Saturday, April 14, 2012
I am 53 years old. Old enough to understand some things about my self.
My brain is the brain of an addict.
I have to fight this monster called food addiction 1 hour at a time, every hour I am awake, every day. Even after having lost 120 pounds I still feel fragile and vulnerable. I still have a lot more to lose, and then hopefully maintain. I know that if tempted, I would eat my way through the day,
So- one hour at a time.
I have been through years of talk therapy.
I have taken a variety of medications from a variety of different doctors.
I have been educated in food addiction and how my brain reacts to triggers.
Being knowledgeable about something doesn't mean I am able to easily overcome it. I believe being a food addict carries more stresses, temptations and pitfalls than other addictions.
When I quit smoking 2.5 packs a day, it was much easier than this.
I remember saying to myself "I want to see how long I can go without picking up another cigarette." It was 1:21 pm on 2/14/85. I was sitting at my workspace. We were allowed to smoke at the job back then. I pushed the temptation back minute by minute, telling myself I could last just one more minute. And then another. And another. I changed my smoking behaviors. I spent more time in places I could not smoke. I threw out ashtrays and washed the nicotine off of everything, including inside my car. I ate sun flower seeds until my lips puckered. I went through tons of sugarless candy. I took pride in telling people I had quit! I was no longer a smoker. I was not going to let anyone say to me " I knew you couldn't do it." And there were a few waiting to say it, because they were smokers. I was moody and resentful as my body went through cravings, but I knew they would lessen over time. I never picked up another cigarette. Not once. Even after all these years I still have an occasional cravings for a cigarette, but I don't give in and it passes.
The same with alcohol. As a young adult I drank nearly every evening for several years. It numbed my fears and calmed my emotional pains.
It allowed me to relax in social situations, even helped me to have fun.
It helped me to sleep. But I knew it was going to kill me if I did not stop.
I knew it would most likely consume my children if I continued to lead by example. I knew I had to stop and I did.
Again, I changed behaviors. I did not go anywhere alcohol was being consumed. I did not have it in my house. I substituted other non alcoholic beverages during the evening hours. I clenched my teeth through the cravings and got through it one evening at a time. It was years before I allowed myself to touch alcohol again. Now It it something I occasionally allow myself to have, but always in a controlled manner, such as a glass of wine if I am out to dinner, a few times a year.
I cannot abstain from food.
I cannot say I am done with that and I will never eat again.
I cannot hang out only with friends that don't eat.
I cannot substitute something else as I wait for food cravings to pass.
I can't just skip over holidays that seem to be based mostly around food.
I still have to eat, a least a few times a day.
I still have to shop and prepare food for others.
I have to deal with food several times a day, every single day.
There is no escaping from it.
Some people seem to think I have a handle on this weight loss and that it is no longer an issue because I have managed to finally lose some weight.
My husband has no idea how resentful I feel towards him when he sits down with buttered popcorn or ice cream every night. ( I tried not bringing those foods into the house, but that made him unhappy and hard to live with.)
The weight I have manged to lose so far has been been lost with sheer determination and grit.
I do have will power. If I didn't have will power I would easily weigh 600 pounds or more instead of the 232 I weigh today. I draw on it every hour. Some days I need more, some days less.
My will power isn't a magic bullet, nor is it bullet proof.
It is black coffee instead of Starbucks lattes.
It is protein drinks instead of the cheese omelet and hot buttered toast I want for breakfast.
It is raw veggies and hummus instead of the big bowl of steaming chili with a side of fries I am craving for lunch.
It is the big salad and vinaigrette for dinner while my husband enjoys his lasagna and garlic toast.
I am bombarded with sights and smells of food every day. Temptations spring up constantly. My mind is always thinking about food and how I will avoid giving in. I watch the clock and count the minutes until my next meal.
I use my will power.
I will never beat this monster called food addiction. It lives inside my head. It is like being part of a conjoined twin. It will be with me everyday for the rest of my life. The best I can hope for is to keep it contained as I drag it around with me every where I go, trying not give in to it insisting that I eat.
I just hope that come tomorrow I will be able to tell you that I was successful today.
If you have this same addiction issue that I do, I hope that you too will be successful today.