Sunday, December 8, 2013

Food addiction

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a food addict

cue the chorus of "hello Colleen"

These past two weeks have been....awful.  I have really struggled to finish this post because it is a very raw and painful topic for me, but I think it's healthy sometimes to talk about things that are challenging.   For the first time in over a year I have been really struggled with my addiction.

It's.....frustrating.  I hate the fact that I am a recovering addict, which means I'm bound to have relapses, and sometimes I really can't control them.  It's a disease.  One that I try my hardest to control.  I have learned the hard way this week is that I have to communicate better with people about what I can and cannot handle.  I can't expect them to read my mind, especially when I don't even know what I can handle.... We had some house guests these past couple weeks and since they were going to be staying for a while they brought in their own food.  I think you can guess where this went.....

I really thought I could handle the snack food, peanuts, peanut butter, etc because it was their food, in their part of the cabinet.   Ultimately I learned that there is a very distinct reason why I have been successful in my journey.  My husband has supported me completely in keeping our house clean for me.  Throughout my weight loss, our house has always been a safe place where I still have to constantly make choices on what foods to eat, but it is easier because there aren't any of my trigger foods that set me into a binge.  For example.....there are a bunch of foods we never have in the house like: chips, jelly beans, loose nuts, candy, and so on.  Which over the past year has been as simple as peanut butter.  Call it crazy, but I can handle peanut butter in individual serving containers, but not in a big container- which goes the same with nuts. So throughout these 4 years when I start having issues with different foods, because I constantly have to re-identify my trigger foods, he has supported me completely in keeping them out of our house.

I sometimes still have slip ups at parties, meetings, rarely at home- but I could at least control what it was I was eating at my own house.  Suddenly I had this perfect storm for creating binging behaviors...I was stressed,  I was anxious, I was exhausted from having too much on my plate, and.......the food was there.  That last variable was the tipping point.

So what did I do? I binged.  And it was ugly.  It's a terrible feeling when you sneak into somebody else's space to take their food.  And you feel so full of shame and hatred for yourself when you are doing it....yet you just can't keep yourself from it.  Because it's a disease.

I've realized now that addiction is not something you are ever done with, after all I am a recovering addict.  But the tough thing about my addiction?  I have to still have it every single day.  I can't give up food.  Yes, I can identify my triggers, my weaknesses and avoid that but I have to eat every day.

Imagine a recovering alcoholic being told- you have to have only 1 drink three times a day for the rest of your life. No more or less.  That's why food addictions- on either end of the spectrum whether it be overeating or anorexia is so tough.   Now please understand I am not discounting other addict's recovery efforts at all- I truly understand how hard it is and have so much respect for anyone battling addiction of any format.

Do you struggle with addiction?  How do you cope with it? Share your tips