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better late than never. ever heard of misophonia?


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i embarked on my whole30 journey nearly four weeks ago, midday through the day on february 8th. i had just binged on stevia-sweetened chocolate when i realized something had to change, and that something was my relationship with food.

my driving force is quitting my habit of turning to food for comfort. on the outside, people regard me as healthy, as i already followed a gluten-free, soy-free, peanut-free, and generally dairy-free lifestyle, because i suffer from a gluten sensitivity and ibs. i am a vain person, so i can't say losing weight wasn't a factor in deciding to change my lifestyle. lately i had also been feeling sooooo fatigued, burned out. and defeated. between labor day and thanksgiving, i had lost some 12 pounds, i was working out regularly but consuming way too much stevia-sweetened carbonated beverages (colas, starbucks refreshers, kevita, etc.) and relying too heavily on vegan protein powders and gluten-free protein bars for "nutrition". it was anything but. it tasted like candy and didn't signal to my body that i was actually eating food, so i was always eating too much and working out too much.

i caved around christmas, when we stayed with family in the midwest, where my boyfriend's mom was sweet in making gluten-free foods ... including gluten-free cheesecake, which i then proceeded to eat 3x a day for the 4 days we were there. then there were the usual sweet suspects at all the family gatherings. when we returned home, i felt like i was on a hamster wheel, going nowhere with my workouts and with understanding my real issues.

i have had a troubled relationship with food that began somewhere around the age of 14 (or earlier, if you count how my parents fed me a diet of junk before i started to rebel in my adolescence). i had always been a little chubby as a child ("baby fat" my parents called it, even though i was that way until i was about 12). after getting sick with pneumonia a few times (twice in three years), my weight dropped a little bit. when i started running track and cross country in high school, i thought i would win the races if i were as light as possible. at age 16, i weighed a ghastly 105lbs, and followed doctor's orders to gain 30 pounds. since then, my weight has fluctuated +15/-5 lb around about that range. and i still *obsess* about food. and health. i tell myself i am trying to avoid dying of a heart attack at a young age, like my father and uncle.

the whole30 has helped so far in that my energy level is more constant throughout the day and i don't have the low-blood-sugar freakouts that i used to when i wasn't eating constantly, it seemed. i am still struggling with snacking, but i recognize that it is mostly an emotional crutch involving foods without brakes. it has been good to prepare whole foods and to get back in the kitchen. i always loved to cook, and learned to cook at a young age, but my food intolerances stripped the joy out of eating for the past few years. (i grew up in an italian-american household, where most dishes involved pasta or breadcrumbs.) i am now a conscious omnivore, putting my money into local, organic, and humanely raised animals. i never thought i would be so in love with meat, after being a strict pescatarian for so many years. best of all, i feel more in touch with my emotional self, and the mental fog i have experienced for years is lifting.

but in having to face all of my naked emotions, unmasked by the lack of sugar that usually circulated in my system, i have learned quite a bit about myself. i know that food can't solve everything, so to work through some of my remaining food issues, which might even be considered obsessive-compulsive, i set up an appointment to see a therapist starting monday. however, i had an epiphany earlier this week.

at about the same time i developed my food issues (~14y/o), i also became sensitive to certain sounds, especially sounds related to eating. it has progressed over the years to involve a number of different triggers that send me into a rage as my body reacts to the sounds with a fight-or-flight response. i lose track of my thoughts and concentration and can only focus on the sound or anticipation of the sound. i end up wearing headphones at work to try to mask the sounds, but somethings even that is of no use. apparently i'm not just "sensitive" and don't need to "get over it" -- it's a real condition called misophonia. ("dislike of sound").

I am curious is anyone else in the whole30 community experiences this or knows of someone who does. an auditory specialist i spoke with yesterday mentioned that most of her patients are adolescent girls and that the onset of the condition is often related to chewing. this makes me think that my snacking might me more than just an emotional act.

so that's me.

i plan to continue following the whole30 for at least another four weeks, until i feel more confident that my sugar dragon is hibernating. i also had some "oops" moments in the past couple of weeks, but i don't feel like i experienced any physical setbacks and feel like i have been making progress every day.

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Pdecks, I had never heard of misophonia but, having looked it up and found the support forum, reading the stories there my heart totally goes out to anyone suffering from it. I presume you'll already be aware of that forum but if anyone else wants to know anything about it, it's http://www.misophonia.info/Forum/index.php

Thank you for sharing your story. I am in awe of your self analytical skills. I really hope all goes well with the therapist. Please keep us informed how you're doing I really, really wish you all the best.

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