Alice J.Katz

Overcoming Compulsive Eating

Compulsive eating is just one type of addictive behavior. Alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, and caffeine use are other common additions. Both psychological and chemical factors contribute to them. Using these substances triggers a physical desire for more, and overuse leads to physical dependency.

Some compulsive behaviors have a psychological basis only. For example, compulsive spenders buy on impulse and cannot save their money. Compulsive gamblers don't stop when they run out of money; they may steal to continue. Compulsive cleaners become upset by any disarray and spend hours keeping everything in order. Compulsive savers never throw anything out.
Both psychological and chemical factors contribute to compulsive eating behavior. When you eat some chocolate, caffeine, or sugar your body needs more. Sugar and carbohydrates elevate your blood sugar level; when that level drops, your body needs more to elevate it again.
However, despite the chemical factors that complicate compulsive eating, this behavior is primarily a psychological problem. Compulsive eating is any eating done in response to your mind instead of your body. Your body will respond to hunger and internal cues, but when you eat beyond the point of satisfaction, it is your mind that keeps you going. When the contributing psychological factors are very strong, even the knowledge that a certain food is harmful may not be enough to prevent your eating. Since total abstinence from food is impossible, compulsive eating is the most difficult addiction to overcome.
98 printed pages
Original publication

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Anastasia Denisovahas quotedlast year
It gives you a temporary high, a kind of euphoria, until guilt sets in about what you did. Food does this when you feel full; gambling and spending money give a sense of danger and power.
Yulya Kudinahas quotedlast year
) The binger eats normal amounts at meals, but eats great amounts at other times in one sitting, often late at night. Eating a lot at one sitting can be a reward for having been deprived all day of your favorite foods, especially if you eat very drab foods at meals. Your binge may be the result of not wanting to be seen indulging by others, so you may become a sneak eater who only binges when alone (see below).

(b) The plate cleaner eats until there is no more food on the plate or the table, regardless of appetite or capacity. Usually, plate cleaners were taught to always clean their plate as children, and this has become a habit that needs to be unlearned.

(c) The nibbler eats normal amounts at meals, but has countless mini-meals all day while doing other things such as cooking or talking on the phone. Nibblers fool themselves into thinking that they do not really eat much.

(d) The snacker eats normal amounts at meals, but eats many snacks — mostly junk food — between meals. Snackers may restrict what they eat at meals and then feel deprived, and so reward themselves by eating forbidden foods between meals. Snackers tend to convince themselves that the snacks do not count as calorie intake.

(e) The stuffer eats only at mealtimes, but always until really full and uncomfortable. If you are a stuffer, you have panicky feelings about being hungry, and so you overeat and never experience hunger. Or you may anticipate starting a diet tomorrow, so want to eat now while you can, like a camel storing water before a trek in the desert.

(f) The stuffer-starver feels guilty about overeating, so starves all day, feels very hungry at night, and eats until bedtime. The next day the cycle is repeated. When you behave this way, you feel deprived and overeat out of resentment.

(g) The sneak eater eats normal amounts or not at all in front of others; when alone, the sneak eater binges. Sneak eaters assume that their eating patterns matter to others, and so they pretend, by eating when they are alone, that they eat very little. They enjoy the secrecy involved.

(h) The all-nighter eats normal amounts during the day, then eats throughout the night, getting out of bed frequently to raid the refrigerator. It may be that this secret eating reflects a need for privacy; it may be the only thing in the all-nighter's life that is his or her own.

(i) The comfort eater eats normal amounts except when under stress, then eats until the anxiety is blotted out. Even small worries can trigger the eating. Comfort eaters have difficulty dealing with their feelings. They generally learned in childhood that it is better never to show feelings.

(j) The gobbler eats all food very fast, and as a result consumes more than if
Cristina Salazarhas quoted2 years ago
Compulsive eating is any eating done in response to your mind instead of your body.

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