Morning reflections - Food addiction is real but so is recovery!
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Last night I went to St. Petersburg with my entire crew to see the Enchanted Light Maze. Ahead of time I selected a vegan place that looked pretty good where the whole family could find something. We had an amazing meal...it was a vegan chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries and veggies. It was delish and I felt like I had eaten plenty but wasn't full. I walked around that night turning down countless sweet treat options like hot cocoa ($15 a piece lol) and enjoyed the night. I got home and was grateful, ate my plan all day, wrote my 3 gratitudes and was ready to sleep to do it all again. This routine, this obedience to God, this submission of my will, honoring my needs was something I had fought long and hard against my whole life. I didn't want to be someone who had to have a food plan, or make arrangements ahead of time, who had to sometimes carry her food with her, who had to ask for support from anyone...but I am doing it and it's beautiful.
One thing that I am blessed/cursed with is I have an insane memory. I mean, it's not eidetic, as it's not photographic but it's more related to feelings and specifics. I'm telling you this so you will know that I remember all the pain. I remember every instance I veered off course and I remember talking myself through it, trying to calm myself, assuring myself I was going to be ok. Trying to promise myself and God that this was the last time. That I could eat this or eat that, I could binge just this once and would be fine tomorrow. For the last 6+ years I've eaten at the same restaurant for breakfast every Saturday morning. I know the menu by heart, I know which items are the biggest (doesn't really matter cause they would always bring me extra if I wanted). I know the sweet and the savory. I love the food, I love the quantities, I love sitting in front of a friend and losing myself in substances and friendship and laughs...but then I stand up to leave. My pants are tight, my stomach is swollen and I'm a little bit sadder than when I walked in. I think about lunch, I think about snacks and wonder what I will eat the rest of the day. That first meal sets the tone for the rest of the day. My entire outlook and temperament has changed for the day/weekend/week. This might actually evolve into a drive through situation where I scarf down a lunch and am not satisfied, so turn around again and go into a different drive through...this cycle continues. That one delightfully fat laden food choice affects the entire trajectory of my weekend or week.
Today I met some dear friends for breakfast. I brought my little container of oat milk, my pecans, my bp medicine and ate my oatmeal at that same restaurant, laughing, losing myself in conversation, leaving the restaurant in my comfy overalls (that now actually fit me), feeling satiated, feeling proud that I ate my plan and being set up for success for the rest of the weekend/week and even Christmas.
I know the depths of despair I have experienced with food/food addiction/abuse, I know the feelings I had every holiday of being stuffed, swollen, sad, angry, hopeless, resentful...swearing to myself that after the new year something would be different this time. I would finally crack the code to figuring out what would work for me. This magical, unicorn meat that would switch something in my head, making me instantly able to gorge but never feel the effects of the substances...I'm here to tell you this magical @#$%ing unicorn meat does not exist!
If you are reading this feeling or planning on 2020 being "Your year to change," I would encourage you NOT TO WAIT! Make a plan, connect with someone who understands food addiction, go to a meeting, walk away from sugar, walk away from white flour, leave the things that chemically alter your brain and set you up for failure, consider what it means to truly surrender. I've not got anything figured out but I am willing, I have a network, I am leaving the substances and behaviors that separate me from God in the rear view mirror...today is your day!