Not Normal Yet.

I go through these cycles with food where I think: I am an addict. I have learned this in therapy and I have to deal with my relationship with food accordingly. I can not casually let myself “eat normally” like a non-food addict because it backslides into gluttonous binges of full cakes in my car. On paper I know that until I fix some of the underlying issues I can’t be “normal” with food.

But then I have a few good weeks of “normal” eating where I have candy or cookies or ice cream or french fries or potato chips periodically and rarely and nothing bad happens and I don’t end up sick from binging and I think: I DID IT! I AM A NORMAL EATER!

And then I spend a week eating nothing but Ben&Jerry’s and Pizza comprising 6,000 calorie days and I remember: OH YEAH, I AM AN ADDICT. I can’t do normal.

I know that all addicts go through these cycles where they think they can just be reasonable and have that one beer with dinner like everyone else and they do and it’s fine and they’re like: I AM CURED! And then one blackout drunk night later they’re like: Shit. That’s right. I can’t do that.

I learned through therapy that food addicts are a little different because we can’t just not eat so I know that the goal is to have a “normal” relationship with food but I also know I AM NOT THERE YET and I don’t know if I will ever be and I NEED TO QUIT FOOLING MYSELF.

Full Disclosure: I am currently curled up on the couch with a terrible tummy ache from last night’s binge of something called “pumpkin bars” from the Publix bakery which I could not eat JUST ONE so I had to eat FIVE and I already was full from a REALLY large dinner and a day of Halloween Candy and…well…you get the point. This is yet another rock bottom where I sit facing the physical punishment of my gluttony and have to remember…AGAIN…Oh yeah, I’m still an addict, I can’t do anything in moderation it seems.

I just hate THINKING about food all the time but as my therapist said one day: You can’t just flip a switch and become someone who doesn’t think about food all the time. It takes time and effort to work on the underlying causes of this dependency on food and while you are putting in that time and effort YOU STILL HAVE TO THINK ABOUT FOOD. 

And I just want it to be a switch. And when I have a few weeks of “normal” and it goes well I think: See! It was just a switch! No big deal! And I think because I haven’t been going to therapy lately because I’ve been struggling with this next phase of my mental health and finding the right therapist for this moment; I’ve kinda lost those reminders that this is something that needs attention and maintenance.

SO! Today I’m going to just remember that I have to think about food because that’s where I am in my journey right now and that I need to find a good therapist to help me with this specific problem and I need to quit putting that important step off. And I need to remember that right now, I have to avoid the trigger foods. PERIOD. I am not cured. (Yet?) I am not normal. (Yet?) And so those foods that send me into spirals need to stay off the table. LITERALLY. For now.

The week of Halloween is a good time for this, right? 

4 Comments

  • gingermog

    I feel for you with all the Halloween candy flying about. I had to look up Publix. I imagine those Pumpkin bars were very moreish. I think its so easy to overeat n the US as food is cheaper than in Europe and you have access to far larger portions of food. If you have to pay the equivalent to £2.00-£3.50 for a delicious treat at the bakery your not likely to buy many. I shop at Costco on occasion ( hello years supply of TP for £10.00) and I feel my self control begin to drift away when I see the bargain prices.

    If I’d had made the equivalent pumpkin bars at home I am sure I would gorge several in one sitting too and be in the same position as you. Truth be told I often have tummy ache as I eat things I shouldn’t all the time. My issue is intolerance, milk, wheat, nuts, mushrooms, some grains, the list goes on and on and different food tests give different outcomes. I’m veggie too so I’m a huge pain in the arse to cater for. Ive tried avoidance diets and I’m contemplating going on the whole 30 again ( as it allows coffee… I’m an addict!) . I managed 17 days last time.

  • LC

    I would not call yourself an addict. I would say that food is your coping mechanism and to me those are different. Something I read that I had not thought about before:
    Don’t Empower Your Vices. By eating during a negative emotion, you are giving food a new power beyond just meeting your nutrition needs. Food becomes a coping strategy, making your desire for it intensify. You begin to believe that you need food to get through bad feelings. Worse yet, studies show that eating high-fat and/or high-sugar foods can affect activity in the parts of your brain that manage stress, which will further reinforce your reliance on eating in response to stress (Dallman et al 2011). If you feel that you can’t resist eating in response to a bad mood, consider reaching for raw fruit or vegetables since these foods are unlikely to have that effect on your brain.

    Fruit and veggies—–GRAB THEM!
    🙂

    • Zoot

      Oh, I assure you I don’t come by that term on my own 🙂 one of my therapist helped me see my relationship with food as an addiction! I definitely wouldn’t throw around that term without professional definitions behind it 🙂

  • Olivia

    I feel like food may be one of the harder addictions to moderate because no matter what, you can never abstain from food – You need food every day unlike alcohol, gambling, drugs, etc… I don’t know if this is true for you, but for me, I’ve noticed that I eat more unhealthy foods when I am procrastinating or avoiding a task that gives me anxiety. For example, I might think, “I’m not hungry, but driving to Starbucks to get a chai tea latte sounds better than finishing this arrangement right now.” Then I’ll start justifying it with nonsense excuses like, “I’ll feel more focused, relaxed, ready to work after I get a snack, then I can really dive into this assignment” etc…

    I totally get wishing that there was a “switch” to just turn it off and have a normal relationship with food. Sometimes, I feel like I can do it, because I’ll go through periodic cycles where I become so obsessed with a book, or a game, or a song I’m practicing, that I forget to eat and sleep, but always the bad habits related to food come back once the brief obsession is gone. Hang in there! Good luck on finding a therapist who is right for you.