Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How Food Becomes Addictive

So this is not a clinical diatribe.  I am not a doctor.  But I have to admit that weight issues have plagued me much of my life and I've spent at least 30 of my 40 years worried about every bite of food I took, and every muscle movement I've made, so I think I've been learning a little bit about myself and my addictions along the way...enough at least to share with you, and enable you to either connect and feel a little less alone in your own sufferings, or to help you find something you resonate with, enough to better understand something you're dealing with...and most importantly so that I can break things down to biteable and learnable chunks for my own learnings.

So, I have an addiction to food.  Food for me is so much more than simply a means of fueling the fun stuff you see in crazy ass photos they mass produce to sell you a frame at Christmas.

Food for me is all of these things:

  1. It's fuel
  2. It's yummy
  3. It's memories
  4. It's family
  5. It's celebration
  6. It's comfort
  7. It's love I give to others
  8. It's love they give to me
  9. It's love I provide myself
  10. It's a mask
  11. It's a mute button
  12. It's a thinking tool
  13. It's a good day
  14. It's a bad day
  15. It's art
  16. It's a coping mechanism for stress

Food is how I deal with life.  It's how life is represented for me.  It's what I do, it's what I consume, it's what I give of myself to the people that matter.

So just as it would be with any crack addict, smoker, or alcoholic, when you take that source of the addiction away, it hurts.  Viscerally.  But more than what I imagine it would be with any other type of addict, it's laced with fat shaming, competence shaming and very little of it is the same kind of "awe inspiring" concern or compassion or even tough love for the addict.  Moreover, bullet number one there, is "fuel".

You can't simply take food away.  You can take yummy food away, but the replacement is often tantamount to taking it all away and thus begins a terrifying out of control spiral into any number of other food related anxieties and disorders that are even more health and life threatening than obesity.

And finally when memories, and family and the love of the most important people in your lives is also then thrown into the mix, the psychological damages of removing those very comforting things that food provides, well, puts everything else out of balance.  And if you were to take the brush out of an artist's hands they would struggle emotionally with how to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, and the same is true for someone who's day revolves around meal planning, preparation, and execution...even if they never partook in the results removing the ingredients that invoke all those inspired memories, thoughts, feelings and communications all need some other form of balance.

A smoker who quits the cigarette finds comfort in replacing their addiction with something less traumatizing like cooking/eating.  A crack addict finds something to replace their demons with in crochet or art...when you take someones canvas away - how do you replace it?  With what?  Find a new canvas you say?  Like needle point?  Not nearly as satisfying.  With cigarettes, well after a certain point of time, you're right, that would be equally satisfying for many more of the items on my list - I know because I smoked once for a lot of years, and food was my cigarette replacement.

There's not much in this world that will replace food for an addict.  Anything else that replaces food in the same volume, velocity and intensity will never, ever, ever, be healthy in the same measure.

So I ask you the great void of the blogiverse, what singular thing can we replace food with that will deliver all of these 16 things for me in equal measure?  I'm really hoping to find a good answer in this.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Where the buck stops

The last couple months of high stress and low self esteem have taken it's toll.  I'm now back off my meds which is awesome.  I think that transition is going quite well in fact, but the vacation my brain took, has left me back to where I was weight wise, the day I had my surgery.

At least it's not a full 40 lbs I have to take back off, but still.  The level of disappointment I have in myself for slipping can barely be described.

This morning however, I'm 100% back on track...and I'm looking forward to 2 more years of cottage cheese, fish and salad greenery if that is what it will take to put this battle behind me.

No matter which tool I have chosen to use to help me moderate the volumes of food for the intake, it is my choice full stop, what those will be volumes of.

I've enjoyed every single bite, and I'm very lucky I enjoy every single bite of the good foods too.

Here's to onward and more time.  And when I need a shove, a kick or a fire lit, I'll circle back here to remember just how deflating it was this time, stepping on the scale and realizing I really had checked out for far too long.

:)  All the best, and here's a cheers to you for listening.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Naval Gazing

There should be a lot of naval gazing happening in the western world lately.  A lot.

Truth spoken, there should be naval gazing done world wide, every single day of our lives, but in recent weeks, there's more need than ever, I think, to look inwardly.  To reflect on what we've learned as a society, as human beings, as contributors to daily active lifestyles, as parents, wives, sons, daughters and husbands.

We know certain truths at different stages of our lives, but nothing is ringing more poignantly for me this last few weeks than this one "how would I do things differently if given the chance?"

Truth is there's plenty I'd do differently, and most definitely plenty I am pleased with the way I did it the first go round.  And this is one of the reasons I'm particularly reflective this week.  If you look at the global stage and then you do an activity like the one offered up by the To Write Love on Her Arms people, you learn that there is a real place in this world for every single one of the people who inhabit her.  And if that's true, then really, why are we all so militantly determined to change them?  If everyone has a purpose, surely none of those possible purposes is harm toward others.  Surely none of that purpose can be to hate, deride, denigrate, convert, bully, be victim, be coward, be unsure.  None of that purpose can be second guessing, and hesitation...because...what if today were your last day?  Have you lived your purpose?  Have you done right by your purpose?  Have you had the opportunity to understand what that purpose has been?  Has it even mattered what that purpose was?

I don't think I have most of these answers.  I think the purpose of lifetimes are the sole deliverance of these answers in piece meal.  But that said, surely, if we agree with this admittedly naive sounding diatribe, in no way shape or form does it condone tyrannical power tripping, extremist conversion and hate crimes.  It doesn't condone disrespect for a single living being anywhere...which is also admittedly quite why do we see it?

Well, a devout Christian would argue that it's evil, satan, adam and eve and that damned apple of course.  Any child would tell you it's because "he started it" pointing awkwardly to open space - or was that an extremist muslim, jihadist, or some other form of terrorist?  Would it be a stretch to say that drug lords and human traffickers in Africa and elsewhere are all doing it cuz they think it's right, or because somehow they've learned they are better off trafficking than being trafficked?  Or that a rapist, molestor or murderer is doing it for kicks or to silence beasts within that feel less than, victimized, and who need to feel some sense of individual power over something else?  The goal of this isn't to patronize, insult or even empathize with the bad people in our world.  I couldn't...but I can ask why and expect a fairly reasonable explanation.

So much in this world aims at devolving us, breaking us down...making us implode upon ourselves.  There's no rational explanation and no religious one I'm much interested in hearing frankly.  As far as faith goes, I don't think it gets a pass from reality full stop.  There has to be a grounding in what's practical and relevant to the world we live in, or let me tell you, I don't buy it.

So while we reflect on where we were 12 years ago when terrorist occupied planes flew into buildings, fields, and military compounds and we're listening/watching world leaders stand up and talk loudly about whether or not to open up yet another can of whoop ass in a country and a blood bath no one else has any business being in, while we ignore atrocities that are happening in countless other jurisdictions, well, I need to ask myself the kinds of questions you find on the To Write Love on Her Arms site just to feel a little less insane and victimized.

I have to wonder if we all actually did this for even 5 minutes as a global population, could we have a peaceful 5 minutes across the globe...and maybe even a minute more while we took a deep breath to appreciate ourselves after reading it back through?  Does so much of our hatred for others, and our need to change them stem from an inability to recognize our own victories?  Does it stem 100% from a lack of self esteem?  I'm guessing at least that a lot of it does.

So why I can't be replaced?

I am the only one who could be Maggie's Mommy.
I am the only one who knows how vitally important that bunny is.
I am the only one who can translate my husband's thoughts.
I am the only one who makes him laugh with his belly.
I am the only one my mom calls Best Friend.
I am the only one who thinks like me.
I am the only one who speaks like me.
I am the person who has held on to hope after 40 years of proof that hope can be futile.
I am the only me there is.

I have so much more to see and do and experience.  I would like to see a world in tact.  I would like to experience happy people, and while I would never expect utopia, I would hope to see a world where it's safe for my daughter to travel to any country without crippling fear.  I would like the world to naval gaze for 5 minutes like I just did, and see if that actually changes even one small part of the world.

Here's to hope.