Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's Not Just About The Food

Hi. My name is Beth, and I am a food addict. I haven't always been a food addict. In fact, when I was single and living alone, I would forget to grocery shop and wind up on the super model diet (coffee, cigarettes, and red wine) without even noticing. I know when my addiction started, and I now realize that ending it will be a lifelong commitment.

A few months after my husband and I got married we moved to Hawaii. We are both adventurous and a little insane, so we quit our jobs and packed a suitcase, and moved 5,000 miles away from our life in Atlanta. We lived on Oahu for 3 years, and felt like our time there was a long extended honeymoon. But after our son was born, we decided we wanted to be closer to home, and moved back to the Mainland.

While I was living in Hawaii I became a food addict.

I didn't really realized the impact that moving so far away from my family and my dearest friends was going to have on me emotionally. I always thought I was not the sentimental type. I felt like I'd be fine moving to a new city and that I would make new friends to keep me company and keep me from missing the ones I had left behind. But that's not how it happened for me. I found a job quickly, and made friends at work, but not the kind of friendships that were really important to me. They were mainly superficial work type friendships. After the first year away from Atlanta, I was very lonely, and nothing was filling up the void of having meaningful relationships outside of my marriage.

I started to eat ice cream at night when I got home from work.

I packed on a few pounds, but then did a Body for Life Challenge and worked off the pints of ice cream. I was getting in good shape, and feeling good about myself. Then I found out I was pregnant. That was a hard thing to find out. My husband and I hadn't planned on having kids, and even though we were excited about the news, there was a definite sense of "What have we done?" surrounding the early days of my pregnancy.

I started eating ice cream for breakfast AND when I got home from work!

I put on 80 pounds during my pregnancy. I ate because I was scared of becoming a mother. I ate to mourn the loss of my wild and crazy party girl days. I ate because "Hey, I'm pregnant! Let's eat!" And by the time I had that baby, I was a full blown food addict. Once the baby was born, I ate because I was tired. I ate because I didn't know what I was doing. I ate and ate and ate. And I never lost one of those baby pounds. In fact, the weight has just kept on coming. Now here I am, almost 90 pounds overweight. Fat, fatigued, and feeling like a big time loser.

Some people may not believe that food addiction real. And I think that for a long time I was in denial about it, too. I would joke that I just needed to go on the hottest new diet fad out there, The Quit Eating So Goddamned Much Diet. But I know that addiction runs long and deep in my family. My brother is a cocaine addict, and is probably 90 pounds underweight right now. And the more time I spend with him, the more I see into the mindset of an addict, and the more I know that I am one.

Let's take this weekend for example. We went downtown to the Summer Soiree. While Basil and Beckett were riding the rides, I walked through the festival. I stopped into my favorite coffee shop, and ordered a Mango Smoothie. Once I started drinking it, I could tell that it wasn't a pure fruit smoothie. I could feel the sugar coating my tongue. Now, I've been raw for 13 days, and have done great so far. You would think that I would have just tossed the smoothie out, and move d on with my Raw Challenge. But oh no. That is what a non addicted person would do. Instead, I rationalized in my mind that one little smoothie wouldn't derail my entire 2 week efforts. And then later that night, after the sugar crash, I went right for a handful of CheeZ Itz. I could hear my addiction talking to me loud and clear, "You've already blown it for the day. Fuck it, just have a couple of handfuls."

Once that voice of addiction starts talking to you, man, you are in for it!

So yeah. This Challenge is about way more than the food. It's about admitting failures. Dealing with emotional pain in new ways. Quieting the voice of addiction. And moving forward without beating myself up or giving in. That's why I call this a Challenge.


Isle Dance said...

You help one understand so much with this post. Thanks for sharing.

(I don't know if this helps, but when I'm not 100% off of something, the cravings still occur. But if I'm 100% off of it, the cravings soon disappear completely. I know this sounds horrible, but it is so much easier once the transition has been made.)

Isle Dance said...

P.S. You are doing great. You should be proud. What amazing lessons!

Anonymous said...

Bunny you just stated something I am finding. every time i get going good I stuff myself with a few bites of my family's cheetos, even the baked "healthy" ones and immediately I want corndogs, wine and chocolate. freaky weird.
I wanna encourage you...and by blessing you encourage me!

Penni said...

Bunny Berry....we are soul sisters. When you get a chance, read the article I wrote on We Like It Raw. Raw has saved me. Here's the link...

Disa said...

Love hearing your beautiful honesty. I think so many people start raw food for diet or health and then bam! it becomes such an awakening experience. It is really challenging and rewarding to be able to come face to face with your addictions. I know for me raw has opened up my mind to be able to see so the world around me with so much more clarity. Saying that I still struggle, especially lately. So bravo to you and thanks for sharing your journey! Oh yeah and I also had that smoothie experience. Went to the mall and ordered a smoothie with spirulina, banana, etc. On the menu it looked awesome. Then I see the girl proceed to pour a premixed milky looking smoothie base. My throat started to close up-Ugh!

Anonymous said...

I love pesto! For some great pesto recipes, check out:

Uza said...

Not letting your slips set you back is so awesome! This is an area I am working hard on myself, as I tend to throw in the towel too quickly. "Oh well, I blew it, might as well over-indulge and try again another day!"

From a fellow food addict (and former Hawaii resident), you go girl!!! Although I've vowed to take it slow this time, I am seriously thinking of giving myself a similar challenge to the one you are doing.