What Food Addiction Is Really Like

Food addiction is a serious and tough topic to talk about. And it’s usually surrounded by so much more than just food. There’s emotion with it. Lots of emotion. Many times food addiction is a scary secret you keep to yourself. That’s why today’s post is so important and powerful. If you’ve been struggling with food addiction and feel alone, this post from a beautiful writer and brave woman who requested to remain nameless will let you know that it’s more common than you realize — even among those who you think are the fittest and healthiest people around you …

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Food Addiction, Depression, Guilt, Shame … You’re NOT Alone!

This is not the first time I’ve done this. This is not the first time I knew something wasn’t right. BUT, this is the first time I’ve addressed it. The first time I’ve given it a name. And it’s definitely the first time I’ve decided I’m worth the fight.

Let’s rewind a little bit.

When I was 8, I was already very much overweight, supremely sad and felt like I didn’t fit anywhere. The new home I was living in with my dad and stepmother was a business, a job. Rather than being a safe, loving, warm place, it was work. I “stole” food from the kitchen, our pantry, from the kids’ diaper bags that we babysat. And I hid it in my room, backpack or other spots for when I needed “love” or companionship.

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Fast forward 30 years later, as I shoved the empty (Snickers, doughnuts, fast food, chips, Hawaiian rolls, cookies, etc.) wrappers under the other trash in the can to hide them, I had one of the lowest moments of my life and the highest weight on the scale. I am a personal trainer (I know, I know), a wife, a business owner, a friend, a daughter, a niece and now, I’m realizing I’m also an addict.

I understood and finally claimed that I have a problem … Food is no longer a way to nourish and sustain my body and soul. Hardly ever does it bring me a sense of fullness or a moment of calm. It’s become more like a leech. It’s evolved into something that drains and overwhelms me. It sucks the energy out of me. I think about it all the time.

Buy it.
Eat it.
Hate it.
Ashamed of it.
Love it.
Worry about it.
Hide it.
Use it.
Eat too much of it.
Repeat.
All. The. Freaking. Time … Food.

My first thought — after I pulled myself away from staring in the trash can — was that I could control it. I could MOST CERTAINLY “willpower” my way out of this again. Or I could use a different diet pill, appetite suppressant or 30-day detox to clean myself up. So for about 36 hours, I did. Constant positive self-talk, I cooked a healthy meal for the evening and did some journaling.

Then, I had one of the most intense, severe, can’t-think-straight, full-blown, “I definitely have a problem” cravings. It was as if my body took over, was holding a gun and said, “Get me the sugar and nobody gets hurt.” I had ZERO control.

After I ate “the thing” I cried so hard I nearly threw up. THAT was the lowest moment to date.

Since then, I’ve done a ton of research, finally admitted to my wife how horrifically I was feeling and what I was doing, reached out to a friend who could refer me to find help, read an amazingly useful book called When Food is Love by Geneen Roth, and I’m looking for an OA or GreySheeters Anonymous meeting locally.

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Am I out of the woods? Aww, hell to the no!
Am I better than that day I mentioned above? Definitely.
Am I going to continue this fight for myself? Abso-freaking-lutely.

Here are some of the sites and articles I found to be helpful so far.

Daily, I have to work SO hard at this. And this is on top of seeing between 25 to 30 private training clients, teaching 12 to 15 group classes, running “my part” of our business, being a wife, a dog/kitty mom and a friend. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; it’s frickin’ hard. But until I hit that bottom-most feeling moment and decided that I needed help and reached out for it, nothing was going to change.

I know I’ll have moments, days, weeks and maybe months that will be REALLY rough. But I also know that I’m surrounded by loving and supportive people — one of them being ME …

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So my FBG friends, exchange shame for hope, drop fear for acceptance, nix guilt for love …

Reach out — online, in person, to your bestie, to someone.

YOU are definitely worth it and you are most certainly not alone …

—Anonymous

I certainly can relate to a lot of this. Leave a comment if you’ve ever struggled with food addiction, too. You can read my emotional eating story here. —Jenn

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. I worked really hard a couple of summers ago, ate healthfully, worked out regularly, and felt great physically. But when this didn’t magically change who I was or my circumstances (come on, it happens on TV!), I became discouraged I slid into depression, bad habits, and self loathing. I feel like the only thing I have to look forward to is a good meal. I plan for it, I anticipate it, then I’m disappointed…in the food and myself.

  2. Thank you for the vulnerability. As a member of OA and a recovering compulsive eater, my experience has been that I have to put recovery first or I’m no good to those around me. You are worth it!

  3. I can relate to this. I wasn’t really overweight until around 9 years old. I was “chubby”. I played hard, rode my bike but always loved food. My household was anything but good. My stepdad would go off in these rages and hit my mom or me.

    When I was 12 I had an accident that kept me laid up in bed. I put on weight. Mom left my stepdad when I was 13. Food was my friend.

    Through the years (I’m now 54), the weight kept piling on. Now I’m 313. There never was such a thing as food addiction or bingeing. I’m glad that people are finally realizing that food can be an addiction and you aren’t “weak” or not have willpower. It’s like a craving takes over and before I know it the whole bag of chips are gone. Eating 4 candy bars at a time.

    There definitely are emotions tied to overeating. Food is a fix like heroin is to a drug addict. No one chooses to binge and then feel guilty.

    I’m glad medical professionals are recognizing this. I hope they will find the cure.

  4. Thank you for sharing so openly the struggles that you’ve gone through. It is a tough battle but you are strong and you will go past it.

    Simeon

  5. Men do it too. Some, including me. And I am fussy too, so it has to be just the right kind of snack I am in the mood for. Sometimes chocolate, sometimes cookies, sometimes salty foods, sometimes creamy…. And I know just how to hide it. Aren’t lone car commutes the best for munching, no-one sees. And when I decide to be healthy, eating nuts feels more virtuous but still leaves me fat.
    Yuk,

  6. Can someone PLEASE talk about the cure? How does one re-grow dopamine receptors? Or at least dull that lightening bolt binge eating reaction to glucose consumption?Some of us out here are not eating their feelings.

  7. I’m most definitely addicted to food. Mostly sweets. There is no fullness to me unless I feel like I need to throw up. Never satisfied. Ashamed when I hit the rock bottom point where I eat an entire bag of something instead of a serving size. Girl Scout cookies anyone?! Jk…I ate the whole box. I’ve also tried to eat a whole half gallon of ice cream before…thinking that maybe, just maybe…if it made me sick and throw up…I’d give up ice cream forever. Of course that didn’t happen!
    I’ve always been pretty committed to fitness but I get burned out or lose motivation and I’ve been working on healthy food swaps. Anytime I give up on working out/running I definitely start eating anything and everything i want. *smh*
    Thank you for posting this. I’ll defn read all the links. Hopefully they can help with my problem. Good to know I’m NOT alone 🙂

  8. I want everyone to know I’m grateful you found this piece useful. It’s my story…

    Today is September 6, 2016 and I’m still struggling. I had several great months – dropped 25 pounds & stayed on point. Then, my birthday celebrations started 5-6 weeks or so ago. Since then, I’ve been fighting daily with sugar / flour / salty / demons. Today is Day 1 (so far!) of only fruit as sugar & no overeating. I walked my dogs, enjoyed the sunshine, did my volunteer work. I’m looking forward to Day 2…. Join me??

  9. I have struggled as all my life with food addiction. I believe it started when my stepfather touched me inappropriately once. From that point I felt alone because I never told anyone, even to this day nobody knows.