Posted by: Sarah | 2004/03/10

Is this an eating disorder?

Dear CyberShrink

I need your help in pinning down just what is going on at the moment, so that I can go to someone for help, at the moment I don't know where to start.

Although I still appear fairly slim, I'm a few kgs overweight, nothing that I haven't solved before. My weight normally ranges between 60-63 kgs, which is a normal weight for my build & height. However, in the past, in times of stress, my weight has gone as high as 67 kg. This may not seem a huge amount to many people, but the out-of-control eating is making me sick.

In the last year, I have nursed my father in the last stages of his cancer, a period of 4 months, until he passed away in September. A good friend of his then offered myself & my boyfriend a house at a reduced price, so we sold our house & bought his, the transfer has been held up due to various delays over Xmas but should occur in the next few days. Just after we moved into the house in January my company told me that they could no longer afford to pay me, which meant I had to start looking for another job. I have had 3 interviews in the past 3 weeks, and two 2nd interviews. I was turned down by the 2 jobs I really wanted, and got the job that was offering the least money - I started straight away but am not too sure that I'm happy there, and want to keep looking.

I've found that over the past couple of nights I've come home from work and have just eaten. And eaten, and eaten. It's bread, cheese, chips, crisps, ice-cream & chocolate sauce - but mainly toast & cheese (I used to eat that at night in front of the tv with my dad).

Is this just grief? Or is it general stress? Or what? Who can I approach for help, the eating is making me feel sick, I'm worried that I won't be able to fit into my clothes soon. I'm not bringing it back up or out in any way, just stuffing my face.

I really just want a holiday, but I need to take some type of urgent action now. Where do I start? With a behaviourist, a counsellor, a psycho-therapist, what?

Hope you can help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Sarah,
Sounds like a combination of grief and general stress, and thus the joy of Comfort Foods, which make us feel better, for at least a time --- food can be very consoling, especially something that you associate with good feelings, good times, and the person you lost. So this is probably a temporary phase. But there's no need to add a whole new wardrobe to expenses right now. probably no need for a psychotherapist just yet, but a behaviourist might help, because it's a change in behaviour you're needing.
And meantime, one good ploy is to just not have the icecreams, chips, and so on in the house, and instead, stock up on healthier vegetable nibbles, and suchlike.
You're still in relatively early stages of bereavement / grief, so a counsellor could also help you work through the grief work, and towards a more peaceful and slimmer, time.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Liz | 2004/03/11

Hi Sarah
You have been through a lot , I would call this comfort eating as i did the same thing for about 10 months and put on a lot of weight and then one morning i decided to pull myself together and have been following a good eating plan and i now feel good about myself , every time you want to eat ask yourself why and then do something to distract yourself.
Good luck

Reply to Liz
Posted by: Sarah | 2004/03/11

Hi Sarah

So many drastic thing happening in your life trickers a lot of different emotions and feelings, eating is maybe a way for you to cope with certain feelings cause food makes us feel good sometimes we dont even want to eat but we do cause we feel bad - what i suggest you do is keep a food journal write down what you eat and when you eat it and then 30 minutes afterwards write how you feel why you ate it and then when you got this NEED to eat .......writting it down shows you why you do certain things and then you can pin point your feelings beter.

I would aslo suggest that you go see a psychologist who can work with you on unresolved feelings sometimes there are things we dont even know of and sometimes we hang on to feelings that hurt as....They help us on the road of loving ourself again going to see someone is not a weakness its a strengh its doing something for you .......helping yourself.

GOOD LUCK......with everything....

Reply to Sarah

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