Money and food have been the two main struggles for me since I was a teenager. All my life I have felt fat, but wasn’t medically considered fat until I was in my late 20’s. Now in my mid 40’s, I realize that it was simply that I felt I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was often labelled as too shy, too tall, too sensitive.
In comparison to my younger brother*, I wasn’t popular enough, athletic enough, smart enough or attractive enough. When people met my brother, they’d say something like “Wow! Your brother is so good looking; you two don’t look anything alike.” Standing in the shadows seemed like a safer place to be. I cruised through high school as a mediocre student, played sports because my friends did but was never considered athletic and spent my spare time reading books, playing musical instruments and talking on the phone with my friends.
When events in my life became overwhelming, food seemed to be the only thing I could control. Alcoholism runs in my family and I liken food addiction as my version of alcoholism. I started hiding it in my room, bought junk food at every possible opportunity and always went back for seconds and thirds, especially if it was sweet or salty. It was my way of coping. Stuffing my feelings deep inside, so to speak.
Popular and effective means of overcoming an addiction is to abstain from it. If I was addicted to alcohol or drugs or gambling I could do this, but Food is the one addiction you cannot abstain from. How successful would an alcoholic be if they had to drink to sustain their bodies? It sounds ridiculous, right?
Sadly, it’s socially acceptable to be thin, but fat people are often thought of as lazy. Consider carrying someone your size around on your back all day and you’ll have an idea of how difficult even the most simplest of tasks can be. The only difference between me and a thin person is that I carry my pain on the outside.
Today, my journey is about being healthy. Replacing old, ineffective habits takes time. Food has been my constant companion through the happy and sad moments of my life. Completely unravelling involves implementing non-food-related rewards such as writing, puzzles, getting a pedicure, etc. Like any other person overcoming an addiction, I’m taking it one day at a time.
My F word is Food. What’s yours?
*My brother is awesome.