Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How to deal with a compulsion to eat

It's time to go into more detail about ways to deal with a compulsion to eat. I listed the techniques in this earlier post.

By the way, if you have a compulsion to eat, you might want to check out Overeaters Anonymous. OA is a group based on Alcoholics Anonymous principles; they have local chapters that hold meetings you can attend. I've never had any personal contact with members, so I can't give an opinion on it. Nevertheless, working on a compulsion problem with others can certainly be helpful.

One technique that worked for me, quoted from that earlier post, is: "Removing yourself from temptation, that is, food: An example is staying out of the kitchen."

Removing yourself from temptation means staying away from food. Here's my story:

When my kids were about 9 and 11, I started to realize that sitting down to dinner with them was a disaster for me. I always overate. If they left over anything on their plates, I scarfed that down in front of the sink.

I loved having dinner together. I have great memories of dinner time with my parents. We discussed the issues of the day and talked about science, history, politics, and more. I remember many times getting up to get the dictionary or encyclopedia during dinner to resolve some question.

But it wasn't working for me. I couldn't control myself. I had to break my attachment to having dinner together as a family. As soon as I did that, I was able to lose weight. I sat my kids down (my husband came home later) and gave them food, but I didn't sit with them. I put some vegetables in a bowl (plenty of food for me in the evening!) and ate them separately. Then I did other things.

Although I now cook two meals a day, I still don't sit and eat with the family at dinner time (I do for lunch), except on Friday nights. While the dinner is cooking, I take my own meal, which is different, and eat it. When dinner is ready, I get out of the kitchen and let others eat in the dining room. I go back to work in my office or do other chores. My husband, bless him, is repsonsible for cleaning up the dishes after dinner.

Whenever I come into the living room after dinner, where my husband is often parked in front of the TV, eating pretzels, I eat, so I try to avoid that, too.

All in all, this has been a very effective technique for me, a life-saver, in fact.

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