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I'm overeating... not sure how to stop when surrounded by food

(18 Posts)
Abitstressed Thu 02-May-13 15:29:09

Hi all,

I have a young son who likes lots of carbs, as do his friends. My problem is I have always been a "eat a whole loaf of bread" type girl, but managed to avoid this when I was single girl as I just wouldn't buy it. Now, I'm at home a lot, I find myself really looking forward to food and my son doesn't sleep well, I'm now finding I crave carbs (I'm not against carbs, I just don't do moderation during the day). I find it hard to resist and I can eat everything in the house in the afternoon. I feel a bit ashamed, today we had brushetta at a friend's house, and when I got home I raided all the bread I could find (I wasn't even hungry - I am really tired and premenstrual) but I can't seem to find that motivation to say no, or just snap myself out of what I'm doing. I can eat vast amounts! Then I feel lethargic and sick for the rest of the day. It's madness. I'm obviously putting on weight and I don't look great.

My son has been a fussy eater too, so I'm trying to get him to eat a variety of normal foods, ie pasta, sandwiches etc and he eats only small amounts and I end up feeling frustrated and eating his too (!! I have been trying to ensure I eat with him, and ensure we eat the same food, to try and help him become less fussy and I don't want him to have any food issues, but it's not helpful for me to keep eating his as well and I would rather have a salad for lunch but there is no way he would eat that).

I can see I'm becoming a binge eater but all the doctor can say is take an antidepressant. Does any one have any advice?

superfluouscurves Thu 02-May-13 16:04:27

I hear you! I have a dh who lives to eat (and who is a great cook) - and we live in a country where the food is fantastic, especially the bread - it's such a battle every day. I find it so much easier when he is away on business trips.

I also eat out of frustration I think (living abroad - only work 9 hrs or so a week - not really fulfilled) and over-eat almost every day if I am honest with myself. I can't seem to say 'no' to seconds (and thirds). Evenings are my danger times. (I never used to be like this! It's become a habit I think).

And I've now grown out of all my nice clothes blush and generally feel unfit and v. wobbly.

I shouldn't really be offering advice because I can't seem to stick to any sort of diet plan atm but this month I am going to try to:

-stick to three meals a day with two healthy snacks in between (one of which is an apple)
-monitor calorie intake on My Fitness Pal (really recommend this!)
- set a time at night after which I do not eat (to avoid snacking in front of the tv)
-walk at least 10,000 steps a day (measured with pedometer)
-walk briskly for 30 mins every day
- make loads of home-made veg soup and freeze in one-person portions and only eat soup or salad for lunch
- start sewing project and work on it during 'danger' periods when I feel like snacking (sewing and eating do not mix)

Btw, my dd, who loves carbs too, will eat thick home-made soup which contains sweet potatoes or potatoes and parnsips or something similar ...that might be something both you and your ds could eat. And I make lots of cous-cous and chick pea salads (with loads of added veg) and although she protests a bit she will eat it. I try and make a salad for myself and add it to whatever she is eating. Planning is the key.

Also, I think the attitude of "just try and do this for one day" is helpful - rather than thinking of it as a horrible, overwhelming impossible task. And it is said that if you can repeat the same 'one day' 28 times consecutively then you are well on your way to breaking a habit!

Would be happy to weigh-in/report progress on a weekly basis this month via pm facility if you want (no worries if not though!)

Good luck!

Abitstressed Thu 02-May-13 16:43:47


Thanks for replying. A really thoughtful response. It's odd isn't it, that we do something to ourselves that make us, ultimately unhappy.

If I'm honest, I'll over eat anything. I'm a foodie! I must admit though I'm sensible with vegetables and protein and usually fruit and low fat yogurt, any bread, crackers and cereals (and of course cakes, chocolate and biscuits) I am snacking on all day long. I honestly don't have a sensible stop button for these foods and often eat the whole pack. I think the 3 meals a day thing is great, but I find myself snacking between, before and after and just saying to myself "don't do that" doesn't seem to work for me.

It was thoughtful of you to put down some advice, especially as you are also suffering. I think homemade soup is a fantastic idea and my son loves this too (but the health visitor told me to stop soups as I puree them up). I think my life would be easier if I didn't have to think about food all day long, I become preoccupied and I just know it's there. I even ate a whole packet of weetabix minis one day - I feel absolutely ashamed. I actually feel better if I am sensible and healthy, but give in to the foods I'm surrounded by, especially if stressed or tired.

I'd be really happy to be a support buddy! although I can appreciate I'm not much support at the moment. I have said to my husband that he should get a cupboard with a lock for all his bread, crackers and cereals and he looked at me like I was completely crazy lol.

Thanks again for replying,

Abitstressed Thu 02-May-13 16:45:23

Ps I love your try this for one day theory- let's both make a plan for tomorrow and note down if it works and if it's doesn't and reevaluate...

HeySoulSister Thu 02-May-13 17:05:45

bread is the work of the devil op.....remove it from your diet and see what happens!

and sugar too. you could look at the low carb threads by BIWI?

also,exercise....does that feature in your week at all? your post reads to me that you really are not willing to make changes,lots of excuses in there.....your ds does not need to eat the exact same as you,you could still have your salad. make a portion to offer him too.

plecofjustice Thu 02-May-13 17:16:50

Hi abs

Your behaviour sounds quite similar to mine a few years ago - re the bread binging. I used to be unable to stop once I started eating bread and, once I'd started, be ravenous for bread, regardless of how much I ate. I'd bloat up, feel sick and horrible all day after a binge. It transpired that I had digestive problems so the bread was making me ill, and a side effect of that was craving more.

I would suggest going cold turkey on the bread - just stop. Don't eat any bread products. Try and eat something else whenever you fancy bread - maybe keep some hardboiled eggs in the fridge and eat them, prawns, salad, ham, nuts. Something with protein in that isn't carby and isn't bread. Don't worry about the calorie content of your substitute, just make sure it's got protein in it. This will encourage your body to heal and get over the bread addiction. You can then think about making long term eating choices.

LongWordsBotherMe Thu 02-May-13 17:18:39

I could have written your post almost exactly. Please can I join in with you in trying to have a better day tomorrow?

plecofjustice Thu 02-May-13 17:26:28

Also, have you considered the 5:2 diet, which a number of people have found useful for breaking cycles of unhealthy eating?

Abitstressed Thu 02-May-13 20:14:44


Thanks for a great response.

Soulsister: Lol devil's work. I think one sandwich would be ok, I used to have a very small bagel at work and that used to be fine, it's just when I have unlimited access, and actually what triggered me to go into yum mode was pasta... I guess it's all the same wheaty stuff though. Thing is I used to find my one sandwich filling (seeded bread or whatever) and I kept quite slim... bu now I have unlimited access, I don't know what it is I eat it all... yes I guess that is an excuse, and I make hundreds at the time, it's always quite impulsive. My excuses at the time are usually I'm tired, eater my son's leftovers won't hurt and then I taste his and go into a stage of gluttony "I want more" mode. Then about two hours afterwards I completely regret it, and feel sick.

Exercise - ha! this was my one strength, I had been doing loads and although I'm gaining weight, had it not been for all the exercise I think I would be enormous. However, recently I had cut down a bit as I keep thinking maybe that was not helping with the urge to binge and maybe I was getting too tired (not an excuse, I love running) as my son has been ill and hasn't slept well (there's always something these days.,..I dream of bed... and I think sometimes confuse tiredness with hunger, bizarrely. I now I sound absolutely crackers btw. Sometime it helps to have a logical answer, ie, you have a salad and give some to my son and hub but just let them have their stuff. I've been getting myself in a state about my son's fussy eating so I'm trying to be textbook and do everything it tells you to, eat with him, eat a variety (he eats veggies and stuff in soup form and toast) but half the time he doesn't want the sandwiches etc and I gobble them up and eat the rest of the packet too. blush

Plecofjustice: I do get the bloating and sickness, and major lethargy but I think that comes from having consumed a whole loaf!!! I'm sure if I had one slice I wouldn't be the same. I do wonder if carbs make me feel sleepy thought, generally. I had pasta at a friend's house, it was midday and I just went into binge mode when I got home, I felt so tired! I actually find if i don't have any carbs in the evening I can't sleep... so maybe it is all a carb thing...

5:2 diet in theory I think that would be gt, I had a sick bug a while ago (which was horrific) but afterwards wasn't really into food and it really made me stop and think about how much time I had on my hands... So I had two days being ill then a few days eating healthily. I loved not having to think about food! However, a week later I found my urge to binge was overwhelming. So unless I convince myself to go back on it every week (I love the idea of it) I am worried it will just worsen the bingeing.

I'm wondering whether to make myself a huge salad each day and just say that's it. I think not having a plan hasn't helped. I know what has worked has been out of the house, being busy but not too stressed all day. Hard to do with a little one!

Longwordsbotherme: Aw sorry you are feeling the same. It's frustrating isn't it? I can't say at the time I'm having a bad time, I'm like a possessed woman. Let's try and have a better day tomorrow. To do that thought, I think I have to think what went wrong today and how will I make it work tomorrow. I do notice I'm having huge energy slumps (excuses I know! but it is when I get that tired sluggish feeling, I stupidly reach for stooge yet end up feeling worse, but at the time I completely justify it... and it's just there). Let me know what your plan is for tomorrow!

Thanks guys! I laugh and joke about it but this is a real worry. In the evening (my weak time is during the day) I reflect and think why the hell did I do that today... yet do the same thing the next day! Don't they say that's madness....

plecofjustice Fri 03-May-13 11:15:17

Hi abs

"I do wonder if carbs make me feel sleepy thought"

Yes, they will do, as your body diverts resources to digestion and provides less "power" to brain, to make you more sleepy.

"So unless I convince myself to go back on it every week (I love the idea of it) I am worried it will just worsen the bingeing."

If you love the idea of it, then just do it. Try it for 6 weeks, enough to give your body time to adjust and balance itself. Nothing really bad will happen - you might feel a bit weird when you start, you might feel like it's hard, but it won't kill you or make you ill. By forcing yourself to experience real physical hunger and comparing that feeling to "head" hunger, you will be able to make food decisions before a binge - "am I hungry, or am I just transferring another feeling." I don't think you can do that without knowing what hunger feels like, as you have no reference point to compare to.

If you do find yourself bingeing, then use a tool like MyFitnessPal to monitor your intake on feed as well as fast days. This will give you knowledge, and knowledge is control!

HindsightisaMarvellousThing Fri 03-May-13 11:24:57

I'm exactly the same, and will eat carbs until the packet is empty.

But, actually, it isn't carbs I crave and gorge on, it is wheat products. I've only realised this in the last week really, and it has been like a light bulb going on. I've tried low carb diets in the past and just get so grumpy and short tempered on them that they aren't sustainable. But a wheat free diet is do-able for me - eating potatoes, rice, rice crackers, rice noodles, oat cakes etc is fine, and I don't overeat

The thing is, I have a daughter so we do have bread, pasta, crumpets etc in the house all the time. But knowing I can't eat them but can have some oatcakes and hummus if I'm hungry is working out ok for me. The trick is to have something handy to eat when I'm surrounded by wheat products but don't want to eat them. And I don't get that sleepiness afterwards either, like I do with bread, nor do I eat too much.

CarolBornAMan Fri 03-May-13 11:34:30

I was same as you totally - was not called a buffer clearer for nothing .. I have tried a lot of different approaches but the one that is working for me now was started by reading Gillian riley book called Eating Less which just clicked with me - I had a couple of telephone sessions with her and bought her CD which I listened to religiously for a few weeks in car - not hypnotherapy so quite safe! She really helped me understand my addiction to food and then led me gently into reducing my carbs which I can so see now lead to addictive eating.. I am now on the BIWI low carb plan and whilst it is early days, I do feel quite liberated and I can be around the kids carbs without mainlining on them..

I feel more in control and less "pathetic" around food and the lack of carb and change in diet to have more fat and protein means I feel fuller all the time which gets rid of my need to "have a little bite of something" that would then lead to a binge..

Really would recommend her books and approach - and I know how hard it is so wish you luck!

StealthOfficialCrispTester Fri 03-May-13 11:36:41

Yes I used to binge, still do but a lot less. I seem to have acquired willpower. No easy answer. I think you just have to get to your own pojnt where you say enough! Mine was a diabetes scare and looking at a photo of myself with a waist. I actually used to constantly eat.
I have lost over 5 stone.
On practical points - get inventive. Serve your Ds less - if he eats, dish up more, if not, turn the leftovers into someone's lunch for the next day. Log all your calories on mfp. Try to go as long as you can between snacks - if I still want it in an hour I can have it. Accept that not all meals have to be wonderful and as nice as you've ever made them. Sometimes just make a meal that will do. Eg the other day I made pasta for the dc and they left some. Previously I'd have eaten their leftovers then cooked some more for myself. This time I chucked it into a bowl nd added salad. I didn't have all the things I'd usuallly want in a nice salad but it did for me tea. Depressing, yes. But not as depressing as being over 16s and obese!

Xenia Fri 03-May-13 11:38:30

Why not just ensure there are no carbs in the house? Plenty of children don't eat bread and pasta or junk food. Your son will quickly adapt if the foods aren't there.

Does not really give the answers but this R4 programme this week is interesting

decaffwithcream Sat 04-May-13 21:39:48

I think the low-carb bootcamp on here would really help as it rapidly breaks the addiction to carbs, you are never hungry, your blood sugar is stable and you don't feel deprived as there are all sorts of things you can eat instead. I found it was a revelation.

freerangeeggs Mon 06-May-13 10:50:47

Freeze the bread as soon as you get it. Only defrost enough for your son.

forevergreek Mon 06-May-13 12:45:57

Don't buy any snacks / freeze bread products.

I agree with the too much wheat tht someone mentioned. You can change what you by to exclude these.

Oatibix instead of weetabix
Porridge oats instead of sugary wheat cereals
Pototoe and rice instead of pasta and bread

superfluouscurves Tue 07-May-13 10:23:41

Those are good suggestions Forevergreek

Have taken to eating oat cakes for breakfast (with a tiny bit of honey) and they really do fill you up.

How is it going Abitstressed ? Sorry I didn't reply to earlier post - rl got in the way - and then we were away over long w/e. I know exactyly what you mean about it being even more difficult to resist when many diet plans and strategies make one focus even more closely on food than before! I think planning is the key. One day at a time and all that. (Although, again, I really shouldn't be offering advice because I have done hopelessly since posting last!!) Offer re: support buddy still stands if you want!

[Off to investigate Xenias link and Carolbornaman's book recommendation and notes good advice on this thread]

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