Sunday, December 1, 2013

Let's talk about it

There are some addictions that are a lot easier to talk about than others ... alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, gambling.  If there are any addictions that are "accepted" in society, those are the ones.  We all give a look of sympathy as we talk about a man drinking his troubles away at a bar or someone shooting up drugs in a seedy motel.  We feel empathy for them, realizing they have no control when it comes to their substance and pray they can find help.  What happens, though, when we talk about food being an addiction?

I'll tell you what happens ... people tell you to go on a diet, to exercise more, to just push away from the table.  I wonder, though, if those same things could be told to the alcoholic or the drug addict.  What happens if we tell a down-in-the-gutter alcoholic to just drink water, walk away from the liquor store, or just to simply not do it any longer.  Will an heroin addict understand me when I suggest that he just exercise instead of choosing his drug?  Is it really that simple?

Of course not.  The same is true for a food addict.  This is a lot bigger than just calories in, calories out.  Oh my gosh, it is worlds bigger than just that.  Trust me, if it were that simple, we would have no one overweight in this world.  Why on God's green earth would we choose anything other than pushing away from the table if it were that simple versus the consequences of diabetes, painful joints, heart attacks and so much more?  Heidi Powell wrote a great entry on her blog about eating disorders.  After all, it is a disorder.  Ask any good physician and they will talk about obesity as an epidemic that needs serious consideration.

This picture is why I am talking about this today.

I think it's really important to be able to talk about the addiction to food.  I'm not even necessarily speaking about anorexia or bulimia.  Yes, of course they are very important facets in this discussion.  What I think needs to be talked about even more is the bingeing that many compulsive overeaters go through.  It's eating until you are so stuffed you couldn't possibly eat any more only to go back for more once the uncomfortable feeling has passed.  I mean the person that eats ice cream right out of the carton until it is all gone.  I mean the person that puts a smile on her pretty face while her body size continues to grow and grow until she can no longer fit into clothes even in a big-size store.  Those are the people who don't get the attention we so desperately need to give them.  

Those people are me and I am them.

Even if I lose all of my excess weight, my body will always have scars and saggy skin as reminders of where I have been.  Those scars and skin are a cover for a deep internal struggle to feel good enough and pretty enough.  We all have our own issues to move through.  For me, it has been having been abused and raped, along with the ramifications of those actions perpetrated against me.  I was that innocent child above and that got stripped away from me.  I chose to run to food to be my friend and bring me to a different place where I didn't have to think and feel.  It then became habit and a way of life for me that is not so simple as putting the fork down.  The weight loss surgery that I will be embarking on is just a tool.  The real work will need to come from within, learning a fresh new way of dealing with boredom, sadness, anger, joy and all the emotions of life.  That, I feel, is the real challenge for me.  Yet, I know I need to talk about it and bring it out of the shadows and into the light.  So, here I am shining the sun on it.  


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