I am not really certain about where to begin this, so consider this a warning, it may be longish, although I will do my best to be concise. First I will acknowledge the fact that I am rubbish at blog posts lately, mostly because I have been trying to wrap my brain about what I am about to talk about. I would also like to take a moment and say this is a really hard blog post to write and in the few people I have discussed it with, brought up some strong opinions, I get it. You are entitled to have them, just be kind because this post is equivalent to me standing naked in an arena of 20,000+ people, so unless you have done that, or are willing to do that, shut it!
For years I have been writing this blog, making promises to myself and others about how this time is different and I am really going to lose the weight this time… and time and time again I sat in the doorway of failure. I have spent thousands of dollars of membership fees, books, pills, creams, juices and powders and nothing has worked.
I was having a conversation with a friend who is a recovering addict and he asked me if I had ever considered that I was an addict. I laughed it off because in my mind an addict is someone who abuses drugs or alcohol period. He never stopped asking and then he called me out on my “addict like behaviour” and I lost my marbles, haven’t spoken to him since. A few hours later, I Googled “food addiction”, over the last week I have read the first 100-125 articles, websites, etc… that come up. Most of the articles that I read were fluff, conceptualized with famous names thrown in that I didn’t give much weight too, till I came across this article “Food Addiction – A Serious Problem with a Simple Solution.” It was as if this article was written for me.
For the logical, scientific people watch this link that is in the article (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn1cI8FNU6M), it makes sense, but for me, what drove it home were the symptoms.
- You frequently get cravings for certain foods, despite feeling full and having just finished a nutritious meal. – I will have just finished a super yummy, super healthy meal and I will be feeling really good about myself but if a craving hits and I don’t satisfy it, there are times when I start to experience anxiety, like a normal addict would looking for that “fix”.
- When you give in and start eating a food you were craving, you often find yourself eating much more than you intended to.– The whole concept of “a few” or “a handful” has always been lost on me. I will have the best of intentions, but when I have “a handful” potatoe chips, I look down and the bag is gone. I have “a few” pieces of pineapple and not long after, the whole pineapple is gone. Yes, I have even put some in a container and put them away, but when that container is in the fridge, or that bag is in the cupboard, forget it.Simply put no self-control.
- When you eat a food you were craving, you sometimes eat to the point of feeling excessively “stuffed.” – Have you ever had the thought “Well, I might as well eat them all, just to get them/it out of the house, so I won’t be tempted later.”? I get that all the time.
- You often feel guilty after eating particular foods, yet find yourself eating them again soon after. – Guilt and shame are two of the biggest feelings I experience on a daily basis. I eat foods and I feel guilt and/or shame for eating them so to cover up those feelings, I eat again, feeling guilt and shame and I am stuck in a vicious cycle.Most food addicts are eating to suppress emotions or feelings, I eat to cover up feelings of failure, abandonment, and resentment.
- You sometimes make excuses in your head about why you should eat something that you are craving.- You need an excuse, come see me I am your girl. My favorites are “You earned it, because you ______” or “You had a rough day, you can eat that” I can justify any thing into a reason to eat. A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
- You have repeatedly tried to quit eating or setting rules (includes cheat meals/days) about certain foods, but been unsuccessful. – I probably know more about losing weight and being healthy than Jillian Michaels, or all the trainers on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, combined – ok maybe not quite, but I know A LOT. I have tried every diet, pill and cream and have read website after website and book after book. I have spent thousands of dollars on trainers, membership fees and programs. I have had some success, but it had never “stuck”
- You often hide your consumption of unhealthy foods from others. – This one was a toughie for me to swallow and be honest about. I have become really great at hiding my unhealthy food consumption from everyone. If we are out together in public I will rarely eat unhealthy items. My lunches I take for work are 99% ridiculously nutritious and healthy. I will wake up each morning with the best of intentions that today I resolve to stay on track and eat healthy, but the minute something goes wrong, something doesn’t go my way, or I get upset, the minute I get home the binge eating begins. That whole saying “What you ear in private, you wear in public” is a Muhammad Ali punch to the stomach.
- You feel unable to control your consumption of unhealthy foods, despite knowing that they are causing you physical harm (includes weight gain). – I know that my eating habits have lead me down a dangerous path. I have a pacemaker, I am slowly losing all my hair and both of these have links to my weight. As mentioned in the previous symptom, I wake up with the best of intentions and a mass amount of resolve. I go grocery shopping and I get home and there are items in my cart that I “hand to God” do not remember even putting in the basket. I go unconscious around food and this terrifies me.
The natural first responses seems to be “Well, just stop it, cold turkey” “Have a little self control” “Another great excuse.” My response has been, that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Little different with this one, because kinda, sorta, need food to survive. You can give up heroin, cigarettes, and alcohol cold turkey with no real physical cost. I don’t eat, my body shuts down.
Why am I writing this? Because I am tired. I am tired of hiding, tired of feeling like a failure and tired of my excuses winning. I have been to a 6/7 “Overeater’s Anonymous” meetings and that forum is not for me. I don’t know what’s next, I haven’t gotten that far, but I do know that this was the first step. Writing this blog has always proven motivational and helpful for me, so this is where I decided to start..