Monday, September 24, 2012

Im ready to lose the weight...of food addiction

Im gonna be real again...because its my story, for his glory.

Yesterday, I was talking back and forth with a friend of mine at church and we were discussing the outcome of her Daniel fast. She lost 12 pounds and I was so excited for her. We got to talking about our future plans with weight loss and she had asked me to start the ever so popular app "my fitness pal" with her.

I laughed.

I actually have used that app before...and it worked, for about a few days. But then I started eating a few extra hundred calories here and there and NOT recording them. Then I would feel trapped in my usual cycle of guilt and shame and not record days on end...and then I would find myself at the gas station hording all sorts candy and ice cream, eating them in the front seat of my car will taking extra long to get home, to not feel so ashamed. Then I would feel sick because I am allergic to all of day would be ruined because of what an horrible sinner I am and then I would enter into the "Ill start again on Monday " routine.

This sort of cycle happens every few weeks or so...sometimes daily.

Diets don't work for food addicts. In fact anytime you are addicted to something, restricting plans don't work. And its not just a problem for people who are "overweight". I see this all too often with women who live in the cycle of addiction to eliminating food groups or being on diets that are so restrictive that they are ashamed when they fall off the wagon too. Being too into your physicality or appearance is also just as torture some. I know too many women who obsess over what they eat and how much all day everyday and forget that this life is from him and it is to be lived. Not trapped in a cycle of guilt and shame by food which is supposed to nourish and bring health and vitality to our broken bodies. It is not supposed to be this way.

I don't have a problem with eating healthy. In fact if you peeked into my fridge, you would not know that it belongs to me. It is full of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats. And believe it or not I spent the greater part of the last 15 years of my life working for Jenny Craig as a weight loss consultant, as a personal trainer and as a certified nutrition and wellness counselor.

I have come to a place in my story where I feel 100% ready to just share this part of me because I know there must be hundreds of thousands of women out there who are like me. And I bet most of them are ashamed to admit they hide food, eat in their car, eat in the middle of the night, binge eat, or just don't eat at all for days...I have actually never done that, and have actually thought to myself once or twice, I wish I had a problem with not eating. But then I would be writing to you here about a whole other problem and feeling empty in a whole other way...

I use the term addict to describe my relationship with food because that's what it feels like to me. An unhealthy dependence of something. I feel like an addict.And that's just it, its something. It doesn't matter what it is. In fact, I was a smoker for 10 years. And i drank alot of alcohol. And I have also done my fair share of illegal substances...but I haven't had a cigarette in 5 years...I can count the number of drinks I have had on one hand during that time period and haven't done any drugs since my late teenager years. But I could compare my affection to food as "the first drag of a cigarette" or "having a buzz" or flirting with a member of the opposite sex to get a moment of validation, that you still matter. Or maybe its the purchase of a brand new outfit or a designer handbag....or maybe its the thrill of having a successful moment in your life and basking in the glory. We just don't talk about food addiction so much because its not sexy or glamorous. Its not as cool as being a smoker or having too much stuff. Its gross, people think you are disgusting...but in reality its all the same sin.

It started for me when I was a child. That was the way I numbed the pain. And this is not a post about my childhood or how painful it was or what drove me to this...but I recognize this as being when it started. I would hear the back door close and the first thing I would do is run for the ice cream. Some days I would hide food in our basement and eat out of pure exhaustion, emotionally and physically. And that's what it is for me...comfort. I actually don't enjoy food. I don't like to cook, and i don't watch the food network.

I remember the day my father so gently and wonderfully asked if I would like to go on the Jenny Craig program. I was 15 I think...I did. And that's how I started working there. I developed a passion for eating healthy and I found myself wanting, needing to encourage other women. I stayed in the 150 - 160 range for many years. I spent many years researching health and fitness and loved it. And then I got sick. For many years in my early 20s I was plagued with headaches and pain and nobody could ever make it better. I saw at most, 17 doctors at one time and none of them could help. You can read my story about that here. Stuck in a whirlwind of depression and physical pain, I decided to start researching naturopathic medicine. I became obsessed with food as a healer and started using alot of supplements and herbs. None of which helped me out of my pain.

Finally when i was pregnant with our second baby, i had enough of feeling sick and felt God telling me to get allergy tests done. Turns out after months of my own elimination diets and restricting, I am allergic to pretty much everything. Wheat, corn, soy, dairy, eggs, peanuts and the list goes on...My body produces massive inflammation and swelling and I get very bad episodes of vertigo. I am just a sick person and the reason was food.

I sit here today, at 185 pounds. My heaviest was 232. I have lost this much due to eliminating the food groups I am allergic to and just being me. I really am a healthy person. I love to be active and workout...I know how to do it. I love to eat healthy, I know how to that. But so far, I have not been able to lose the rest of the weight not because I don't know how, but because I am trapped. Its much deeper than writing a food log, or counting calories...I am terribly broken. Food is the first place I run in times of pain or suffering, or exhaustion or just plain joy. I am tired, I eat. I am happy, I eat.

Lately I have just been crying out to God for the release of this in my life. Release of the hold that food has on me. The ability to say no. I get angry because my life is already so restrictive with food as it is. And even though I love being a mono eater, I feel cheated. Like I'm missing out on life somehow because I don't get to eat cookies or cake or ice cream without feeling sick. And then I do, and I get sick.

But then comes the element of shame. I am ashamed by the fact that I think I am entitled to such pleasures...or that I even consider eating as a pleasure. Most people in our world consider eating as a luxury. And I am disgusted with my own self.  No diet plan will ever be able to release the hold that satan has over me. No diet plan can ever work well enough to not make me stand in front of my pantry and choose my poison. No diet plan will ever give me enough strength to say no.

I am tired of saying no...I want to start saying yes, to him.

To God. To Jesus. To the one who says

Mark 8:34-35 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."

and this...

 Gal 5:24 You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.  Gal 5:24  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature, with all its passions and desires.  1 Pet 2:24a  And he personally bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that we might be dead to sin and be alive to all that is good.

2nd Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Now I realize that one of my many excuses is that its not that bad. It could be worse. I'm doing a good job. Its not really a sin. I'm doing the best I can. I deserve a little happiness. I should be proud of myself....but again, its not about food. Its about the something that has a hold over me that separates me from all God has for me. What he wants for me. Its something of this earth that holds such a tight grip on me that it is on my mind all day everyday. What to eat, what not to eat, how to avoid it, how to get through Halloween, how to not eat the entire leftover birthday cake again this year.

I believe the rest of my journey through this weight loss is not going to be one of counting calories or logging food. Its not going to be anything but laying down the parts of me that are so broken, and letting the only one who can fix me, do his job. I know that he does not want this for me, is deeply saddened by it and wants to restore me. I know he wants to help me to lay it down. And I know that I will be prayerfully confronting many deep seeded issues in my life that have brought me to this place. I know that by asking God to help me, he will be showing me why I am the way I am and how to look more like him. I am ready for that.I want nothing to do with this cycle of guilt and shame anymore. I want nothing to do with satan and his lies and schemes to destroy my life.

What I will not be doing is trying to lose weight for the sake of looking good or fitting into a certain size. I am far enough in my walk with God that I know for sure I don't hold my value in what I look like or what size my pants say. What I do want is to be closer to him, to find peace in him, and to be able to say no to the things that are designed to separate me from him.

I will be reading this book. This is not a book on diets or how to lose weight. We all know how to do that. What it is, is a real woman confronting all the issues that we face and pointing it back to God. The very place it should start. Please go and read the "first pages" on amazon. And if you would like to join in on a discussion, let me know!

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