Saturday, May 11, 2013

Getting past the FOOD ADDICTION

You know... you hear it from the time you're in junior high... and even now, from the time you're probably in Kindergarten.  "Just say no."  No?  Say no to what?  Well, we all know it.  We've heard it a million times.  DRUGS... of course.  (And now, in my 30-something mind, I have images of  "This is your brain.  This is your brain on drugs." haunting me.  LOL)

But... what if you're addicted to something you really can't give up?  What if giving it up would actually do more harm than good?  Then what do you do?

Hi, my name is Michelle, and I am a foodaholic.

Yes, you heard me right.  I'm addicted to food.  WHAT?  You say...  How can that be?  Addicted to food?  Is that even possible?

Well... let me take a step back before I move forward with this line of thought...  My mom (coming from a family where alcoholism was a problem) once gave me some great advice.  She told me... "Don't ever drink when you're sad or depressed or stressed or to soothe any particular emotion."  You know what?  I listened to my mom.  Throughout my adult life, I have consciously made an effort to not drink just because I'm mad or angry or want to feed an emotional need.

Now here's where my problem lies.  I didn't take this advice with regard to food.  For years, I've been an emotional eater.  On days when the baby (who is normally a cute little grump bucket when she's teething) has had an unusually fussy morning, and afternoon hits, one of the first things I want to do is raid the cabinet for anything chocolate.  Heck, I've been known to take chocolate chips and melt them with raisins on a whim, just to provide myself with an emergency supply of Raisinettes!   On a REALLY bad day, I'll make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, just so I can sit and eat it and feel sorry for myself while watching a sappy romance movie on Netflix.

So really... does it work?  Heck yeah... it sure DOES!  For about an hour or two... that is.  Then I'm hit with the sudden realization that all those fat cells, are one by one, gluing themselves onto my thighs.  This is quickly followed with feelings of frustration and guilt for yet again 'falling off the wagon' (as I call it).

To be honest, when I'm not battling depression or a lot of stress, it's fairly easy to stay on the wagon and make healthy choices.  The problem.  The addiction.  That comes when the emotions start flooding over me.  That's when the real work begins.  It's where the addiction shows it's nasty little head.  Eating BECAUSE I'm stressed.  Eating BECAUSE I feel hurt or sad.

How do I get past it?  Well, some weeks I don't.  This Spring has been pretty hard.  With a fussy teething baby and other issues I've had to deal with, I'll admit that I battled some depression.  There were a few weeks where getting out of bed was merely a decision.  There were days where I did make that batch of cookie dough and just had at it.

BUT... I pulled myself out of it.  With the help of the friends I've made through my Beachbody challenge groups, I made it through a tough Spring without completely giving up.
I got back up.  I kept pushing play (on my workout DVDs), and I focused on finding other ways to deal with the stress.
I realize that constantly failing might make me look like a pretty stinky leader... to fall off the wagon and be public about it when I'm trying to promote a healthy lifestyle.  But here's the deal... This is a very personal journey for me.  It is not easy for me to always eat right.  It is not easy to say no to my emotional cravings.   This is something I have to actively work at, and I'm sure I'm not the only stay-at-home mom who has these struggles.  Heck, when I worked full-time, the break-room and company lunches were enough to kill any resolve.

In the end, I think that more important than being perfect, is being able to get back up and keep going when I just want to quit... and yeah... I've been there quite a few times.

So what do I do to keep it real?  To deal with those life stressors?  
  1. I workout 4-6 days a week in my home.
  2. I rely on my "Foodaholics Annonymous" group... (a.k.a... my challenge group :) to help keep me on track.
  3. I try to give myself perspective and be reminded that the 'cross' that I bear is not nearly as hard as many I have seen, and I am truly blessed to be living this life.
What it comes down to is this.  When I focus on living a healthy lifestyle by regulating my diet and working out, I'm a happier mom, a happier wife... and overall just a happier person.  And this whole food addiction thing?  Yes... I imagine it will always be there, lurking in the background... but as long as I remember the word "moderation" and make myself get back up, I figure I'm winning a very important and very personal battle.

And if, in the process, I can inspire someone who has a similar struggle?  Than I can be a little proud of myself for making a difference... because it's not just a personal victory, but one I get to share with someone else.  And it doesn't get much better than that :)


  1. Great post! There ain't none of us perfect with food/exercise and if anyone claims to be they are lying. And yeah - cookie dough? Love it!! :D

  2. Oh how I wish I could be perfect! LOL And not much tops good cookie dough ;)