I am Linda D. and I am a food addict. When and where did this addiction come from? Aren’t we all food addicts to some degree or another? Everyone has to eat, right? These are some of the questions I’ve pondered during my meditation, during conversations, and on hundreds of other random occasions during the course of my working the FA- Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous program over the past 15-months.
Realizing that I was, in fact, an addict was the first step in my recovery. To these following questions, published in FA approved literature, I answered YES, YES, YES, YES…!
• Have you ever wanted to stop eating and couldn’t? “Yah!”
• Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting successes? “Totally!”
• Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people? “U-ha.”
• Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight? “Yup.”
• Do you eat large quantities of food at a time? “Sure.”
• Is your weight problem due to “nibbling” all day long? “Partly.”
• Do you eat to escape from your feelings? “Sometimes.”
• Do you eat when you’re not hungry? “Often.”
• Do you eat in secret? “I have.”
• Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you’ve eaten? “Sadly.”
• Are you waiting for your life to begin “when” you lose the weight? “Yes.”
• Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food? “I surrender!”
When I finally surrendered and said, “Enough is enough!,” that’s when my weight loss started. For me, and I think for countless other people, my addiction was in my head. I’m hard wired for flour and sweets. My problem default was to run to food when I was happy, sad, lonely, excited, celebratory, nervous, and God forbid, hungry. When did this chaos start? Well, let’s put it this way…as a child I named my first dog “Ralph” (named after the supermarket in my neighborhood.), my tortoise’s name is “Steak” (Yes, “is” Steak because I still have him. He’s over 45-years old.), my baby doll’s name was “Sugar,” and I even named my cat after a popular cat food brand, “Frisky” (Wow! I just remembered that I used to sit and eat his cat food with him too. Ooooa!) I named things I loved after things I loved…food! My food addiction started a long time ago. Sugar and flour are drugs. They altered my chemistry. I felt different after eating them but I always wanted more. How did I get it more? Being 7 years-old, what did I have to offer? Boobies! The neighbor boys had candy cigarettes and I had boobies. It was the perfect barter. I carried that shame around for years. Food addiction started a long time ago for me.
Even with over 50 pounds of weight loss, I am still a food addict. With help, I have it in check one day at a time. There is no longer shame around my food or the way I look. The meals I make are made with ingredients that God intended me to eat—fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and grains. Today, I cook better and more exciting meals than I did when I was heavy. Dinner used to be a bag of tortilla chips and salsa. Thank God those days are over.
If you think that you may be a food addict, there is a solution. Please visit foodaddicts.org to find a local chapter close to you and attend a few meetings.
I’m Linda and I’m a food addict. Saying this statement to others and myself is a gentle reminder of who I am, where I’ve been, and what I could easily revert back to if not mindful. My food program is something I work on daily. Thank you fellows, family, and friends for all you have done to support me on my daily journey with food addiction. I did not and do not do this alone! Doing it alone NEVER worked before, so thank you!
While backpacking in the high country of Yosemite with a friend, the topic of my dramatic weight loss came up and an interesting metaphor for life materialized. As I stated before, I did not achieve my weight loss alone. Standing in the forest, below a vast expanse of hearty Douglas Firs, I realized the tremendous power in numbers. A mature forest stands strong as a whole. Seedlings are protected. When I started FA, I was a seedling, so vulnerable. My fellows and a veteran sponsor, with 5-years of abstinence, showed me the way and helped me weather many a storm. In recovery, I began to grow strong emotionally, spiritual cornerstones were put in place, and my healthy, new body started to appear. I was a maturing tree reaching rapidly towards the life giving sunshine. However, even in nature, not everything is perfect. Early on those storms happened almost daily, usually manifesting in the form of some floury and sugary product seen on TV, in a store, at the gas station, at work, and even in my dreams. I realized the power it had over me. Experienced fellows shared that these “cravings” weren’t hunger, rather “feelings” that churned away in my stomach and mind. My natural default was to reach for food, which worked but left me numb, fat, and unhappy. Getting support was the only way to get to the next day. Some days, it was difficult to see beyond that. But with help, especially from my sponsor and fellows, the storms passed without me picking up a floury or sugary item. What I now eat are vegetables, fruits, meats and grains in a kaleidoscope of amazing colors, of which I love! Thank God!
Today, I am amazed to say, that my seedling has turned into a tree. I am firmly planted in a forest where I have been given the opportunity to shield and guide others during storms and bouts with uncontrollable cravings. Do I still suffer with cravings at times? Yes! However, abstaining from flour, sugar, and quantities is my first choice. My new lifestyle affords me oomph that I only imagined before.
It’s Monday, August 24th. I am 40 years old, 5’8” tall, and weigh 139 pounds. I have 54 pounds of permanent weight loss and have been in Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA) for 13-months. To learn more about my food program, please visit www.foodaddicts.org and attend a meeting near you.
My name is Linda and I am a food addict! “A what?” you may ask, which is just what my husband asked when I told him. Yes! I am a food addict; I am addicted to food.
One year ago, this month, I began a journey that took me to a beautiful, peaceful, healthy new place…the place where I now reside…in my right sized body! In 6 months I lost 55 pounds, 40 of which I’ve carried around, thus far, through my entire adult life. Since high school I’ve been overweight and for the last ten years, although it’s hard to say, I was obese. The failed weight loss attempts over the last decade left me feeling powerless, moneyless, and depressed. Last year, I was turning 40, living with high cholesterol, wearing a size 16 and resolved that this was just the way it was going to be.
Food had a stronghold on my life; I was addicted to it and still am, but I have learned to utilize tools that help me keep it in check, one day, one meal at a time. I found a solution! Well, no, it found me—while sitting on a couch at a party in the Hollywood Hills. I had been observing a close friend experiencing gradual, yet steady weight loss.
That fateful, summer evening, she encouraged me to go to her Saturday morning meeting in Sherman Oaks. It wasn’t Weight Watchers…been there, done that! I went, not knowing what to expect. There I listened to a speaker share about her experience, strength, and hope. She lived a life as a heavy person; I know because I saw the pictures! MY heartbreak, MY insecurities, MY story came pouring out of HER mouth. I cried. God, my dear friend, and this speaker, someone I didn’t even know, gave me a solution that has forever changed my life. I decided that day to join Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA).
For three days I cried every time I thought about the new direction I was taking in my life. I was in mourning! I was mourning the death of three very close, yet caustic friends…flour, sugar, and quantities. These friends were fun in the short run and, as I later learned, had filled a real void in me. The aftermath that remained, however, was long lasting–obesity, greater depression, insecurity, high cholesterol, secrecy, detachment, and the list goes on.
Today, I am eating healthy portions of meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains. And today I have new friends: Myself, God, people in my FA program, my family, and my old friends. These friends have always been here for me, but I wasn’t capable of receiving the gifts they carried. Food was always in the way and now, with food in its proper place, I am free, peaceful, a size 6 (never dreamed that), 138 pounds (never dreamed that either), and a very proud, recovering food addict! I can sincerely say that I, by definition, NOW have oomph! I have more energy and vitality, feel sexy in my new body and gorgeous right sized clothes, and most importantly, I am enthusiastic about my life today. My future has 10-15 healthier years tacked onto its’ tail end. That, I am certain! Please revisit www.oomphtv.com, for more entries about my journey with food addiction.
Also, please visit Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA) at www.foodaddicts.org