Well, today is April 7th. I didn’t eat sugar on April 1st, but I did every day since then. It wouldn’t be an issue if I had a handful of M & M’s or a slice of cake. It’s the quantities that concern me. I wake up every day looking forward to a day of clean eating. I make these beautiful green smoothies—spinach, a pear, lemon juice and fresh water. I roast vegetables, toss salads, melt coconut oil on lean meats. I’m ready to give this body a rest from the quantities and the toxic levels of sugar and processed foods. I want the peace in my head that comes from not obsessing about where the next pastry will come from, whether I have time to stop by the grocery store for candy and cookies on my way to work and if I can consume them all while driving from the store to the parking lot near my office.
I have so many supportive friends—some friends with similar struggles, some with no struggles with food but who are sympathetic. I have friends who offer me berries instead of cookies when I stop by for a visit. I have friends who text me and invite me to call them on my way to the doughnut shop. I have friends that ask, what else is going on? This seems like more than a physiological addiction to sugar.
I’m so grateful for all the support.
I wish I know what the secret might be. I don’t want to eat and I eat. I’ve been in structured support groups where we commit our food and weigh and measure meals. This has helped for stretches of months, I feel clear-headed and efficient, my weight drops. But I haven’t been able to maintain the tasks of these programs and end up bingeing worse after every break.
I was twelve when I bought my first diet book. It was called the Women Doctor’s Diet for Teenage Girls. My dad thought it was a good idea that I watch my weight. He offered incentives—new wardrobes, trips to Disneyland, etc, if I lost ten or fifteen pounds. I put myself on a crash diet from the book, but I couldn’t sustain it and gained more weight afterwards. So, a young girl who was pretty normal-sized, ended up in a vicious diet cycle and ended up gaining more weight as years went on. Still, most of my life I was pretty good at being able to get on a diet every couple of years and dropping 30-50 pounds. Here’s the thing, everyone says diets don’t work. Every diet book I read says this is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. The program I had most success in was also a lifestyle change, not a diet. But eliminating many foods and weighing and measuring ones food, every ounce of it, sure looks like a diet. I don’t know how to take the diet mentality out of “food plans.”
My second diet book was called .The Only Diet There Is. This book takes a spiritual approach to food and body image. It uses affirmations (I deserve to be my ideal weight of 125 pounds), forgiveness, removal of concepts of “bad” and “good” foods, prayer, and presence. Many of these approaches are found in other diet and eating disorder recovery books. I pray. I meditate. I journal. I’ve kept food-mood journals. I keep coming back to the food.
I don’t want to eat like this but I don’t know how to be without eating like this. I want to walk into the food void fearlessly. Once, when I was eating clean for eleven months, I started to have panic episodes, bouts of self-hate and self-abuse, trembling, screaming, crying spells. I want to be unafraid of the feelings that might come up, and without expectation of what might or might not happen. I want to invite the gift of recovery from the binge cycles. I am afraid to want this healing. But I want to want it. And I know that is a beginning.