Are you addicted to food - What happens when food stops being your friend.
When I look back at my life, I would never have described myself as an addict of any sorts. Throughout my childhood and teen years, I did suffer a fair amount of trauma (slightly more than average), and like most individuals who experience trauma, I did experiment with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of my emotions. However, except for the occasional night of vomiting from drinking way too much, I never liked being drunk or high. I never enjoyed feeling “out of control” or more so "not clear headed."
As a child having gone through traumatic experiences in which I had no control over; I had now manifested in my adult life, the need to always be in control of everything in my life. Drugs and alcohol soon became too much of a compromise for me; on the one hand the pain would lessen on the other hand I would have to give up control of my body and mind, something I was no longer willing to do.
As I moved into my mid 20’s and as drugs and alcohol moved out of my life, I soon would find a new friend to keep me company and comfort me in times of need.
That new friend was FOOD.
This friend was very different from the rest - I like to call it the wolf in sheep's clothing.
You see, drugs and alcohol don’t hide who they are, and they don't pretend to be good for you in any way. You know right up front these things are dangerous and addictive, and although using them may temporarily make you feel better, in the long run, they will make you worse and hurt you in more ways than one.
But with food, it’s much different. We don't grow up with the notion that food is, and can be an addiction for many people. We don’t see or hear stories of how people lost loved ones to food or how food has ruined peoples lives. And if the media does showcase individuals who have suffered at the cost of food, they are generally morbidly obese and have somehow just lost control of what they eat. Again, for the most part, it is never mentioned as a real addiction.
And that's what I thought.
I mean, was I overweight, Yes - but did food have control over me, No, I mean, I didn’t think so.
Well, that's what I thought until I caught myself eating cake out of the garbage or more than one occasion. That was one of the first times I realized; I was not in control of what I put in my mouth.
Now listen, at the very root of all this, yes we do have the ability to take control of our actions, but that realization and strength does not happen overnight. Our ability to control ourselves comes from the conscious mind (our thinking mind), however much of, if not all of what we do, comes from our subconscious mind (our emotional mind). Our subconscious mind runs on autopilot with a set of preprogrammed instructions, without knowing how to reprogram it, we are at its mercy obeying it’s every command.
Without knowing it at the time, I was an addict, and my drug of choice was food, more specifically, sugar, fat, and flour, in any shape or form; from cakes, cookies, pies, doughnuts, bars, etc.
You name it, I ate it. Moderation was not a word in my vocabulary and every day became a binge day, and every night I told myself the same thing - “tomorrow I'm gonna start fresh, tomorrow I’m not gonna eat junk”
But tomorrows came, and tomorrows went, and I was still trapped with a friend I loved, that didn’t love me back.
I now know the science behind the addiction and how very real food addiction is. I am now able to see how the addiction takes hold of you on so many levels, chemically, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I now understand how very trapped I was.
The road to recovery is not short, but it starts by first realizing that you are not in control. When you can see your food addiction for what it is, a bad friend. Then you can start to make the changes you need to, to set yourself free.
To see if food has control over you, ask yourself some of these questions.
Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
Do you ever want to stop eating but find you can't stop?
Do you find yourself bouncing from diet to diet but never achieving success?
Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
Do you binge by eating large quantities of food at one time?
Do you feel the need to snack all day long?
Do you eat to soothe uncomfortable feelings?
Do you use food as a reward or to celebrate?
Do you eat when even when you are not hungry?
Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
Do you eat in secret?
Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake at times so that you can binge later?
Do eat past the point of being full till you feel sick?
Do you hide or hoard food to make sure you have "enough"?
Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
Do you obsessively calculate the calories you've burned against the calories you've eaten?
Do you often feel guilty or ashamed about what you've eaten?
Do you feel like you are waiting for your real life to begin "when you lose the weight"?
Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a food addiction, and you are not alone. I could have easily checked yes to all these and then some.
I now view food for what it is "fuel" not "friend"; fuel for my body to provide the nutrients I need to survive and thrive in health and wellness. Food was never a friend, just another drug wrapped up in pretty packages and covered in sprinkles.
Realizing that I had a problem with food and that I would have to make some serious long term changes to the choices I make when it comes to food was the first step. Awareness is always the first step in being able to change any unwanted behaviors you may have.
I too often see a lack of willpower used as the reason you can't stop eating certain things or lose weight. I want to set the record straight that it has nothing to do with will. There are so many other factors that are working against you, and I never want you to think that you are weak or less than or broken in some way because you can't stop.
There is nothing wrong with you, you are just trapped, and you have YET to find a way out.
Check out my download on beliefs and how they can be at the root of your food addictions.
For more support and to be apart of a new judgment-free community;
And remember, little steps in a new direction lead to bigger and better destinations.
I love hearing from you guys. Let me know below in the comments what some of your struggles have been with food.
Love and Wellness