Friday, May 2, 2014

Shocking to read about food addiction in that magazine

I have a couple of fitness magazine subscriptions that I get every month.  I signed up for them during a time when I got really cheap deals, like $10 for a year.  I was interested in healthier ways of living, exercises to do at home and inspirational stories of transformation.  I'm slowly letting the subscriptions run out because I find myself having less time to read them and after getting them for a few years, it seems like the same types of stories are recycled.

I picked up my latest issue of Shape with Ivanka Trump on the cover and eye-grabbing headlines, such as:

Easy Weight Loss:  See Results in 4 Days
Trimmed and Toned in 23 Minutes
Send Your Sex Drive Soaring

I don't want to bag on Shape, but I did roll my eyes and felt like my decision to let go of the subscription was a good thing.  Maybe those articles are something a lot of people look for, but I guess I have moved on.  I'm more interested in making lifestyle changes that will stay with me over the long haul and not the latest faddish trend that's just more of the same for me.

I was absolutely floored, though, when I stumbled upon an article in their May issue, Could you eat just one?  A sidebar had this lead-in:  "If snacking on cookies, chips, or other treats regularly becomes a binge, some experts might consider you an addict.  Here's what you should know about compulsive eating - and how to maintain a healthy relationship with food."

Wow!  I was intrigued that they were delving into such a deep and searching subject.  Not many people openly talk about food addiction without putting some sort of societal judgement upon the subject.  In fact, the addiction to food is presented as almost a non-issue as compared to drug or alcohol addiction.  Those are much more serious than a little problem with food, at least in the eyes of those that look down on the issue.  The truth is that food addiction is a problem and the fact that most don't consider it to be so only aids in it becoming a bigger problem.  It is really easy to say to someone, "Just push away from the table" or "Why don't you just eat less and exercise more?"  If you have an addiction, how do you do that exactly?  Can you imagine telling an alcoholic, "Just stop drinking alcohol and drink more water."  It's not that simple.

I was really pleased with how deeply the article went into cravings versus addiction and identifying what may be the difference for people.  I certainly identified with the danger of having certain foods in my kitchen because I know I just can't stop with having only a little bit.  For me, a bag of this or a carton of that calls to me until it's all gone.  I'm generally fine when things are out of my house, but not when they are brought in.  It's so fascinating that I can abstain from a certain food group for a long time but still be drawn back like a moth to a flame.

I remember a situation a long time ago that made it clear as day to me that I was addicted to food or could be labeled as a compulsive eater.  I had a situation at my workplace over fifteen years ago in which a student had threatened to commit suicide over the phone with me.  I handled the situation at the time, but I did request the opportunity to participate in refresher crisis intervention training.  A little bit later, a workshop was being held and so I decided to attend.  We talked about a lot of issues in that workshop, but one such area was about addiction and the hold it has over an individual and their loved ones.  We role-played interventions, which was so eye-opening for me.  Our scenario was that we were dealing with a student who was addicted to drugs and were doing an intervention with him.  As this activity was going on, I thought to myself, "My God, this could be me except with food and not drugs."  Then, when we watched the video of an actual intervention in that dark room, tears started to fall down my face as I realized that it not only could be me but it was me.  In that moment, I knew that it was more than just mind over matter.

I applaud Shape for tackling such a difficult subject.  It takes a lot to stand behind such a controversial topic, but they did it justice The best part of the article for me was the ending piece where it talked about a person who had weight loss surgery.  She got to a normal body size but her "mind remained hungry".  As I work my way towards my own surgery in the next few months, I have to remain ever vigilant to doing the work to heal the addictive part of my relationship with food.  I'm so glad I am continuing to seek the advice of my wise therapist and participate in my weekly bariatric classes.  Those things are really aiding in my healing and leading towards a healthier life.

Water Challenge Day 98:  Drank 180 of 178 ounces


happyinca said...

Bravo for Shape! Articles like that one bring the world closer to understanding our addiction, and hopefully will cultivate a more empathetic response to obesity.

Beth Ann said...

Excellent! It would be nice to see more of that out there.

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