I Am A Food Addict (Stuck: Part 2)

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The Ugly Truth. I Am a Food Addict.

I must examine the truth about food and me whenever I encounter a bump in my life. I’m currently stuck on a diet plateau. My weight today is 175.2; I am down 0.6 pounds. I have been stuck in the 177–175 range for nineteen days. My addiction is sweetly whispering in my ear.

I am a food addict. How do I know?

I ate an entire full-size seeded watermelon in two hours.

I brought a pineapple upside-down cake and ate the entire cake before my family came home. I drank a 1/2 gallon of milk to wash the cake down. I hid the empty containers from my spouse and children at the bottom of the garbage can.

I sat in my car and gobbled, literally gobbled, down a family-sized bucket of Kentucky fried chicken with two sides. That chicken dinner was supposed to feed a family of four? I don’t think so. It was bearly a chicken dinner for one.

My husband and kids were out. I made and ate dinner for four people. I had to make another dinner which I ate with them when they returned.

We were selling Girl Scout Cookies for my daughter’s troop. Over a week, I personally consumed twenty boxes of Thin Mints. I hid the boxes.

For breakfast, I would eat three eggs, three pieces of bacon, three pieces of sausage, a pile of home fried potatoes, three pieces of toast, jelly, coffee, a large glass of orange juice, and a doughnut.

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For a typical workday lunch, I would have a quarter pounder, two Mac ribs, a large fry, and a medium Diet Coke. If McRib’s were not in season, I would have a Big Mac’s instead.

For the first daily dinner, a fast food combo on the way home from work.

For the second daily dinner with my family, I made a delicious home cooked southern style meal with enough food for eight people. There were seldom leftovers. The only overweight person at the table was me.

I once went to a Missouri catfish fry and became the star eater. The country folk took pictures with me because I ate so much. They loved it. So did I.

I brought a case of anchovy stuffed olives and put them in my closet. They were gone in three days.

Me and two of my fat buddies went on an anti-diet. We were trying to see who could gain the most weight in a week. I won. 12 pounds. The prize: dinner at a nice all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant.

I could go on for hours about my hidden food dramas. There were many.

***

I ate when I was happy, sad, excited, angry or bored. I ate by myself, with my friends or with my family. Food was so good, so tasty, so delicious. It made me feel great. iFood fixed whatever was wrong and made whatever was right better.

I got a raise. Consume to celebrate.

I didn’t get a raise. Munch in anger.

My daughter was inducted into the honor society. Eat because I was proud.

My husband brought the family a new car. Let’s go out in the new car to eat.

My son had a good game at basketball. Let’s discuss over snacks.

My ingrown toenail was cut off. A snack is in order because my toe stopped hurting.

***

I had no real excuse for overeating. My family loved me. My job was going well. My kids were healthy and smart. I had some trauma in my childhood but no more or less than any other child growing up poor. I loved the food. Still, do.

I ate until I was at the doctor’s office and stepped on the scale. I did a double take, it read 297 pounds. The doctor told me if I continued to gain weight, I was going to miss out because I was going to die… in the not too distant future. My health risk factors were code red. At 297 pounds, I could die from a common cold.

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After the conversation with my doctor, I recognized that food was my go-to solution.

***

I changed my behavior.

How did I change? By taking out one thing at a time.

I started by cutting my portion sizes in half. I was hungry all the time for a while.

I went from Southern fried meals to healthier baked and roasted foods.

Fast food lunches went. I made and brought lunch from home. Actual food, not leftover take out or fast food, from the night before.

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I found ways to celebrate with my friends and family that did not involve food. Plays and the theater are good.

When eating out, I ate half the portion on my plate and requested the plate be removed. Why? The remaining food on the plate winked at me, demanding to be eating. “You know you want me” was what I heard every time I looked at the food on the plate.

I brought enough food to feed my family for two days at a time. I went to the store a lot but…there was nothing extra for me to eat at home. I had removed all the fun, snacky and recreational items from the house. Only fuel food remained.

If I slipped up and brought a lot of food home, I enlisted my spouse to throw the food away for me. He hated throwing out perfectly good food but he helped me.

I stopped eating in my car, no more mindless munching. No, no, no eating on the way home.

These things, implemented one at a time, over a year, along with diet and exercise made a difference for me. Success breeds successes.

The idea of eating as much as I could, of whatever I want, whenever I want is always in the back of my mind, murmuring. I resist daily.

Why can I resist? after the doctor appointment, I worried that my weight would kill me before my children grew up. I changed so that:

I could see my son and daughter graduate from high school and college.

My daughter became a veterinarian; my Engineer son holds an MBA. I was there with them when they received those advanced degrees.

I have three grandchildren; one in college, one in high school, and one preschooler. I was there for their births.

I walked and ran and played with my kids and grandkids; creating memories. Leaving my mark.

Each time I was there for my family made me desperately want to be there even more.

***

My food addiction is a part of me. It is always lurking nearby.

I still struggle. Now and then I lose the fight and go crazy eating. Most of the time…most of the time, I eat like a non-addicted person.

I’m a food addict and I’m still here.

I win.

*

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