October 4, 2007 at 9:14 am
Here are three tips:
1) Start writing things down
2) Steer clear of unnecessary temptations
3) Find healthy alternatives
I bet you assumed those were weight-loss tips, what with this being a weight-loss blog and all. WRONG! These are tips about how to overcome compulsive shopping. However, when I read the list of tips and the companion article, I was amazed at how similar compulsive shopping seems to be to compulsive eating.
|Compulsive Shoppers||Compulsive Eaters|
|Set up secret post office boxes to receive overdue bills and new credit card offers||Hide stashes of food around the house and binge in secret|
|Spend more than they make, accumulating piles of debt||Eat more calories than they burn, accumulating piles of fat|
|Buy a power drill when feeling stressed, experiences euphoria, then regret it||Eat six powdered donuts when feeling stressed, experience euphoria, then regret it|
|Live in a consumer-driven society and still have to buy things to survive||Live in a world of convenient, fatty, high-calories foods and still have to eat to survive|
By the time I’d gotten to the copyright notice at the end of that article, I felt such kinship for compulsive shoppers. They’re like the Bizarro World versions of overeaters! The strategies they recommend for dealing with the problem are similar to the tips for weight loss, like tracking your spending/calories and taking note of your feelings when you overspend/overeat.
Frequently on weight-loss blogs I will see people bemoan the fact that they are not “normal” when it comes to eating. I admit, it sucks that I have to put so much thought into planning meals and making healthy choices all the time. However, when I focus on the ways in which I’m screwed up in comparison to the rest of the species, I forget to notice all the ways in which I’m completely normal. I’ve never felt a compulsion to hit the “clearance” rack at Sak’s Fifth Avenue and buy a couple $300 dresses marked down from $1200. I’d love to have a flat-screen TV, but I wouldn’t actually buy one unless I was sure it fit into my budget. I don’t have $23,000 of credit card debt. I don’t have a spending problem and I’ve never put much thought into what it would be like having one.
I do have an eating problem though. When someone places a slice of cake right in front of me at a party, it can be really hard to turn down. Sometimes I resent the fact that someone dares to offer me a fluffy, chocolate pastry of perfection when I have struggled with a weight problem all my life. Can’t you see that I used to have a weight problem! Why can’t you be more sensitive? However, when I got a prescription filled at Target last night, the pharmacist mentioned I could get 10% off if I got a Target Visa. This was no big deal for me to turn down or accept, but if I were a compulsive shopper this situation would have been just like a waiter reading me a list of fine dessert selections. Maybe everyone is crazy in their own little way and everyone has little battles they fight every day. We just don’t always know what they are. We witness inner warfare all around as and are none the wiser.