This article stems from a conversation between my oldest son and me early this morning. It also stems from dealing with drug addiction and fatal attractions, two scenarios that break the hearts of those around you.
Many times, when we say the word “addiction”, we think: drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex. I’ve concluded that I have an addiction. I don’t get high, drink, gamble or “have fun” outside of a monogamous relationship. I do have an addiction that is as deadly as smoking weed and getting drunk, as costly as gambling, and as compromising as sleeping around.
I have a food addiction.
Food addictions are easier to mask, and can go on a whole lot longer than other addictions without being detected, simply because everybody eats. Food is necessary for survival. So when does food become more of a detriment than a survival tool? When you live to eat and not the other way around – eat to live.
Food addictions can be detected by the imbalance and inability to curve appetite binges. You can tell alcoholics from non-alcoholics by which person can stop at just one martini, as opposed to the one who has to down a whole bottle of vodka. You can tell food bingers from non-food bingers by which person can stop at one slice of pie, as opposed to the one that gets up while everybody else is asleep so they can have an entire pie to themselves.
I hadn’t heard of many food addicts who binge on vegetables and fruits. How many people get up at two in the morning and chomp down a whole bag of celery? The foods that give food addicts the worst time are the ones that have the most fat, calories and sugar in them.
My “drug” of choice is sugar. It goes back to the days when Grandma let me eat whole bags of candy in one day. These uncontrolled eating patterns continued throughout high school, college and adulthood. It wasn’t a problem at first, because my metabolism was doing its job. Apparently, when I turned 35 and 40, my metabolism quit and moved out of my body.
This is when I started the dieting roller coaster ride. Out of the many that I tried, the Suzanne Somers diet reaped success. I lost 70 pounds in six months and kept them off for two years. What happened then? I started compromising, trying a little of this chocolate cake, a little of that sweet potato pie, knowing full well I was not a “social eater.” If I ate a slice of pie, I had to have the whole pie.
It took me four years, but I have worked – or should I say – eaten my way up to the weight I was before I tried Suzanne. Now that I think about it, while I was slimming down and even after I’d slimmed down, I was obsessed with food. I replaced my sweets addiction with an addiction to another food group.
Addiction today is considered a psychological or a medical term. Well, I beg to differ. Addiction is what happens when a person allows themselves to indulge in something – anything – so much that they crave it mind, body and soul. Many times, we who are addicted fail at quitting our behavior not because we’re sick in the head, but because the desire within us screams so loud, long and strong for the object of its affections that we are duly bound to satisfy that craving. We have opened a door that is hard to close. Hard, but not impossible. The desire to do what is best must be greater than the desire to have it your way. When addicts look at the ways their addiction is destroying them and those around them, that’s an incentive to give that spoiled brat screaming within a spanking and a firm “NO.” In my case, eating a whole pie can pretty well put me in a diabetic coma. Is the pie worth dying for?
Recently, I went back to the Suzanne Somers’ diet. After I’d started gaining all the weight back, I tried several other popular weight loss plans. None of them worked for me. I had to go back to what worked for me.
I’m happy to report that it’s still working for me. Since June 1st, I’ve lost 8 pounds, but I got a long way to go. My mantra this time: just take it one day at a time. And when I do that, it’s not hard.
It’s been a little over two weeks that I went cold turkey on sugary sweets, and my body has adjusted l. I haven’t lost my love for food, and I probably never will. But I’m managing.