|In searching for this picture I found a link to the Food Addiction Institute - serendipity?|
This concept of trading one addiction for another is not new to me - I've been aware of it for years. It started when I quit smoking - that's when the drinking picked up. And now that I've quit drinking, I've become addicted to eating...for comfort, for pleasure, to fill the hole in my soul...whatthefuckever. All I know is that it has to stop and I don't know how to make it stop - I mean...you HAVE to eat.
It's a problem heard from the overweight, obese and morbidly obese often - especially with the advent of reality TV that chronicles their suffering and, sometimes, their recovery. I watch these shows often because I love it when they are successful. The light in their eyes is a blessing to witness. I am also aware of what happens when the cameras are gone as some continue on their new, healthy journey and others, sadly, fall back into bad habits and old patterns and regain the all of the weight.
I have also known several people who have undergone bypass surgery. I love that this option is available and I know that countless lives have been saved because it exists. I also know that unless the real reason that the patient reached that weight is uncovered and resolved there are a whole host of other issues and problems that result.
One of my friends who underwent bypass surgery about five years ago is so low on iron that she has to go in for iron infusions from time to time. Why? Because her best source of protein is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. When I asked her why she didn't eat other sources of iron like leafy green vegatables or chicken or even beef she said, "Because I don't like them as much as candy. Candy makes me happy." She is slowly but surely gaining back the weight.
The bottom line is that food addiction is as real and can be as deadly as any other addiction and it's harder from which to recover because, as I said before, we HAVE to eat. AND because so much of this behavior is solidified in childhood. Clean your plate, here's a cookie, eat your dinner and you can have ice cream, GIANT portion sizes, parents too poor or too busy to cook healthy dinners and pack healthy lunches and that's just the normal people. Those kids from dysfunctional families experience that AND have the added benefit of raiding the fridge for comfort or love.
My own issues with addiction began in childhood as well. I was a fat kid. I ate for comfort although I didn't realize it until I was older. I learned the behavior from my mother who had her own food issues and never overcame them. As a young adult I began a program of exercise and dieting that let me maintain a healthy weight until my forties. However the damage had been done. My metabolism was shot and I struggled just to hold onto a weight that I thought I should be. AND I still thought I was fat because poor body image is also something solidified in childhood.
So now I have to step up and admit that I'm addicted to eating for comfort and healing. Not...good. And in some ways this is much harder to admit that smoking or drinking was because society is so critical of overweight people. I'M even critical of overweight people - what a hypocrite I am.
It has me depressed because I don't know what to do about it. I'm hesitant to spend any more money on systems and products and plans because I've tried them all and have not been really successful on any of them (I've lost and gained the same frickin' ten pounds for the past five years). Willpower works about as well as it did when I quit drinking...without the proper support it doesn't. I could try Overeaters Anonymous but everytime I do research on it, it scares the living shit out of me! Zealot comes to mind...but I'm likely wrong about that the way I was wrong about AA.
I would just like to learn to eat to live and not live to eat. I would like to eat and be present and enjoy the food rather than trying to get enough. Hmmmm...this is sounding very familiar.
I would just like to be normal.
Okay - if I can't be normal then can I just be healthy?
Yes...I think I can do that. I just have to figure out how.
"Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way."
~ Abraham Lincoln