Issues with Over/Under Eating - Part 1 (Locked)

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Kizzie

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Issues with Over/Under Eating - Part 1 (Locked)
« on: March 29, 2018, 08:03:47 PM »
Please note that this thread started off as two separate ones about eating issues, but it was decided to amalgamate them so anyone who wants to post about the general issue of over/under eating can do so. So, for anyone posting to this thread please know it is OK to talk about any eating issue you may have without worrying about hijacking the thread

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It feels like the right time to tackle my long standing CPTSD related morbidity - my weight.  I have never wanted to talk about it here because I had gained so much when I started OOTS and was ashamed because I just can't seem to get a handle on it.  I'm the yo-yo dieter personified - lost  25 - 50 pounds many times trying all kinds of methods (WW, Dr. Bernstein, a medically supervised program, even a gastric band), but would gain it all back and then some. 

Not too long ago I was watching a show about a transgender youth and she was also struggling with weight gain.  She saw a hypnotherapist and in exploring why she was overeating she said something that resonated completely with me "I am hungry for acceptance."  Hunh, maybe my struggle is because I am hungry for love or at least part of me (inner child) still is I think.  I wrote this in another post about a different topic - as a child I always felt like I was starving in what looked like a sea of plenty (covert NPD family and M who went out of her way to feed her image of being the best mother ever).  But that all felt empty to me, like it wasn't about me. 

In my childhood I developed this habit of eating when I went to bed. I would cuddle down under the covers and eat my snack, I guess it was a source of comfort after a long stressful day.  It is still my safe place and time when I can block out the world and food still gives me such a sense of comfort.  I have tried not to eat at night but it's like I cannot get to sleep unless I do. I'm pretty sure I can feel my Inner Child crying because she likes it and doesn't want to give it up frankly, like it's all she had and how can I take it away from her?  Quitting smoking was honestly easier to do then to stop eating at night, maybe because I was stopping something adult me liked and I could see the health reasons so much more clearly.  I'm left with the inescapable conclusion that trauma  is still driving this need, and like most issues relating to my CPTSD until I bring it fully to the surface and process it I will not be able to get a handle on this. 

Anyway, I'd be interested if anyone has a shared experience or some thoughts on this  :yes:
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 08:56:17 PM by Kizzie »

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Blueberry

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2018, 08:17:42 PM »
I'll get back to you on this Kizzie. It's not a topic I can write much about this evening. I am an overeater now though. I don't yo-yo, I just add more and more weight. I used to be a bit underweight.

Maybe a year ago I tried exploring the topic in trauma T but there was no definitive answer as to why I eat and what food is replacing. I've looked at the issue in various forms of therapy before but never in trauma therapy. My T is always interested in why I or inner parts of me do things and not what people in general / past therapists / the media think.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2018, 09:24:25 PM »
i agree with you both that the 'why' of this eating is the most important thing to discover.  i know  a lot of people who have gone 12-step (OA) with this and never delved into their issues and have done really well with it.  i went the OA route for over a year, but it really didn't help much.

have also done a therapy group on this, and even wrote my own 6-wk. program that i've taught others, and many of them seemed to get a lot of help from it.  however, it never quite took with me for some reason.  now my body's systems are so messed up that i can pretty much eat healthy most of the time, but i have to have a certain amount of fullness feeling in my stomach or it knocks me out of whack emotionally, and i feel stressed, and that then wreaks havoc with my being and then i eat more to calm myself  -  it gets to be a loop that i get stuck in until i can start over.

so, kizzie, congrats on your courage for posting about this.   it sounds like you might already have insight into your 'why'.  have you ever done any 'talk to the child' work in therapy around this?  i'm thinking about the idea that you put a representation of that little you on a chair, then sit opposite her and tell her what it is she needs to hear, what she needed to hear from her/your parents that would assuage her need to eat something in order to reduce her stress from the day.

food as comfort is not unusual, as i'm sure you know.  i just wrote about my sugar addiction (which i once read was a way to 'sweeten' up your life, like eating chocolate was a substitute for an unsatisfactory sex life or ice cream was a way to 'smooth' out a rough patch, etc.).  while i've gone without sweets before in my life, i think part of what i've done with them lately is, once again, cuz of stress -   

so, i'm basically being abstinent from sweets right now, and have to find a way again to be ok with not doing what 'everyone else' does re: dessert and snacks.  the one thing i can tell myself is that i don't 'need' sweets and that they are, in fact, harmful to me.  my metabolism has changed, my body doesn't process sugar like it used to (i was raised on sugar), and it's now hurting me.

it's one more abusive relationship that i have to go nc with.  love and hugs to you, kizzie, and my best to you with this.  it's a stinker.

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2018, 12:42:49 AM »
I related to that need for comfort food before. I'd feel numb and helpless, so I'd reach out for a nice lovely bar of chocolate regularly. I managed to stop it with mindfulness for craving, or mindfulness for addictions really. It's less of something that I stopped by forcing me to change my behavior outside, but by being able to accept and fully feel whatever is inside as I wanted to grab for something sweet. Sometimes even then, I'd eat, but awareness would grow where I'm aware of the craving well before something sweet is near.

I guess another reason why I got rid of it is I replaced it with another comfort, which honestly was TV. It sounds bad trying to replace the bad, but what I watched was the type of TV I could learn about life and get inspired by certain characters to act. It was procrastination sometimes really, but it was an upgrade of destroying my health and making my worries worse. Eventually I'd upgrade into more active escapes, like journaling, learning a new hobby, or something like that.

I didn't really see things as "unhealthy" coping skills or "healthy" coping skills. I saw it as a spectrum, a collection of steps going upward, and how different activities are different for all of us.

Not that I'm perfect health wise. I'm not that fat, but I'm a little soft in the belly area, but I guess it's alright.

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artemis23

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2018, 01:48:56 AM »
Hey there,

This was sort of my area of speciality. That being said I've totally relapsed on my eating issues and body shame. My business was to help trauma survivors with body shame and so on. I went to nutrition school. It was an anti-weight based health paradigm school. The point is restrictive dieting doesn't work, in fact it just creates more problems and weight tends to increase over time. There is so much to say here, but the most important thing is that it's not wrong to have fat on our bodies. Weight is statically the worst indicator we have of health. What are better indicators? Healthy behaviors are a much better indicator. The number on the scale doesn't mean as much as we have been led to believe.

I carry a lot of my shame from my trauma and project it onto my body. I'm doing it all over again now. I've been binging and eating just lots of whatever. I feel like I've regressed back to little 9 year old me that was trying to put on weight to protect herself from abuse and also perpetuate this feeling of unworthiness. If I'm 'fat' then I'm less than, I don't deserve xyz (love, acceptance, sunshine, pretty much whatever). It can go pretty deep. I think a bit of fat can feel like protection too.

I actually think it's sweet that you are soothing your inner child with a snack at night. Maybe she just still needs it. Here's a possibly radical idea, what if it was just ok to do this? What if it was ok to be 'fat'? Dieting doesn't work, restrict=binge. That's the research. We can make healthy behavior changes but when they are weight based, they are shame based, and the research is that this pretty much never works, or only does so for a short period of time.

Anyways I thought I just kick some of these ideas around in case any of this struck some cord with you. I know you are looking at it as a health issue. All I can say is for many of the weight thing is so much deeper. If we let go of the number on the scale (this is a big idea for most of us as we have been led to believe low weight=health) and focus on small attainable goals like eating more fruits and veg, or getting a little more activity this actually goes way further for our health than changing the amount of fat on our bodies. 

I'm crying cause I gave up on my business/program about this, and you know where I'm at right now. This is my life's work. Thanks for reminding me Kizzie... :hug:

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bogan

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2018, 10:55:16 AM »
I lose 15-20kg, then have a bad patch and start eating again, I used to be very under weight, didn't eat for days , then when I began working I could afford to binge and stacked the weight on, now Im never full and crave unhealthy foods. Being able to link my eating issues with my CPTSD hopefully will help me deal with it. Good luck, sorta helps to hear that there are others with similar issues.

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Blueberry

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2018, 04:45:43 PM »
Pls excuse minor hijack Kizzie!

I'm crying cause I gave up on my business/program about this, and you know where I'm at right now. This is my life's work.
:bighug: :bighug: to you artemis.


From me, huge thanks for the information on this topic.

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Blueberry

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2018, 06:34:45 PM »
Over in Kizzie's thread Weighty Issues I wrote this "Maybe a year ago I tried exploring the topic in trauma T but there was no definitive answer as to why I eat and what food is replacing. I've looked at the issue in various forms of therapy before but never in trauma therapy. My T is always interested in why I or inner parts of me do things and not what people in general / past therapists / the media think. "  I don't want to take this thought further over there and hijack the thread.

I remembered today there was one answer my T and I came up with. I used to be 'anorexic without significant weight loss'. I didn't want to exist, I didn't believe deep down that I had a right to exist. I didn't even digest food and absorb nutrients properly back then. e.g. I was on iron supplements for years because of that. It was as if my body refused to take on the iron. My iron stores were always super depleted. For about 2 years now, they've been good. I haven't changed my diet significantly, except maybe in that it's less healthy. There's certainly no additional iron in my diet. Recent blood tests show iron levels all fine.

Anyway deep belief: Blueberry no right to exist, Blueberry took up too much space but blueberry better try her best not to take up so much space. So don't eat. Don't, well, exist. Do best to be invisible.

That's changing. It's real progress  :cheer: I do have a right to exist, just like everybody else on this earth. And one way in which this is noticeable is that I'm no longer trying to fade into the background, literally. I'm not trying to be invisible. I'm bigger, I take up more space.

So I asked myself this morning if I couldn't find ways other than eating and my physical size to show that I'm good with taking up space on this earth. Other ways are scary. NTS that's a child speaking ('scary' is childspeak for me). I have been finding other ways which I post about on here from time to time. But immediate feeling this morning is: other ways are scary and difficult. Sometimes they lead to very strong SH impulse. Part of what is behind SH (in my case) is: not wanting to exist, wanting to reduce myself. So, counterproductive if I do SH instead of overeating.

artemis' suggestion (on Kizzie's thread) that maybe one could be just good with one's weight, or something to that effect, is good for me. I'm long since 'pretty good' with it actually. Much more accepting of it and of me than when I weighed 30 kg less. But then sometimes I'm blindsided by what other people think and say. It's not their business but it's not always easy to ignore. Or just knowing how important physical health is for some friends and I feel ashamed in advance for when they next see me and see I've gone up another size.

On a desert island I'd be good with my weight and size (but not with all other physical aspects of myself that were shamed a lot by FOO) but not in society all the time. I try to remember that on particularly good days moodwise, I feel less fat than on bad days moodwise, though physically there is no difference.

NTS: my thread on here was entitled Taking Up (Physical) Space or sth very similar.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 08:37:41 PM by Blueberry »

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Kizzie

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2018, 06:57:23 PM »
No worries BB, not a a hijack because I was going to do the same thing.  Artemis, in the midst of a really bad time you took precious energy to help me -  :bighug:  tk you so much my friend, I can't tell you how wonderful that made me feel.  :yourock:   Perhaps when you are able this might be an area for you to pursue again.  I think there are many, many of us out here who could benefit from a knowledgeable and compassionate nutritionist  in our corner who gets that Complex PTSD plays a big role in why we over/under eat.  It would be akin to having Pete Walker in our corner.  Because he has Complex  PTSD he seems to understand our issues from the inside out and outside in, that's why his writing resonates with so many us.  Anyway, that's for another day but it may be a path for you in the future.

I know I will definitely benefit from finally being able (and willing  :)) to talk openly about this whole issue in the context of having Complex PTSD because I sense that's where my answers are.  You may be right Artemis that perhaps my IC still really needs that nighttime eating, that is   what it feels like.  I can sense anger and fear when I think about a whole exercise program and diet, we've been through that many, many times and I just couldn't seem to sustain it. When I think about it in retrospect it was because inevitably life stresses would trigger me into having EFs and poof there went the energy and desire to keep going, and up went the need for numbing, comfort. I loved that food comforted/number me and I guess I really needed it, and I guess still need it. Hmmmm.

I do have hope (and perhaps that's why I am able to finally post about this), that I can help younger me.  I have worked with her in recovery and have gotten her to trust me about other issues (e.g., going to the dentist or doctor's does not elicit fears and tears and the need for comfort food like it once did; I quit smoking and drinking because she understood how bad it was for us).  I don't want to shame her or me and yet it's hard to look in a mirror.  So how to stop shaming and feel more compassion and find comfort in other ways that are meaningful to her/me? 

 I never have addressed this in therapy, honestly I just could not bring it up because on some level I knew how much I needed the comfort/numbing and was afraid how I would feel if I had to give it up forever. No amount of reason ever seemed to do anything to dissuade that deep feeling of need.  I suspect that Inner Child work is the way to go on this.  I do sense that she is still hungry for love and joy, that despite the recovery she and I have experienced there is still a ways to go toward thriving - not quite there yet. (By the way, since yesterday she has been giving me a hard time for posting about this.) 

Anyway, maybe we can put our heads together and come up with some real ideas of how to help those of us struggling with this problem.

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artemis23

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2018, 10:26:45 PM »
Blueberry, I can total relate to feeling like you don't get to exist and wanting to take up less space in the world. I do this thing where I gain weight and use it to shame myself for taking up too much space, I've done it weight weigh loss as well. I'm so glad that you've made progress with yours and body size. That's amazing progress and not easy to fight the stigma that surrounds all of us about weight and health. We have become obsessed with this, globally. Its a many billion dollar industry and they generally just make more and more money because we are doomed to fail at dieting and there is always something else to pick at that's not this or that enough. It is totally understandable that other ways you are less comfortable with taking up space in the world can trigger SH. I tend to self destruct before succeeding at something, without even realizing it.

When dealing with other's opinions of or reactions to my body, I (eventually) try and see it as a mirror of their own insecurities. Sometimes those people are just downright mean. Like this one 'friend' who always comments on my body and it's always triggering. I just avoid her now and I know how unhappy she is in her own and that's sad. We all do the comparison thing and it can drive us to insanity. I would say that I don't know why or when we all needed to look the same when we are a diversity of colors, shapes and sizes (and that's normal), but I do know and it was extremely political. Actually, as soon as women's lib hit in the US, the culture shifted to the 'twiggy' ideal. That's a fine body type if it's yours, but only 5% of women posses it naturally. Since you have had a full on ED you know what it's like to spend that much time thinking about food and your body, doesn't really leave much for anything else...like joy or creativity. That's a long story anyways.

Keep at the taking up more space thing as safely as possible. When I started making videos I nearly panicked every time I was so uncomfortable with the whole thing. And other things I did, it was rough but it gets easier with practice. But thanks for sharing about this.  :hug:

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artemis23

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2018, 10:49:41 PM »
Thanks Blueberry and Kizzie! I cried cause I forgot who I was for awhile, man that was hard. And since I had a breakdown and failed, and then was with abuser who made sure I didn't succeed at this, and now my mom who any time I bring up the little amount I need to finish it up, magically becomes unsupportive, it means SO SO much to me to be validated and shown that I am a person who has something to contribute. That I've just had a setback and put it down again. I've been thinking lately how I don't have to give up forever, I just have to get back up at some point. I let people down, I felt so much shame. I want to be done with that. This is really important work and as many of us can contribute to us as possible are needed.

Kizzie, I'm proud of you for bringing it up. For so so many of us food was our only comfort as children so it's no wonder we return to that old friend. They've proven that sugar soothes anxiety. Food is calming to the body, especially when we make these associations in our early programming. I could understand why your IC doesn't want to give it up. When I've worked on this myself with mine, I try to do gentle reparenting.

I think the first thing with food stuff though that totally takes the shame/fear out of it and can even change the whole behavior is total and utter permission. No more dieting rules, no more restrictions or strict programs. Small, gentle changes. Telling yourself you can have as much ice cream (or whatever) as you want sounds crazy, but now try telling yourself it's your last bowl ever...hahah. I find when I just allow myself to eat emotionally or however I want or need to it takes the shame out of it because we remove the 'shouldn't'. I was taught that it's time to decriminalize food. No good or bad foods, all food provide some nutrients, some just are more dense in nutrients than others. I tell my IC or self I can have as much of it as I want, and sometimes i eat a lot and then gradually, magically, I can enjoy different amounts.

The body shame and the mirror is what it is. It's ok to not feel good about how our bodies look. Blueberry mentioned in her other post, fat is a 'feeling'. We really call it that now. What does it even mean. We aren't fat, we have fat. Lately I've been complimenting my body on it's ability to store excess calories SO efficiently. lol. Like wow what a wonderful thing we have been given, to have a body. We almost all have forgotten what it does, instead are hyperfocused on how it appears. I made this beautiful free body love meditation but the sites down at the moment. But shoot I need to hear it.

Also, I can and will highly, highly, highly recommended some great books.

1) Eating in the Light of the Moon, by Dr. Anita Johnston (for women). Fabulous...uses myth/archetype to digest this whole subject. For women, specifically. Most of us have forgotten we are naturally round (not all, and every body is perfect and beautiful thin or round or whatever), but this has been robbed from us. (this book is my favorite).

2) Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon - Easy to digest about all the research on how weight does not equal health and so on. She's a personal hero and leader of this movement in the US nutrition world, it is really picking up traction despite the media.

It helps me to help you. A read something a wise woman wrote that said something like sometimes a sister just needs to help lift up another sister to remember who she is (mama gina), substitute whatever gender pronouns but yeah. It's real.  :hug:

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sanmagic7

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2018, 03:21:32 PM »
i saw the ryan gosling movie last nite 'lars and the real girl', and the message i got from it was that we need to do what we need until we don't need it anymore.  so, i think you're right on, kizzie, with just letting it be for now, till you and your little you are ready.

i also agree with you, artemis, that numbers aren't the answer - scale, size, pounds/kilos, etc.  i also liked what you said about having fat rather than being fat.  takes that label right off.  i believe that the healthier we get through recovery, the healthier we'll manage thru other areas of our lives, including food/eating. 

bottom line - we're ok the way we are.   love and hugs all around.

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Kizzie

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2018, 08:54:30 PM »
Keep on talking to me  and to all of us who struggle with this Artemis  :yes:  I'm not kidding when I say that younger me leaned forward and read every word with such a feeling of hope and acceptance.  And yes, there were some tears because she can finally talk about what she needs and with you and others who want to stop body shaming and all that kind of naus.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.   :hug: 

I have to go out right now but I will be thinking about all that you have said and will look at the books you have recommended.  It may be that we can add a section to our "Books" page as it seems there are more than a few of us who have struggles with food.  :thumbup:

I feel the need for a :grouphug:

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Blueberry

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2018, 10:10:20 PM »
 :grouphug:

Oh, yes there are quite a few food strugglers on here.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 08:17:39 PM by Blueberry »

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Weighty Issues
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2018, 01:02:19 AM »
Guys, honestly I can't relate much. I've never really had much of a problem with appearance, but I thought I'd give you guys a hug too.

 :grouphug: