Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
My completely rubbish relationship with food is causing me misery....(31 Posts)
As it says... I ve developed a destructive, self harming way of eating and drinking that I can t seem to get a grip on. I know how to eat healthily, how to cook, how to cut calories, the whole thing but will not apply it to myself. It's like I m sabotaging myself in losing weight and being fit and healthy. I try to eat well and cut out wine but every day I just give in. I need to lose six stone to be in a healthy weight range. I used to be slim, active and confident. But I can t even remember how it felt to be a healthy weight. In the past ten years I have had three babies, relocated 270 miles away from my home, married and divorced an abusive man, my father died and my narcissistic mother and only sister both turned against me. I only have minimal contact with my mum, none with my sister. No other family apart from an elderly aunt. I left my teaching career to move with my husbands job but he then went off with an ow. I was seven months pregnant. My youngest is now 4 and getting ready for school and I am in the process of getting ready to supply teach. I want to relocate down south next year as the North has not felt right since it all went belly up. I m terrified of doing that but equally terrified of living out my years here. I m in rented accommodation on benefits. Although I am preparing to work in the next couple of months. Despite very good friends scattered around the country and lovely local friends who are supportive I feel like shit most of the time. I eat for comfort, cos I'm bored, cos I hate myself and I drink to blur the edges. I am insightful and reflective on what's been going on in my life, had lots of counselling but STILL will not engage in dropping weight. I m overwhelmed with it all but at the same time know that I am solely responsible for my three little ones. Even that fact does not motivate me to make a meaningful effort. I feel selfish, self absorbed and self hating. Aargh I need some strategies. Anyone??
First of all Sounds like you have been coping with a lot of trauma and using food as comfort is definitely preferable to other alternatives!
How about cutting yourself some slack. Instead of saying 'I must cut out this and stop eating that...' just add in some healthy stuff. So eat the usual crap but make sure you have some fruit and veg too. Have the wine but make sure you drink a couple of pints of water in the day. It will stop the punishment aspect of it all. You need to be nurturing yourself, not adding more guilt.
You sound like you are doing an amazing job to me to have coped through all that you described.
I do know what you mean and I'm posting here more to see other peoples hopefully useful advice than to help!
How much are you drinking to 'blur the edges', Lulioli ?
Thank you for your kind words. Yes I think I need a bit of nurturing and your strategies seem more manageable than my own! I suppose I have this sense of moving on and leaving the past crappy ten years behind and I want to do it urgently. I seem to find it difficult to sustain anything evenly. Rather destructively my habits have become all or nothing. Highs and lows. Manic really. My ex husband had a huge effect on me. He was manic and I think in order to cope with him I ve mirrored his behaviour. I can t remember how I was before him. Despite being split from him for four years and divorced last year. I still have contact because of the kids and he still tries to control me through them. His girlfriend (ow) is as selfish as he so she impacts on how often the children get to see their dad and in what capacity. He is weak and self absorbed. Both if them are super fit, very slim and take good care of their physical needs ( but their minds are completely fucked up!!) she sent me a text telling me my then husband never loved me, he reiterated this, and that the size I am now and the situation I m in no one else will either! The trouble is I think just the same way. I cannot think of how I can get my head sorted out as I m sure it's this that prevents me from losing unhealthy weight.
I drink a bottle of wine each day. At night time, glass with dinner then the rest after the kids are in bed. I do sometimes have dry days but only occasionally.
You re alright elderfloweriver! Comforting to know I m not alone! x
It's very insightful that you describe this as a form of self-harm.
I have also had a problem with eating and drinking in this destructive way, and like most self-harm behaviours, it's about comfort on top and punishment underneath.
I have recently had weight loss surgery so that I physically can't do this anymore, however I strongly recommend you explore all other avenues because surgery is really the hardest path.
Have any of your counsellors taken a CBT type approach, based around addiction?
So sorry you are going through all this. Id agree with the other posters who say 'cut your self some slack'.
When you are ready, you might find some help here www.eatingless.com. Its taken me a good few years but i am slowly getting there now. All the very best, xx
Thanks for the link Finallyhere I'm going to look that up. Pocketsaviour - CBT was mentioned but I have not pursued it. Maybe that's the way forward.... Thank you all for your ideas. I knew Mumsnet would be a good place to explore this. Any more?
Could you try counselling?
You've lost a lot over the past few years, just coping is showing strength. Nurturing or punishing yourself with food seems like a reasonable coping strategy....even if it's time to find other ways to nurture yourself.
You haven't had a cheer squad to tell you that you are strong and capable. Instead you have the wrong peoples voices (ow, ex) in your head. Time to reprogramme op. This is your time now.
Well done for saying that you drink a bottle a day. (And I'm being quite genuine about that - it's not always easy to talk about even in a fairly anonymous place like this.)
You've had so much going on in your life that it's difficult to know where to start. Yes, you sound insightful but I'm concerned that you may be clouding over some of your perception and motivation with the alcohol - which is potentially very risky. (As well as being extremely calorific!) Starting supply teaching implies having to use a car and it is, in any case, quite a stressful job.
Do you think you could go 'dry' for more than a day or so? To see how you felt if nothing else?
I need to have more dry days definitely! Last week I had four dry days in a row and felt great. Slept well, woke up better, got some stuff done that I enjoy, like sewing but since then I ve slipped. It's like as soon as I get positive and almost feel like change us happening I self sabotage. I am my own worst enemy. Yet I m so positive with everyone around me. It's all a bit fucked up. I m well positioned to supply teach. I gave a car, know some of the schools, good relationship with local authority bank so I feel it could be a positive step?!!
Oh it certainly could be! I'm still concerned about the wine, though. It almost sounds as if you can manage for a few days as long as you have the knowledge that you can go back to it after a break - and that can cause difficulties, particularly because blurring the edges allows you to avoid applying yourself to yourself. (It becomes 'I'll tackle that thing tomorrow'.)
How would you feel about no wine permanently? (This may need to be thought about by you at length- it's a difficult question.)
Wow, OP, you've been through a hell of a lot. But you need some support. It would be interesting to know where you think you need the help most - with the food issues, or with a bit of support for you, as a person, or both. Where can you go to get that support? Can your GP suggest a food / health based approach? Is thinking about it in terms of health and keeping you fit and well for your kids a good approach? Would a traditional food group like Weightwatchers help you find a group to offer a bit of moral support in at least one area of your life? Would that be more helpful than more counselling if you've been there done that? Is it possible to break it down into a few manageable things you can get help with or change yourself? Are you being overwhelmed by trying to fix everything at once?
I agree that cutting down on the wine would be good for your mind and your health. Cutting down on the wine will also cut down LOADS of calorie intake each day)? Each glass is like what, a whole desert? Can you switch to the mini supermarket single service bottles (then you can still have one a day ) If you drink white wine, can you have half a glass and top up with tonic or fizzy water and reduce your intake that way? It would be worth doing this as a first step if you can.
Sounds like you're doing a fantastic job keeping things together for your kids and are doing the right thing in trying to work out how to get some help so that you keep doing the right thing. Get some backing!
Best of luck.
I am in the same boat as you (apart from narc mum-my mum is terminally ill though. Things I've been doing that are working:
A book by Marisa peer called you can be thin
I know exactly what you are feeling though, it's like give a dog a bad name
I think all of you are bang on the money! I m wondering about going to AA or even OA as thinking of stopping wine forever makes me feel depressed and anxious. I think you re right in the fact I use alcohol as a crutch and an obstacle to living better. I'm so appreciative of all your wise words. Thank you for your input. I m really floundering on my own iniatives. I have to take LO to playgroup party now (groan!) but I will return. Thank you once more you clever, compassionate people x
Actually you're not 'really floundering' so don't put yourself down. You're a strong woman who has already coped with one heck of a lot and is trying to cope with even more. You just need to be a little careful, I think. Delaying dealing with things - by whatever means - usually doesn't make them go away. (It's like trying to re-paper a damp wall without dealing with the water problem. (Can you tell what I was doing last weekend? ))
I most definitely second joining a group like WW, the support people there give one another is simply amazing. You are self sabotaging each day perhaps as a self fulfilling prophecy that you are the things your ex and his charmless ow said.( oh how they sound as if they deserve one another).
Your plan to move and start afresh is good because having long term plans for improving your life has to be motivating,too. The weight loss is clearly a long term goal and will be a lifelong management issue but you can do it.
Very best wishes to you.
Lulioli, have you seen this weight loss thread? Really lovely and full of supportive people ("Team Arse"!!) and great suggestions.
You have taken the most critical first step: acknowledging a situation that's making you unhappy and looking for solutions, which is brilliant. OA or AA would be terrific places to understand more about what's going on in your head, which you quite rightly note is the most important thing to sort out. Both of those groups take a "one day at a time" approach that I think is useful for not getting so overwhelmed. You don't think about putting together a string of dry days; just focus on today as a dry day, for example. The other thing that is sometimes helpful for me is to tell myself, out loud, "don't think, just do" or "you don't have to feel like it, you just have to do it" to cut off the arguments and bargaining that go on in my head (you know the ones: I don't really feel like chopping up a tomato and some cucumber for a healthy salad; maybe I'll just throw in a pizza and open a bottle of wine while I wait for it to cook or should I go for a walk now or binge watch Game of Thrones while eating biscuits?). In other words, no negotiation with myself, as the self-sabotaging me always wins. No brisk walk around the block or time at the chopping board is ever as bad as how shit I feel about myself after the self-sabotage.
The hardest thing to do is get started with different eating/drinking/exercise habits. It sucks for a few weeks, plain and simple. You get headaches and cravings and sore muscles and fatigue, and more often than not the scale doesn't move. But magically, after a couple of weeks, that stops and you feel SO much better. If you can just gut it out (day by day, with heaps of support) until you get to that point, your body and mind adjust, and it is immeasurably easier.
As others have said, you have dealt with a LOT in the last few years, not least of which is producing and caring for 3 little human beings! You are already a strong, capable, successful person, and your worth is not in any way diminished by your size or by the fact that you've been using food and wine for more comfort and support than you are now comfortable with.
Wishing you the best of luck! Keep us posted!!
I have BED (binge eating disorder) and what I found most difficult was suggestions my issues were to be solved by dieting or or going to weigh in groups.
The only success I've had was by working on the problem and putting in the thinking to assess and challenge my issues and learn to be different. The problem is not food, food is just the symptom. If it wasn't food it could have been drink/drugs/gambling/shopping/anything!
Dieting is for people who've eaten a bit too much and it's added up over the years. Dependency on food for reward/punishment/sabotage won't be solved by healthy eating or diets.
Find the issues and solve them and the food issue will then fall into place. That's not to say you don't diet or healthy eat, just that it disguising the actual cause in the short term.
I'm part way through yet another course of CBT and have done NLP and some other approach who's name escapes me. Each have put pieces into the jigsaw so I'm gradually getting there.
Tbh the NHS weren't much interested until I literally fell apart last year and contemplated suicide. You may need to consider going private.
Best of luck and be kind to yourself
You might also find this thread a good read - I'm sure they'd give you a warm welcome if you decided to post, even if only occasionally.
Multi-pronged attack I think as there are a number of components to this. But hey, there are a number of strands to all overeating.
Definitely OA (and AA?), see how it goes. It's good to be with others who know what its like; to get strategies and understanding.
Can't link but a book called 'Why can't I stop eating?' is brilliant and makes sense of a lot of overeating, if not all. It was a revelation to me.
Re comfort eating: I piled on the weight leading up to leaving my abusive husband and taking ADs (old style - I put on 3st). Once i'd left him and came off ADs the weight melted off but, curiously, I didn't notice - mainly bcs I was wearing baggy clothes and I suppose I was generally preoccupied (but that says a lot about a disordered body awareness). Out of interest one day I stood on the scales and got such a shock I fair LEAPT off them. I felt so threatened to be slim - which was confusing bcs I thought it was my hearts desire.
Ach, it's complex hey. But do please give yourself a break. You have been through a great deal and have got into the habit of self-medicating. Join the club! So many of us do this when things just get too painful and overwhelming. Sooooo do phrase have some compassion for yourself - if your daughter was going through this would you serve her up the vicious self-talk you serve up to yourself?
Join the discussion
Please login first.