Resurgence of Compulsive Eating (3/98)

I am a 36-year-old law student in my first year of graduate school. I have always been overweight, even as a kid, but when I started law school, I was at my all time best. I was eating sensibly, getting exercise regularly and was 40 pounds down. However, by the end of September, I was totally stressed out and started compulsively eating again. I can’t stand myself right now. I have gained back 10 pounds already and am terrified that I will gain back all the weight. Please help.

First of all, you haven’t lost it all. The information and perspective you had been acquiring is still within you, it’s just buried under stress and old behaviors. What’s happened to you is what happens to all people under periods of great stress: they will resort to using old coping styles — even regressive ones that have an emotional price tag attached if they need to — to keep themselves from getting overwhelmed. From a psychological viewpoint, this is extremely important as it keeps people from falling apart.
Instead of beating yourself up, use the presence of old behaviors as a signal that the stress you are under is great, and that you need to get some extra support for yourself. Overeaters Anonymous can be a great support; meetings are plentiful and free. Call them at 781/641-2303 for a meeting list. Counseling is another resource for more support. Your school may have student counseling services but if not, call LCL to schedule an appointment.

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