alt=a woman opens a kitchen cabinet to food engulfed in flames. There are also flames inside her.

Obsessed with Food: When Both Eating and Fasting Hurts

Hi. My name is Amy, and I am obsessed with food. The older I get, the worse it gets. The problem is that food is a problem. It does not matter whether I eat or do not eat. It is a problem.

In the past few months, I have developed a new symptom. I am fairly certain it is a peptic ulcer or gastritis or both because I have had both before at the same time and know what they feel like. I will check with my doctor at my next visit.

Frustration with healthcare providers

Yes. I know I should not wait, but I am stubborn like that. Add my age to the equation, and my doctor wants to jump to cardiac events rather than considering my digestive system. Some doctors are dismissive of IBS. That makes it more difficult to get anything taken care of when they immediately dismiss other issues and jump straight to blaming my heart.

That is a big problem with digestive issues. Many doctors place that last on the list when you complain about new issues. I understand women my age have heart attacks and symptoms are not always obvious. I also know that the same kind of pain I had in my 20s should still be looked at as it would be for someone in their 20s. Do not even get me started on being sent for a heart catheterization in my 30s because I had an asthma attack during an echocardiogram I did not need.

Fasting is giving me fits

I have always fasted when I need to leave home, and that is getting harder to do as I get older. Not only do I have a much healthier appetite, but I am sorely lacking self-control now. I am constantly hungry and thinking about food. I am obsessed with food. However, I know I must fast before leaving home.

I am currently caught in the midst of one of the worst IBS-D flares I have ever had. It is torture trying to fast when I feel like I am starving, but eating when I must leave the house is simply not an option during this flare. I would be happy to stay home and binge all the time, but this is not an option. Sometimes I must leave the house.

When fasting hurts it becomes a bigger problem

Now, as I suffer through fasting and feel like I am absolutely starving to death, I have a new problem that makes fasting even harder. When my stomach is empty, it burns. I am not talking about minor discomfort. It feels like I swallowed a lit match and it is sitting in my stomach, still burning. Sometimes it is accompanied by a sharp pain. It hurts.

People who know me know that I do not often say I am in pain or that I hurt. I generally say I am uncomfortable. If I say I am in pain or hurt, it means my pain levels are fairly high on the 1 to 10 scale. Anything less than a 5 is discomfort. It needs to be at least a 7 for me to call it pain. This issue hurts. I have even had a couple of instances where I said I was in pain.

I am obsessed with foods I cannot have

Here is the problem. All I can think of is food. If I eat, I have cramping and cannot leave the house. If I do not eat, I have this gnawing, burning pain in my stomach until I eat. I seriously cannot win. It hurts to eat. It hurts to not eat.

Again, I would be happy to simply stay at home and eat all the time. I feel like I am starving all the time. That is no exaggeration. Still, I cannot do that. There are times when I must leave the house. So, here I am. I am thinking of food all day and all night because no matter what I do I will pay for it. I am obsessed with food.

Do you feel like you are constantly thinking of food and weighing the consequences? How is it affecting your daily life?

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