Food is my drug, and in the past I have abused it to the point of obesity and dis-ease. I am not at my “goal” size / shape / health yet – and when I am, I’ll still be addicted to food – that won’t change. In trying to get “healthier” I attended a presentation about the Lap Band surgery – and this was the first time that I had ever considered my food intake like a drug addiction. Whether you are PRO or CON on the lap band – what the doctor said made perfect sense to me. Paraphrased, he said that the reason most people are obese is that they live to eat instead of eating to live. That there is some addiction component that the lap band will not fix. The problem lies above the eyebrows – not below them. Our bodies can change and improve, but not until we fix our heads first.
That was a really powerful for me to see the doctor put his hand level with his eyebrows and say the problem with your bodies is that you’re eating from here up … and not from here down – not actually eating what your body needs.
It is true, it really is. In the past food has been my comfort, my friend, my pleasure — there in good times and bad, happy or sad, sickness or in health… uh, this is starting to sound like I am married to food. Perhaps in some strange way I have been.
Now, lets be clear, I wasn’t sneaking snacks by the bed or hiding candy in the closet – I didn’t have to, I had a well stocked pantry full of all kinds of delights – I didn’t hide much of my eating. From time to time though, I would have these serious guilt moments and push the candy wrappers deeper into the trash so no one would know I had eaten 10 or 15 candies in a single sitting. As if the empty candy jar wasn’t a clue. I fooled myself and thought that I fooled others as my body grew larger.
When we married in 2004 I thought that would be the heaviest I’d ever be again … it wasn’t true, over the next 7 years I managed to add 50 pounds or so on. I am delighted now to be on my way back to that 2004 size.
Last year in working with my personal coach, I had another aha moment about my addiction (then I called it a relationship… this is not a relationship, it is an addiction) to food. She said that it’s quite possible that a food addiction is harder to overcome than an alcohol or drug addiction. (No disrespect intended… if you’re offended by that statement, please keep reading, you’ll understand). Her reasoning? If you are a drug addict or an alcoholic, no one who truly loves you and wants you to recover, says, “I know you’re working on your addiction, so just have one beer – or one hit – or just shoot up once”. But when you have a food addiction – you still have to eat. And folks do say it’s just one bite, can’t you have just a little…. etc. You can’t just NOT eat — so you have to cope with the addiction AND at the same time continue to eat. You have to learn to manage the addiction while eating what you’re addicted to. In most cases of drug/alcohol abuse, you simply have to deal with the not having it.
This very public sharing is rather therapeutic for me in its own way. This is me, a real person, with a real struggle with food. Rarely have I struggled with my weight even when I was over 290 pounds — the real struggle is with the behavior.
After the CLEAN program, food doesn’t have that same hold on me – but I can see how easy it can be to slide right back into those old patterns. And I have to catch myself and say NO, I am going forward – not backwards. Tonight in the grocery story they had just stocked the Lil Debbie shelf – and for a moment I felt myself gravitate toward it – I felt COMPELLED to pick up a box. And then I stopped – and for a moment stared it down – and somehow internally felt this “not just NO but HELL NO” and I was really proud of myself.
This new Healthier Twist is a JOURNEY, not a destination and I am delighted to have friends and family around me supporting me and encouraging me – because I am addicted to food, but I refuse to let it take hold of me again. And I can do that (and so can you) one meal, one choice at a time.