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“Help me! Help me! I’m stuck in a Doritos bag and I can’t get out!”

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Ladies, does that sentence seem familiar? For me, it is an all too common scenario. Therefore, I’m going to come clean right here on EmpowHer.com: Ahem. My name is Samara. I’m 26 years old, and I suffer from obsessive eating.

It’s true. I can eat an entire family-size bag of Doritos in one sitting of Law & Order (Special Victims Unit, of course) and still crave more. That is an hour of non-stop chewing. The only good news that can possibly come of that despicable action is that I gave my jaw a workout (I burned about six calories). Apparently, my perception of normal eating is way off, and this is a very real disorder.

I’m not alone in this either. Sadly, 2 percent of our country – men and women alike – suffer from this, and unless you are aware of this disorder, you may not even bat an eye over your late-night attack of the fridge.

So, what’s your excuse for this in-excusable action?

Let me guess: stressful job, bad breakup, miserable weather, car died, unmotivated, on and on and on…Let’s stop there, shall we.

Scientifically speaking, triggers that set off this type of eating are stress, depression, anxiety, genetic factors and hormonal abnormalities. You name the setback, big or small, and yes, we women will eat till it hurts.

As for me, my job drives me to eat. I will eat anything I can get my grubby hands on that doesn’t involve the use of an oven. An hour after the crime has been committed, I am stuffed to the brim and bloated like a beached whale.

Your brain looks for short-term satisfaction, and the majority of the time, your conscience caves. For whatever reason you’re obsessively eating, your hypothalamus (the part of the brain which controls hunger) triggers your conscience to think food is the prescription needed. It’s like training a dog to play fetch. Fido gets so good at the game it becomes an involuntary action to pick up the ball and beg for you to play with him.

Getting upset with the decision to obsessively eat the entire bag, box or container of something and then making a vow to never to do it again is all too common in obsessive eaters. These are all good signs that you have gone too far.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Oh, boy - I just said to my mom (who buys the chips in this house) that I love Tostitos, but they don't love me! As I write, she's munching a bunch with salsa, while I've just savored a handful of chips. I think it's the salt I crave, not so much the chips.

My favorite snack is air-popped popcorn with a scant bit of ground sea salt and herbs.

My downfall is also chocolate; but I rationalize that dark chocolate is good, so I scout the store for dark chocolate Hershey kisses, LOL!

Fortunately, we always have the fridge stocked with fresh, raw produce to munch; I use Stevia as a sweetener, and never buy soda (my mom tries to stock some in my fridge, but I won't let her, LOL!). I have to have a snack before bed, but it's usually half an apple and a cheese stick.

One thing I did catch myself thinking, though, was that it's okay to enjoy a few 100-calorie snack packs in a day - NOT, lol!

June 22, 2009 - 4:47pm

Samara, what a great SHARE. I've seen many of the empty insides of a bag of chips or a container of ice cream, sadly. Chips especially are my downfall. You know those surveys where half the people would take chocolate on a desert island and the other half would take salty snacks? That last one would be me.

I'm working on changing my eating habits right now, too. I'm finding that many times, I eat badly out of simple, plain boredom. If it's in the kitchen in a package, like you say, ready to be eaten, it's very hard to resist. This summer I'm focusing on keeping all kinds of fruits and vegetables in the kitchen, and even though cherries cost more than chips (wrong! that's just wrong!), I'm finding success. If I can open my fridge to a selection of carrots and hummus, strawberries and blueberries, flavored yogurt, string cheese and unsalted sunflower seeds, there seems to be always something that i'm interested in. And the best part is that I know my snacking is doing my body good. Colorful foods full of nutrients are harder to keep in my kitchen than a big bag of potato chips, but I know my body appreciates the effort.

I still do buy chips, but in the six-to-a-pack lunch bag size. When I get a craving for them, it's a good exercise for me to have a smaller size. While I always have the option to get a second bag, I rarely do. It's the flavor and the crunch that I'm craving, and a small bag can give me that.

One other thing: Sugar-free popsicles. They are a lifesaver at about 20 calories each! And while I know that artificial sweeteners are on many people's "no" list, I'm not worrying about that right now. If I make the rest of these good eating habits permanent, my next step will be sweeteners.

Thanks again for writing. Nice to come across a bit of inspiration on a Monday morning!

June 22, 2009 - 8:40am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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