The ABC’s of Me
I am a food addict. Some people, many people, don't understand. Want to lose weight? Just stop eating. Choose healthy food. Put down the donut. It will still be there when you've lost the weight. Just because it tastes good doesn't mean you have to eat it. A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. Willpower. You just have to have willpower. And if you have a normal relationship with food, these are true. Easy.
But I don't. And I haven't for a long time. Even when I have dieted before, I still obsessed over it. Always planning what I would eat next. Always making sure that I had my "staples" in supply. Always sure to have something that tasted like "real" food but was low in calories. Always sure to have food on hand that was "healthy," "low fat," or "good for you."
And I lost the weight, only to gain it back when the diet was over and I was able to indulge in my favorites again.
After my last flying leap off of the diet wagon, I decided to take a little break from worrying what I ate. Just relax about it all, but notice what and how I was eating. And I realized that I ate as an addict drinks, smokes, or takes drugs. Tired? Eat. That will give me energy. Angry? Eat. That will show 'em. Lonely or Bored? Eat. It will give me something to do and fill me up. And once I started, it was almost as if I was driven to eat more. My body craved that cracker, that cookie, that cupcake.
So I started researching food addiction and found that white flour and white sugar, as well as many of the chemicals and additives that are put into processed food do indeed cause a true addiction. In the twelve step program of Overeaters Anonymouns, one of the strategies is to totally give up white flour and white sugar. Then I stumbled across a website about Real Food and eating only food that was unprocessed and natural. In other words,
*nuts and seeds
*low fat dairy
So I thought I would give it a try. I went to the store and the farmers market and stocked up on chicken and turkey, low fat cheese, skim milk, and a rainbow of produce. And the first week? It was rough. I had headaches. I was tired. I got the shakes. I was weak. And man, was I hungry. I also lost 7 pounds. I wasn't dieting, just eating when I was truly hungry and eating only real food.
The last two weeks have been much better. The cravings are gone. The headaches are gone. I have more energy and no more dips in my blood sugar. I eat and feel satisfied. Not bloated and miserable. Just satisfied. I am careful to not eat bread more than once a day, and then only whole grain. I notice that I do have my "hunger" responses to my feelings, but I acknowledge them as just that, and if I do eat, I eat an apple or watermelon or some carrots.
My "staples" now?
I will admit...it is not easy. Fresh produce is more expensive than junk food. It is easier to grab a value meal at the drive thru on the way home from practice than come home and prepare a salad or cook some chicken. But this summer, anyways, it is worth the extra time and money. And what is it that they say about a habit? That it takes 21 days to form a new one?
Maybe, just maybe, this will be one habit that sticks!