Voracious Overeating

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These are stressful times. And once upon a time I would have handled my stress by eating. I remember when I couldn't stop eating. People who have never eaten compulsively really can't understand what it's like. I thought about food all day. When I couldn't stop, I'd get up in the middle of the night, throw on my coat over my pajamas and run to the grocery store for more food, even when I'd just eaten three pizzas.

What caused my breakthrough from being a voracious overeater to someone with a normal desire for food? I finally understood that the little girl inside me was crying, like a baby who needs milk. That little kid was an innocent being, emotionally starved, desperate to be soothed, held and seen.

Most people don't understand that obsessive overeating or starving ourselves is not done from laziness or lack of discipline. We hurt ourselves with food to dull our pain or give ourselves a treat.

For me, speaking up and being my own advocate took the place of stuffing. I started asking for what I needed. Free speech set me free.

Oh, I remember the diets, hiding in restaurants, people looking at my plate as I ate. But I don't eat boxes of cookies anymore. I still gain and lose weight. But those 100 pounds are gone.


Life's not always a piece of cake, but it's a lot more fun.

With a Perspective, I'm Katy Byrne.

Katy Byrne is a psychotherapist in Sonoma.