I get ideas in my head during the day and then try to eat them.

    I too, ate whatever I wanted when I was losing weight and being healthy. I just ate small amounts. That’s the key, I believe.

    I am curious, how do you detox exactly from binge eating? Does that mean going cold turkey?


  3. iportion Says:

    I can binge on anything. I’d rather be in an over eat my veggies mood than everything in the house mood.

  4. Dr/ Beth Says:

    Dear Laura, Posts like yours are the reason I am doing what I am doing. You might be interested to know that your experience has been scientifically validated as well. The stomachs of obese folks were stimulated so they felt full. At that point, the craving centers in their brains…the same ones that light up in drug addicts…lit up. But you didn’t need a study to tell you what you already knew. In order to get over overeating, you have to stop overeating. Good Luck!!! And if all else fails, you could try oa. Many Blessings, Dr. Beth

  5. Laura Moncur Says:

    Ali and Misty,

    I have gone to eating SMALL meals of no more than 400 calories a piece. Most of the time, I eat about 200 calories a meal several times a day.

    I never let myself get too hungry for fear of causing a binge. I never let myself get too full for fear of increasing my addiction.

    I started last week and this week, I dropped four pounds at Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers is another really helpful tool. They really talk about the “Comfort Zone” of not being too full or too hungry. They have so many great tools that you can’t really learn them from the books or online. You need to go to the classes every week.

    I’ve stopped overeating cold turkey.


  6. Kery Says:

    Lightbulb moment.

    I’m going to keep that article under the hand for sure. Maybe it’d be a key to what I’m battling against. I don’t particularly like feeling overstuffed, but I also can’t say I don’t like the, er, the moments before this feeling kicks in, sort of? When I overeat, I can overeat on pretty much anything, I just like… having something in my mouth, perhaps? Yeah, I guess I just like eating.

    Argh. I should probably sign up for those 28 days as well. I don’t care if Christmas falls right in the middle, it can’t be worse than what I’m able to do on my own when left alone. >.<

  7. Colleen Says:

    Misty posted this link at a forum we are both members on and I’m really glad she did. I am you. I hope you are still doing well with no overeating! You’re so right about WW; I’ve been on it since late April, but of course I still overeat. However, I have been sick these past few days and haven’t been eating much, so seeing this is very timely for me. I’m just going to go with the flow here and try not to turn that trigger back on. Thanks again. 🙂

  8. JoLynn Braley Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I can relate to overeating and getting that stuffed feeling, but I’ve never thought I was addicted to it. It’s very interesting to hear about this, and also the follow up comment from Dr. Becky re: the study of stimulating the stomach of obese individuals.

    I do know that I am addicted to refined sugar, flour, added/excess salt, unhealthy fats, and dairy, and as long as I leave these ingredients out of my diet, then I don’t have cravings and don’t overeat. I do use portion control however, and if I didn’t do that, (measure and weigh my portions) then I very well could end up overeating on my healthy fare to get that full feeling.

    Very interesting, thanks for your thoughts and experience on this. All the best to you with your goals!

  9. Ashley Says:

    Laura, Like all of the other girls, I am in the same boat your in. I keep only healthy food in my house but I over eat them (5 yogurts at a time, then 3 zone bars…). Please keep in touch so that I have someone to get over this ADDICTION with.

  10. Trish Says:

    Hi Becky, I ran across this post on Google, and know what you mean. I can totally relate. I used to only be nice in the day sometimes when I was completely stuffed. I stole food, snuck food, ate other people’s food, anything for the chance to overeat.

    Today, I am abstinent (refraining from overeating) because I joined Overeaters Anonymous and am working the program. If you ever want to chat about it, feel free to email me. I cannot believe how awesome my life is now, I’m not foggy from being hopped up on sugar and flour all the time. I’m not obsessing about what my next food is. And I truly enjoy the people that I live and hang out with. Most importantly, I like myself much more now.

    Peace, Trish

  11. nick Says:

    Not only do I eat for the over-stuffed feeling. But I am finding that the gastric discomfort is also comforting in some weird way. I wake up groggy from a night of binging feeling flatulent and all I want to do is keep that awful feeling going.

    I happen to be lactose intolerant and I will purposefully eat those things which sicken me. I am in pain now. and do not know how to stop. I have been eating like this in a depressive isolated stupor for several weeks. I use the food, TV and internet games to not face my reality. because I am totally disgusted with myself. Pride is now kicking my butt as well. Because I do not want anybody to see me and what I am becoming. I have been sober a long time in AA. Like the gal that began this thread, it doesn’t matter to me what the food is. I haven’t left my home in several days and am afraid to spend/buy more food so I am really getting down to the bottom of the food supply. not that I can ever really keep much food here. The minute I feel a little comfort coming back I binge again. I am powerless.

    I heard the other day that I have to admit how much I love to do the addictive thing. I have so much shame… I have a sponsor that I do not want to admit this stuff to. So here I am… Writing this anonymously here. Can you relate?

    I admit I LOVE that full disgusting feeling of pressure in my belly from binging. I enjoy feeling intense feelings of flatulence, even pain.

  12. Bernard Says:

    The word “Addicted” is thrown around too much.Eat healthy and exersize!!! Stop eating Processed foods and thinking too much.You can do this!Gees,No more Crutches!

  13. Naomi Says:

    Hey girl! I just found this and I have been searching for months. Working out and eating nutrient dense, low cal foods are no problem for me… it is the portion control. I just eat until I’m “overfull”… CONSTANTLY!! UGH. You should post an updated post to this to let us know how you are doing these days?

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