Confessions of a Food Addict in Recovery

So I’ve been on this journey for an entire week now… guess that doesn’t quite make me an expert now, does it?  But I have started and I will finish this.  I’ll re-cap for those of you just discovering this food addict’s blog.  I am Tammy Lanham and I am a food addict.  I have been sober for most of the past week.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.  The “excessive” part is where I have problems.  I eat to relieve stress, calm me down and when I’m emotional.  I use it as a drug.  I have been comparing this struggle to an alcoholics struggle with becoming sober.  Thank goodness, I have never had to fight the horrid battle an alcoholic faces but I’m battling my own demon, the demon of overeating.  I do not belittle an alcoholic’s struggle in the least – in fact, since I’ve started viewing my own battle as an addiction, I can better appreciate what an alcoholic goes through, although I am sure I still haven’t a clue. 

You see, I’ve tried losing weight for the better part of my adult life.  It’s my genes, right?  Not my fault so might as well have another doughnut, right?  Maybe it’s my thyroid…  See the problem?  I’ve made excuses all my life.  I’ve made bad food decisions all my life.  I’ve belonged to gyms, gone to weekly weight loss support groups and been on more diets than I can count.  I didn’t even want to set any goals (resolutions) this year because I set the same goal every year:  “to lose weight” and every year, I get frustrated and fall off the wagon.  So I waited until mid-January and with very little gusto, decided to try this thing one more time.  And I might add, this was about the same time (okay, the exact same day) that my 7 year old daughter with her nose sneered in disgust quietly told me in a dressing room at the clothing store that “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  Crushed me into a million little pieces.  Still puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  It was a very low moment for me. 

I contacted my life coach Brian Osher and he set my wheels into motion.  You see, I’ve lost weight tons of time (and gained even more back) but I have never done THIS before – I have never tried to beat an addiction, to remedy a disease.  I have to view it this way so my brain doesn’t tell me “You’ve done this a million times before and it never works.”  I have to scream at my brain to “shut up!”  So I’m telling it that I’m overcoming a disease – an addiction that has taken hold of me and is literally trying to kill me.

I hate exercise.  I know that healthy eating AND exercise are the keys to beating this but I HATE exercise.  At the end of my coaching session last Tuesday, Brian asked me to set a goal for the week.  My goal was to climb onto my eliptical machine (the one that’s sitting in the basement collecting dust… yeah, that one) for at least 5 minutes every day.  Okay, Brian, I can commit to that.  And I did it!  In fact, now I’m doing 8 minutes a day.  And this week, I’ve committed to doing that every day and adding in one Christian yoga session.  Baby steps…  a little at the time. 

Here’s a shocker – I eat pretty healthy.  Some of my favorite snacks are dried banana chips, sunflower seeds and dried apples.  I eat whole wheat pastas and breads.  I eat lean red meat and organic veggies and fruits.  The problem is that I don’t know when to stop.  I eat all the time – I think the proper terminology is “grazing.”  I’m not really hungry, I just eat because I happen to be walking through the kitchen as the cabinet doors fly open, grab me and pull me over while shoving yummy snacks down my throat… at least that’s what it feels like.  So this week’s goal is to cut out second helpings and stop grazing.  I can have a snack but I have to put it in a small bowl (make it a portion) and sit down & enjoy it.  No more sitting a bag of chips on the counter and eating out of it until half of it is gone.  To help me remember to stay out of the cabinets, I have a rubberband holding the handles of the cabinets together.  Sometimes, I wish I had a padlock… but the rubberband will do. 

Another baby step I’ve taken is to find a sponsor – isn’t that what they call the people who buddy up with the alcoholic to help him/her through a tough time?  I’ve got a sponsor who has lost weight, kept it off and is passionate about health.   She is setting an example to her 2 young children.  She will kick my butt if I don’t follow through on my commitments (and believe me, this woman WILL severly kick my rear end into shape – it doesn’t matter if she’s 10 hours away!)  She loves me and encourages me daily.  She’s on speed dial on my phone. 

Another baby step – I’m keeping a journal and filling it with positive thoughts, scriptures, quotes I see on facebook or hear in my husband’s sermons.  My favorites from this week:  “Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you – not a sign of weakness or worldliness.  Every temptation is an opportunity to win, to overcome evil and to do good… an opportunity for victory.”  – Tommy Lanham   “Sometimes you have to believe in somebodys’ belief IN you before your belief kicks in.” -Les Brown

This week, I lost 3.2 pounds.  That’s 12 sticks of butter according to my good friend Tom Hailey.  🙂  Thanks Tom…

So you see, I’m not setting any long term goals.  I know what weight I am comfortable at and I’d like to get somewhere in that area but for now, I need to make it through THIS day.  I will make good decisions for THIS day – I will be sober today.  I will exercise today.  I will spend time with my Creator today.  I will take care of our children today.  I will respect my husband today.  I will succeed TODAY.  I have no idea what will happen tomorrow but as for TODAY, I am doing this!

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5 thoughts on “Confessions of a Food Addict in Recovery

  1. AWESOME! I ❤ it! You CAN do this! You ARE worth it! And although the 10 hour car trip would do WONDERS for the cellulite on my tush if I walked it, I'm not for *THAT* during the middle of winter! HAHA! Rock it babe! You can SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO do this!

    Another tip I thought of while reading your post, look at what your food says a serving size is. I know that sounds crazy, but put what *you* think is a serving size in a bowl THEN look to see what the actual serving size is and compare the two. Yes. I measure my cereal and milk every morning in a measuring cup. When I buy the family size packs of lean ground beef, I pull my kitchen scale down and WEIGH it as I 'pat' out each serving size into a 'burger' (I buy 5 lbs of beef at a time and then make it into 1/4 lb burgers to freeze in 1 lb bags – 1/4lb of beef is a serving for an adult – so this gives us 4 adult portions per 1lb bag, allowing one for me & G, usually the boys split one and then G takes a leftover portion for lunch unless the boys wanted extras (I do *NOT* reign in on their portions because, unlike mommy, they eat to live, not live to eat. They stop when they're full all by themselves and are at healthy weights for their age.) I do this with ALL my ground beef, I can cook it into spaghetti sauce, etc. from the patties if I want or thaw and make meat loaf. I am to the point that I can pretty much tell you what 1/4lb is without the scale – but I still use it *just* to be sure.) Anyway, thought I'd post this since I thought about it. Seeing the actual portion size for the calories/fat/etc listed against what you may *think* is a serving size is usually a HUGE awakening. Sorry to be repetitive if you already do this!

    Another (hug) from me!

    ❤ you!

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  2. Just wanted to let you know that u have inspired me to get my rear end up off the couch. I am a stay at home mom and I have started the decluttering my house process thanks to you. I have made it through both boys rooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 closets and our “mud room”. I also beleive I have issues with food. If I walk thru the kitchen, I eat something, but my weakness is sweets. So, a friend of mine and I decided to give up 2 things from our everyday eating. We both gave up POP and I also gave up SWEETS. I am on day 8 and really feel better. I have drank nothing but water and haven’t had any cakes/cookies/candy or sweet tea for 8 days. Thanks for all your encouraging posts.

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    1. Wow – how humbling… thank you so much for your encouragement. I pray your journey continues and you are so blessed by it. Giving up sweets is tough – I know you can do it! Took me a while to discover that portion size is my issue. I don’t know when to stop, whether it’s cakes/cookies/broccoli casserole… Keep me updated on your progress! Youc an do it!!

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  3. Way to go Tammy! This post is the best. I am so proud of you, and excited for you at the changes that you are making. Each day is a journey. I am glad that you are not setting “goals” as far as your weight loss. For me, if I don’t reach that goal, its one more thing to use to beat myself over the head. Your daily goals is the best way to handle things. One day at a time. One step of the way. You are awesome! Keep it up!

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  4. Great Job Tam! Yes – we tend to blame our eating habits and weight on our family genes, however, I only have myself to blame. I’ve really fluctuated with my weight over the past 10 years and I feel so unhealthy right now. I know I can lose massive weight and I know how to do it. It is “setting” my mind to doing it. I started the first week of January on Weight Watchers and I did not lose anything the first two weeks. However, I have lost 6.5 lbs these last two weeks because I figured out what I was doing wrong. See-once again I had myself to blame! The weight watchers program as you may know allows you so many points a day. You have your minimum to maximum points that you are allowed….well….with that being said…hmmm..this girl wanted to hit the max every day and I did not see any weight coming off! I spoke with mom about this and she said that she has always had to reach the minimum points to see a weight lose. Of course, my first thought, “well that is taking away food from me daily!” However, I started doing this and drinking all water and allowing myself one Diet Dr Pepper a day and a cup of coffee. Since then, yes I have slipped here and there, but like you said…one day at a time. If you struggle today, make tomorrow better! I since then have really maintained control as I have been offered a slice of cheesecake at Nanny’s every day! I told her, No Thanks, and started taking me a weight watchers dessert so that we could eat a dessert together. I went to a birthday party and had “half” of a piece of cake in which I flipped it over and didn’t eat the icing and had a half of scoop of ice cream. It is EXACTLY as Terri said, PORTION CONTROL! I am not ashamed in taking my dressing spritzer in a restaurant or anything that I need to manage my life style. Exercise is a key part of this and we can do this together. I know that you are doing the elliptical, but find something that you can have FUN with. I have some DVD’s that I am doing 5 times a week and they are a BLAST! You have probably seen it on FB, the GO GO Yoga Booty Ballet..It really has you dancing doing “old” dance moves but includes Yoga and ballet moves..talking about bringing back old memories!!! You can find any of these DVD’s in Beach Body’s web site. The workout is over after 40-50 minutes and I feel like I just started because I am having so much fun! Well….we are all on this journey together….text if you get discouraged, or if you need a kick in the butt..because I know that there are days that I do!!!!

    LOVE YOU!!!! We may be in bikini’s by June!

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