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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi there.. Ok here is the issue. Every time I meet a guy

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Hi there..

Ok here is the issue. Every time I meet a guy I loose all control over my eating and pile on pounds.

I'm naturally a size 8 and about 174cm tall which is great. I'm tall, slim, attractive and in control of my life.. I have a healthy self-esteem. I am very successful in a high level sales role, it's quite stressful but generally I handle it without out too much hassel. I am a true believer in mental and body fitness and my body is very important to me. I like to feel like I'm free to make any choices and that I don't let things get to me. I'm a very easy going friend and work college because I accommodate people. I'm not a doormat, I just take time to understand and generally people have good reasons for their actions and they're flexible if I take time with them. At times I like to do a fruit/veggie juice fast/feast for a day or two (no longer) because it is so refreshing to know I can make the big choices for myself and stick to it. It also makes me feel super healthy.

However that wonderful girl is the single-me.. as soon as I meet a guy and I'm relationship-me I loose all control and can't get myself to train anymore and I can't stop eating. I'm way happier when I'm training every day and eating well and I'm my normal tall slender self. So lovely men meet me and then I become fatso the comfort-eating-machine and I'm emotionally all over the place. It's like a comfort eating dating anxiety mixed up thing. It seems I'm a commitment phobe and the way it presents is by eating masses of food and squatting on the couch. What is with this? How do I reprogram myself, tried NLP and cognitive therapy but I am so busy during the day (working full time and studying an online course) it's intense so I don't have time to pull out a diary and write notes every time I think a thought.

My parents were unhappy and fought consistently my whole childhood, I have no relationship with my two brothers who are 11/12 years older than me and I feel a bit alone, I am jealous of people from close families. I have a wonderful group of girlfriends I love so much, they're my family and have been for well over five years now. I left home at 18 and have been successful ever since. Have one short lived 19 month marriage under my belt and I feel a bit of guilt about how I left that from time to time but it was 20 years ago so I don't think about it much. I was in a 7 year relationship in my 20's, it was great but he was pretty self absorbed so I left it. Haven't had a good relationship since that mostly short relationships from 1 year to 2 years and have been both the heart breaker and the totally crushed heart broken one too. Have had year long breaks of singleness when I'm happiest but then I get lonely for a partner. I've had two realtionships in quick succession. Previous one crushed me, but new one is so lovely I'm trying to take it slow and we're 3.5 months in. I'm pretty anxious but nothing too major. Sleep is a bit mixed up but on the whole on the outside I look fine except for mounting weight gain.

I've gone from a size 8 to a 10 in 3.5 short months and I'm freaking out, size 12 is looming. I am diving into an emotional abyss and I'm at risk of letting the wave out where my boyfriend can see it and I don't loose him.

If I get to size 12 I'll have to buy a whole new wardrobe and get a slot on the biggest looser. Neither of which are a good idea for me.

Help!!! Please!!!

Thanks so much.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you feel you lose control when you enter into a relationship. From what you said about your parents fighting all the time, feeling lonely as a child, you leaving home at a young age then the relationships you have had since then, it seems that you have been hurt by what occurred in your childhood. All the fighting between your parents may have caused you to feel that relationships are painful and that being in one hurts and possibly scary (kids who have to hear their parents fight a lot often react with fear).

When you enter into a relationship, it may trigger those feelings from your childhood. The intensity of constant arguing and the unavailability of your parents (being absorbed in each other) and their anger may have triggered anxiety for you. As a result, you eat to comfort yourself. And along with being a comfort, eating can provide a barrier between you and your partner. Needing that protective barrier between you and your partner can be manifested emotionally but it can also be demonstrated physically as well. So you could be pushing your partner away without realizing it. This would protect you from getting hurt.

It also could be that you are fearful of being alone so you enter into relationships rather than face feeling lonely. As a child, feeling lonely was overwhelming for you. So avoiding it by getting into a relationship, even if you are not sure you want one, can help you avoid feeling the intense loneliness of your childhood.

Therapy can help you get to the bottom of what you feel and why. But since you do not have time, you may want to try self help until you can see someone. Also, you can try on line therapy so you can at least begin to work on how you feel until you have time for face to face therapy. Here are some resources to help you:

Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time by Pavel G. Somov

Overcoming Overeating: How to Break the Diet/Binge Cycle and Live a Healthier, More Satisfying Life by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter

Overcoming Overeating: It's Not What You Eat, It's What's Eating You! by Lisa Morrone

Try your local library for these books. Or may have them for you.
You may also want to consider hiring a life coach to help you. Having someone to partner with, talk to and to guide you can make a big difference in your search to find a way to cope with overeating. Here are some sites to get you started:

I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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