Decades have been spent by me searching for an answer of why I have a food problem? Why can’t I just be like everyone else when it comes to food?
I dug deep into my past trying to figure out where it all went wrong. I felt that if I could figure out the “where” the “why” would come! I experienced what I thought to be a rather normal childhood and teenage years. Certainly there had to be something that went wrong with me. Delving into my past to find the answers made me even more confused and I always came up empty handed!
You see, I knew deep down inside I had a problem…a problem that I could not find a solution to. My thinking was that the key to solving my problem was to figure out where it started. I questioned “Did it happen because of this”? Or “What about when that happened to me?” Nothing stood out to me and I could never nail it down.
At some point over the past 54 years, it occurred to me that we are all different and each one of us has something in our life that we feel doesn’t match with others. What the heck, I had natural blonde hair until I was about 45 and that is unheard of! I also had size 11 feet, big boobs and some birth marks in areas I won’t mention. All of these things were acceptable differences!
I wish I could say that I came to a place of peace, but until recovery, peace over this eluded me! I truly thought that I would spend every last day on this earth searching for an answer as to why I had so many issues with food that made me so friggin fat!
The answer, if there is one, was never going to heal me! I stopped trying to figure out why because it no longer served me (and it drove me nuts). The truth of it is that I have always been a food addict and I always will!
The difference is that now I have a name for what is “wrong” with me and food and a daily plan on how to arrest it! That was the key for me!
Are you searching for a “why”? Would love to hear your story! Please comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I think of the years that I went through never feeling full! I didn’t experience that full feeling at all! Diets plans that would tell you the signs to feel for when your body told you that you were full never worked for me!
I know that this thought process might seem like an analogy or even the title might sound like it, but I think it is all directly related! When you feel that your life is full of the things that are most sacred to you, there is peace. When you don’t feel like your life is fulfilling, you don’t feel full!
Putting anything of substance inside you to make you feel fulfilled, will never work. We can keep trying one thing after another but the buzz will only last for so long. When the buzz wears off, we are still back in the same place we started.
For me, it wasn’t just the same place where I started, but lots of self loathing and extra pounds added! This was a constant cycle for me not just for a short time, it lasted decades.
Life has been miserable for me in so many ways and I used food to fill me up.
- I don’t feel loved enough! Fill me up!
- I don’t have enough money! Fill me up!
- I don’t have a happy family life! Fill me up!
- My life is boring because I can’t do what I want to do! Fill me up!
- I am not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough! Fill me up!
- Maybe if I had all of these things…I would feel peace!
Unfortunately, I had to keep eating because that feeling of emptiness never got satisfied. On the rare occasions (like after finishing an eating frenzy at an all you can eat buffet) I did feel full, but it was not, in any way shape or form…peaceful!
When I learned to turn my whole food problem over to GOD because it was bigger than me, I opened up the floodgates for GOD to fill me up! Miracles started happening in my life on a regular basis. Peace settled in with me and swept over me. I make sure that I get my GOD fill everyday. I am no longer looking for anything else to make me feel full…including food!
How do you fill your life up?
When we are into the food, we are only operating at 25% of our real potential! Of course I mean that figuratively not scientifically!
Using food as an idol or a drug definitely numbs us from reality. We are in a fog and not really feeling the feelings. Food takes us away, momentarily, from what is real and that is including our genuine creativity.
Our creativity in figuring out how to cope with whatever is going on in our life is zapped from us so decisions we make are not coming from our center. God has blessed each and every one of us with our own sense of creativity to use through life. When that is blocked, we can’t access the very tools God gave us to make our lives better!
I have noticed through recovery that my creative sense has become sharp (or what my son calls my “spidy sense”). Things are so much easier to handle and issues are handled more quickly because there is no delay as there waswhen I was into the food. I turned to food when I needed to solve a problem never knowing that it did not solve anything, it just temporarily prolonged the problem!
Having a clear mind and my God given creativity back in full swing has been one of the biggest blessings to me in this miracle! I can look back on how I operated at only 25% and the difference is amazing!
Are you aware of the role food is playing in your life and if you are using it for anything other than nourishment?
Our only need for food should be to nourish our physical body to sustain it! Wow, isn’t that a loaded statement!
Years ago while reading one of the several hundred books that I have read about trying to lose weight, the author stated that one way to control food was to only eat when we are hungry! This is absolutely true and I don’t dispute it at all, however, it is different for a food addict!
After reading this, I realized that I never felt hunger! It had been so long since I felt the physical symptoms of hunger that I had no idea how it felt when I was hungry. Since I ate pretty much all the time, my body never got hungry!
So why did I eat all of the time when I wasn’t hungry? The answer is because I was having cravings for food all the time! In recovery I have learned that whenever I needed to do something that I didn’t really want to do…I had a craving for food. This would temporarily get my mind off whatever I was not wanting to do…filling my life with pleasure for 2 to 7 minutes.
I can think of a million for instances but one that comes to mind is that I take care of and help elderly people. One woman I took care of kept me very physically busy every time I was at her house. I was extremely overweight and had a really hard time doing the physical tasks that were required of me. I found myself dreading going to her house. On the way to her house at 10:00 in the morning I always stopped at a fast food restaurant drive through and order lots of food. I merrily ate the food the rest of the way to her house and it just made it that much easier for me to go!
Believe me, I have a million “for instances” to this. That is why my house never got cleaned, the laundry never got done, the bills never paid! I would always eat something and then was officially side tracked because after eating I was too busy loathing myself for what I had done or had no energy for it.
If you are having a craving for food (which is a mental thing) you will start searching for what food you “feel” like eating. You won’t be satisfied until you get what you feel will “do the trick”. When you are physically hungry, it is a function of the body. You will take your time and make a choice based on what will be best for your body! That is how you know the difference between a hunger pain and a craving!
The problem with food addicts is that we never allow ourselves to feel real hungry because we are always full with food from our cravings!
Do you think you could make the decision to absolutely not eat in between meals?
Remember the days when you ate breakfast at home before you went to work or school. Then you ate lunch around 12 and dinner came about 5:30-6. Those were the days! You always knew when and where you were going to eat! Now I am 55 yrs old so this is going back a way!
When and why did all of that change? It just seemed like something to count on day in and day out! While growing up we were only allowed to have snacks on Friday night after the little kids went to bed. We never came home from school and expected a snack…that was unheard of!
I have balked at any discipline of planning, preparing and eating food since I became an adult. I have no idea why. Every diet program I have been on that required me to plan out my meals in advance, I faked it! I could not stand the thought of doing that. Instead, I relished the freedom of deciding right on the spot what I wanted to eat..
I can see now the nasty habit this led to. I was always on the prowl for what my next source of delicious food was going to be. I hated cooking because I was too impatient with the process. I couldn’t stand to WAIT for food. The lure of fast food promises food arriving in my mouth fast! No waiting (well hardly)! This was one of the main reasons I was so attracted to fast food. As I look around, it is that way with many people!
Planning out my food in advance now has made me feel a level of comfort that I didn’t know could exist. Cooking any kind of food, even if it isn’t mine, feels like a meditation!
I notice my kids, who are 19 and 20, going through their life never planning on anything regarding food. They wait until they are “starving” and then they want something really fast. If I don’t have anything that is “fast” they will go drive somewhere to get something quick (and you know what crap that can be). They seem to be so intense from the time they decide they need to eat to actually eating! I recognize this in my life so much!
It is almost as if you have to wait to eat until you are famished, you give yourself permission to eat whatever and however much you want because you are “starving”. There is so much peace in planning your eating for the day. You are so much more sane about what you put in your mouth!
If we need food to sustain our human body, why don’t we take more time for it and give it the attention and focus it deserves?
Before I identified myself as a food addict, I first found out that I was worshiping the god of food!
We were doing a study at my church called “gods at war” by Kyle Idleman (which I highly recommend his book) and we were asked some questions.
- Is there anything in your life that calls for a spiritual bonfire? My answer…My relationship with food.
- What needs to be tossed out so you can make more room and have more time to spend with Jesus? My answer…My relationship with food.
- What disappoints you? My answer…my size and my relationship with food.
- What do you complain about the most? My answer…my size and my relationship with food.
- Where do you make financial sacrifices? My answer…anything diet and food.
- What worries you? My answer…My size and my inability to control my food.
- Where is your sanctuary (where you go when you are hurting)? My answer…food, food and more food!
- What infuriates you? My answer…my size and my inability to control my food.
- What are your dream? My answer…to be free of the obsession I have with food and possibly live, even for just a day, in a right size body!
These questions are designed to help you see if you are serving any other god than the One who created you. As you can see by my answers that I was definitely serving the god of food!
It was when I realized this that I started searching for a solution and found that the term for what was wrong with me was food addiction!
It must be pretty important to God for us to not serve any other god since he put it first in the 10 commandments! I can see why! When we are serving any other god our access to our creator is blurred. We are not functioning at the capacity that God created us for and are unable to carry out His plan for our life!
If you asked yourself the above questions, do your answers show any kind of consistent pattern?
A food addict doesn’t have a shut off valve! There is usually nothing telling us while we are eating (which is sometimes all the time) that we have had enough food. We had tools that helped us do this and TUMS was one of mine!
I would never pay attention to how the things I ate might make me feel after I was finished. For the most part, I didn’t care! A Drug addict never thinks about how they will feel when they are coming down from a high, they only think about the high! And so it is with food!
I didn’t care if I got stomach aches, heartburn, diarrhea or anything else as long as I had the freedom to eat whatever I want and however much I wanted! By the time I came into recovery I was popping about 15 TUMS a day and was also taking another heartburn medicine as well. This would temporarily relieve me until the next time I ate.
No one knew that I didn’t care about how food was affecting me. Everyone close to me just thought I had a cast iron stomach! No one knew the things I did to combat the discomfort of my body. I read so many articles about the dangers of prolonged use of these medicines and it did worry me a bit. But not enough to make me want to stop!
Why do we put our bodies through so much abuse and not care? Why is the compulsion of food so intense that we will do anything for it? Why do we allow ourselves to live this way? The addiction is so overwhelming that it swallows me up! If I could just find it in me to care about myself could I change this whole food thing? Probably not!
Food addiction affects every area of our lives and steals from us the different way life would be if we truly cared about ourselves!
Is there anything in your way of handling food that causes you to think crazy things about yourself that you wish you wouldn’t?