Friday, March 23, 2012


I have experience with substance abuse. 
I was a heavy drinker
I was a heavy smoker 
I was a heavy eater. 

People talk about food as IF it were an addiction...well guess what? 
It can be. 

We use food, all of us. 
We use it to feel good, we use it to celebrate, to drown our sorrows in, to fill a VOID, to forget our day, because our friends are doing it, because we CRAVE it, because we NEED it, we need to feel better, to get that rush, that sweet taste, that DELICIOUS moment-- Sound familiar? If you have ever struggled with addiction or substance abuse, I am sure it does.

Sure we know about the people who struggle with diagnosed disordered eating. Something changes with them and they are no longer in control of their food desires and habits. I am NOT at all supposing to know what a true and diagnosed disordered eating habit is like, but I do know what it's like to abuse food, just like all the other substances I struggled with. There are so many extreme cases, but I am focusing on the non extreme use of food in an unhealthy way....everyone does it, but at what cost? 

What it looks Like:
It looks like your basic everyday meals. Treats. Dinners out. Birthday cakes, DIETS, even obsessively counting points or calories, trying countless fad diets. Some peoples addiction to food is an over control of it, an over restriction of it, diminishing calories in the hopes and addiction to be in control and lose weight. It goes both ways! 
But when we pull back a layer it looks much different. What are we CRAVING? 
Stop and think about what you crave when you reach for that tempting treat. Are you sad, lonely, scared, stressed? What is it you are really after? 

For me much of it was about being in control. As Ironic as it was, when I ate and drank I felt like I was in control even if in reality, my actions were OUT of control and creating situations where I was moving more away from what I really wanted and more out of control than before. It was an ILLUSION. I craved attention, so I drank to be the life of the party. 
I craved comfort, so I ate to be full... for a while. 
I craved a high, so food was my drug. 
I craved LOVE and the feelings I got for a bit when I used my substances made me feel good, then caused me to crash down lower than before.
I had negative attention, false comfort, a BIG sugar DOWN and no love for myself and drove the love of others away. 

What to do about it: 
The hard thing about food as substance abuse is that we need food to live. We have to eat, take in calories, be nourished. We want to enjoy food, enjoy our lives, not feel deprived and strike a healthy balance. 

When you CRAVE something, anything--be it junk or not--stop and think about what you FEEL at that moment, what you are really craving. Is it that cookie or is it something else. Address the craving, the true craving. Then evaluate the worth of the craving vs. the wage of the craving. If you have it, will you feel bad, will you stray from your goals, will you regret it? Or is it something you can do in moderation, enjoy a few bites of, do once a week and pass up other days? Don't give away your control to your cravings--they are emotionally based like any other feeling, we are in control of them. I found that I was craving a spiritual connection: a hunger that only Christ could fill. After all the bible says that he is the bread of life and living water. What better analogy to use when a relationship with our maker is what we are craving behind all the behaviors taking over. 

Don't excuse your behavior either. If you want something and it's worth it, have it. If you are overeating, don't say you "can't stop" unless you try. We don't want to string excuses together like popcorn so we can indulge in our vice, be it over eating or under eating for control! 

Journal how you feel, join a support group, treat your relationship with food like you would any other substance and examine your basis of relationship. We all use food, but we don't all have to use it to hide, control or bury other things we need to deal with. Use food for fuel, enjoyment etc, as long as we know our motives and what drives us is from a healthy place and not something that we are feeling powerless over or that is controlling us. 

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Although Mary from Fit this girl is a CPT, always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Use of the programs, advice, and information contained in this website is at the sole choice and risk of the reader.