What I Got Out Of Food

This idea was extremely difficult for me to understand.  For years and years I have been to counselors who tried to get to the bottom of why I ate so much.  They all said, in one way or another, that I must be getting something out of overeating or else I wouldn’t be doing it.  I always told them that I hated bingeing and everything about it.  That I didn’t even like the taste of the food I was eating anymore.  That I was only doing it to make the obsession go away.  And all of that really was my truth…at that time.  So then they would try to get to the cause indirectly.  Here are some of the techniques they had me try: being hard on myself, being easy on myself, being accountable to others (using the counselor, a nutritionist, a friend, a family member, or a doctor), not being accountable to anyone at all, weighing and measuring everything, weighing and measuring nothing, journaling, joining diet clubs, reading self help books, doing at-work weight loss contests, joining different exercise, fitness, and motivational groups,…

None of these things ever worked in the long run.

For me, it was not until I did The 12 Steps the way they are outlined in The Big Book that I even got close to finding out what this elusive ‘”benefit” of my binge-eating was.

I don’t really expect anyone to “get” this – – the same way I didn’t get it when well-meaning people tried to tell me the same thing – – but just in case there is the possibility that I may be able to spare just one someone the decades of pain it took for me to figure this…

Here goes nothin’…

I think it can all be boiled-down to this cliche: “the devil you know vs the devil you don’t.”  For whatever reason, it was much easier for me to focus on an obsession that, although horrible and debilitating, was comfortable and familiar to me.  In my twisted mind (the result of decades of negative thinking patterns that reinforced my fears and lead me to constantly seek “proof” of all that is bad about me and the world), the thought of having to face my real feelings or real-life situations SEEMED impossible for me to handle.  I always had this belief that real life was going to be much more difficult to deal with than it actually turned out to be.  But back then, I had nothing to compare these realities to because I had NEVER experienced them!  EVER!!  Food was ALWAYS my coping mechanism!  I knew nothing but being mentally and emotionally consumed with all things “weight,” whether that be my appearance, my clothes size, my caloric intake, obtaining my binge foods, keeping myself “hidden” (literally, behind extra layers of clothing, and figuratively, by avoiding all forms of confrontation and many, MANY social situations), eating in secret, planning my next dieting scheme, agonizing over upcoming events where people would “see” how much weight I had gained, trying to be funny, smart, overly-perfect to distract from my size,…. (not to mention the thousands of other forms of self-abuse which included lots of nasty self-talk and not taking care of myself emotionally, physically, or spiritually).  Since I had never learned any techniques for self-soothing (other than eating), I was constantly beating myself up for trying to deal with life the only way I knew how.

And yet, at the same time, all of this negativity and addictive behavior came naturally to me.  It evolved over so many years and took so long to fully develop, that by the time I recognized what it was, it had already consumed my entire identity.  It was actually to the point of being unconscious – – it was my “default” (as all you tech-savvy kids out there say today).  I didn’t even realize what I was doing, even when counselors came right out and ASKED me…that’s how far gone I was!  I really, honestly, DIDN’T GET IT!  I wasn’t lying or stubbornly avoiding the truth…I genuinely THOUGHT I was being honest, and I guess I was being as honest as I could be at that time.  I guess that’s what true denial is all about – – believing your own self-deception.  I had actually “fooled myself” into thinking that avoiding reality (feelings, confrontation, social situations) was EASIER than facing life on life’s terms!  I truly believed that it was EASIER to stay the way I was rather than try to learn something new about myself, even though I was simultaneously seeking a solution!!  In this twisted scenario-o-mine, the “old” had now become comfortable AND easy!  Who could resist?  And as I stayed there in this little world of food addiction that I had created, my life continued to get smaller and more restricted, which is the ideal breeding ground for fear, which continues the cycle of self-pity and self-hatred, which leads to all kinds of weird forms of self-sabotage,…  This is why I was trapped in a strange weird limbo-land where I was constantly convincing myself that it was useless to even attempt to conquer the very thing I was always trying so hard to fix!

Clear as mud, right?

Wanna see the short version?

- – – I ate because I was scared not to. – – –


July 3, 2012 This post was written by Categories: Leftovers Tagged with:

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