Obese by a Thousand Quirks

I’ve been really stuck on the question of if I am a binge eater. This thread on reddit about compulsive eating habits was hard for me to relate to. I don’t hide meals, go to multiple fast food places, go into a dissociative fugue, eat out of the trash, etc. So what are my bad habits? You don’t get to be morbidly obese without bad food habits, so let’s be real about my choices:

  • Eating to soothe myself. Bad day at work? Graeter’s sundae. Stressed about money? DQ Blizzard. Frustrated by life? Double Stuf Oreos. Wow. I know how to spell ‘Stuf’ correctly because I’ve seen the packaging enough times.
  • Cleaning the plate. I don’t know how this started because I don’t remember my mom lecturing me about starving kids the world over. I think I just picked it up because my parents and sister are clean-platers too. Now I have to remember to think about my portions before I begin eating and tell myself it’s okay not to finish.
  • Eating too fast. Done this all my life, another family habit. I have to be cognizant and chew my food very slowly and force myself to put down my fork from time to time. Now I watch everyone else’s plate and try to pace myself with them, pretending I’m not a basset hound.
  • Over-serving portions. I’m a 5’2″ female. I should never eat as much as my 6″ husband, and yet I often do.
  • Eating sweets at night. When I do indulge in late night snacking, which isn’t often these days, it tends to be something sugary like ice cream or cookies.
  • Neglecting vegetables. There are some veggies I love (broccoli, peas, corn, cucumber, artichokes, etc.), but I never choose veggies as a snack. Eating healthy salads makes me feel like I’m denying myself real sustenance. Whenever I’m at an event or party and the veggie tray is devoured, I’m shocked. Of all the food available they chose celery and carrot sticks?
  • Overusing fatty spreads. I’m an over-spreader. Cream cheese, peanut butter, jam, brie. I have never let myself buy Nutella because I just know I will be helpless against it’s velvety chocolate goodness.
  • Eating while cooking. The fridge is right there, and I have to wait on the chicken to cook, and I’m sooo hungry. I can’t wait. I don’t wait.
  • Getting overly hungry. If I don’t plan ahead and have healthy snacks available, I get overly hungry, my obese brain takes over, and it justifies eating whatever’s closest at hand. I’ve started repeating to myself, “Your hunger is not an emergency,” to shut my brain up.
I’m sure there are more. I’ve asked my husband to tell me what bad food habits I have. Poor guy. Nothing like slipping a landmine under his foot. He thinks I drink too much milk, but I disagree. I keep skim milk in the house when I am trying to lose weight because it satiates me when I have big cravings. I always track and account calories for it, so I don’t consider it a bad habit. But, alas, yes, water would be better.

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