Words of Wisdom from my Therapist about Compulsive Eating

Here is something I asked my therapist recently and his response really resonated with me. I hope it will for you too…

I asked…nibbling my kids snacks or stealing a bite of this or that, is it ok to just chalk it up as “normal” behavior as opposed to my thinking that it’s me being a compulsive eater? I’ve heard from “normal” eating friends that they and their spouses often anxiously await and finish their kids’ desserts, pick at things, etc., so that is why I’m asking. I realize that my obsession with desserts is definitely a compulsive issue, but if I’m not binging, just having bites/pieces of things here and there at home that don’t add up to much, and that I account for in my calorie count, can I stop thinking of that as part of my eating disorder and just chalk if off to “normal” eating behavior? I just think it would be helpful for me to look at that type of picking in the correct light, I need to put it in the right compartment in my brain. : )
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The therapist responded… The way that I think of it is like this…it only presents as a problem when we become overwhelmed by having to have something that it distracts/preoccupies us from living our lives…such as engaging in with our family and friends, getting things done, etc. Also, if not having it, after focusing on desiring it, we become very disappointed.

His reponse was really helpful for me as my bites do not fall under his description. It makes me feel better to know that this nibbling is really a “normal” behavior. It makes me feel better about myself, that I don’t always have to chalk up putting food in mouth as having something to do with having an eating disorder.

What do you think? Do you agree? Does it make you feel better about a nibble here and there?


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Comments

12 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Diana
    25 January 2010, 7:12 pm

    I agree, but I also am in psychology (experimental though, not clinical). That’s what I’ve always heard anyway.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for the reassurance, diana. all this time i felt like i was doing something sneaky or “dirty”, so to find out it was same thing that many “normal” eaters do, makes me feel better.

    [Reply]

  2. Jill
    25 January 2010, 7:38 pm

    wow – what a great post – I consider myself to be a borderline compulsive eater and often wonder about some of my behaviors. thanks for sharing – it was helpful to me to see your therapist’s definition and to know that not all of my eating behaviors are outside the normal range!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, jill! my therapist really rocks. he works with many compulsive behavior issues and is a recovered compulsive eater himself (and a great guy!) so i really trust in what he says. it sucks that i was sort of berating myself all these years for a behavior that is actually normal. *sigh*
    but that is all behind me, i can now look forward with a different and better view of myself, in that capacity anyway. 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Jill
    25 January 2010, 8:16 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with his answer. I’m a Psychology major myself and I couldn’t have put it any better! 🙂

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks so much. hearing you guys agree means a lot to me. every bit of reinforcement helps to guide me in the right direction.

    [Reply]

  4. Running Betty
    25 January 2010, 10:02 pm

    I taught my girls to take their plates to the sink and squirt a circle of dishwashing soap on top. Then I can’t eat it!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    oooooh! that is a great idea, thanks, betty!

    [Reply]

  5. Michelle@Eatingjourney
    25 January 2010, 10:07 pm

    That is such an interesting thing. I kow that when I go out sometimes I get SO consumed with the things that I shouldn’tcan’t have that I can’t even focus on what’s in front of me.

    Thank youfor posting that. It’s really re-working the realtionship with food so that it’s not the sole focus of my lifel

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i hear you, michelle. that is what this lovely disorder does to us – we are so consumed with all the conversations we are having in our heads about food, that we forget to live in the present and enjoy what we are eating/doing sometimes. we all know that we need to re-work our relationshipwith food so that it’s not the sole focus, but either said than done, right?

    [Reply]

  6. Lara
    26 January 2010, 12:49 pm

    I totally agree with him. Nibbling is totally normal behavior. When I think of the people in my life who are truly normal eaters I have seen them all nibble here and there from a spouse’s plate, while cleaning up the kid’s dishes, a taste of a something from the breakroom at work, etc.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi lara, it’s so good to hear all of you saying this. the more i hear it, the more i can let it sink into my brain that some of the things i do are in fact normal and i don’t need to beat myself up about them.

    [Reply]

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