Apr
02

Hello, my name is Season and I’m a food addict…

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Yesterday was a big day, it was intended to be the start of more strict eating, at least 30 minutes of exercise per day (no matter what I have going on), flossing every day, and drinking at least 3 glasses of water per day (a big step up from none which is normal for me).

It was a pretty successful day until I opened the fridge last night and went right for the fettucini alfredo. It was the left-overs from a date night and they were enough to go over my 1400 calorie goal by…well a lot. I heard that voice “Don’t do it” to which I promptly replied, I can just make up for it tomorrow, it’s no big deal.” But it was a big deal, because I felt like crap afterwards and it completely robbed me of my motivation and replaced it with lethargy for the remainder of the day.

Food is a deep emotional crutch for me.  I am a “live to eat” person who has always been jealous of the “eat to live” types who can actually forget meals occasionally.  Not me, I think about food when I first wake up, and throughout my entire day.  Up until last year when my roomate took me to a FAA meeting (Food Addicts Anonymous), I really thought my food addiction was something to laugh about, not really a big deal.  But then I saw people get up in front of the crowd and talk about how this addiction had affected their lives. The words they spoke didn’t sound any different than some of the serious stuff like heroin, cocaine, alcohol, etc.  I was shocked.  And I realized I am no different than these people except I was just behind in comparison to the progress they had made.

For everything I get caught up in that I don’t really like about myself or my behavior I think, “How did I get to be like this?”  The answer in this case can be found in several reasons from my past, the main one being that when I was little and something was wrong, be it a sick, sad, frustrated, angry, whatever, the response was “eat this, you’ll feel better”.  I learned quickly that not only did it make me feel better, but that I could rely on food to fill whatever emotional breakdown I had, big or small.

 I remember going to my grandmother’s house when I was little and if I had already eaten before we left, I knew I would have to stuff myself with whatever she was offering.  If you turned down grandma’s food, it meant you didn’t love her, so you just never ever rejected anything she made.  The guilt that came with saying no to her cooking was just too much to bear, it was far better to eat until I felt like I would explode, and so I did, for years.

Up until a few years ago, I would eat every meal until my stomach actually hurt.  There was no stop when you’re full, it was finish your plate, and in this country of very large portions I quickly learned that I could beat even the largest man in a food contest because I had a lifetime of training under my belt. Today I can still put it away in an impressive manner, but my days of consistant eating until misery are over, and now I can’t even believe I used to do that. 

It’s because of instances like yesterday I know I am still an addict, because even with the best of intentions and strong motivation, I find myself helpless when faced with anything cheesy, creamy, or chocolaty.  What’s really embarrassing is that if no one is around or someone is around that I know loves me unconditionally, I will actually lick my plate to get the rest of whatever saucy goodness is left over. ( Yes I know, that’s not normal, hence the title of this page.) I remember my dad saying, “you’ll never get a boyfriend, eating like that.”  Although he was wrong about that, it did motivate me to hide my eating habits to appear more lady like at the dinner table.  This bad habit I can connect to my past where I grew up far out in the country with no brothers, sisters, or even neighborhood kids to speak of, but I had my dogs.  And, as children adopt the habits of those around them, I quickly took on some habits of my canine friends, licking the plate being one of them.  Maybe it was cute at 6yrs old, but at 30 it’s just plain disgusting.  I actually think just typing this here has potentially released me from it, considering the entire world has access to this.

I have a long way to go with my relationship to food, but I have also come a long way from the days of: eat until I can’t eat anymore.  It reminds me of that horrible scene in the movie Seven with Brad Pitt, when that guy was forced to eat until his stomach actually burst.  I have a problem because I never needed a loaded gun to my head to eat myself into misery, I stepped up to the plate (literally) every time completely willing.

One thing that has really been wonderful for my progress is the book “Women, Food, and God” by Geneen Roth.  If you have food issues, I highly recommend this book.  What I really love is that she talks about how there is hidden, emotional reasons that we go for food when we aren’t hungry.  I learned that if I can take the time to stop myself and sit with whatever is really going on, I can discover the reason why I’m reaching for the pasta, and RARELY is it because I’m actually hungry. Once I know the reason, I can take the power back and deal with it in a healthier way (aka closing the fridge).

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Categories : Health and Fitness

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  1. Grace says:

    WOW! Thanks so much for this honest post. I was just surfing online and came upon your website, and I have to say that I thought that no one else experienced this! I am such a food addict and emotional eater too, I can’t help it! The fact that I’m an athlete means I can get away with eating tons most the time since I’m always training my butt off. But beware of the offseason, when I’m inhaling chocolate chip cookies in secret before eating a small meal when I go out with others for dinner, and then returning and eating more food afterwards! Thanks for bringing to light this very real issue, hopefully we can all learn to eat mindfully. 🙂

  2. Season says:

    Thank you so much for your comment. You are absolutely right, it is easy to get away with for athletes. I remember when we went into town during the appalachian trail hike I would scarf down multiple double cheeseburgers, shakes, fries, etc. I thought “I’m burning thousands of extra calories a day so it’s fine.” But, it didn’t change the fact that what I was putting in my body was garbage.

    Wishing you the best! 🙂

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