edited: Tuesday, August 07, 2007
By Lisa A Sargese
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2007
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Food Addiction and binge eating disorder explored.
I used to panic after grocery shopping. Having food in the house made me nervous. I wanted to eat it all at once. Opening the refrigerator and seeing the shelves fully stocked made me uneasy. I wanted to stuff it all into me before...before what?
Before someone could come along and eat it out from under me?
I'm not quite sure.
Yesterday, I opened the fridge and the old feelings came back for a brief moment.
There was fruit, turkey, milk, soy milk, fat free cheese, two kinds of fat free jello pudding, two kinds of yogurt, protein bread, blueberry preserves, sugar free ice pops, sugar free chocolate pops....the amount of food was overwhelming.
For a brief moment I felt the old panic. I felt the need to fill my arms with food containers, waddle to the couch and stuff myself.
I did sit on the couch in front of the TV. But, I nibbled on some Wasa and then didn't feel like eating much else.
Old habits die hard.
Old habits die hard, until you kill them.
When I opened the fridge and felt the old panic trying to grip me I stood there and noticed my feelings.
"Eat everything! Eat everything, quick!!!" my brain shouted.
Then a different part of my brain shouted back.
"Ewwww, no!! I'll be sick to my stomach if I do that. I'll feel nauseated!"
My brain volleyed back and forth between those two thoughts.
Eventually I settled on "NO, I'll feel nauseated" and shut the fridge.
Funny how the brain runs on automatic.
Funny how the old habits kick in so easily.
It didn't take too much effort to kill the inclination to stuff myself. It did take a bit of effort, though. I used the idea of intestinal distress to talk myself out of the binge.
I hate feeling nauseated.
Well, everyone hates feeling nauseated, but... BUT...
SOME of us will eat things that nauseate us anyway.
Back in my eating days, a face-stuffing binge always ended in gastric distress. Pain, nausea, cramps, indigestion, heartburn. The prospect of nausea didn't stop me back then.
I heard of one gastric bypass patient who still suffers terribly from disordered eating. She won't eat until the afternoon. She starves herself all morning until a few hours past lunchtime. By that time she's famished. Maybe her mini-stomach even growls. She goes to a fast food drive thru, eats a supersize meal and suffers. Sometimes she'll make herself throw up to get some relief.
Dear God have mercy.
Have mercy on us.
I could call binge eating a disease, but I prefer to call it a behavioral disorder. Calling binge eating a "disease" makes it sound like a sickness that the person has no power over. Calling it a "disease" seems to lead to a victim's mentality. An "I can't help it, I'm sick" way of thinking. At a support group meeting, a young bulimic once spoke that way. She said she understood her behavior as being a symptom of her disease. As if to say she understood that she was sick and binging and purging were just parts of that, like sniffling and coughing when you have a cold. She said she could gauge how sick she was by monitoring her symptoms. If she binged and purged often then her sickness was exacerbated. If she refrained then she was in a kind of remission.
I don't like that kind of thinking.
It keeps a person too removed from their own behavior.
It leads to the thinking that our bodies have power over our will.
They INFLUENCE our will, but no way am I going to agree with the idea that a physical addiction determines our behavior.
I believe our will has the final say.
I'm not an outsider looking in and saying that addicts are weak willed.
On the contrary.
I AM an addict.
I was addicted and now I'm free. Mostly.
Will can always win.
It's time to teach that to addicts of all kinds whether alcoholic or eating disordered or heroine addicted.
Will CAN win.
And yes, I know what it feels like to jones.
I know what it feels like to have a physical need so compelling that my body almost, ALMOST runs on automatic.
Sugar addiction is like that.
I remember a few years ago when I was convinced I had an overabundance of intestinal yeast.
Look up candida albicans and see what you find. Symptoms include panic attacks (yes, Tony Soprano, panic attacks. Could it have something to do with all that pasta??), fogginess, cravings, fatigue...the list of symptoms is astounding.
Did I ACTUALLY have an overabundance of candida in my gut???
I think I did.
Why do I think so???
Because when I did an intestinal cleanse and stayed on the candida elimination diet for 3 months my symptoms abated. I was clear headed. I had easier menses. My bowel movements normalized. I didn't jones for sugar.
Cause and effect.
Why did I fall off the wagon and go right back to my crappy sugary, fatty diet after I had done so well eliminating the yeast???
Remember I had undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation and oxygen deprivation made me so tired, depressed, and lethargic, I didn't have the strength to give a crap about my own life. I desperately wanted to feel better. Not knowing what was wrong, I self-soothed with food. Sugary food. Junk food.
Candida albicans are always present in our systems, even healthy systems. They grow out of control from eating too much white flour products, sugary products, processed foods and caffeine. They are living things. Candida albicans are like little colonies of parasitic life forms, no. Not like. They ARE little colonies of parasitic life forms. They have their own will. As symbionts they cannot feed themselves. They have to make the host body WANT the junk that feeds them and keeps them alive and thriving and robbing the host body of its energy.
Hey, don't take my word for any of this. Do your own research.
I'm just trying to give you an idea of what I was living through at the time.
At the time it SEEMED like the will of the candida was over ruling the will of the Lisa.
Candida wanted sugar.
Like an automaton, I fed it.
So, what changed for me?
I outsmarted my cravings by getting well.
Thank God for my CPAP machine that lets me sleep and breathe during the night.
Thank God for my gastric bypass that helped me to be unable to digest garbage foods.
Thank God that I want life more than numbness.
I could do what other addicts do. I could overeat and make myself throw up to get rid of the nauseating food.
I could overeat or eat garbage foods then knock myself out with drugs or collapse on the couch while the intestinal aftermath tortures me.
I did it before the surgery. I could easily do it now.
During the detox, the three months following my surgery, I felt the jones. I felt the yeast in my gut dieing. I felt the sugar in my body burning up. I felt my liver letting go of the fatty sugar. I trembled. I ached. I suffered the fever chills. There were days, most days, when I didn't even want to go on living. The utter hopelessness of those feelings was almost intolerable.
Except that my will, my desire to live kept me going.
I had faith that "this too shall pass" and that these feelings were only temporary.
I was right.
The feelings passed.
I'm feeling better.
Life is kinda fun.
There are days when I feel happy.
There are times when I feel joy.
My will to live is getting stronger.
I'm still an addict.
I still have to fight the urge to go numb.
I have to force myself to get dressed and socialize.
I have to force myself to clean up my apartment to make it welcoming to company.
I have to stop myself from over eating.
The inclinations are still there. The urge to destroy myself is still there, but it's losing. It's losing the fight. My will to live is slowly winning.
Even if I never cross the finish line, even if the race is never won once and for all, I'm ahead.
I'm in the lead.
*Movement for the UnMotivated*
Lift up your heart, lift it up to the Lord.
Let your shoulders drop nice and relaxed.
Now imagine you're trying to raise up your heart to touch the ceiling.
Stretch your chest, just your chest upward.
Wow. Muscles I never knew I had!
Yesterday's Weight: 258
Today's Blood Sugar: 163