Food Is Not Love

September 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just because you’ve conquered the battle

Doesn’t mean you’ve won the war

I’ve won many battles

But I have yet to win the war

And for me the war is a lifelong fight

One I’ll be fighting for the rest of my days on this earth

So I can’t let my guard down

And when I’m fighting the enemy

The enemy often looks like these 3 little cute guys

Named Snap, Crackle and Pop

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This was my favorite cereal as a child

I used to watch the commercial with the kids listening to their cereal make noise

Because what makes food even better?

It comes with sound!

And besides…

Snap, crackle, pop “makes the world go round”

Or so they claimed

And then one day I discovered that they could take rice krispies

And add marshmallows and melted butter to it

OH MY !!!

Suddenly my rice krispies were even more delectable

Than ever before

 

Charlotte LOVES Rice Krispie Treats

And now that she’s packing her lunch every day for school

Isn’t it just easy to toss one of these in?

And even though I’m making an effort to pack healthy lunches

Don’t I want Charlotte to know that I looooove her??

And isn’t LOVE packing her a Rice Krispie treat?

Am I going to deny her LOVE?!

 

Yes…these are the things that go through my mind

Crazy as they sound

And if I’m going to buy her Rice Krispie treats

Shouldn’t I buy them in BULK?

I mean come on….

That just makes good financial sense, right?!

And now there I am

With a bulk size Rice Krispie treat box in the house

And do you really think this sugar addict

This formerly 417 pound woman

Is NOT going to be tempted to eat one?

And next thing I know…

I am eating one

And another

And another

With 8 grams of sugar per treat

As if one treat will ever be enough..

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And because it goes down easy and liquifies right away

I could eat them all day long

In spite of my weight loss surgery

After I’d eaten the Rice Krispies

It seemed so much easier to buy these

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Oh the slippery slope that emerges

When I coat my mountain of denial with sugar

Because it wasn’t just oreos

It was DOUBLE STUFFED oreos

Because now I just can’t get enough

I need more

MORE

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13 grams of sugar in just two cookies

As if there has ever been a moment in time

That I ate ONLY two oreo cookies

By the time I’m done

Sugar is now running through me

Consuming me

Infecting me

Like a virus that goes to my brain

And turns me into a completely different person

Where the food obsession is turned back on

Like a switch that was flipped off

And has now been flipped back on

In full force

If that wasn’t bad enough

Then true disaster was right around the corner

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I used to drink cases of soda every day

I was addicted to it

And now that I’ve renewed my friendship

With Snap, Crackle and Pop

And invited Oreos back to my house

Why not call up the DR for a house call

Dr. Pepper

No… not even a Diet Dr. Pepper

For now, all rational thinking is gone

All sanity has escaped me

All that is left now is tunnel vision

Me with a direct line to the sugar

Like an addict who rolls up their sleeves

And accepts their fate

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This is where the end is near

The end of the line

A whopping 40 grams of sugar in ONE can

And as a former soda addict

I won’t drink just one

I’ll start to consume it like water

Several a day

Imagine the level of sugar that brings into the body

Cans of soda a day

40 grams a can

If sugar were a drug

It’s sold in 6 packs

And by the case

Under the prescription signed

By Dr. Pepper

 

You’d think I would know better, right??

Am I not the person who writes passionately about sugar addiction?

About what it does to the body?

To the mind?

TO YOUR LIFE

How it robs you of your sanity

Robs your children of the mother who can run and play

And replaces her with a woman imprisoned by her large frame

Who thinks only of how to get to the food?

 

The problem is that food is deeply embedded into or lives

Into our relationships

We must always battle it

Reminding ourselves that food is NOT love

 

It all started with me wanting to pack Charlotte’s lunch

And then feeling validated in my efforts to include a “convenience” food

To make my life “easier”

But did it make my life easier??

Not at all

Because even after losing 240 pounds

I couldn’t take the temptation

I ate the Rice Krispie treat

Which opened Pandora’s Box

A box filled with double stuffed oreos

And a case of Dr. Pepper

We can have the knowledge

But that’s not enough

If we don’t cling to what we know

And stay the course

 

Deep down

I still have the lie in me

The lie that says these things can make me happy

When I’m facing a rough day

I know the quickest thing I can do to cheer myself up

Is to grab one of these sugar laced items

For that shot of contentment

That instant high

Which seems to make everything better

FOR THE MOMENT

And it does….for a little while

 

But the truth is this

I’m NOT happy

I’m not happy at all

Not when reality sets in

When the sugar crash ends

And all I’m left with is the cold realization

That what I’ve done in the moment

Leads to days of unsettled thoughts

And cravings that won’t go away

The happiness gained in that moment of weakness

Is soon replaced with the struggle of getting back on track

It doesn’t matter how far I’ve come

How much weight I’ve lost

If I turn back to walk down the same path

That led me into misery to begin with

 

I started a new job

A new schedule

The kids are back in school

And with that life seems to get busier

Which somehow makes it seem ok

To turn back towards the bad habits

That seem to make life easier

When all it really does

Is make life more complicated

 

I’ve spent the past few weeks working to get back on track

And I’ve made a lot of progress

But I have to admit that at the end of the day

I’ll always struggle

Because as much progress as I’ve made in the past 2 years

It would take no time at all for me to return to the prison that held me for so long

If I’m not careful

If I don’t guard my life

Guard my cabinets

And remind myself daily that food is NOT love

It is not comfort

And it will not bring happiness that lasts

 

The lies are pervasive

The lies that tell us food is the snuggly warm blanket

That can envelop you in the night and cure loneliness

The lies that say giving sweets to your children is an expression of your love

The lies that say sugar is the comfort you need

Pizza is just a phone call away

And that Pillsbury dough boy is so cute

That he can’t harm you at all!

 

This is what the world tells us about food

 

Help yourself to happiness—Golden Corral

Come hungry, leave happy–IHOP

There’s a lot of joy in Chips Ahoy!

Unwrap a smile—Little Debbie

Comfort in every bar—Mars Candy Bars

You deserve a break today—McDonalds

It’s Good Mood Food—Arby’s

 

Even at the gym

I’m surrounded by commercials on the television monitors

Planting the seeds in my mind

That if I really want to be happy

I’ll hop off that treadmill and head to McDonalds

Because after all

I DESERVE A BREAK TODAY….right??

 

We can take that break McDonalds tells us we deserve

That break from our food plan

That break from the treadmill

Because aren’t we tired of having to follow these plans??

Wouldn’t we rather just head to Burger King

Where they tell us WE can be the boss today?!

Or over to KFC to pick up

“A Barrel of FUN”

 

Even authors have acknowledged how food affects our mood

 

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” ― Oscar Wilde

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”   ―Virginia Woolf

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” — George Bernard Shaw

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” —  David Mamet

 

We face a battle that is much bigger than we may realize

For it invades us on every level

From slogans and commercials we see on tv

To billboards we drive by on the road

 

It is embedded into our very family traditions

And intertwined into the values our society embraces

Even when we know better

We still fight the beliefs we’ve grown up with

The beliefs that are so ingrained in our minds

That in spite of what we know

We still reach for chocolate when we’re stressed

Because in spite of what we’ve learned

Our brain still betrays us at times

 

This is the battle

This is the war

And just because we’ve conquered it today

Does not mean it won’t be back tomorrow

To invade our minds once again

 

We must recognize the struggles we face

We must determine to live a new way

To fight harder

And to never give up

Then we must replace the lies with the truth

The knowledge that food is not love

And it never was

Sugar is not the solution

It is not the comfort we seek

 

It takes time

It takes perserverance

And it takes getting back up once again

At times it feels like we must fight the world around us

For our freedom

But the freedom we seek is worth it

It IS attainable

And it is FAR BETTER

Than food tastes

 

The feeling of freedom lasts longer

Than the high from a Snickers bar ever will

And true love comes from above

Not from within the wrapping of a candy bar

So we move forward to fight another day

To fight with courage

And with determination to gain the freedom that we deserve

 

 

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori September 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I keep having to remind myself that the war will never be won. Even at my goal weight, I will have to continually fight to keep making the right food choices. It is a hard thing for me to wrap my mind around. I want there to be an end. The end will be in heaven.
Lori
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Dagny Kight September 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I’ve written a lot about this myself lately. My primary goal is to break down that paradigm that says there’s “something wrong” with very overweight people. Science is proving that a myriad of complex organic factors contribute to why some of us have brains that can become fixated on certain foods! Why are we seeing such an increase in obesity now? Because our culture is immersed in food indulgence, our food is engineered to hit the deepest “bliss point” in our instinctive drives to eat. It is a DAILY STRUGGLE now to exist as a person whose brain takes a heavier hit of dopamine when we are exposed to external food stimuli! If I am a person like that I am NOT broken, I am NOT diseased, I am NOT weak-willed! I’m overwhelmed by my environment and it makes the fight just that much harder! Sometimes the fight is so hard, I get tired! But I have no choice, I will have to keep fighting all my life.
Peace.
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Amber September 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I thought I was the only one who felt like sugar is a drug. Some people make it look so easy to have one bite of cake and then push it away. One bite makes me crave it for days. And saying no on a stressful day is so hard. I get it!

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Sheryl Chandler September 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm

If I had it to do over again, I would have never given my children sugar. Staying off of sugar is the only weight loss plan that ever worked long-term for me. And now both my daughters battle with sugar addiction and one is struggling with her very health and life (from adrenal problems). I have been off sugar for 3 months and don’t plan to ever go back. I stayed off for 3 years one time and kept most of my weight off. But as soon as I started eating sugar again, the weight came on and more (and more). I am following Atkins and I find I cannot even eat their snack bars. It is just better to stay away from it, because if I eat it, I want it. With sweets, one is never enough and one is too many at the same time.
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Elaine M September 6, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for over 6 months — I had my sleeve surgery in mid-May of this year and have lost almost 90 pounds (25 prior to surgery, the rest since). I started at 325 and am looking to get down to around 180 (and then we will see what happens :)). I have lost considerable (~65 pounds) weight before and then put it all back on again. One of the things I was talking about with my therapist is that I need to put the “fear of God” into myself with regards to bad food choices. Because, eating junk just doesn’t seem that bad.

See, I am an alcoholic. I have almost 14 years of sobriety through AA and the Grace of God. I know very well what happens when I start drinking. My last drink was a 6 pack of beer that I bought after 2.5 years of sobriety in AA. I was in pain, and I knew that beer would fix it. I won’t say I slipped because that sounds like an accident. I put my 2 yr chip in my glove box, went into the grocery store, bought the beer, and went home and drank it. Within the first 1/2 beer, I was ready to chuck my life, move to the biggest city I could think of, get whatever job I could get, and drink myself to death. It was that fast. I know from that experience and plenty of prior ones that once I start drinking, I don’t want to stop.

Your post helps me realize that once I start eating unhealthy food, especially sugar and other refined carbs, I’m not going to want to stop at “just one” (isn’t that a Lays potato chip tag line?). Thank you for this post and for being brave enough and honest enough to put yourself out there – you have been an inspiration to me on my journey.

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Gail Owens October 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Mine story exactly the same, also a recovered alcoholic and food addict. The food addiction is far harder to deal with!

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RAP September 7, 2013 at 1:13 am

I feel your pain. It is so difficult. One thing that has helped me is to stop using an all or nothing approach. I focused on quality a bit instead. It goes like this. My food plan includes one serving of a dessert of my choice on a Saturday. But, it has to be real food, not junk food. Like a real slice of cake from the French bakery made with real food ingredients, or a serving of high quality ice cream, or my choice of cupcake from the cupcake store. Then, equally important, I sit down at a table and savor it bite by bite without distraction or guilt. Knowing I can have one serving of any high quality dessert I choose on the weekend helps me to turn my nose up at all of the junk that comes my way during the week. It’s my trade off. Every time I tell myself that I am never eating sugar again, then when I do eat it again- I go to pieces, feel like a failure and go back into the shame cycle all over again. I never believed I could do it this way and I still slip up here and there, but taking the pressure off and letting myself enjoy something special in a controlled way has helped me heal. A little bit of reverse psychology can go a long way.

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anne September 7, 2013 at 1:24 am

Advertising … it really works and there’s a reason individual companies spend millions (billions?) on it. I don’t actually have a “working” television – I get DVDs from Netflix but don’t have cable or an antenna to get local channels. But I did a couple of sleep studies in the past few weeks where they had a television in the “bedroom”. First, sometimes it was actually hard for me to tell whether I was watching a commercial or a regular program. Second, I felt bombarded by messages about food, and started craving McDonalds, Subway (which I don’t even like), cookies, barbecue, any fast food. I don’t normally eat “fast food” anymore, but I was wondering if the Wendy’s would be open at 5:30am on my way home. Makes one start to wonder about brainwashing.
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Sunny September 7, 2013 at 2:44 am

what a great post~I am 9 months out and have started to eat a little bit of potato chips and a bit of this and that. My weight loss has slowed down alot I want to get to goal. I really understand what they say about they did stomach surgery not brain surgery~~

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Karen P September 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Oh my Holly. This post brought back the memories so much. I used to buy junk food with two thoughts in mind… 1. I can eat it and 2. Won’t it be easy to pack my daughter’s lunch with something I can just grab.

Happy to say I stopped buying packaged, process foods and my daughter is old enough to pack nuts, chopped veggies, cherry tomatoes and put almond butter in a container.

By getting myself unhooked and off the processed food, I’ve effected my daughter’s health now, and in the future.

In the garage.. that’s were I stored my box of rice crispy treats. That’s where I ate them, one after another. When I stopped buying it, and when I stopped eating it when I found it out.. that’s when I recovered.

Good luck and glad you are connecting the dots. It will make you stronger.
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Paula September 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm

excuse – a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.

I have got to get sugar free.. get to the point of clean food. It is so easy to make an excuse like, “But I really need coffeemate in my coffee each morning” …. two heaping teaspoons in each of 3 cups of coffee. Or, it will hurt my husband’s feelings if I don’t eat what he took the time to prepare after he worked all day. Yes, we have had discussions on what I need to do, but he doesn’t see the issue.. or has selective memory.

As far as exercise?? I haven’t been to the Y in 3 weeks… first, my knee started popping, so I went to the ortho doc, and he gave me a steroid shot. That shot hurt badly enough that I didn’t even want to walk for a couple of days, but after that? No excuse really… So I am having trouble leaving the house.. so, what? My bipolarism and depression isn’t new… I have learned how to work around it if I REALLY want to..

I watched “Extreme Makeover, Weight Loss Edition,” this week, and the man, more than 240 pounds overweight, hurt both knees at different times during his transformation year. He chose to keep going.. to delay surgery until he had reached his goal weight. All of his workouts were non-weight bearing… pool, bike, elliptical, etc. He lost over 240 pounds in his year.. the most % of any man on that show, ever… with two bad knees.

I can keep making excuses, or I can dig in and address my food and exercise issues. No excuses, because an excuse is just that.

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Ducky September 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I am surprised though shouldn’t be at how difficult it is to eat out. Some establishments are easier than others but we’ve found that its more expensive. Want to switch out french fries for a salad? Sure, no problem…just an extra $3.00 and it isn’t even enough salad to fill more than a small bowl.

Like you, if I have a taste of something I know I shouldn’t, especially on a bad day, then its all down hill from there and I feel absolutely horrible afterwards.

Your posts are always inspiring!
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LHA September 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Your post, and the comments that follow, are a reminder to me just how many people are struggling with these same issues. WLS, Atkins, Paleo, WW…not matter what method one is using to lose weight it is very, very hard to stay away from sugary foods. Once I taste that sugar, it is very hard to stay rational. I try to remind myself “It is just food, calm down” and sometimes that helps. I want to always be able to eat a piece of birthday cake with the family without going on a binge. At times this works, other times not. I feel the pain and frustration that you wrote about of craving sugar and junk food while knowing that they are so disastrous for our health. Thank you for writing such an honest description of the struggle against sugar addiction.

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Jennifer September 8, 2013 at 4:32 am

This is a great post, I am in a similar place it’s so hard to remember its forever, it’s not what I wanted but here I am
Nice to know I’m not alone

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Sheila September 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Love this post Holly! And while I’m in the Moderation Camp (I know that doesn’t work for you…) I still laugh at the boldness of Lay’s Chips…that No One Can Eat Just One. Such a truth and so boldly put right there on the package. What a tag line to have. Sheesh. And you are so right, the bottom Line is Food Doesn’t Equal Love!!!
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Karen C September 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Yes!

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Elaine September 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Those little elf bast—s! They’re worse than colonel sanders! Evict ’em, it’s your house and you deserve better! 🙂

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robin September 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

My kid likes white castle mini hamburgers, not sure if you all know what those are. Its a chain here but you can also buy them frozen. So I do for him. but then one day my thin friend says to me why would you do that? Why not take your boy to the actual hamburger joint once in a great while for a treat and not have this crap in your house 24/7. Isnt she smart. So now teaching my kid its ok once in awhile but not daily. He doesn’t have a weight problem, why would I want to eccourage him to eat poorly.

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