The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines addict to devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or obsessively. This very realistically captures my relationship with food in the most recent years. It consumed my thoughts and everything I did in a day was centered around food. My schedule, where I was going, my to do lists. Everything was consumed with food. I’m not sure when it got so out of hand. I truly believe that this is something that started as emotional eating and at some point it grew into a true addiction to food.
Every addict, who actually admits that they are an addict, believes that their addiction is the hardest one to over come. You’ll hear this from drug addicts, nicotine addicts, and gambling addicts. While each of these addictions provide challenges in their own right, food addiction has a unique challenge all of its own. In order to survive in life your body does not require illegal street drugs, nicotine, or gambling. However, in order to survive your body does need nutrition in the form of food. So as a food addict deals with their unhealthy relationship with food they need to discover a healthy balance in giving their body nutrition while not giving into the addiction of food.
I live in the midwest portion of the United States. It seems like just about everything revolves around food. We eat when we celebrate, we eat when we are mourning, food days at work, football games, family gatherings, vacations – they all seem to revolve around food. When I say this, I’m not just talking about a well balanced meal with only enough portion sizes for those in attendance. No, I am talking about a layout of food with more food there than you will know what to do with. This has always been a challenge for me. Finding that balance when gathering around food is such a tradition for us. I think this might be part of the reason that I wandered into the rabbit hole of emotional eating which eventually morphed into food addiction.
I love the texture of food, I love the tastes, flavors, and spices that work together to give my mouth the flavor of the food. I love every part about food. Now, I don’t think it is unhealthy to love food. Just as long as I learn how to love the food and consume it in moderation being very careful of what I am letting enter my body. It is interesting, now that I am trying to cook with foods that are as natural as possible (very little processed foods) I have discovered that I love the wholesome taste of this non-processed form of cooking. This being said, I’m not going to go as far as to say that I will never buy a package of taco seasoning or hamburger helper. What I am saying is that I am trying to put foods in my body that are in their most natural form possible. Another trap that I think those counting calories fall into is buying all of the 100 calorie snacks and diet/energy bars. Not only are these outrageously expensive when you’re looking at cost per unit, but they have very little to no nutritional value. Compare a bag of 100 calorie Oreo cookies (if you can even call them cookies) with a serving size of actual oreos. A serving size of Oreos (3 cookies) is 160 calories which is about 54 calories per cookie. Plus you can get a package of Oreos for a better cost per serving than the 100 calorie packs. Now, I am not saying that this needs to be a staple for your diet. Though, I understand needing to satisfy a chocolate craving.
I am doing what I can to get a group of supportive people around me while I am on this journey battling my food addiction. I hope that taking little steps at a time will help me gain a new perspective on food and use it for what it was truly intended for: providing nutrition for my body.