Corn-ered: Confessions of a compulsive overeater

j0444116 Last night I ate an entire bag of corn. Not popcorn. No, it was one of those steamable 12oz. bags of corn. You might be thinking, “a bag of corn is not so bad.” But the true culprit here is not really what I ate, it’s whatever emotion I was feeling – or not feeling – at the moment that drove me to eat an entire bag of anything, despite not really wanting to.

If I was being completely honest with myself before “Corngate” last night, I’d have admitted that I was anxious about several things – finances, my health, the future, the suffering in Haiti and the rest of the world, how they’ll end LOST over on ABC. You name it, and there’s a small segment of my brain dedicated to thinking about it, or in last night’s case, not thinking about it. And while on a practical level I know that scarfing down an entire bag of steamed corn will not save even one Haitian life, in the moment, eating the corn, or the pasta, or whatever form my escape takes on that day, seems much easier than dealing with the issues that are heavy on my heart.

I’ve always been sort of a “fixer.” I hurt when other people hurt, I cry when they cry. And these past few weeks in particular I feel helpless to do anything about the suffering and pain I see around me. And as a life-long believer in a loving God, in times like these I question what exactly is going on with Him, and my inability to provide answers. That emotion snowballs into questioning my own life and decisions and I start to feel cornered.

I know all the tricks to use to delay the onset of compulsive overeating – waiting 15 minutes when the urge to eat hits to see if you’re really hungry, or writing down what you’re feeling at the moment the urge to eat hits you – I know them all, but I rarely use them. Continuing to mindlessly eat is so much easier – in the moment. It’s also taking a big toll on me emotionally and physically. At 39 1/2 I feel like I don’t have too much longer to get this right. I feel like if I go into 40 without beating this, it will be the thing that defeats me. I don’t want that to be my story.

It feels overwhelming to think about the life changes I have to make in order to finally get this right. But maybe if I try taking it one day at a time – I mean really focus on taking it one day at a time, I’ll be able to do it.  When I think about spending the next 50 years or more (God willing) writing down my emotions every time I want to eat a slice of bread I’m all like “Aww man, I’ll never be able to do that!” But what if I really tried to deal with just making Thursday a good day, and then Friday and so on and so on. I think my chances for success would be greater, don’t you? So that’s my prayer today – God, help me make Thursday a good day. Help me put things in your capable hands and leave them there. Help me not try to help you by eating an entire bag of steamed corn with butter. Oh, did I not mention the butter? There was butter.  I’ll let you know how it all goes tomorrow…

Grace is a blogger and Women at Forty editor who lives outside of Atlanta, GA. She shares her weight loss challenges and experiences weekly in our Fit at Forty section.

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Grace is a freelance writer and blogger living in Atlanta, Georgia.

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  • Grace, you have great wisdom about taking one day at a time – maybe even one hour at a time! I'd like to mention two resources that readers might like to know about. One is the Integrative Weight Loss program at Kripalu Yoga Center in Stockbridge, Mass. There was a great article about it in the February 2010 issue of Yoga Journal. Also, I have just published a self-help ebook for people with a history of disordered eating. It is easily downloaded by going to Comments welcome!

  • womenatforty

    Thanks Dr. Allen,

    We'll check out the site and the information you offer. Thanks for sharing this with our readers!

  • I love this post because I can relate to most of it. Except for the corn part; I hate corn. I would have hit a bag of chocolate chips instead….  😉

  • Anonymous

     Thanks, Christine! And trust, I have HIT a bag of chocolate chip cookies before, and HARD! 🙂