My husband came across an interesting article that compares over-eaters to meth addicts in Men’s Health last night. I have never considered myself a full-blown food addict but I have often wondered about where my intense food cravings come from. I think that throughout a typical day, I probably think about food as much as the average man thinks about sex. Either what I plan to eat, what I really want to eat, what I should eat, what I can’t let myself eat, what I would give to eat something…It’s maddening. Which, I may note, indulging every once in a while is fine and probably even healthy. My problem is, I don’t have one slice of pizza…I’ll have the whole thing. I don’t eat one scoop of ice cream…I’ll have the whole pint.
After keeping a food diary for a while and paying more attention to what I feel when I eat, I am getting much better at not allowing my emotions to rule my eating habits. When I feel an overwhelming urge to binge, I stop and think first. I try to pinpoint why I am craving that food. Often, I am bored and want something to look forward to. Sometimes I am tired or sad and don’t want to think about all this. But I try to distract myself with other activities, like my art. When I do this, I get really irritable and restless almost like a withdrawal symptom. I feel so bad for my husband when I get this way. But my overall goal is to eventually shift my “feel good” activities from food/eating to my art, exercise and other hobbies. I have mentioned this before but I have to remind myself daily that food is fuel, my body is machine.
I saw a local speaker several years back. He was talking about the obesity epidemic and he said something that struck me as profound. He said that eating is not supposed to be the highlight of your day. It is not supposed to be satisfying every single time. Are you satisfied with every other aspect of your life every single time? Then why do we expect food to do that? I realized that is exactly what I was doing. Being a very picky eater, I pretty much only ate what I liked and thought tasted good. So, no fruits and definitely no veggies. I have come a long way, but I am not there yet. This article is just one study but it is still comforting to know that I am not alone in this struggle.