People are often surprised when I tell them I have a food addiction. They say I don’t look like I have an addiction and I don’t talk about it. To which I reply, “you have no idea what’s going on in my head.”
This was the discussion while having dinner with a friend when she questioned why I say I have an addiction. I proceeded to tell her what I had been thinking during our dinner. I was wondering what she would order… would she order something fattening and question why I only wanted something small or simple? If I ordered something small would she feel bad about herself for eating something bigger (because that’s how I would feel.) I never want anyone to feel the shame I have experienced. I also don’t want to be considered a “party pooper” either for eating healthy.
There are times I actually eat more as to not make the other person feel badly about themselves and overeating. I know what it is like to feel that people are thinking that I am disgusting because I’m fat and I don’t ever want anyone else to have that feeling. Others time I am proud of myself If I eat less or “better” than the other person. I feel proud and happy that I was able to go to a dinner and stay in check.
I also pay attention to how fast the other person is eating. Am I eating too fast? If I’m eating slower than the other person I’m usually surprised and proud of myself. If they order healthy, I’m thrilled because it takes the pressure off of me. Sometimes I think of “excuses” ahead of time for why I’m going to order something small or healthy. I might say, “I’m full from eating lunch,” or “I am really dying for a salad” to deflect to what I’m eating and take the peer pressure off. There are times I’ll go home and eat afterwards because I’m exploding with anxiety from having to focus so much on the meal.
These thoughts in my brain can be chaos at times or just an underlying current, depending on the situation. If I’m one-on-one with someone I try to focus on the conversation because I deeply appreciate my friends and I love good conversation. But my food thoughts are always there.
If I’m alone at home or taking care of my parents where the junk food abounds the thoughts in my head have a tight grip on me Which of the junk food are the healthiest. If I have just a taste, would I be able to stop. Maybe just one cookie…maybe one more wouldn’t hurt… three, that’s a good number. I’ll be sitting in one room and know what’s on the kitchen counter and be thinking about it.
This is the mind of someone addicted to food. I don’t spend the full scope of my brain on these thoughts. I appreciate friends. I appreciate that someone has taken time in their life to spend time with me. I do truly listen; I do engage in conversation and experiences. However, there is burned into my DNA hard wire memory deep within an undercurrent that takes notes and forms an opinion.
The struggle is real, and it is ever present. I am still a work in progress.