I have a food addiction

The last few weeks have been difficult for me. At these times I struggle with my food addiction. Compared to my past, what I do now is minor but still this reminds me that the old tiger of self-hatred lurks in the background.

Birthdays, Christmas, visiting family are all triggers for me. These are the times I eat irrationally. What do I mean by this? I seek out pick me ups, foods that I think will make me feel better. Foods like chocolate, sweet biscuits and chips are high on the list. Ironically, the list of foods I can eat is quite limited. But where there is a will, there is a way. I am sure this resonates with many who read this.

Sadly, there isn’t much available at my house. This is deliberate on my part given my history of overeating. I usually choose not to keep chocolate, sweet biscuits or chips (all without gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, or tomato). And yes, there is a small list of these items available.

Nearer Christmas and my birthday, when I venture into the supermarket for my weekly shop, I head towards the section of the health food aisle where these items can be found. Sometimes I stand and drool, but lately I have been purchasing such items.

Later at night when I search through my cupboards, I find sultanas, nuts, and rice crackers. Recently in desperation I ate a packet of plain brown rice crackers dipped in margarine, the one without olive oil, soy, or gluten of course! When I confessed this blowout to my friend she laughingly said, “now that’s really desperate!” I guess it is given all the other rich, sweet alternatives available. but a desperate woman is a desperate woman!

So, why do we do this? What is it that makes some of us choose (although we feel compelled) to eat irrationally? Years of self-analysis have led me to understand that it is in those moments I feel unloved that I feel compelled to seek out and eat food irrationally. For me, this happens when I remember those times in the past that I felt unloved, and unwittingly fall for believing the old story that no one can love me. Then I go to one of the most primal forms of love and nurture – food. Because I think I cannot be loved, I use food to nurture myself.

I know now that I shut down to love when these memories are triggered – an automatic reaction which I will always battle. Shame takes over and the only answer seems to be to eat. Memories are powerful triggers for our addictions. It is tempting to shame myself and feel hopeless, but I must not head in this direction. The answer instead is to remind myself that I can be loved and give myself permission to be loved and then love myself as much as I need. I must open the inner flood gate to love, the love that has brought me so far.

If you struggle with addiction, shame, and self-loathing, know that you are not alone. Contact me if you want to chat.

In love, Jenny

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