Thursday, May 26, 2016

Overeating can be addictive

Addiction and recovery

By Bob Gaydos

Are you a compulsive overeater?

` It’s not a question most people want to ask themselves, but given the virtual epidemic of obesity in this country as well as the prevalence of eating disorders, it’s a question more people should be considering. Food may be necessary for survival, but the manner and amount in which it is consumed can become dangerously addictive.
As with other addictions, there are a variety of groups and approaches available to try to change the behavior. Also, as with all addictions, the solution begins with recognizing the problem. A self-assessment test is a good way to start. The following is one used by Overeaters Anonymous. It is not the only test available on compulsive eating, but it will definitely let you know if you have a problem.
As always, of course, be honest or this is a big waste of time and possibly hazardous to your health.

OA’s Fifteen Questions

  1. Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment? Yes No
  2. Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick? Yes No
  3. Do I have feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment about my weight or the way I eat? Yes No
  4. Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone? Yes No
  5. Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life? Yes No
  6. When my emotions are intense — whether positive or negative — do I find myself reaching for food? Yes No
  7. Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy? Yes No
  8. Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight? Yes No
  9. Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight? Yes No
  10. Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight? Yes No
  11. Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies or beverages? Yes No
  12. Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage? Yes No
    13.  Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite? Yes No
     14. Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain? Yes No
     15. Do I spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with myself about whether or what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories? Yes No
If you answered yes to several questions, OA says it is possible you have or “are well on your way to having, a compulsive eating or overeating problem.”
If you choose to try OA, you should know that it is based on abstinence and is a 12-step program of spiritual recovery. It does not provide diets or weight-loss plans.  The so-called “GreySheet,” with its recommended daily meals, is no longer part of the OA program, having been eliminated decades ago, as have other diet plans. OA’s web site states: “For weight loss, any medically approved eating plan is acceptable. OA members interested in learning about nutrition or who seek professional advice are encouraged to consult qualified professionals.”
There are, however, some Greysheeters Anonymous groups active, which also follow the 12-step model and still use the diet plan. In addition, Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous offers a 20-question assessment, which is available online. There is also a 12-step group called Food Addicts Anonymous and others based on the 12-step model. Each has a slightly different focus on dealing with food addiction. If there are no convenient face-to-face meetings for some of the groups, they all have phone and online meetings available and all are anonymous. (It should also be noted that alcoholism and other substance abuse disorders are more common among persons with food addictions than among the general population.)
Of course, none of these groups is a substitute for professional medical care, counseling or dietary advice, which are necessary to deal with serious eating disorders. The groups do provide a source of support and sense of purpose, however, and a relief from the shame and stigma that often accompany efforts to recover from compulsive overeating.                                                                                                                                                                       
They also avoid the risk of isolation, a threat to recovery from all addictions. If you're taking this test, know this: You're not alone; help is available.

For help
Binge-eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge-eating episodes during which a person feels a loss of control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia, binge-eating episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. They also experience guilt, shame and/or distress about the binge-eating, which can lead to more binge-eating. The average age of onset is 25 years old.
-- National Institute of Mental Health

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

16 years ... still waiting for Hillary

By Bob Gaydos
Hillary Clinton

Back in 2000, I was writing editorials for The Times Herald-Record, a daily newspaper based in Middletown, N.Y., Daniel Patrick Moynihan was getting ready to retire from an illustrious career in the United States Senate and Hillary Clinton was packing her bags to move out of the White House.

My activity was part of a well-established routine. Moynihan’s was the logical culmination of a long career in public service to the state of New York. Clinton's, in a way, was both. Her bag-packing was part of a well-established career plan and the culmination of eight adventurous  years as First Lady. And, the story goes, it had nothing to do with any questionable behavior on her husband’s part. 

It turned out the Clintons, in looking for a place to live when Bill’s final term as president ended, had found a cozy, little 11-room ch√Ęteau in Westchester County, in New York. It was perfect for the ex-prez and the soon-to-be-junior senator from the state of New York. That was the next step in the well-established plan. Fulfilling the residency requirement.

The fact that neither Clinton had ever lived in New York was never a major problem in Hillary’s senate campaign since New Yorkers had famously welcomed that carpetbagger Bobby Kennedy when he decided he would like to be United States senator from New York before running for president. Now, I saw and heard Bobby Kennedy and trust me, Hillary Clinton never was and never will be a Bobby Kennedy.

Nevertheless, the Clintons were warmly welcomed in New York and Hillary was accepted as a candidate for the United States Senate. Her credentials as soon-to-be-former First Lady were enough.

Funny, in many ways that hasn't changed in 16 years. Her campaign for president today relies to a large extent on a hurry-up resume that sounds a whole lot better than it really is. It's not for nothing that the words “entitled” and “inevitability” are frequently attached to Clinton’s name.

In any event, there I was, pounding out editorials on a daily basis, there went Pat, as he was called, holding farewell audiences with newspaper editorial boards, and here came Hillary. Except that she never came. If you think elephants have long memories, beware of editorial writers who feel snubbed.

As part of her introduction to New York, Clinton conducted what was called a listening tour. She would travel across the state, she said, to find out what was important to people in the state she knew next-to-nothing about, but which she longed to represent in the United States Senate. 

A routine element of most political campaigns is meeting with editorial boards of newspapers, to hear what’s on their minds, to get out the candidate’s message and maybe get an endorsement. In 2000, I had numerous telephone conversations with a woman in Clinton’s campaign who politely assured me, every single time, that “Mrs. Clinton definitely wants to meet with The Record. We’re just figuring out the scheduling.” Or words to that effect.

They’re apparently still figuring it out.

In a major break from the paper’s liberal tradition, The Record wound up endorsing Clinton’s Republican opponent, Rick Lazio, whom she soundly trounced in the election. (Lazio replaced Rudy Giuliani, who withdrew because of marital problems and prostate cancer.) The editorial board’s thinking was that: 1.) Lazio took the time show up; 2.) he answered all our questions apparently as honestly as possible and; 3.) as a member of Congress already, he knew he state’s issues and was capable of handling the job.

Then there was 4.) If Hillary was too important to meet with The Record, how could we be sure she would have the best interests of the residents of the Hudson Valley and Catskills in her consciousness. After all, we were the largest circulation newspaper in the region.

I can already hear the cries of “sour grapes” and that’s OK, because this is not about 2000. It’s about 2016 and the still overwhelming impression in much of the news media that Hillary Clinton regards having to answer questions and explain herself as a major insult, never mind inconvenience. You can be sure her meeting with our editorial board, had it occurred, would have been respectful, but not fawning. Indeed, if her crack staff was as good as advertised in doing its homework, I would not be surprised if they discovered a piece in the New York Post in 1990, in which a former gubernatorial candidate, Pierre Rinfret, called us the “most rude, obnoxious” group he had ever encountered. Or words to that effect.

That’s because Rinfret had no idea what he was talking about and was constantly asked to explain or clarify his remarks.

Hillary Clinton, in my experience, does not like being asked to explain herself. She appears to want to be accepted as is simply because she is. Has she changed sides on an issue? Don’t ask.

A major talking point among her supporters in this presidential campaign is that she knows how to get things done. (The implication being that Bernie Sanders, with a lifetime in government and public service, does not.)

Well, as First Lady, she totally blew Bill’s attempt at universal health care. She supported his tough anti-crime bill, which she now take pains to point out was signed by him, not her. Welfare reform? Same thing. As secretary of state, she helped Barack Obama make Libya a mess, but again, he made the decisions, she reminds us, not she. That Pacific trade bill, Madame Secretary? Barack’s baby.

Which brings me back to New York state, where I still live and write, though not on a daily basis any more. Hillary Clinton served one six-year-term as senator and two years of a second term. Then she quit to run for president because, well, there was a timetable to honor. (Obama messed it up. Now Bernie’s trying to do the same.) But, unless I was in a blackout for eight years, I cannot think of a single major “thing” she “got done” for New Yorkers in that time.

And to this date, I’m not aware that she has ever set foot in Middletown.