For some eaters it's a hard habit to break

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Although Sandy Wu (not her real name) does not think that she "comfort eats", she admits that she loves food even when she is not hungry.

"I have a sweet tooth and I never feel hungry because I can eat all day long," said the 18-year-old student.

She once consumed a box of chocolate cookies, a plate of fried noodles, a carton of milk, a bottle of orange juice, a pack of rojak and a waffle in three hours.

"I just love to eat, and eating makes me happy," she said.

When asked if she would give up food if her doctor advises her to, she candidly said: "I'd rather change my doctor."

For Mary Santiago (not her real name), binge eating became a habit as she was always being overfed by her doting grandparents.

"I grew up with my grandparents who pampered me a lot," she said. "All I had to do was pout and they would give me all the junk food that I loved," said the 45-year-old.

Mary added that when she went to live with her parents, her mother did not want to upset her and she, too, continued to feed her often as a way to keep her happy.

"It was only years later that I realised that my family members had unwittingly cultivated a food dependency on me," she said. "It became so entrenched in me that I needed it every time I wanted to reward myself."

Mary said she preferred rich and delicious snacks such as cakes and ice cream especially when she felt tired or stressed.

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