When I was in college, I went through this Oreo cookie phase where I couldn't eat just 2-3 cookies. Nope! I had to eat half the bag a day. I wouldn't eat it all in one seating. I'd spread out. I'd eat a bunch at lunch, then some in the afternoon when class was done, and then finish the rest during prime time TV. Then the next day, I'd do the same thing and finish off the whole bag. A whole box of Oreos by the way is 2400 calories.
Later in therapy, I discovered that during my Oreo binging phase what was really going on with me was that I couldn't forgive myself for not being what my parents wanted me to be. The folks wanted me to go to some prestigious college like a Harvard or Stanford, which I had what it took to get in one of those places, but I chose to go to C-list San Francisco State. (Again remember, Asian parents who are stuck on prestige factor. Years later, going to SF State is still the best decision I ever made.) Then they wanted me to go to med school and become a doctor like any good Asian girl is supposed to do.
It didn't help that my mother came from a family history of medical professionals, and I was supposed to carry the torch into the next generation being that I was the third oldest of all the grandkids, and my two cousins older than me were medical students. Nope! I wanted to be something creative like an architect, a product designer, or a filmmaker. I have always been talented in the creative arts, but to my old school Asian parents: Art = poor = failure.
And now, the inner judge gets to lay down my sentence.
Despite their pressure to make me the next Dr. Quilao, I chose to get my degree in Product Design with a minor in marketing. I figured any good creative type who wanted to make good money needed to have a business background to sell her stuff. See, I actually was quite visionary back then, even though I didn't realize it at the time. Of course, my folks were incredibly unhappy about this decision, and made me feel it every chance they could, at least that is how it felt to me.
In reality, I couldn't stop beating myself up for disappointing them. I felt like choosing my happiness was my failure in making them happy. I was their oldest child and I always made them happy because I always did everything "right." But here, here was the first time I disappointed them. I couldn't forgive myself for making my parents unhappy in my life choice. It didn't matter that choosing my happiness was a big deal. Inside, all I could feel was guilt. Now, if you were the "good girl" or "perfect child" in your family, you will totally understand and relate to what I'm talking about here.
...The Oreos were a reminder of happier times when I was a kid. ...
The Oreos were a reminder of happier times when I was a kid. When I was in elementary school, I was cute, thin, and a happy child whom all the teachers liked. I brought home gold stars on my assignments, and I painted beautiful turkeys from my hand outline. Oreos were a treat that my brothers and I used to get as an afternoon snack. My early childhood days were filled with happy memories like this one. Then at some point, the easy going happy days of childhood ended, and all the pressure started. The bar got higher, and the standards were tougher. Being perfect girl was not as easy to do.
During my Oreo binging phase, I believe what my psyche was trying to do with the Oreos was bring back some sense of those early childhood days when I was just loved for who I was, my shining, bright creative self. I was trying to re-create the happy times, except no matter how many Oreos I ate, those happy times did not come back. In hindsight, what I needed to do was forgive myself for disappointing my parents, and let go of the guilt. I needed to just accept that they would be unhappy for awhile, and that once I did well in my career, they would come around. I just needed to trust that I made the right decision for myself, and that all would be good. Years later, I finally learned that lesson.
Sometimes, we over eat a particular food because we are wanting some kind of absolution. We think that particular food, like in my case the Oreos, will somehow make the guilt go away. Sometimes, what we need to forgive ourselves for isn't really anything to be judged for, but we do it to ourselves anyway because we feel we somehow failed either ourselves or a loved one. If there is a particular food or type of food that you consistently over eat, see if you can go back and make a correlation between your present circumstance and a past time. You just might learn something very valuable to help you on your way to achieving your healthy weight goals.