Thursday, January 28, 2016

One size does NOT fit all...

This blog post has been swirling around in my mind for SEVERAL days now and I am simply unable to contain it any longer.

I have something to say. Because I'm annoyed. I'm offended, in a way.

And it's hard to politely state my opinion on this subject at times because it's not something that's ever really brought to me or stated in general in a snarky way. Most people are really only trying to help, or offer encouragement when they say things like,

"One cheat meal won't ruin your progress."
"If you eat on plan 80% of the time you're good!"
"There is no way you can live without your favorite treats."
"Moderation is key." (I particularly hate this one)
"It's ok to have cake on your birthday!"
"If you don't allow yourself a treat every now and then you will binge."
"I eat bread every day and still lose weight!"

Again, I hear these statements mostly from those offering encouragement and comfort on a wildly frustrating journey.

But what I would like to say, is that none of those statements apply to someone who is addicted to food.

Addiction is different. There is no "one size fits all" approach. The rules are different.

Would you tell an alcoholic to have a drink every Saturday for a 'treat'? Or a crack addict to hit an 8-ball every once in a while because who can live without crack!? What about inviting a gambling addict to a casino for "just one game" of roulette?

No, you wouldn't do that. That would be pretty shitty.

I am a food addict, who is ESPECIALLY in love with sugar and sweets. For the past several months I have come to terms with this addiction AGAIN and am really working the steps toward gaining recovery. Although it makes me very sad, I know that I CAN NOT have certain foods. Ever. Again. Because my recovery from this addiction depends on that discipline and resolve. My approach to this journey has to change if I will ever achieve a successful body weight and overall sense of wellness and health.

Honestly, when I get sad about not having cake or donuts or candy, I really have to evaluate if those treats are worth the sickening, shameful, hurt that they cause me. And they are not. Ever. Worth. It.

On this journey, I have had the pleasure of hearing so many stories of people who have found recovery from food addiction. And they all agree that at one point they made the shift into recovery by eliminating the foods that made them miserable. The foods they ate in secret. The foods that caused them uncontrollable cravings. I've even blogged about my emotional response surrounding certain foods that are now "off limits" to me.  It's not all about weight loss, but it's about having the freedom that is found from not being in food bondage anymore. And their freedom is so encouraging for someone like me.

Someone who is still trying to get it right. Who is in the first stages of 'getting clean' again. Who is just starting to feel the glory of not having intense cravings and the gift of increased energy and mental clarity.

Sugar (and refined white flour) was (is) killing me.

And all I want to do is live. And lose weight. And be healthy.

Now, before anyone comes back at me with the "well I eat sugar and flour and bread and fruit and I lose weight..." let me say this...

Everyone who is overweight does NOT suffer from food addiction. 

Some people just overeat. Or don't practice portion control. Or don't know about nutrition and just need some guidance and a food plan.

Just this weekend I was helping a friend come up with foods that would help stabilize her blood sugar as she was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. She had NO IDEA that rice, orange juice, or insane amounts of fruit were bad for her. She had no clue that white flour was pretty much the same as sugar in our bodies. Ignorance is bliss, right? But now she knows better, and hopefully will do better.

THIS is the reason I believe Weight Watchers and IIFYM and Veganism and 21-Day Fix and Shakeology and all the other popular plans on the market work for SO MANY PEOPLE.

Because they have the wonderful gift of just needing a plan. Some support. It's ok if they eat donuts after an intense workout. Or pasta once in a while. Or bananas in smoothies daily. 

I envy those people. I've tried to FIT IN with that group of people. Hoping, wishing, PRAYING for success that would not exclude my favorite comfort foods. And I have achieved success on some of those plans!

But it didn't last. I always gained the weight back. And more.

Because those plans could not fix my problem. The ROOT of my problem is just too deep. I require a different intervention. And so do so many others who are tired of being given a 'one size fits all' solution to a problem that goes beyond JUST doing this or that.

So please understand, we are all on our own journeys. The route is not always the same. We all have some of the same detours and roadblocks (emotional eating, donuts in the employee workroom, bread on the table at a restaurant, unsupportive spouses). But at the end of the day, ONE perspective does not speak to the whole problem of obesity.

Food addiction (and addiction in general) has to be handled in different way. So don't feel sorry for me because I can't have cake, or think it's silly that I'm on such a restrictive "diet" when all I have to do is count my WW points to have my bread and be happy like Oprah.

I will be just fine without sugar. It's not a pre-requisite for living a wonderful life and enjoying a meal when I am at dinner with my man. I'll be ok... great even. Because with sobriety, I am feeling a sense of happiness and success that can't be bought with a cupcake or donut or a slice of bread. Eating a roll at dinner just might throw me off the wagon for days. ONE donut has the potential of unraveling my progress for over a year (and yes, this has happened).

It's not ok for me to cheat. Because then I have to start over. And for an addict, starting over is hard. Because our minds convince us to have "one last" treat, or one last drink, or we might as well do this or that or something else that feeds the disease. This sentiment is expressed in very close friends of mine who have recovered (or are recovering) from drug and alcohol addictions. And this is why AA and NA and OA are so similar. Because addiction is addiction.

And I've decided to fight mine. My life is worth it.



  1. I love this. I personally cannot have a cheat at all for at least the first month of a diet because one cheat leads to more cheats and then I think well, the day is ruined, might as well eat whatever and well tomorrow I'll eat what I want too, we'll start fresh on Monday and so on. I need to be perfect with my meals and my workouts or I give myself permission to eat anything and everything.

  2. All your points are valid and I applaud you for your frankness and honesty. Last night, I went to the grocery store after work. Earlier yesterday, I had visited with my dietitian. I pay for this service. My numbers were really good and she expanded my meal plan while keeping my caloric intake the same. So, off I went to get me some snacks. Snacks she approved of and suggested I try. Well, I also purchased a big bag of "Skinny Popcorn." Mind you this was not an approved choice, but I purchased it. I ate my dinner and before I went to bed, I ate the entire bag which consisted of 4.5 servings of 3 1/2 cups. Could I have gotten a single serving, yes and I would have been fine with that but no I ATE the ENTIRE BAG! Earlier this week I did the same thing with some Oreo cookies. I had been doing so well and thought my mind was right but it wasn't. I wouldn't say I am a food addict but I have no control when it comes to my "trigger foods." I would normally purchase single serve but I thought I could handle rationing my servings. So, I get you I really do get where you are coming from. Now, I am stressing about gaining weight this week and have to post it for my dietitian to see. But, I have not given up and I will not give up. I hope you don't give up on yourself, you can do this... I don't know you but based on your postings I know you are strong and determined enough to succeed as long as you don't give up!

  3. This is just so beautifully written! I am so on board the "recovery" train! I think thinking of food addiction like the other addictions (booze, cigarettes, drugs etc) makes it so much more understandable than thinking of it as a "diet problem" and it's true, you wouldn't let people just pop into a casino, bar etc. and it is exactly the same for us! Perfect post xoxo

  4. This. So very much this.

    Amazing. Thank you.

  5. I balled when I read this. It felt like you were looking into my life and blogging about it. I'm still on the shame train for having to start all over again. Being pregnant and obese made that feeling worse. I can't even begin to tell you how much your words touched me and also lifted me up. Thank you, sincerely.

  6. I LOVED this post! It is SOOOOOO true. I am so glad that you wrote this post! Years ago I went to a weight watcher meeting (not my normal meeting) and the leader was talking about cravings and chocolate. She pulled out a bag of dark chocolate and gave us each a piece (I kid you not!) I tried to turn it down but she insisted that I take one and eat it. Her reasoning was 'take care of the craving with the dark chocolate which one little piece will suffice because of it's intense flavor' She had NO CLUE that I HATE milk chocolate but could eat dark chocolate like it's going out of style! She could only see HER 'size' (I never went back to that meeting....she just didn't get it!)

  7. You know yourself, Hollie, that's for sure! I think we all have to know what our triggers are and what foods or situations drive us to eat poorly, or feel worse. We are all different and like you said, no one plan fits all. So glad you are finding what works for you, and you are confident enough not to let others tell you what to do.

  8. This is true for me too! I tell myself, "Keep your eyes on your own plate.", because maybe someone else CAN get away with eating two Hershey kisses after dinner, but me? It would just start me down the slippery slope. I do have an occasional "carb up" day, where I eat popcorn, but I have to stay away from sugar/candy/cookies at all times, as one just leads to another. When I am tempted to feel sad about it, I tell myself that it hasn't killed me yet. It's kind of neat to find happiness/contentment/satisfaction in ways other than eating treats. I absolutely LOATHE when others tell me it won't hurt me to have a little of something. I want to say, "get behind me Satan!", ha. Oh well, this my life story, and saying NO is worth feeling better...


  9. I gave up baked goods (really, all sweets and treats) for six months when I was in the height of my diet, because I just couldn't stop with one bite, or piece...that sugar trigger was strong with me! I applaud you for knowing yourself enough to know what is right for you, despite what is said "out there" - this is your key, and with it, you'll have great success!

  10. Yes! Yes and one more time yes! All these words - all this is about me! Since i didn't like my body and myself for doing this with it - i always think about my addiction. Thank for writing it! Now i'm fighting with myself, and restriction, discipline and adipex (can buy it here I hope l'll win.

  11. If I ever again hear "All you have to do is eat less and move more. Easy!" I will scream. And I'll scream LOUDLY! I've lost over 200 pounds in the past 6 years and I have 30 more to go. No surgery. No drugs. No special foods. No meetings. I did it through trial and error to find what works for me. Fewer than 50 carbs and about 1200 calories. Exercise in moderation. I once walked 20 miles a day for a week and didn't lose an ounce. Heh. Now I do 30 minutes HIIT on a stationary bike, resistance training 30 minutes 3 times a week, and walking 5 miles a day. And that works. For now. It may no longer work next week. I don't eat bread or wheat products or processed food or soda or any kind of unnatural sugar. I've learned the hard way what works for me and what doesn't. I also refuse to eat foods that I hate but are "healthy". No kale. No tofu. There are too many foods that are healthy that I do like. Losing weight by punishing myself is not what I want.


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