National Eating Disorders Association

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Trying to be less obsessive/tense

Hello all -- I've begun to be too obsessive and tense about how I eat, and I don't want it to stay this way or get worse. I've had issues in the past with depression, anxiety, alcohol, and drugs -- and obsessiveness that went along with those issues -- it seems that after doing so much better with those issues for a while, now my issues are manifesting in the area of weight control/nutritional fixations. In the past yes there were some times when, depressed, my appetite wasn't good, or I'd binge, but it wasn't often that I'd binge with food. My binges were typically with alcohol and later with various drugs.

So anyhow, maybe it's more a matter of addictive personality manifesting in food areas than of an eating disorder, but it's food related and it's out of order... I figured it made sense to post here... because I found out this summer when I was having trouble thinking and feeling so fatigued, that I was undereating. It was difficult for me to eat more. I forced myself to eat some more and plan better, and I'm having more energy but I'm also obsessing more about how I eat. So it may just be obsessiveness, but it got worse when I was a bit undernourished, and now that I'm better nourished (but still at dieting levels) I'm still obsessive...

When I hear about what some people with eating disorders go through, I can relate a bit. I don't know why this late in my life (46 yo) all of a sudden I'm obsessing over food/eating, etc., but I guess behind it there's fear of sickness, trying to control emotions?


First of all, welcome to the

First of all, welcome to the forums. You are not alone in what you are feeling, and I can definitely relate to the addictive personality thing. For me it manifested itself with my eating, and more recently with obsessive exercising. Sometimes it's not always clear what triggers us to start obsessing about food and weight. It's good that you realize that you have a problem and want to change things, and I definitely suggest seeking out a therapist to talk to and figure out why this is happening. Just remember that you are not alone in this struggle, and the sooner you catch it and try to stop these habits, the quicker and easier it is to recover form this. Good luck!

Hi beingpreventive, thanks

Hi beingpreventive, thanks for reaching out. I agree with brookespre, you are not alone and many people can relate. ED’s don’t discriminate and can occur at any age. Often ED’s can be about control, so it would make sense that you are feeling obsessive about the need to control your meal intake and emotions. I agree that ED’s can have almost addictive qualities to them and there is often a high co-morbidity with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. As brookespre mentioned, seeking a therapist is a great idea. It good to have an objective person to talk to. If you don’t know where to start, the NEDA Helpline can help get you started. You can call them at Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST) at 1-800-931-2237

Yeah I need to discuss these

Yeah I need to discuss these things with my therapist. It's a good thing as I'm taking care of my nutrition better, I'm feeling/thinking better, but I am still obsessing too much about eating/diet/health. I feel tense as I change things up to counteract the eating/nutrition/food attitude issues, there is resistance, but I am pushing through it a bit and steering things in a better direction, so the resistance isn't overwhelming.

I think resistance to

I think resistance to recovery is fairly normal, but it's incredible that you're pushing through it. As brookespre and als2908 both said, I think it would be a great idea to bring this up to your therapist. They will be able to help you better understand what is happening, as well as help you move past this.

Keep us updated!

I'm looking at registered

I'm looking at registered dietiticians and eating disorder specialists in my area, thinking that's the best next step, so I can deal more specifically with nutritional questions and subtleties with disordered eating. What I've been doing seems to be helping but maybe problematic too - I've been using calorie counters, etc., to ensure I'm getting more calories and nutrition because I don't feel like my intuition of how to eat would get me enough, but checking in to log items fuels obsessiveness and wastes my life and productivity so I guess it would be better to just get a meal plan from a nutritionist and ditch the calorie counters...

It's like, I'm not terrified of gaining weight, and I'm in the healthy range, but I'm spending way too much time with the calorie counter and researching, and I'm losing weight while eating more calories than I did in the summer. If I just ditch the nutrition tools I'm concerned that I'll slip into eating too little a lot of days and getting foggy and having concentration and mood issues related to that, like I did in the summer... but it's weird, I'm pushing to eat more while losing weight, but I'm fine with losing some more weight because I could lose weight and not be underweight, but I must have been undereating in an unhealthy way this summer so maybe my goal should be weight maintenance and even wanting to keep losing is bad...

My therapist is ok, I could meet him in a couple weeks, but I'm hoping someone with more nutritional and ED background can work me in. I know there's something weird about the situation so I need to discuss it with a professional, but I also know that I'm catching these issues early, thankfully. I'm more confused and preoccupied, not anxious or terrified so much as ruminating and avoiding. I think eating more has helped my focus and concentration and energy, and thankfully some issues at work forced me to focus on other things a bit and be more productive, but I'm still too preoccupied with eating-related things when at work, and outside work my life is way too focused on eating issues.

It sounds like it's kind of

It sounds like it's kind of tricky choosing between using a calorie counter or moving away from it, since both choices have their problems to navigate. It can be difficult to be uncertain of where to go and figuring out how to prevent slip ups. These are really good questions for your therapist.

If the one you have currently doesn't turn out to be a good fit, I would definitely encourage you to keep trying to find a therapist. The NEDA helpline can help you find resources near you if you need it! In the meanwhile, keep us posted on your progress!!

Yes, it's tricky... a few

Yes, it's tricky... a few years ago I noticed after a couple times fasting that I was too good at it, it felt too natural, too easy, too good, I was tempted to keep going and going... so I eventually decided that fasting was a spiritual practice that was probably better for other people but not me... I didn't go overboard, I didn't think, so nothing to mention in therapy, like why make an issue out of it, I saw the temptation to excess and avoided it, I thought. But maybe I indulged the temptation a bit before getting a little scared by it.

Then this summer without trying to over-restrict myself, that's what I wound up doing... so I'm a bit too natural at restricting, and unfortunately, now it's obvious to me that by the time I realize there's an issue with this or that, the problem grows little by little as I go along clueless. Hence, the importance of talking to other people rather than assume I have it under control.

I made an appointment for next Tuesday

So I'll be meeting with a psychologist who deals a lot with disordered eating and eating disorders.

Well, I'm still processing

Well, I'm still processing things... will also be hooked up with a nutritionist.

What I don't get is how

What I don't get is how quickly things got so weird. Tuesday the therapist said I have an eating disorder. So I didn't weigh myself or use the calorie tracker since then. Wednesday inside my head it was getting more negative and intense than usual, and after the nutrionist office called me, the internal dialog started getting brutal.

Hi beingpreventive,

I'm so happy that you're seeing a therapist and a nutritionist! That's a huge step toward recovery and you should be very proud of yourself. I think it's normal that you're a bit resistant to therapy; ED probably feels threatened. However, I can tell you from experience that therapy can change your life in the best way possible, and I truly hope you stick with it. Remember that you can always post on here for extra support if you're struggling.

Please keep us updated! I look forward to hearing from you soon :)

Thanks. I'm glad I have

Thanks. I'm glad I have professional help for this. On my own what I was doing in attempts to help things was just making things worse.

Hi beingpreventive!

Try eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large meals. Take stock of mental health. If you are depressed or anxious, medication may be prescribed to stimulate your appetite. Eat with family and friends. If you live alone, you may not take the time to prepare a proper meal. Make a change. Try making something different than your usual fare. If your appetite has been zapped by an illness, ask your doctor to recommend a medication or other remedy to make food more appealing again.