In the past when I have heard the word addiction, I immediately thought of alcohol and drugs. I now understand that not only am I addicted to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, I am addicted to overeating as well. In some ways food addiction is harder than the other ones, in that we have to eat to survive. I would compare it to always having a bottle of Percocet on my counter as I am trying to recover from drug abuse. The temptation is always there.
When I was young, the more I ate the more praise I received. One night during dinner I consumed two very thick pork chops. I can remember my father and stepmother were beaming from ear to ear. I could see the pride in their eyes at my “accomplishment”. I don’t blame them, they meant well. However, you can imagine the message my young brain received. Eat and your parents will be proud of you. My mother had a series of affairs and finally left my father, my brother, my baby sister and I. She was very attractive and didn’t let a little thing like marriage stop her affairs. Obviously, her leaving devastated me and probably always will. The message I took from that was to make myself as unattractive as possible so other men won’t want me. I wasn’t about to destroy my children.
During my childhood, I was a little chubby and then I would have a growth spurt and be thinner for awhile. In high school I was thin. It wasn’t until I was around 19 that I started to put some weight on. When I was pregnant with my first child, my food addiction really took off. I have spent the last 33 years trying every diet out there. I would start exercise programs and then quit because I didn’t see any progress. I would look at other women and be so jealous at how attractive they were. I would then start a new diet to no avail. I never tried diet pills which I am grateful about. I have heard how diet pills can sometimes permanently affect your health, and of course the addiction factor is there.
I love Weight Watchers. It is the only diet I have had any luck with. My cardiologist claims that they are the healthiest way to loose weight. You are given so many points each day. This is calculated by height, weight and age. I had 27 points to use each day. I could eat nothing but candy bars all day if I wanted to. However, I chose to eat healthy foods. My husband and I did the diet together. He didn’t attend the meetings. He trusted me to put his points to good use everyday. At that time he lost 50lbs and I lost 44lbs. I have never tried Overeaters Anonymous; however, any program that uses the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous has to be good.
Overeating is a way to stuff the pain back down to a place where it is easier to deal with. I think it is important to try and figure out what is hurting so much or what messages you were sent as a child. I think a good therapist could help with this. Overeating is a battle as are drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I just keep trying, I think that is all any of us can do.