I’m an eater. If I’m happy, sad, depressed, bored, tired or anything else…I tend to eat. While I am overweight, I’m not obese, so many people probably don’t realize that I have a problem.

I’ve known for awhile – but really have no clue how to fix it. Any ideas??

Oh Gentle Reader, it sounds to me like you’re a compulsive eater. I’m compulsive too, so I get that, don’t think I’m being all judge-mc-Aunt Becky here (you should see my orchids)(or my blog).

But the thing is, you obviously know it’s not healthy because it’s not, and you need to fix it. So baby steps, right? First, you need to put your finger on why you’re eating and figure out your triggers and learn to avoid them. As someone who has successfully quit smoking, I know this works.

Change your routine.

You’re using food (smokers use cigarettes, alcoholics use booze, pill-hounds pop pills) to fill some other emotional void and that’s not going to work forever. It’s not healthy. So figure out what it is, which, it sounds like you have, and try and channel it into something else.

Find some other healthy things that bring you joy and turn those into your void fillers. Pick harmless stuff and do that. Read a book. Garden. Blog. Take a walk. The point is, you need to get your mind off of food and on to something else. Distraction is key.

There are some really wholesome things to do that involve your hands and your head. (have you seen my orchids?)

Chew some gum and work on some cross stitching (don’t diss the cross-stitching, people). Plan your meals on a schedule and when you catch yourself reaching for the bag of chips ask yourself if you’re REALLY hungry or if you’re using them as a crutch.

If that doesn’t help, try and talk to someone professionally. I wish you luck, because I understand compulsions completely. I’m lucky mine are so wholesome that I’m practically all “Golly GEE, Mister*!!”

I have recently become friends with someone and after a few months of really enjoying hanging out with she and her husband and kid, my wife and I have started noticing a habit we are not fond of. My friend tends to make fun of people everywhere we go.

At first for me this was just a sort of funny, not meaning any harm thing, but lately I see how she does it a lot, and I don’t really like it. It was brought to my attention because her kid and mine are at the same daycare, and she will very quickly decide she doesn’t like one of the other parents. The main one is a mom whom she held the door for a few times and the other mom never acknowledged it. Not a big deal to me, but for her now she feels it is ok to bad mouth this woman to us, where the other mom can hear it.

To me, that is crossing a line into being mean to someone who has really not done anything bad. Sure, she was rude on a few occasions and did not say thanks for holding the door, but seriously, let’s be adults. Anyhow, this has caused me to see how much she insults everyone around us, and gets super gossipy about the other kids and parents at daycare.

With the ones she likes, she goes out of her way to get e-mail addresses so we can include them in park outings and such, so she can be really nice, and I do truly like her. I think mainly she just needs to feel more secure so she won’t feel the need to put down others so much.

My dilemma is how to handle it when she is whispering and laughing her insults about the other parents at the park? I don’t want to confront her and hurt her feelings or ruin our friendship, but I don’t want to participate either. If I say nothing I’m afraid it will be awkward. Any ideas?

Well, now, I’m all for being bitchy now and again, but in this situation I’m afraid you’re stuck between a rock and a bigger rock. I mean, if you do nothing, you’re alienating the people that don’t really deserve it by proxy. And if you butt up against your friend, you’re an ass in her eyes.

If I were you I’d keep your mouth shut and not badmouth anyone who didn’t deserve it. It’s bad karma.

And really, I know that this person is your friend, but my advice is to tread lightly around her. I’ve known people like this before and I’ve never been able to maintain friendships with them for very long.

Anyone who notes faults in others is probably turning around to note fault in me, too, when my back is turned. Which, incidentally, is what happened every time with the people I knew who were like this. That makes it hard to have a real friendship.

I don’t doubt that it is a lack of self-esteem on her part, but I don’t want you to get sucked down the rabbit hole. Watch yourself, my friend.

Dear Aunt Becky-

I have a neighbor who happens to be a pretty decent friend with two kids.. One of which is an adorable 2 year old and the other is SATAN. Seriously a straight-jacket worthy psycho 6 year old. I cannot stand being around him because he is mean to my 3 year old and not in a..”oh he’s just a typically six year old kind of way. More like mean in a devil’s spawn kind of way. The problem is my friend asks me to babysit ALL of the time and I’m running out of excuses. Any suggestions on shutting down the babysitting thing all together?


I love situations where you can’t tell your friend that you hate their kid. It’s so honest and refreshing. Like eating a poo sandwich!

I feel for you, duder. You don’t want to babysit and you don’t want your kid around the hell beast, because no matter what sort of emotional problems he has, that’s really not your problem.

It’s times like this when you are left no option but to tell the truth: you can’t handle children older than your own. It’s not quite the truth, but it’s not really a lie. Like that Britney song ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.’ Or…something.

You need to make up some sort of reason that’s believable enough (that require you saying “I don’t want to deal with your kid”) that doesn’t have you scrambling every time you see her number on your caller ID. Because really, you don’t owe her the favor of babysitting. There are babysitting SERVICES for that sort of thing. And even they can say “no.”

Then you can hand her the number for a Sitter City and be done with it.


As always, The Internet, please fill in anywhere that I left off in the comments.


And have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day and whatever you do, don’t forget that women prefer men with shaved balls. I am going to grow old, dimply and floppy with you, The Internet.


*shut the fuck up.

43 thoughts on “Go Ask Aunt Becky

  1. Two-faced people are two-faced to EVERYONE. If that woman is talking about other parents at daycare while you’re around then I’d bet all my money (which, admittedly, isn’t much!) that she’s talking about you when you’re not around. How much fun could it be to have a friend that you can’t be comfortable around? If it were me I would start slowly distancing myself from that mom.

    One of my nephews is a Hell Child and I can sympathize. It’s hard to say no when you care about the mom’s feelings.

  2. With regard to the eating conundrum….I too am overweight (need to lose about 50 lbs.) and found this book called “If You’re Going to Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair”. It is a great book, unlike no other I have ever read regarding compulsive eating. I highly recommend it.

  3. I am a compulsive eater for daysssss and I totally agree with finding something healthy to be compulsive about. No matter how hard I’ve tried, that compulsion never really wanes so I am now trying to focus it on working out and writing. Phew.

  4. I feel like I wrote the first letter to you Aunt Becky. I understand in so many ways.

    It is a battle everyday to make sure I’m eating because I hungry. I heard a contestant from the biggest loser (who is from Wisconsin) on the radio just a few weeks ago who said (paraphrasing here), “When you’re addicted to eating it is a frightening thing, because you need to eat to live. While many addicts think they need drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc to live, food addicts can’t completely avoid what fuels their issues. Could you imagine a alcoholic having to take three shots everyday, to survive?”

  5. What is with this men shaving thing? I was out of the whole dating scene for about 13 years. Now, I’m discovering all the men I’m dating (and a few male friends) shave much of their bodies. Is this an under 30 thing? Do they have any idea of the amount of razor burn that can be caused by a shaved chest? Or shaved arms?

    Worse yet, these men also seem to want me to shave my girlie parts. For pity’s sake, I’m 48, not 11!

    Am I the only woman left who doesn’t really prefer men with shaved balls?

    Oh, Happy Valentine’s Day!

  6. Thanks for the compulsive eating tips. I find realising you are a compulsive eater is a big step. I just realised I eat when I’m excited, hello?? Where did I pick that up? Anyway, knitting is also good, keeps the hands occupied. Now cross stich sounds interesting, same technique I guess.

    I have a friend with a psycho kid. As I have no kids, I can just avoid her son and listen to another friend wonder how she can avoid pyscho kid playing with her son. Answer: she cannot. It’s practically like watching TV seeing these 2 friends interact, lots of fun for me, probably less for them.

  7. I couldn’t read your advice to #1, Becky, because I have gestational diabetes and get a little stabby when reading about people enjoying REAL food. (Although over-eating is serious and I’m sure you had a thoughtful response.)

    About #2, it reminded me of that famous quote: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.” It can be funny to have such a friend at first, lots of giggles and you feel accepted. But I agree, there’s not really much to “win” in this situation. Stay friendly, but stay careful.

  8. I am so glad to see someone else promoting the shaving of balls! Hairy balls are one of the biggest blights on our society today. Thank you for your continued efforts and tireless work in this struggle. It will not go unnoticed as we battle against the hair.

  9. #1 – I’m an emotional eater too, but I’ve refocused my efforts and started exercising instead. You know, its that whole exercise creates endorphins, endorphins make you happy thing that people are always talking about. I thought it was a load of crap until I tried it, and now I wouldn’t have it any other way (though I do splurge on occassion and have some junk food for old times sake)

    On #2 I totally agree…people like this are like this to EVERYONE. She may seem ok when you are around her but there’s a good chance that when you aren’t by her side she is talking shit about you too. I’ve been in these kinds of friendships several times, and the outcome is never good.

  10. I absolutely agree about the friend that shit talks about everyone. She is inevitably going to shit talk about you too. I’ve learned to recognize this as a sign in my friendships with other women – if they are that caddy and nasty toward other people, it’s more than likely going to be directed at me sooner or later. Also, I just think it sucks being around people that act like that – and sometimes it’s just flat out embarrassing.

  11. (1) Second the knitting. Huge second (said from under thirty layers of hand-knitted ponchos, scarves, etc.). I don’t think I’m a compulsive eater but I’m compulsive for sure in other ways.

    (2) UGH. What Aunt Becky said.

    (3) I’ve found that mentioning to the other mother that nothing gets you through a babysitting session like a nice, stiff drink tends to cut down on the requests.

  12. In regards to compulsive eating. I used to be a stress starver. That is, when I had bad anxiety, I would just not eat. I wasn’t hungry, but it was also a way to control something in my life, anything, when I felt that things were at their worst. Then I had kids, and my anxiety was at an all time high, and everything was just so out of control, that I found myself eating constantly.

    After my second was born, nursing her helped me to shed the weight rather quickly, but once she quit nursing, I ended up gaining ten pounds rather quickly, and meh, it was awful.

    I ended up going on something for the anxiety, which has helped me not eat so much. While, yes, I suggest hobbies and things to take your mind off of it, you might need something for OCD like behavior. I hate to be a meds pusher, but sometimes, you just can’t do it on your own. Talk to a psychiatrist or a therapist to see if it might be worth looking into. It’s not a magic answer, obviously, but nothing ever is. Good luck.

  13. No advice on the compulsive thing because that is me too and I NEED the advice.

    As for the gossiper, she is gossiping about you too hon.

    For the not wanting to babysit person, have you thought about asking her what her disipline (<no spell check on this computer) rules are? Then mention that you notice that her 6 year old is mean to your kid and you dont want to just ignore it. And tell her your rate is $25 an hour.

    And for badass, pubic hair isnt meant for dental floss. Just sayin. lol

  14. Alls I’ve gots to say is that politeness is lost in our society. Rarely do people stop to hold a door for you in the first place, but I, being from the dear old South, where ma’m and sir reign king and queen, I relish these old common courtesies. So dammit, if I hold the effing door open for you, PLEASE stop, notice and say “thanks!” It’s such a small return to people stopping and taking their time to do something kind for you. And NO, I’m not the lady in the post, though I do appreciate some good shit talking…you can come sit by me anytime. If you give me a good reason, I’ll talk some shit, but I don’t condemn anyone. Everyone has an opportunity to turn around and redeem themselves. Sorry folks if I’ve gotten any knickers in a knot, just telling it like it is.
    Happy Valentines Day Aunt Becky!

    1. Anytime someone doesn’t say “thank you” for holding the door open for me (a HUGE pet peeve of mine too) I very obnoxiously say “YOU’RE WELCOME” as sincerely and chipperly as possible. Like I THOUGHT they’d said “Thank you” and simply was responding to that. It works well.

      1. I live in the NYC area (North Jersey burbs), and have hardly EVER seen someone not say thank you. I am all for the Sir, but its usually said in a joking matter, or jovial if you may. But calling anyone under the age of 65 ma’am may get someone clocked around here. Unless you are a southerner saying it of course. Then we may swoon a bit.

      2. i totally do the same thing when people don’t acknowledge me holding a door for them!!!! and when i help people at work.

        saying “thank you” doesn’t take very much effort. nor does saying “please” for that matter.

        1. First, holy SHIZNIZZLES!!!! I can’t believe Aunt BECKY responded to my post. After I passed out cold on the floor, I dusted myself off and decided to reply. So I try your advice Aunt Becky, except perhaps my “YOUR WELCOME!!” doesn’t come out all sweetness and love. In fact, I’m pretty certain most times you can clearly read between all the letters to my hidden message of “go to hell, you impolite fuck!” I’ll have to consider something else, because amazingly, I LIVE in Atlanta GA, home of Scarlett effin’ O’Hara and these turds around here are as freakin’ surly as they come.
          But Aunt Becky, I’m so glad you replied to me, it totally makes me day! And thanks to the other post-ers as well! Ya’ll are swellness and delight.

  15. I graze, snack too much at night, before bed, because we eat way earlier than I go to bed, and I’m like a newborn and I can’t go to sleep if I’m at all hungry. This is my problem. Sure, I should just have a healthy snack before bedtime, but what I really want is a slow-rate of pretzels added to my stomach over a two-hour period.

  16. Now, I don’t want to take this the wrong way, but I am amazed at what people ask you. Then again, you give rockin’ honest answers that sound like real life.
    I hate gossips, that woman clearly sucks….

  17. No, Meg St. Clair, you are not. But those crazy kids today. Whaddya gonna do?

    As for the gossip, the day will come when the writer looks at her the wrong way and it will be GAME ON. Slowly back away, dude. She’s toxic.

    As for the eating… if I ever figure it out, I’ll let you know.

    *waddles off into the sunset*

  18. So, here’s my big eating secret. I recently started taking phentermine, a prescription diet pill. Works like a freaking charm. Since I’ve been taking it, I’m not as obsessed about food, and when I eat, I get full faster. I don’t feel like I’m on speed either, which is nice. 😉 Also, I log EVERYTHING I eat on Daily Burn. It’s amazing how fast the calories pile up. So that in and of itself helps keep me on track too!

  19. I don’t have kids, but I do babysit. If I hate a person’s kid cuz he’s a complete, miniature ass…I play with him so hard he can’t BREATHE! Then I chase him around the house until he COLLAPSES! I act worse than he POSSIBLY can because I find that forcing kids to be the adult when they’re used to being the jerk helps them backtrack the bad behavior.

    Or I just say “Your kid is kind of…mean. We just don’t mesh.”

    I don’t get calls to watch him after either of those, though. So, both methods are effective – but the first one is definitely more fun. For me.

  20. regarding #2: this girl is talking about you behind your back. you are no different than anyone else in her world. people like this will stab you in the back so fast it will make your head spin.

    i work with a girl like this, and i ALWAYS have to watch what i say because she enjoys misery.

    hanging around with miserable people is no fun. she may be a lot of fun and you may like her company, but you’re not getting far being her friend.

    aunt becky is right!

  21. I don’t want to confront her and hurt her feelings or ruin our friendship, but I don’t want to participate either.

    Why not? Why not say, “Gossipgirl, I’d rather not take the conversation in this direction.” Why should you suck it up just so her mean feelings won’t be hurt? It doesn’t sound like much of a friendship if you are absorbing all the discomfort. What’s wrong with saying, “That’s pretty harsh” and stopping? Call her on it. See what happens.

  22. To add to #1, I love food more than you can imagine. But I have zero self-control. I can’t have any sort of snack food in my presence without eating the entire package. Seriously, have you ever seen someone house an entire package of oreos? Welcome to my world.

    My advice? Only keep food you have to cook to consume. “Ugh I’m “hungry” (read: bored), but do I really feel like cooking vegetables?” Uh, no. So if you’re not around it, you can’t eat it.

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