Was I Addicted to Food?

One of my readers asked me:
Did you have an addiction to food? If so how did you overcome it?

That’s a tough one… I did not feel addicted to food as in I turned to it for stress reduction or to cover emotions.  I know Oprah will disagree, and I do think that those issues are almost always present in the severely obese, but in my case I think I was overweight because I just liked and ate the wrong foods.  I’d order fried chicken sandwiches but you’d never find me ordering 3 of them and eating them in a closet or anything like that :)

But on a body chemistry level I do think that my body was addicted to some of the ingredients in high calorie foods.  And the reason I think this is true is because when I started my “diet” I made some pretty drastic changes overnight (that was just the way *I* needed to do it), so I completely cut out a lot of things cold turkey so to speak.  Things like sugar, flour, processed carbs, bad fats… and I had a week long migraine from what I would rightly consider WITHDRAWAL.  The fact that my body reacted just like a withdrawal from any other addiction makes me aware I was addicted to some or all of those ingredients.

I also (expected and) experienced emotional withdrawal – I was irritable and prone to break down and cry or throw a downright tantrum when faced with situations where I would have to voluntarily turn down those foods.  It’s hard to say if that is just part of the process of changing habits ingrained for 35 years or if it was a chemical withdrawal causing those emotions but the result is the same, so what is the difference?! haha  My poor husband remembers all too well the day he dealt with a crying, screaming woman in the front seat of the car as he drove from restaurant to restaurant looking for one that was open and selling a damned grilled chicken sandwich… by the time the tantrum ended we had driven the 45 minutes home and I calmed my breakdown AND built my self-confidence by sticking to my “diet” and eating a grilled chicken salad ;) {sounds silly but there is a lot of confidence instilled when you realize that you ARE capable of keeping even the smallest promises to yourself}

I am happy to tell you those days didn’t last “too” long :)   The worst of the headaches and physical withdrawal were over in a week – the emotional was bad for about 4 weeks and got better and better after that… watching the pounds disappear definitely helped with that!  Well that and practice!  There are occasions when I feel out of sorts at not being able to have the results AND whatever I would like to eat, that I have to choose, but they are few and far between and the emotion doesn’t consume me like it used to :)

It also helps to have a support system – I have made friends with people who are living the same life-style and share the same struggles and they are always there to lend an ear or a shoulder … their encouragement and cheerleading helps too!  You are sure to find people like that at the Fit-ographer facebook page ;)


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