Monday, March 29, 2010

Day by Day

Sometimes it feels hard to believe that we will ever get a handle on our food addiction. For many of us, shoving down emotions with food has been a habit for so long it seems impossible to change the behaviour. Snacking as soon as we get home from work, or picking something up and eating while we travel is so common it has become our normal. The workday is done and we are hungry. So why don't we munch on a fruit until we get to dinner? Why is it most of us go for sugary or salty snacks? We promise ourselves no more chips, as we sneak into the convenience store, hoping we're not seen. We know chips are high calorie, nutritionally inferior food and contribute to the extra weight we carry, yet we seem unable to stop ourselves. What is it in that moment that we really need? The crunch, the distraction of mindlessly chomping while we drive home. What is that we feel? Overwhelmed? Tired? Bored? Sad? Angry?
Do the chips help with those feelings? Probably or we wouldn't keep doing it. But there is a cost. We know there is a spiritual, emotional and physical cost to being overweight.
Can we learn to take a moment and sit with ourselves and figure out what we are feeling? Label it and decide what it is we truly need. There is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying some chips once in awhile. Eating mindlessly as we drive home, shoving down our leftover feelings from the day is the problem. Eating more than we need on a regular basis is what makes us fat. Eating to manage emotion instead of eating for health, enjoyment and the love of food, (bingeing is not about loving food!) is what makes us fat. Is the cost of overeating starting to outweigh the benefit?

Sunday, March 28, 2010


“It’s not my fault, its genetic, I can’t help it, who can eat this way? It’s too hard to find the right foods, it is too much work creating these meals, the whole thing is ridiculous. Just accept the extra weight, forget it! Off to the fridge, searching, looking for something, nothing in there, into the cupboards, ahh, chocolate chips, okay lets just make some cookies for the kids, they love cookies, get out the butter, flour, sugar, pecans and chocolate chips, a few chips and pecans in the mouth, some into the measuring cup. Back into the fridge for the eggs, leftover lasagna, a three days old, kind of gross but not bad, close to lunch, may as well have lunch. Slip into the microwave while creaming the butter and sugar together. While the lasagna heats munch a few more chocolate chips, follow with a pecan chaser, then a quick lick of sugar/butter mixture. Get a piece of that old crusty bread to put with the lasagna, a little stale but if sliced thin and toasted, it will be fine. A generous slather of butter, eat a few pieces while the lasagna goes in for another minute. The first half was devoured slightly cold while standing at the counter. Consume the first two pieces of toast. Pop two more pieces in the toaster while waiting and grab a couple more chocolate chips before dumping them into the batter. Starting to feel full. The microwave dings. Let it rest for a minute, finish forming the cookies, pop the first batch in the oven and sit down, civilized style, and finish the lasagna and two more pieces of toast. Take the dishes to the sink.
“ I am such a loser, I have no willpower at all, I’m going to be fat for the rest of my life, I’m just weak. No, stop! You overate a little today but after the cookies are done you can have just one later with a cup of tea and then for dinner you will eat only vegetables. You can do this, it’s a good plan.”
Cookies done, one piece falls off as they are removed them from the tray, should have waited until they were cold. Never wait till they are cold although know they will fall apart. Just eat that one extra piece that fell off, hot, burns tongue. Go back in a few minutes, good job, pick a nice big one, after all it will be the only one, put it on a pretty plate and sit down and enjoy it, slowly. Delicious. Perfectly reasonable and totally in control. Get up and get the next tray out of the oven. Again, start taking them off before they are cold enough not to fall apart. Two more cookies crack in half, better eat the broken pieces, ruins the look of the platter. I’m disgusting, I feel sick, these pants were loose last week. Stop it, just stop it! Get out of the kitchen, go to your room, pick up that book, get away. In bedroom, door shut, trying to concentrate, get back into the novel, but the cookies are sitting there. Just one more. Quickly dash down stairs, get a plate, remember there is a little left over vanilla ice cream in the freezer, finish that up by putting it on the cookie, fantastic. Quickly dish it up, shove the container to the bottom of the garbage can and sneak up stairs with the booty to savour while nestled in bed.
The neighbour calls, she has made a big shepherds pie and apple crumble, do we all want to come over for dinner. I say yes and tell her I’ll bring the bread and wine. I’ll be good tomorrow.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Mindful Path to End Food Addiction

Food Addiction
Over the past years I have developed a keen interest in the topic and treatment of food addiction. Overeating and obestity are rarely seen through the lens of addiction. These problems are typically addressed with diet and exercise, with little focus on what I believe is the crux of the matter, the repeated use of food, despite the consquences, to manage emotion. This pattern the repeated use of a substance or behaviour despite the negative consequences is a concrete way to see if ones behaviour is truly an addiciton. I have found that treating chronic overeating for what it is, an addiction, is a powerful step on the road to recovery.