What are signs of compulsive eating?

  • Losing weight over and over (Yo-yo dieting), often gaining back "just a little more" every time.
  • Eating normally in public and bingeing in private while under the delusion that people won't know that we overeat.
  • Hiding evidence of our compulsive eating from those around us.
  • Eating a handful of chips or candy, and then another and another until the entire bag is gone.
  • Sitting in front of the television with a half gallon of ice cream.
  • Eating sweets even though we are diabetic or pre-diabetic.
  • Eating foods high in fat despite having high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or other serious medical conditions we know are worsened by the way we eat.
  • Stopping at one or more fast food restaurants on the way home to eat dinner.
  • Pretending to order for more than one person at the drive through.
  • Driving across town in the middle of the night to get a favorite binge food.
  • Eating leftovers from other people' plates (our kids, spouse, guests).
  • Thinking "Why bother?" when offered any of the following portions of food:
    • Pizza by the slice - a large pizza is more like it.
    • A serving (1/2 cup) of ice cream - a serving is at least a bowl full.
    • A cookie - we want the whole bag.
    • A piece of cake - we'll eat the leftovers when everybody leaves.
    • A bite sized piece of candy - we'll start with a handful of pieces and go from there.
  • Wanting to be thin while continuing to eat foods high in calories and low in nutritional value.
  • Believing that life will be better once the weight is gone.
  • Thinking about food immediately after finishing a meal.
  • Saying “I’m not a compulsive eater. I just can’t lose weight.”

As compulsive eaters we obsess about food, we go to any length to get it, and once we start eating, we can't stop. Then we hate ourselves for doing it and swear to never let it happen again, only to start again, perhaps the very next day.