Overpowering the Heartbreak of Cyclical Food Addiction
If you, like so many people around the world have lived with being overweight, then you know the nightmare, pain, and heartbreak that goes along with that condition. Very often you suffer in silence because you are too ashamed and overwhelmed with the hopelessness of it all to talk about it with anyone else. As ridiculous as it seems, you find solace in the relationship where you have found the most comfort in your life: You find your comfort in a bowl of ice cream, a greasy cheese burger, a plate of pasta, etc. It’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over and it intensifies the problem and drives you into a deep hole of despair and defeat.
There are times when you pull together all the strength that you can and march boldly into a diet program that you have confidence will work and will change you and your body image forever. You jump in head first and even throw in a rigorous exercise program to further insure your results. In fact you even begin to see the results. Your body begins to melt away in places that you thought would never budge. You buy new clothes because the old ones are hanging off of your body. You start getting compliments and you are bursting with pride and a healthy sense of self-satisfaction.
Then it happens. You don’t see it coming; you find yourself in front of your favorite food. Like reuniting with an old friend, the food never looked so good to you. You get carried away by your senses. The smell is captivating, your mouth slowly begins to water, and in your mind you can already taste the food. Before you know it you are not only eating the food, but abandoning your goals and dreams of becoming slim and healthy.
The thing to understand in this situation and the thought that I want to firmly plant in your mind is this: YOU can gain control over the food you eat and over the eating habits that you have developed. There is no unseen force operating outside of you that made you eat that food. Subconsciously you wanted that food more than you wanted to achieve your goal of lasting permanent weight-loss. Your slip was an issue of Self-Sabotage. That one incident simply started the ball rolling and before you knew it you were right back where you started. Now the pain is more intense and the failure looms before you like an unmovable fortress.
If this scenario is familiar to you, you know that what I have just described is not a once in a lifetime happening in the life of a food addict. It is a cycle that repeats itself over and over and over. To a food addict this force is every bit as intoxicating as alcohol is to an alcoholic. It is familiar, it is comfortable, and it is soothing. While weight-loss was wonderful and temporarily empowering, it was unfamiliar; in fact in a very real way it was frightening.
The length and scope of this article does not allow for an in-depth discussion of all of the issues related to the cycle of binging and dieting or the reasons for and the solutions to obesity, but I will attempt to provide some insight on these subjects. In a nutshell, the issues are seated in the mental concepts that a person develops about food and their own self-concept from the moment that they are awakened to the soothing power that food can provide them.
Regardless of your weight-loss and the slender image that you see emerging from within yourself, you still see yourself as FAT. You have always seen yourself as fat and at least on a subconscious level you believe that you will always be FAT. And as you know, a fat person will always behave like a fat person. It is painful and you live with it. To soothe the pain, you eat. As the pain gets worse, you eat more, and more and more.
To put it simplistically, to break the cycle of food addictions you must begin to not only take outward measures to shed the weight, but inwardly you must begin to do the work to mentally strengthen self-concept of your body image. As you begin to meditate, journal, and formulate a new thinner self-concept, your body will follow your mind’s lead. You will begin to develop new and healthier eating habits. Thin people eat healthy foods. Thin people exercise regularly. As the image of who you are physically changes, the way you eat and care for your body will change and your life will begin to change. It may sound like a difficult and impossible plan, but remember the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Take the first step; you may be surprised at where it will lead you.