As I write this, I’m inspired. But I also know by the end of it, I’ll be terrified to publish it. Part of me thinks this is what has kept me away for so long; because I know these words need to be said and the fear of actually typing them out, rather than thinking of them in my head will make them real. Vulnerability is not something I do well with but I also realize sometimes I need accountability to push myself further into a happier and healthier life I know I’m capable of living.
Food addiction is difficult to explain. It’s difficult to comprehend, even for someone who’s living with it. I can’t tell you when or what made me suddenly realize I was a food addict but I can tell you it’s a real thing.
I’ve always bragged on myself that I had never been addicted to anything in my life because it just wasn’t within my personality. I was a social smoker for years, only really quitting in the winter when it was cold and staying warm was more important than looking cool and socializing with coworkers and friends. It wasn’t until one of my bouts of depression came about and I was prescribed Wellbutrin at a fairly high dosage that I suddenly was disgusted with the idea of inhaling chemicals and smelling like an ashtray any longer. I was literally in the middle of smoking a Marlboro Menthol Light when I realized it was incredibly gross and totally unsatisfying any longer. And I just quit. I had no doubts in my mind that I could have quit without my body processing an antidepressant on the daily, I just didn’t really want to. I worked in a fairly stressful job and it was fun to be in that “clique” for a while.
I had the same experience when I was in my late teens experimenting with drugs. I had friends that I watched start to spiral, who were doing the same things I was, but felt the urge to always want and have more. It was like their thirst for something could never be satisfied unless they were under that high. And I didn’t get it. It was fun, but I never let it rule my life. I never feel like I HAD to be under that explosive high to feel alive and like everything would be right in the world once I was. But that’s the interesting thing about addiction: it’s comfort. Whatever may or may not be going on in someone’s life, their drug of choice is a comfort.
And food is my comfort.
I’ve always known I was an emotional eater. Especially when it comes to stress. I feel like I just want anything unhealthy I can get my hands on and I’ll feel better. The worst part is, I don’t. I feel worse. The fog lifts from my mind and I realize I just inhaled $8 worth of Taco Bell in the less than 10 minute drive home all for nothing. All because I can’t seem to separate from the idea that food will make me feel better when I already feel bad. And the guilt only adds to the already emotional dysfunction I was feeling which in turn, kind of makes me feel like I just want to give up.
The worst part is, sometimes it doesn’t even take me being emotional to eat horrible food. Sometimes the idea of it just sounds good and I justify it somehow.
“I don’t want to cook when I get home; it”s been a long day.”
“I don’t have anything to make.”
“I’ll just get something small.”
“The line is really short; it must be fate!” (someone tell me I’m not the only one who’s thought this… no? Alright…)
We’ve all had these moments. Some more than others. But when it becomes a regular thing and morphs into a habit, there’s a problem. We can all make excuses and we can all justify it someway, somehow. But we have to be better than those excuses or it can bury us.
I’ve realized what my triggers are and I’ve realized when I’m contemplating the idea of sitting in the normally long line of some sort, under a mental spell of my own doing, the questions to ask myself. Are you just being lazy and avoiding popping something in the microwave? Are you going to feel guilty for eating this? Are you going to hide it from your boyfriend when he asks when you ate last or what you ate today? Are you going for a Crunchwrap Supreme because something bad happened that’s bugging the shit out of you and you just want to ignore the world for five minutes while you devour it? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, I force myself to reevaluate what I’m doing and what I’m thinking about. I force myself to think about what kind of good this will do to my body and why I want it in the first place. I force myself to remember IT’S JUST FOOD. It’s not going to make me feel better, it’s not going to solve any problems and it’s only going to push me further away from my goals because I don’t have a legitimate reason for doing it.
It doesn’t always work. There will be many more times I fuck up and my Id ignores my Ego and my Super Ego gets upset and stomps away to go sit in the corner while my Id does a happy dance for 3.2 seconds. But I can accept that. I’m a work in progress and I always will be. It’s not trying that I cannot accept. Giving up and letting my weaker self take over is not something I can allow to happen, not now and not ever.
Every day is a new day. And every day it will get easier.