My life has changed quite a bit this past year. New job, new home, a new pet (that’s major in my persian household). What hasn’t changed is my torrid love affair with food. And recently, this emotionally-charged and unstable relationship has really got me down.
Food is my long-term boyfriend, and I abuse him.
I’m sure we all go through ups and downs with our weight, our eating habits, and our food choices. Some days you’re on it (veggies, protein, exercise) and some days you’re not (cupcakes, chips, the couch/reality TV).
Forgive and forget, right?
Not for me. My roller-coaster eating habits are rooted in some seriously flawed mental habits, which has only made me realize that I’m addicted to food.
It sounds radical and extreme, but trust me, it was a tough call to make. Addiction is a compulsive behavior, from which you derive pleasure at the risk of negative consequences:
I eat when I’m bored, sad, happy, anxious, stressed. I look forward to eating, when I’m not eating. I look forward to eating a snack, while I’m still eating a meal. I exercise, so I can eat. I motivate myself with food. I comfort myself with food. I prefer to eat rather than go out, and love to eat with my friends. Good food and bad food, I eat ’em all.
What’s missing from the above is the word hunger. That’s because ‘I’m starving’ has lost its meaning for me and as you can imagine from what I’ve described,
food takes up a lot of my mental space.
A lot of what I’ve pointed out may sound familiar or hit close to home, and you may think ‘sure, its not the best habit, but addiction? Really?’ I was always skeptical about people who claimed ‘eating habits needed an overhaul’, too.
But, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately — trying to understand how I could combat the roller-coaster aspect of loving food; and it made me realize-
My awful, addictive and compulsive eating habits have:
1. Seamless integrated into my life
2. Been socially acceptable and reinforced
3. Are Engineered.
This is how I went so wrong with what I put in my belly.
1. Since I was 13 years old, I have developed eating habits that are rooted in the belief that food is the appropriate response to anything. A bad grade or a good grade, food inserted itself in the solution for me. The habit now seems unbreakable, and subconscious.
2. Food is legal. The good kind and the bad kind. Everywhere you go, food is everywhere- in advertisements, on the street, in the office break room. And therefore, food becomes an integral aspect of our social lives. My friends and I overeat together, all the time. In fact, we plan to do it and we usually follow through with that plan.
3. Our brains are wired to
like love stimulation.
Whether it is with heroin or sugar, the brain doesn’t care; it just wants to get high.
Endorphins, dopamine, serotonin– all those buzz words? Yeah, certain foods can get those neurochemicals firing on all cylinders, which only makes your brain tell you ‘get it girl‘. The food industry capitalizes on this knowledge, and engineers food so they get you that much more high. Damn them all.
So, to bring it full circle: I want to change the one thing that has stayed constant in my life for so long. It’s time for a new beginning on how I love food.