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I am a food addict
June 5, 2005
6:02 pm
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jastypes
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To a lot of people who know me, this is not a revelation. But it was a revelation to me. Honestly. And it happened this weekend. I know I am morbidly obese. I know I sometimes compulsively overeat, like when I drive to a McDonald's after having already eaten dinner, or when I feel a compulsive urge to get cupcakes at the store.

But I honestly did not know I was a food addict until this weekend. I started a 12-step program a few weeks ago, to deal with my co-dependency. In that meeting, I met a food addict. This is a Christian-based group, so at the end we would share prayer requests -- actually swap them. I had one woman's whose prayer was that she would commit to a food plan. I started praying for her with an attitude of, "Oh, you don't need a food plan. You just need to be careful."

Also several weeks ago I joined a program with my daughter, called Shape Down. It is NOT a diet, but rather a way to learn healthy eating and exercise habits. Hey, I figured I could do that. This week we are focusing on beginning to eat when we are hungry, and stopping when we are just full.

But last night I put my food on my plate, and I ate my dinner. Checked in. Okay, I'm satisfied. But there was food left in the kitchen. And it called out to me. And I ate it. Then later on at night I wanted to have a snack, so I had a bowl of cereal with strawberries, and then another, and yet another. What the hell is wrong with me?

Oh my God, I am a food addict. I see food, and I feel compelled to eat it, just like the alcoholic finishes the alcohol in the house (or drinks til he passes out) rather than having one or two drinks. I think about food all the time, just like the drug addict whose daily thoughts are about when he will get his next fix, where it will come from, making that phone call, that connection, and then finally getting the drug, getting high, crashing, and starting all over again. I need more and more food to satisfy my cravings, just like the sex addict who starts out with one small indiscretion, and ends up bedding anyone who says yes.

I am sick. I cannot believe how deeply entrenched in denial I was about this. I know this has been going on for years. Oh, I've tried to lose weight before, but never, never, never did I see it for an addiction. And I GET it. I always thought, oh, well, I'm a compulsive overeater. It sounds so harmless. It's not like alcohol, right? I mean it's not like I can give up food. But today it struck me that it's more like a sex addiction (which I also struggled with at one time). I didn't stop having sex. I just only have it now within the confines of my marriage. I am no longer a slave to sex. I am no longer obsessed with it.

Food. I read something today in a recovery bible about "musical" addictions, like musical chairs. Wow, that is so me. In 1984 I joined Narcotics Anonymous because I drank, and did various drugs (cocaine, speed, mescaline, LSD, crystal meth, pot, hash... geez, did I leave anything out?) to excess. I was absolutely delivered from that addiction. In 1994 I became addicted to sex, moving from cyber to phone to real life, taking incredibly stupid and dangerous risks. Thankfully I was freed from that addiction in a period of 5 months after confessing to my pastor and a friend that I was completely out of control.

But food. Never through the years did I see my eating as an addiction. So I weigh 300 pounds. Yeah, that should have been a clue. But I figured something was just horribly wrong with me. I had been molested by my father as a young adult. I was co-dependent with my drug addict husband. I liked to eat. I had bad genes. I had bad metabolism. I dieted myself into this weight.

My name is Jill, and I am a food addict. Thankfully I am in a recovery group right now and have taken the first step -- recognizing my problem for what it is. I have admitted to God -- and now to you all -- that I am powerless over food.

Thanks for listening.

June 5, 2005
11:12 pm
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LouWho
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Know just where you're coming from. I think you are just plain an addictive personality. I think you may find that unless you see someone professional about your problem, you are going to keep repeating these programs for other issues. There are many good drugs out there that are capable of offering you the stability you need while getting treatment for the central core problem at work here.

Ask your doctor about this. Unfortunately, there are those of us who are able to overcome the emotional issues with hard work and the program, but some of us are just dealt the genetic card that sets our chemistry a bit different than others more fortunate.

My family, for what must be centuries, have "chemistry" problems which have resulted in a number of suicides and institutionalizations. I would love to skip my little pill everyday, but the brain must have it, or within a few days, I'm locked in my house, and won't be stepping out for weeks. I've tried a number of times to taper off and discontinue, but each time a major depression hits, and I have to face the truth, I have to have the medicine. Diabetics have to have insulin, I gotta have my anti-depressant. I don't like that, but it is what it is.

Not everyone has to stay on medication forever. You may not be one of those folks. Your issue may just be something that a pro can help you untangle, maybe not. But whichever way you go, with help, or drugs, or help and drugs and the program, you can get back the life you want to have, and the one God wanted you to enjoy. Afterall, it is a gift. Good luck with your work, and know that you always have support here.

June 6, 2005
8:26 am
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peacesoul
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Jastypes....addiction in ANY form is about control and filling a void.
Your addiction is no more/less severe than a drug/booze or sex addict.

This form of addiction does need to be addressed with therapy and it's great that you got into a group. And what's even better is than you are admitting this and not living in denial.

Coming here to post is a good step.

Keep posting

June 7, 2005
1:09 am
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mamacinnamon
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Jastypes:

I admire your ability to come forward and stand tall. Good for you.

I agree w/ the others... it's as any other addiction. Address it straight on and make the life changes needed.

You can do it. My gosh, with all you have endured, you will persevere.

June 7, 2005
1:15 pm
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kathygy
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It sounds like you need to deal with your feelings around being abused by your father. That is very serious and could be driving all of your addictions. I noticed that you seemed to mention it in passing maybe revealing some denial about its impact on you. I would see a therapist to deal with that issue. It could solve your eating addiction. The more you eat and focus on the eating problem, the more you don't have to think about being molested by your father.

June 7, 2005
2:55 pm
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garfield9547
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I think you can relate all of this to your childhood. Do you think you were rejected as a child emotionally or over protected?

June 8, 2005
9:02 am
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jastypes
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Rejected as a child. Hmmm. My father left our family when I was 8, so I have abandonment issues. I believe that is where my food addiction begins. I know it was the first time in my life I gained weight and was teased about my weight. At the same time, my mother was emotionally unavailable. I swear to you I don't remember having a conversation with the woman until I was 16. That conversation did not go well. We began really talking when I was pregnant with my first child, and now we have a good relationship, but certainly the years of neglect took a toll. I was blessed, though, to have a very caring and loving grandmother and aunt who became surrogate mothers to me. My grandmother's death in 1988 had a profound effect on my life. Certainly the molestation by my father when I was a young adult contributed to my food addiction. I went into overdrive with binging at that point, and gained about 100 pounds in the 2 years following that incident. I have addressed that in therapy, and thought I would magically lose weight afterwards, but alas, that has not happened. Of course at the time, I didn't call my addiction an addiction, and had truly been in complete denial about it. I'm hoping that I'm really on the road to recovery now.

jill

June 8, 2005
11:46 am
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garfield9547
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I really think you should take a good look at your childhood and go to a good psycologist to work things through.
There is emotional attachedment that could be the reason for you eating.
Food is comforting emtionally.
If your mother rejected you, you might find emotional comfort in food.
Food will give you the same feeling emotionally as a mothers love. THE LOVE YOU NEVER GOT.
Going on a diet would be to stick a plaster on a big open wound that needs surgery.
You might need to fix the PROBLEM and not try to cover it.

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