(Right hand raised) My name is Tiffany, and I am an addict. There are programs for all types of addicts. Places to go and detox, places to recover from detox, places to live while trying to maintain detox. These great organizations help people get off of substances that were never intended for the body, for narcotics, uppers, downers and everything in between. I find it funny that there are no such places for those who are struggling with the most common addiction of all. It is so common because the very substance of struggle is one that each of us needs to live. This addiction is to food, and the struggle is real.
Interestingly enough just before my 30th birthday I stated some astounding words out of my mouth. I said that I would never have a problem with weight, yes I’ll wait while you laugh. I suppose it was part naivety, part stupidity. My size 6 to 8 frame came naturally for a good while, I never had to work for it, then something happened. My metabolism slowed to a snail’s pace all while I became physically inactive, good timing Tiff. Then the second round was topped off with trauma, then stress and then more stress. The knock out punch in the third round was baking a kid for 9 months. I’d never taken to food for comfort but it became a close friend very quickly. I reached into greasy bags of Act II Kettle Corn for dinner, and would round off the week with a couple of trips to Tommy Burger, that SoCal burger joint within walking distance from my job. The lines stretched down the street and that intrigued me. So I went once, then 5 times, then 10. First it was a quarter pound burger alone, then I added a side fries. When I reached a full pound burger with the full side of fries topped off with chili and cheese, I knew I had a problem. I gained roughly 60 pounds over about a year, food was my best friend.
I soon took some strides to reduce stress, to simplify my life, and to focus more on my health. I started juicing after watching Joe Cross on the famed documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Watching him go through his weight and health transformation was life changing for me. He came to me in superhero form and gave me the tools to change my body and my life. After juicing off and on for about 20 days I’d lost the full 60 pounds that I’d gained…. yes you read that correctly. The outward transformation was great but the changes unseen to the eye were greater. I had so many health issues, more than what I can list here but I was transformed by fruits and vegetables. I had no idea how bad I felt until I felt good. Chronic pain, nausea, swelling and soreness had become such a norm for me, I didn’t know what energy, vitality and clear thoughts were until I experienced them. I felt new.
Fast forward 3 years Iater, I fluctuate with 20 pounds of up and down weight loss but I’ve managed to keep off the majority of the weight I’d gained. There is one thing that continues to plague me however, that is this persistent need to comfort myself with a pound cake. A few days ago I found a hunk of it in my hand. It wasn’t even cut with a knife and put on a plate, but in a moment of “overwhelmedness” I plunked down on the couch and ate after actually digging into the side of a cake with my bare hands. Yep, that happened. This was one of several moments I realized that I still have a problem. Although it’s at bay and for the most part under control, I still have an addiction to food.
A recent moment made my food addiction very clear. While I was watching a Weight Watchers commercial a myriad of eating delights rapidly flashed across my screen. The pusher, I mean the commercial announcer spoke in a slick seducing tone, “how much you want?”, he asked. My heart leaped as a rush of panic came over me. Images of fondued bread sticks, saucey succulent lasagna, and creamy crunchy chocolate danced across my screen. I was borderline having a panic attack as the desire to raid my fridge surged through me. The reality is this, we need food to survive. So how exactly does one who has food addiction ever completely find the balance between eating to live and eating to cope? Or how do you stay in healthy balance between eating for enjoyment and depending on food for fulfillment? If you’ve read this up to this point you might be wondering the same thing, and I’m sorry to state that I don’t have to the answer to that. One thing that I know for sure as a food addict, knowing I’m addicted to food’s comfort helps me make choices to not fall into the abyss of needing it for comfort.
I could easily fall right back into overeating which would have me easily slipping back into my size 16s. Like Pookie feening for crack, I feen for anything smothered in cheese. But you know what? I don’t have to give into it, or in the case that I do, I can eat what I want and then make a different decision tomorrow. Knowing is half the battle. Giving up hope is not an option. Reaching into a bag of something salty and sweet is not where my hope lies. So I will meditate on good things, I will see my future as it’s been promised, and that is filled with good things that are much better than popcorn.
Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].