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Dear Danika: The "Typical" Overeater

Danika Brysha

 

"Dear Danika" is a series of blog posts containing real email/message conversations that I've had with people who've reached out to me for support. They are completely anonymous, and all names and identifying details have been changed. I share these not because my advice is necessarily life-changing but because I think it is important to see that we're not alone in our struggles.

 

Dear Danika...

I'm a big fan and follower of your Instagram account. My husband is Paleo and I love your recipes almost as much as your sardonic wit!! 
I am embarassed to be writing you... like some kind of fan-boy. But ever since you posted about Overeaters Anonymous (OA), I've been listening to the podcasts and am feeling something. I spent some time in Al-Anon rooms, and even a brief stint in Alcoholics Anonymous although neither really felt like home. I never felt like they were talking about me. Even in my early 20s and I was partying, my drinking never was the real problem. OA sounds like it may be. My fear, though is that I may not look like a typical overeater. And I'm afraid that I'm not enough of an overeater. Its probably the first time in my Los Angeles life that I've been worried I'm not big enough. If that makes sense. Does this make any sense? Are there compulsive eaters who don't struggle with their weight as much as others? Is there any street cred in my shameful habits of secretly bingeing? Hiding food? And all the diet pills, laxatives, and everything else I use after a few days of bingeing? I don't know. I probably sound foolish but I don't know what to do anymore. Everyone thinks I"m so healthy, cooking all these homemade meals and babyfood for my family... and here I am, hitting up two separate McDonalds at night because the food didn't last the entire commute. That can't be healthy, no matter my jeans size. 
xoxo

The "Typical" Overeater.


Dear The "Typical" Overeater,

Thank you so much for the kind words and for reaching out. I'm running out the door but wanted to quickly reply if I could.  First of all, you are not alone. One of the biggest things for me when I walked into the OA rooms for the first time was the shock I felt at the fact that everybody looked like everyone on the streets.  Lots of incredibly thin people, lots of fit, toned athletes, some with a little weight to lose and some with a lot. Everybody's struggle is different and you will be accepted there no matter what.  If food and weight is affecting your day to day life in a significant way, it is worth checking it out.  I know the feeling of hiding the food and putting on a front that everything is together and happy and perfect.  I lived that for so many years.  I'd stop at taco bell then Jack in the Box then get chips and ice cream.  It never ended.  And then I used alcohol to give myself a "break".  So anytime I drank, I gave myself permission to binge because I didn't have to really face what was happening.  I very rarely drink now because I know it is a gateway to losing control with food.

I'm so sorry that you are going through this but what I can tell you is that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.  And finding support and others that are sharing the struggle is incredibly valuable when it comes to recovery.  Let me know how I can help or if you have specific questions.  Just know that you are not alone.  Everybody has a different relationship with food and the nice thing about OA is that it is relevant to any sort of food struggle across the board.

I'm sending you so much love and support.  Let me know however I can help :)

xoxo

Danika