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u/octopods · 6 pointsr/FoodAddiction

(Strap in, this will be long. PLEASE check out the tl;dr at the bottom for an awesome resource I found, though.)

Totally. You are so not alone.

I find myself ruminating on food when I’m bored, happy, sad, stressed, procrastinating, etc. There is simply no mood or situation where food is not on my mind or shortly-to-be on my mind.

If I’m not thinking about food, I’m probably eating food, and usually eating too much (and, like you, sometimes in strange, seemingly unpalatable combinations). I have no off switch, even if I’m feeling like I’m nearing my limit. (No, I’ve never eaten to the point of puking, but I’m sure I’m capable of it. )

My weight fluxes pretty wildly between ~160 - 190 (5'8" F). (160 is the high end of normal for my gender/height on BMI, but it’s where I’m happiest with myself aesthetically -- it’s where clothes fit well/I still have a feminine shape and look healthy/strong. At below 160, my collarbones and jaw protrude too much and my legs look sickly thin/disproportionate to my body (even when I am in a weight lifting phase, when they just look toned but still wildly disproportionate to the rest of me (stupid apple-shaped figure)).) Anyway, when I’m down on the lower end of my weight spectrum, the following factors usually have contributed to my success:

-Exercise. I’ve discovered that if I’m not capable of restrictive dieting due to the constant food rumination. So exercise helps me knock down some of my calories. I suck at exercise, but when I am able to maintain a 3 times per week minimum (30 min cardio + weights), I see results. I tend to do this in waves (hence weight flux). I recently bought a Fitbit, and I love it. I don't even usually make my step goal, but just the structure of wearing it every day and checking it at the end of the day is better than nothing/has built over time into motivation to improve.

-Purge the kitchen. Yes, I will sometimes go to the trouble of leaving the apartment to get a bag of Sun Chips and eat most or all in one sitting. But that’s better than having a bunch of other crap in the house, too, to munch on later that day when I’m hungry again. So damage is often done, but not to the worst possible extent it could have been. (Sigh.) Purging is not a once-and-it’s-done kind of thing. I have to purge the kitchen repeatedly (probably on a monthly basis), as I will often buy crap when I shop in a state of (legitimate) hunger or when emotional. (This does result in some guilt re: wasting food/money, but over time I've worked past that to give food away, and now it's actually become a bit of a deterrent from purchasing some of the worst foods.)

-Replace. I love both crap and healthy stuff (luckily, I guess). If I can, on average, consume more healthy stuff than crap, that’s a win for me. I tend to lose weight even more rapidly (not crazy rapid, but definitely noticeably quicker) when I replace the crap with, at least, a lower calorie version of itself. (e.g., buy FiberOne brownies (surprisingly good for handling a chocolate craving). You learn very quickly that you will be ill if you eat more than 2 of those a day …. )

-Plan. If I’m going to ruminate on food, anyway, planning my meals, to an extent, helps me avoid fantasizing about unhealthy food and focus on what I’m going to eat. I don’t always have time to pack an awesomely healthy lunch, but I’ll at least try to throw a string cheese, a yogurt, a cottage cheese, and a pre-packaged container of carrots/hummus or apples/peanut butter in a bag to graze on during the day at work (90 c + 80 c + 180 c + 90 c or 150 c = between 440 and 590 calories), and I find that having multiple items makes me feel like I have something to look forward to. If I combine that with a breakfast of ½ cup of kefir and oatmeal (70 c + 120 = 190) or a low-calorie faux breakfast sandwich (260 c for a Jimmy Dean frozen bagel/turkey sausage/egg/cheese sandwich), I wind up fueled by 630 – 850 calories (out of an 1800 daily calorie budget), and that seems to result in my not bingeing (or bingeing as much, if I’m going to have an emotional binge) when I get home. If you don’t have dietary restrictions (you may notice most of what I listed above contains some dairy protein, so I recognize that may not work for all), and are super-busy and just looking to kill some pounds with minimal effort until your life eases up and you can improve your diet and lifestyle more holistically, these kinds of single-serve pre-packaged items can be godsends because you can buy a week’s worth and store pretty easily/they travel well. If you check their stats carefully, you can find pretty low-cal options, so even if you wind up eating more than one, you probably won't do too much damage to yourself. (I totally get that it’s not a sustainable/healthy way to eat for the long-term. I have a goal of cooking with whole foods regularly. I just don’t have time to eat/shop right now until probably post-summer due to work/school/personal scheduling issues. As a student, you may in the same bind.)

-Record. I track all of my calories (I love, but of course there are tons of other sites/spreadsheet templates out there) as I consume them. Sometimes, if I’m in the right frame of mind, this will deter me from bingeing past my calorie budget for the day. Not always, but sometimes is better than never.

The closet eating story from one of the comments + eating multiple single-serve meals resonated so much with me. I have never been able to cut those behaviors out completely, only reduce them slowly over time. I have periods where I do well (like right before my wedding, when I not only reached my goal weight, but somehow lost more than my goal and my dress + underthings were too big on me (yikes)), and periods where I do terribly, and rather than letting myself feel discouraged, as time has gone on, I've been coming to terms with the fact that I will always have to be mindful of this issue/work harder than others to be/stay healthy. Please get help with this part, because self-compassion has been the biggest help to me in staying positive and being able to get back on the wagon/not let things get too out of control. As a college student, if you can get a head start on this, you will be doing so much better when you're my age (close to 30 :)).

I totally adore the idea of a mantra that helps you to be mindful of the moment versus the long-term (of a cute outfit or someone you're interested in, etc.). I have absolutely tried this in the past. For me, it has never worked :( It’s like the part of my brain that should respond to that goes into a zombie mode and just busts past reason.

Interesting related note: I just started taking ADD meds (diagnosed a few months ago), and when the medicine is active in my system, I do not impulsively eat, nor do I ruminate on food. I still wind up consuming about the same amount of calories (just later in the day), but I’m not distracted by food from moment to moment. This has been crazy for me, because for the first time, I understand what life is like for people who don’t have obsessional thoughts about food (like my husband, who routinely forgets to eat when he’s engrossed in something). I am capable of not compulsively eating and not ruminating on food. BUT at this point, only when aided by my medicine. This doesn’t mean I’m not capable of learning from this and building on this for the future, but it does take a load off, including some of the shame/guilt I feel. My psychiatrist explained the neurochemical issues related to this when describing how the ADD meds work in brains like mine, and I can’t dredge most of it up from the recesses of my brain now, but the gist was, for some of us, our brain chemistry is different, and we need to work with/around the differences related to how our brain manages neurotransmitters to achieve some of the same things that others may not need to develop behavioral or cognitive or medicinal workarounds for. (And that’s fine, other people may need help with other areas where they may have deficits or excesses that result in a need for developing their own workarounds to manage things we do effortlessly. Chemistry is weird :)) So bottom line: everyone’s different, and it’s important to keep on keeping on with trial and error and acceptance when dealing with this issue.


For more professional resources:

Check out the Beck Diet Solution book (I super-recommend it (if your college library doesn't have it, you may be able to find a cheap used copy on

She provides the worksheets for free online:

Also check out (it's a health behavior improvement online game that you can play it for free -- it's cute :)).

u/0hWell0kay · 3 pointsr/FoodAddiction

Food addiction is mostly just sugar addiction. Fast food and other refined carbs convert to glucose almost as quickly as a donut, it doesn't matter if you think it's sweet or not. What's happening is that your brain is looking for its energy from the extreme sugar rush that you have accustomed it to. It can't function without high-octane rocket fuel because that is what it runs on now. You need to set time aside to endure the suffering of withdrawal, and your system will naturally start to seek other energy sources such as the 150 extra pounds of stored energy that you're carrying around everywhere.

In my experience, turning it around takes a real moment of clarity and acceptance that you're going to have to suffer for a while and get tough with yourself to get things back into balance. You need to be able to look at yourself and say: cut the shit, enough treating myself. I've banked up extra enjoyment for years, giving myself treats and rewards for no particular reason. Now it's time to pay back that big borrowed pleasure debt that I've accumulated by treating myself. And the only way to do that is by suffering and understanding that I owe back that suffering to bring things into balance again. If you can make a week with no added sugar or white refined carbs, a carrot will literally sound like a sweet treat. But before you get there, you need to suffer brutal withdrawal like you're the guy in Trainspotting. Maybe you need to lay in the dark with a cold cloth on your head, or curl into a ball and sob. The physical awfulness of getting off the sugar/carb train is not to be underestimated.

I don't know what Soylent is, but you should be eating real food rather than anything with a product name. Food was never meant to be particularly fast or easy. Real food takes some pre-planning and time to prepare. The hardest thing can be adjusting expectations about how quick or easy it is to obtain a meal, especially when the rest of society expects you to deal with eating in 15 minutes. But if you're not chopping something on the cutting board and turning the stove on, then chances are you're eating dog shit. It takes a complete readjustment of your schedule to start doing things properly. Anyone who loves food should love cooking, and happily learn to understand raw ingredients and spices and flavors. You should never be staring down a plate of something you don't want to eat. A proper meal that you've made yourself with fresh ingredients with the help of a good cookbook will be more enjoyable than any heroin fix from mcdonalds.

There are a couple great books I've used to help understand how things work, and figure out what I want to be cooking.

Most useful source of information:

My favourite cookbook:

u/wackybones · 3 pointsr/FoodAddiction

The Willpower Instinct is a great read if you're open to it. It's not very long and can help you understand your urges and habits which is the first step to getting more control over them, instead of them controlling you.

It sounds like what you're doing is emotional eating, and the best way to stop a bad habit is to replace it with a good/healthy habit that will increase your dopamine levels. Commit to something like light exercise each night, you can try out different youtube videos until you find ones you really like doing. If you aren't into exercising at night, try out some creative hobbies(knitting, drawing, photography, woodworking, etc). These help calm your mind and also increase dopamine levels. Ask your parents if they can stop buying special k for a few weeks if this is your comfort food. Be open with them about how you have been feeling, and they can help you too.

You've made a big first step reaching out for help and admitting that you don't want to do this anymore. Don't give up, even if you do it again one night. Just start over the next day and keep trying.

u/st4rwood · 10 pointsr/FoodAddiction

Hey! I have tried a few things that have really helped.

  • A lower carb diet - After the first miserable four or five days, not having the ups and downs of sugar wrecking havoc in the brain is amazing. Reading how to do a diet like this via /r/keto helped a lot. The community can be kind of iffy at times from what I've seen.. but the information is solid.

  • Counseling - I've been in treatment with a psychologist which specializes in food issues and I've shown a lot of progress, but I've also been to someone who did a lot of work with addictions using DBT or dialectical behavioral therapy. Both have been really helpful in becoming healthier.

  • Overeater's Anonymous - I've gone to meetings in person, but the online meetings are more feasible for me now due to location. I haven't gone in a while, but they were very helpful when I was going through acute suffering.

  • Reading - Books about mindfulness or overcoming emotional eating such as this one have really helped me.
u/PlayfulWrap · 3 pointsr/FoodAddiction

Read Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen.

It has changed the way I thought about my binge eating and I haven’t done it now in about a month, and I don’t think I’ll go back.

I wish you the best of luck. Actually, fuck luck. You have the power.

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/FoodAddiction

just got this from my local library and the sections on the brain chemicals and emotional self care are really enlightening: [Anatomy of a Food Addiction: The Brain Chemistry of Overeating: An Effective Program to Overcome Compulsive Eating] (

I personally ignore the oa stuff as I am a greysheet retread recovering from greysheet.

u/Hummus_Hole · 2 pointsr/FoodAddiction

I know how you feel. I have felt this way too many times to count.

You are living in a constant cycle of negatives thoughts and negative behaviors.

What has helped me and helped kick off me finally losing weight was "faking it until you make it"

I hated my appearance, I would cry when I would look at pictures of myself, I disgusted myself. Then one day I looked in the mirror and said "Fuck it, I am beautiful at this weight and any weight I choose to be!" I dressed better, I wore makeup cut all my hair off (you don't have to be that extreme :) I liked what I saw in the mirror. I decided to love me for me.

This is the only body I got so I should accept it for what it is and what it does for me.

Then I decided to log my food just out of curiosity (LoseIt app). Saw I was eating waaaaay more of the bad stuff than I thought. Started eating more veggies and using a foldable bike to get under my budget.

I lost some lbs. I got happy and I noticed the cute clothes I had were fitting even nicer.

Then a friend of mine who also had weight issues told me about C25K. I always thought I had bad knees (my knee has dislocated twice in my youth while doing mundane things) so I was hesitant...but I decide to just give it a shot, if I fail I fail but at least I tried. My buddy had issues with asthma so we always would make it to week 4 of the program and just stay there. I finally took it upon myself to keep going...with or without her. I complete C25K. I can not run for 6 miles!

So the point I am trying to make is that I accomplished what I never thought I would by just changing my negative attitude to a positive one. I know it is easier said than done.

But if you "fake it until you make it" pretend you are an athlete, pretend you are the most sought after fashion model in the industry! You eventually with feel this to be true and those feelings and thoughts become reality.

You work around small children. The things you say to yourself, would you ever say those things to any of the children in your care? Someone once said this to me. I would never tell a child they are hideous...why should I say that to myself?

PM me if you ever want to talk.