A few weeks ago, I posted about my addiction to food and how I was battling a lot of different feelings and emotions surrounding this part of my life. Here’s an excerpt:
“It sounds crazy, but food addiction is real. The ability for food to absolutely run my life is terrifying and unfortunately, my reality. I would wake up every morning wondering what I was going to eat, going to work wondering about food, and even leaving work early just to have a few hours alone at home to binge eat bad foods. It’s a scary situation, but I’m ready for recovery.
It wasn’t until about a month ago that I came to terms with my addiction, submitted myself to weekly therapy, and created a plan for myself that included abstaining from certain foods with added sugar and flour, two of my biggest food based triggers. I am also surrendering myself to programming as well, with supportive addicts and recovering binge eaters.
Ever since I was young, I didn’t understand how food was meant to be used. I abused it every chance I got, between eating large amounts of fruit snacks in the houses of people I babysat to sneaking an extra piece of pizza when my family wasn’t looking. I’m learning more about myself though, and realizing that it didn’t run my life because I didn’t understand that food was fuel. It ran my life because it was an addiction.
I’ve finally gotten to the bottom of it, though. I have learned that anxiety is my biggest trigger. Until college though, I had no idea that I even had, what my therapist calls, general anxiety disorder. I would have anxious moments, whether it be through lack of self esteem to something as nerve-wracking as job interviews, and on the “come down,” I would eat and eat and eat because I thought I “deserved it.” I knew I had a problem when was eating alone in my room or in my office where no one could see me or judge me. That was my slow decline. And now I’m here and ready to tackle this head on.”
Reading this back after getting hooked up with my strength coach makes me fucking cringe. While my reflections of my own addiction and triggers are valid, the ways I was going about handling it and overcoming it were all wrong. Cutting out sugar, flour, and wheat might work for some people, but I would make it 2 days and then binge and ruin it all, having to start over. It wasn’t for me at all.
I’ve been in Strong Chicks Rock for a little over a month now, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that food is not the enemy. There is no “bad” or “good” food– there is only food.
That ideal at first made me absolutely crazy. Like, of course a Big Mac from McDonald’s is BAD for me? What the fuck, Rachel? I thought to myself “this isn’t going to work, I can’t operate under this type of notion that no food is bad” until I actually let it work.
I started slowly by incorporating occasional “bad” food into my diet. One specific time, I got a chicken sandwich and fries, called Jacob, and said “I’m coming home with fast food and I’m not ashamed (I lied) and I’m going to try and eat this in front of you with no guilt or shame.” And guess what? It worked. I might have cried on the kitchen floor for a hot second before I allowed myself to eat, but it worked nonetheless.
Like I said above in my previous post about addiction, I would hide food out of shame. In fact, I still do it. I did it last week. But, I have been learning to acknowledge and talk about my shame, as it only survives if you don’t talk about it. Feeling shame and “unworthiness” around food is the biggest sign that you might have an unhealthy relationship with food. I knew when I was getting sick alone in my apartment after stuffing myself so full of sour patch kids that I couldn’t sleep. When you hit rock bottom, or in my case, sour patch bottom, it’s time for a change.
Now, I eat the foods I like while practicing what is called “intuitive eating” which basically means eat until you’re full, be mindful of your appetite, and eat foods you enjoy, dammit! This process has helped me to open up the mental doors to self-love and has allowed me practice what it really means to accept yourself and show up for yourself every day. The dieting mentality is still alive and well in my head, but every day is a step closer to eliminating that voice all together.
I’ll talk more about intuitive eating, my addiction to food, and self-love in coming blogs/podcasts, but I wanted to drop this line for now.
Thanks for reading.