Tag Archives: shopping addiction

Fighting Shopping Addiction

It used to be I could avoid shopping malls and manage to refrain from overspending, but with my Internet-connected lifestyle, it’s hard to avoid constant temptation. I’ve made a commitment to only purchase items this year that support my goal to get healthy (or reward me for dropping a few dress sizes), but that doesn’t equate to frugality.

While it seems silly, I get a major rush from shopping. It started when I was young. Since there was little emotional connection in my family beyond constant fights, the one time where I felt I could bond with my mother was when we went shopping. Going to the mall was our thing. And we spent way too much money on my clothes. Spending $1000 at Nordstrom was a common occurrence. I never bought designer clothing but the amount of clothing purchase added up. If I liked a shirt in blue and it came in six other colors, my mother would convince me I needed every color. Being able to purchase all of this made me feel in control, like I was on top of the world. Continue reading

The Cycle of Addiction, Binging, and Quest for Control

I believe that most, if not all of our psychological disorders stem from the need to be in control, and the reality that control – even when felt certainly – is an illusion. You can be Albert Einstein or Britney Spears, and in the end still end up six feet under, eaten by worms, and eventually dissolved into a thousand nanoscale bits spread across the universe.

Of course, on a day to day basis, control is more about feeling an ownership of time instead of time owning you. It’s about accomplishments large and small. It’s about praise and pride. Success has never felt like control to me, however. Success is the scariest feat of all… because once you succeed, the expectations are higher the next time you try, and you have a lot further to fall.

This leads to my admittance that — my name is Joy and I’m a — addiction-aholic. That is, there are a lot of things I do that i wish I didn’t do that I haven’t been able to stop myself from doing, or things I should do that I can’t force myself to do as often as I should. That is unhealthy, and something I’d like to solve in any way possible.

Luckily, I never ended up addicted to drugs or alcohol, but my addictions range the gamut. Shopping. Eating. Avoiding. Procrastinating. I’m addicted to binging because it makes me feel in control, if just for a moment. It lets me say — fuck you world, I’ll never be thin, so I might as well just eat and eat because it feels good… because I can do it, because no one can stop me from eating this entire box of Oreos until it’s gone — because the only person I’m hurting is myself, and it feels good to stuff my face, to empty one column of cookies from their slots and the next, to hide in my room and finish as quickly as possible to be done with it.

I used to be the same way with shopping — go to the mall, or the bargain store — and buy things I didn’t need because THAT gave me the same sense of control. It made me feel good. It was a rush… of something I could do for myself, on my own, with no one else knowing. I was in charge and in control as much as I had given up on any real control.

Do I have an eating disorder? A shopping disorder? Yes, and yes. I am an addict. And I need to stop the cycle of self abuse. But, like any other addict, I love it. Why? Is it that I feel I deserve the abuse? Yes, probably. Growing up my parents taught me to second guess myself, to not trust myself, that I was always wrong and other people were always right. Spending money, eating junk food, wasting time watching tv instead of being productive or even reading a book… forgetting how to concentrate… and finding a wild talent for daydreaming between binges, was my life. Continue reading

Eating Addicitions vs. Spending Addictions

There are many similarities between a shopping addiction and eating addiction, or any other addiction for that matter. Mostly, you are ashamed of your addiction. You want to do it alone. You feel some sort of power in that you’re doing it alone, that you have control over this one thing in your life, despite it being so out of control.

I feel very fortunate to not have any “other” addictions beyond eating and shopping – those are enough to handle on their own. I’m also very fortunate to not have a gene where my weight balloons regardless of how much I eat. My eating addition shows, but at 150lbs I’m more unhealthy inside than out.

For shopping, it’s my credit card bill that gets “fat.” I purposefully lost my credit card last month to stop myself. It’s not that I spend and spend, it’s just that the idea of having a credit card is that you can pay for something later. That little psychological switch makes rationality hard to grasp. It’s easy to buy something here and something else there, and before you know it you owe quite a bit of money. You need financial weight watchers.

This year, I really want to focus on getting healthy in both of these areas. Last night, I was bad. I came home and ate an entire box of bagel bites. Alone, those 500 calories would not be the end of the world, I probably hadn’t eaten more than 1000 calories earlier in the day. But then my roommate offered me a box of Oreos. I never buy Oreos for myself, and I love them so much, and I couldn’t resist.

One thing I’m looking forward to in life is moving in with my boyfriend. While we both have an eating addiction, we both realize that the worst thing to do is have food like that in the house. I’m excited about splitting the grocery bill and cooking for both of us when we live together.

How do you evade temptation?