Saturday, January 4, 2014

overcoming food addiction

I've always had a pretty messed up relationship with food.

Even at a young age, I was sneaking food...hiding it, storing it away for later. At first I believe it was out of boredom, but it later became an aide to my severe anxiety. As a kid I would grab handfuls of chips or stuff Oreos into my pockets. I got a sick thrill out of sneaking food. I have a very distinct memory of opening the fridge one night and stuffing my mouth with leftover almond boneless chicken, quickly ,so that no one would see me do it.

My issue with food got much worse when I started driving. I discovered the beautiful convienence of fast food restaurants. I would order the largest order of chicken fingers and fries I could before parties and dances, and on most days after school for my "snack". Another favorite treat for me at that time was pop tarts. Don't ask me why, because they are disgusting, but I could eat a whole box. If my parents were gone for an evening, it was a free for all. Id devour cartons of ice cream or make myself two whole chicken pot pies. They caught on, and we'd talk about it often. My dad would take me to the grocery store to pick out healthy foods. But it seemed the more they tried to help, the more I resisted and rebelled.

College life became straight up dangerous, because along with all of the eating, I was adding alcohol into the mix. A lot of alcohol. I don't like to talk about those days now, but they were bad. And soon my body began to turn on me. I was tired all of the time, lethargic, and was constantly feeling "under the weather".

The food addiction did not really slow down until I moved out of my parents house in February 2011. And even then, it did not totally stop. I would still swing by mcdonalds or Wendy's on my way home from work, or have a night alone where I would tear through an entire pizza and bottle of wine by myself.

I ate because I didn't care about myself. I knew it wasn't healthy, but i continued to sabotage myself.

I can tell you now with confidence and glee that I have broken my food addiction. The last time I ate a whole pizza by myself was last January, after my ex boyfriend Derrick and I had gotten into a fight. If I eat fast food it's a kids meal with apples instead of fries or a chicken sandwich without the bun. I no longer sneak food. There aren't a million wrappers under my bed. But just because I don't give in does not mean the temptation is not there. It's there every moment of every day. Driving home from work is one of my biggest challenges. I pass the Wendy's and Dairy Queen that used to be my frequent stops. Now I just keep driving. I grip the wheel so tight and just focus On the road ahead of me, reminding myself of all the healthy food I have to cook at home. After youth group on Sunday nights I so, so badly want to take leftover pizza and eat the whole box on the way home.

But I don't. I distract myself by praying or calling a family member. I learned to cook to give myself a project, so that I know exactly what I'm eating and feel both proud and satisfied.

It's certainly not easy. But it can be done. I can push past the temptation. I can overcome addiction. I can be happy, healthy, and proud of my body.

It was difficult for me to write this, and I considered leaving it unpublished. But I am taking a risk and letting you all into a little glimpse of my life that was hidden for so long. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction or eating disorder, please seek help. You are worthy of love and of a healthy life.

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