Friday, April 03, 2009

April showers

This is what the park outside of my house looks like today. The drizzle is not offensive as a downpour might be; it's a very light April shower- the kind that brings May flowers.

It's been a very pleasant spring, in stark contrast to the brutal ice-filled winter we just endured. It was so bad that my next door neighbors made the decision to sell their house and move to Florida. There were quite a few days this past winter when driving was outrageously dangerous. I have a problem with that, although I'm basically a tolerant individual.

Spring's renewal has inspired me to take inventory of my life. I happened to spy a copy of a book that I found really helpful a few years ago: Life Strategies by Phil McGraw. The book spelled out the importance of looking at each aspect of one's life and determining where the shortfalls lie. I made major changes after reading that book- hopefully they were wise ones.

Using the technique outlined in the book, I re-evaluated my life. Most areas are OK, with 2 areas standing out as needing improvement. One is clutter control. I'm so much better than I used to be, but I still have the problem of being too quick to let things go. And the other has to do with eating.

This photo illustrates my primary problem right now. Ever since leaving home for college, I've developed a habit of improper use of food. Instead of nourishment, its use in my life seems to be distraction, comfort, pleasure and numbing.

It seems like an addiction- the drug is food. Sometimes I control it to one degree or another- sometimes the best I can do is starve myself for a few days between binges. And I actually do experience an occasional period of "normal" eating, usually not for long.

I can't explain why the problem didn't surface until I moved away from home. I remember once when I was about 8 years old, I was alone in the house and I took a package of Chips Ahoy cookies into my bedroom to eat while I was reading a book. That was my first binge. At age 8, I was revolted afterwords, disgusted by my gluttony. I did not want to be fat- I vowed never to do it again.

And I didn't- not until college. That's where I was at my worst. I used to buy huge bags of candy to eat while I was studying. I'd scarf down ice cream by the half gallon. I'd eat entire cheesecakes. I didn't become obese because I also ran everyday, as I still do.

I have been to various types of counselors, ranging from a psychiatrist (who thought I was fine) to a social worker most recently. None of them focused on the eating thing, and when I brought it up, they offered no insight as to why it was going on or how it might be dealt with. I guess I do it to escape from life, which I apparently find scary. Lots of people escape in one way or another- it's not exactly uncommon.

Right now I am thinking of a friend of mine who had a hard time quitting smoking. When he finally did quit, he replaced the habit with long-distance running. I suppose I too would benefit from finding a replacement habit. An exercise addiction is not in the cards for me, in fact it's fairly amazing that I've been able to keep jogging for all these years, so I'm going to have to come up with something which would be suitable for me which is healthy or at least not damaging.

Maybe I should become a workaholic.

Do you have any suggestions? I really don't want to live on Peanut Butter Eggs and potato chips.


Monogram Queen said...

April showers bring May's flowers!

I have no advice on food because I am a binger myself. It sucks. Bigtime.

Betty said...

Dear Patti,

I am sorry to hear that you are a fellow binger.


Lynilu said...

First, Betty, let me say that it is unfortunate that your eating habits were not taken seriously by professionals. Since that was my field, I'm a bit embarrassed to say that your experience is unfortunately not uncommon. I was taught that what my client identified as "the problem" was what I would address. In doing so, usually the underlying issues or those issues the client didn't identify will come out and can be dealt with. The only exception is in the case of child abuse, where I had to be clear that we were going to work on that, as well as the client's identified area.

I would suggest that you try another counselor. I'm biased, of course, but I think a social worker will be more likely to listen to you about where you need help. When you interview the first time, or even on the phone, make it clear that you want to address the eating, and other issues can be addressed when they are uncovered. It is YOUR therapy, not theirs!!!!

I tend to be a binger, too. I guess it isn't really bad, but I get on kicks, and I just can't get enough of certain things (which change with each binge) even to the point that I feel repulsed by the food, even while eating it. gah. I feel for you.

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

File said...

Download Forum Poster V3 3.0 at

Betty said...

Dear Lynilu,

Yes, it was surprising that the counselors didn't take me seriously about this. I did like the social worker, except for this issue being ignored. Of course it made me wonder if maybe it's not that big a deal....


Betty said...

Dear Hapi,

Thanks for stopping by!


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Because I'm 46, I'm starting to focus on what's going on inside my arteries as well as on my upper arms and stomach. Since learning how prevalent heart disease is in women, that has been a wake-up call. I've always sort of feared cancer, but statistically, I'm much more vulnerable to heart stuff just because of being female. That's the negatively-oriented type of motivation.

The other is the positive orientation, which is more difficult for me, a glass half-empty kind of gal. But I am heavily, purposefully trying that approach right now. (30 x 5)

Being open about binging is good. I think when we bring things into the light, they lose their power on us, little bit by little bit. Keep talking about it on the blog. One good thing about blogging is that it's there for us even at 3:00 am, when professionals aren't.

I'm a little prone to binging, myself. I love repetitiveness, like rocking in rocking chairs. for one example. I love continually putting food in my mouth, as well, like popcorn, one bite after another. Don't know why. It's a form of self-medicating, I think.

I'll bet you're somewhat perfectionistic about some things. I know I am. I think that plays into it, as well.

There you have it, a treatise on binging by a layman,recovering binger!

Betty said...

Dear 2nd Cup,

Yep, I like continually doing things also. The soothing theory rings true. I sucked my thumb until I was in 7th grade.

Maybe I should focus on the rocking chair.....


Helga Vonlunch-Box said...

April showers here are more like
a shower set on STUN...

What beauty you have to look at
when you step outside your door...
If we all could see things like
that each day...I think we would
all be happy...

I know what ya mean with the food
issues...The difference with me
is that when I'm depressed...I
don't eat...

I could LIVE off of those REESES


'Helga Vonlunch-Box'

ps.shhhh...please keep the secret
for me :)