Perspectives: I am an Overeater
I love food. That is what I used to say. Food is what tied me to family, friends, new people I would meet, celebrations, sad times – all occasions. I would eat when I saw free food at an event, I would even eat someone else’s food off their plate.
Food is a communication tool for most cultures. A way to share an event, celebration and time with members in your community. It can be a good thing. But for me, it can be something I abuse.
It didn’t occur to me I had a problem with overeating. There was a time in my life I started eating as if I didn’t have a next meal to come. I realized I was eating like I was a bear preparing for hibernation. Then there was the time I ate at a buffet, so much so that I threw up in the bathroom. I can’t tell you if I ate after, I don’t recall or too ashamed to admit to myself and have pushed it far back in my head.
Eating certain foods and over indulging made me I feel tired, groggy, foggy and that is also why I ate it. I used it to fall asleep, make myself feel better and even to feel a part of a group of people.
After much consideration and awareness, I looked up Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and found a new way of seeing this habit. One as an addiction and one where I have a community. I didn’t know that this was an issue, nor did I know there were other people that also have this addiction.
I am a powerful person, but I am powerless over food consumption. I use it to push down my feelings, I use it to commemorate events and yet, I need it everyday. Food is something everyone needs to live. So every sip, spoonful, gulp and chew, I could be one more away from overeating.
I realized when I started OA that it all has to do with how much I cared about myself. The reality was that I didn’t care. They say in 12 Step programs that it takes ‘one day at a time’. For me, it feels like one moment at a time, that I have to choose myself. If I fall into the pattern of eating certain foods that come easy to me, that make me feel ‘good’ in the moment, then I take a step back from my abstinence. That’s the ‘sober’ term for overeaters. Something else I learned.
So I stick to a plan, creating habits that have my best interest and found a Sponsor (I also call this person my Coach), to support my abstinence. It is so vulnerable and scary to write all of this. To admit that the thing that I need to sustain my body is something that I need and can easily abuse.
People look at me and they have no idea I have an eating problem. They see me and see that I am not, in their minds, what they imagine someone with an eating disorder looks like. I think this is what makes the addiction a surprise to people. This isn’t something I tell people, nor is it important for them to know. But I do think it is important to recognize patterns in myself I didn’t even know existed. It was holding me back from flourishing in my life.
I wasn’t even sure I was someone with an overeating problem. But when I reviewed the questions on the OA website, I couldn’t ignore it.
I like food. I like that the good food I decide to put in my body energizes me to do the wonderful things I can do in life. I feel fuelled and nourished. Food is a chemical. It can be used for good, and when I do use this drug for good and don’t over consume and make choices that serve my wellness, it feels good.