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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