I’ve known I was addicted to food for many years. When I first graduated from college, I was miserable. I had a good job and my own place, but I was lonely and bored. Unfortunately, I took comfort in food. I remember waking up and having huge breakfasts: waffles, cheese and eggs, sausage, and a big glass of orange juice. When I got to work, I would travel to the first-floor vending machine where I would buy a honey bun and a hot chocolate. During my lunch hour, I was usually with friends at a café or restaurant, eating a big meal. Red Lobster was a favorite of ours, thanks to the cheddar bay biscuits. By dinner time, I was usually going out to another restaurant or carry out for subs and fries, or something else greasy and artery clogging. Before I knew what hit me, I had ballooned my 5’1 frame from 120 pounds to 200 pounds. I couldn’t fit any of my clothes, and I eventually just stopped trying to look good all together.
Then, my job hosted a wellness challenge. A competition between teams to see which team could lose the most weight. My team came in 2nd place. I lost 11 pounds! But more importantly, I got motivated to keep pushing. I eventually lost 60 pounds over the course of 6 months. And I kept it off for a few years by watching my carb intake and drinking mostly water. I felt good about myself during this time. I replaced my bad habit of eating when bored with reading books, scrapbooking, and hanging out with friends more. I started dressing nicely again and grew my natural hair out. I reinvented myself and it felt wonderful.
Well, that was 10 years ago, and today I am 170 pounds. I gained most of this weight back due to pregnancy (chocolate milk and meatball subs should have been a no no). But now, my daughter is 9 years old! And I still have not reached a healthy weight.
I’m 40-50 pounds overweight, and I work hard just to stay at 170 pounds. I juice regularly, I’ve done several juice fasts from 3 days to 56 days. I recently completed a 10-day water fast. All these things are great, but I have yet to reach a healthy weight, or to display consistent healthy eating habits. I still use food as a stress reliever, which is my main problem. I want to learn to control my food addiction once and for all and to reinvent myself once again. I have seen so many negative effects that unhealthy food and overeating can do to our minds and bodies. I’ve seen it in my own body. Food has caused me depression, anxiety, poor body image, and low self-confidence. At one time, I was pre-diabetic and suffering from nerve damage. And as I approach 40 years old, I am at a greater risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and a host of other preventable diseases. Plus, I am in the prime of my life; I want to look and feel better than I ever have. I’ve been dealing with this for far too long. It’s time that I take back my life from food addiction and learn to handle my stress appropriately.
Food addiction is unlike any other addiction in that, it is acceptable, it’s always available, it’s promoted, and it’s everywhere. Your doctor doesn’t try to wean you off food, he simply tries to mitigate the effects. We talk a lot about healthy nutrition and food choices, but everything we see and hear, is in complete opposition to what you learn. If crack was sold on every corner, how could we blame drug addicts for being on drugs? And would we tell them to only do drugs in moderation? That’s what food addicts are told. Like an alcoholic, one drink will lead to another and another. For me, it’s the same; one cookie will lead to another and another, until I’m chock full of oatmeal raisin. I know I can’t have these things in moderation, despite what everyone tells me. For me, I need to cut these items out of my diet completely, which will probably be the hardest thing I have ever done. I come from a family full of “eaters.” My family prides themselves on large meals, good food, and trying out every new food spot. We are a family of foodies. But many of us also deal with obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, back and knee problems from being too heavy, depression, and low body image. I desperately want to be the one that breaks the cycle for my daughter and my nephews. I can teach about healthy living all day long, but if I am overweight myself, my teaching will go in vain. I’ve got to “walk the walk.”
So, I plan on going on a journey to end my food addiction, or at least “stay clean.” I’m not sure what “stay clean” really means for me yet. But through my experience of fasting, I do know, that these are times where I feel healing is taking place. I feel good overall, when I eliminate most foods from my life, which is hard because I have a family to shop and cook for. But for me, food seems to be a real negative aspect of my life. Some people would say that I am foolish to attempt to give up most foods, and that I have a dysfunctional relationship with food. It is true that my relationship with food is dysfunctional. But in the same way you would tell someone to end a dysfunctional relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, I’m telling you that I need to get out of this relationship. I’ve listened to the teachings of Dick Gregory, Dr. Sebi, and Annette Larkins regarding processed foods, meats, and sugars; and I feel strongly that these are foods I need to stay away from. Simplicity in my diet is strongly needed, and I need to start listening to my body.
This is going to be a long and difficult process, but I won’t be discouraged. Just bothering to take the journey is an achievement. If you feel food addiction is a problem in your own life, stick with me, so we can take this journey together. I will share everything that I learn along the way, so that we can free ourselves from this worldly obsession. Join me.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” -Romans 12:2