Hiding butter pecan ice cream laced with ribbons of caramel behind the bag of frozen spinach in the freezer insured that I wouldn’t have to share and that those who cared to look would believe I didn’t snack on such unhealthy food. Frozen spinach wasn’t the only tactic I used to cover up my secret though.
I declined offers to eat out with family and friends so I could eat what I wanted and as much as I wanted without the knowing and judgmental gaze of others. As I prepared food for my family, I would eat a whole meal while cooking so it would look like I ate small amounts when we sat down for dinner. I would wait for shadowed moments alone to eat large quantities of food, desperately trying to fill an insatiable hole from deep within.
However, my constant battle with weight gave my guilty secrets away. You can’t hide fat or the low self-esteem and self-loathing that often accompany it. For years I disliked my body. I continuously went on outrageous diets that ranged from starvation to purgatives. They always ended in food runners—uncontrollable eating that put any weight I had managed to lose back on and more. I thought about food and my weight constantly; when I could eat again, how I could hide what I ate and how much I ate, how heavy I was, how I could lose weight, and on and on and on.
Guilt and shame were my ever-present companions. Those close to me tried to give me helpful advice, such as: “Just exercise more,” or “Eat less,” or “Stop eating sugar.” To others this seems simple. To those of us who struggle and have struggled with food addiction, it is not. Like any addiction, food addiction is a mental as well as physiological issue.
Addictive foods flood the brain with dopamine rewarding users with a feel good high. It’s pleasurable for a while until the reality of weight and the adverse effects of overeating and unhealthy eating kick in. Then the cycle of guilt, shame, and overeating begins again.
In order to end unhealthy relationships with food, one must change their relationship with food and think about food differently. It is possible to heal your mind and free yourself from the chains of an eating disorder. It is possible to love yourself and stop using food in unhealthy ways. It is possible to define your worth on things separate from your physique or appearance. Let WCCE walk with you on this journey.
If you are suffering from food addiction or an eating disorder or feel that you may have an unhealthy relationship with food, there is hope. The therapists at WCCE are here to help you overcome the challenges experienced with eating disorders and food addiction and to restore hope.