My food addiction started at an early age, around the time I became a recluse due to the bullying I was subjected to. I never knew it was a problem. I always thought I was simply hungry. As a child I would come home and sit in front of the TV with a box of ice cream. My brother used to pick on me and tell everyone I was eating the entire thing and I would shoot back, “Uh uh, there was only a little left.”
I didn’t know I was depressed and was using food as a crutch. My mom would make dinner and I would eat the meat and starch, never touched the veggies. I hate veggies but that’s a different story. As my depression got worse so did my eating habits. Again, I didn’t know I was depressed. I thought I was hungry.
Fast forward to now and let me tell you how I figured out I am addicted to food. First, I don’t eat, I inhale (wolf) down food. When I came home, no matter the time of day, the first thing I did was hit the fridge and get something to eat. It didn’t matter if dinner was ready or not. I would pop the door and grab something to eat. I could leave the house, come home and do it all over.
While watching TV I could inhale 6 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, drink a 32 ounce glass of whole milk, reach for a bag of chips and devour that and STILL want more. Before going to bed I would eat 4 more sandwiches. My choice of drink was cases of soda and gallons of high fructose corn syrup apple juice. I wasn’t hungry or thirsty. I just wanted the food because it tasted good. There were rarely any leftovers in my house. If there were any leftovers it was because there would be so much “extra” food to cover my eating.
Back in the 90’s I was dating someone who tried to help me lose weight. She kept making healthy food choices for me BUT I would hit Krystals and get a sackful everyday before going home. That sackful consisted of 12 little cheeseburgers with mayo, hold the pickles (hate pickles) two large fries and two medium cokes. I would eat all that BEFORE I left the parking lot. I would chew gum to mask the smell and go home. She would have dinner ready and of course I would eat light. She would comment that I was eating right but not losing weight. DUHH
I can’t remember who I was talking to but it was at the radio station during one of our shows when a guy said I don’t understand why fat people eat. I looked at him and said, “It’s the taste in our mouth that makes us eat. I can sit at the table and eat an entire large meat lovers pizza, a bag of garlic bread and drink a liter of soda and still be hungry. The food is so relaxing to me. It’s like a drug.”
I told him, “Let me explain how I eat when I hit the buffet. I go for the high dollar items first, the steak, shrimp, etc. Then I hit the starches, mac, potatoes, and rice. After all that it’s dessert time. Don’t touch the bread or drink the beverage. Those will fill you up and you won’t get your moneys worth. When I am done we are talking 6-8 plates of food in less than 30 minutes.” His response was, “Wow, you have a method to eating at a buffet. That is CRAZY logic.” That's not crazy. That's addiction. Even as I sit here and type this my mouth is watering for the buffet. Think about Pavlov’s theory, classic conditioning. That’s me.
Because of my food addiction and depression I stopped going to the gym and sat on my couch and ate and ate and ATE. By 2008 I ballooned to 413 pounds. I got so big that my waist size was 58-60. My shirt was five extra large from the big and tall department which really meant I was a seven extra large in the normal departments. I broke the springs in my sofa and I broke the toilet seat more than once. I was so big that when I went to the bathroom it was difficult to clean myself because I couldn’t reach around to the back. Now that’s FAT.
In early 2009 my company had a biggest loser challenge. Whoever lost the most body fat won $200. Whoever lost the most weight won $200. I accepted the challenge. I changed my eating habits. I set up a rigorous food plan that I stuck to. I mean it was rigid, no deviation. I went cold turkey, no meats, pasta’s, bread, juices, candy, soda or milk. All I ate were fruits, salads and water. Talk about a crash. I had headaches, stomach aches, nausea etc. I was withdrawing from the garbage I put in my body.
I went to the gym one hour a day, first for three days a week, then four, then five, then six. By the time I was up to all seven days I was in there 3 hours a day. I was losing up to a pound and a half a day. I won both challenges and then I kept going. I went from 413 to 265 in less than a year.
In 2011 I fell off the wagon. I was eating like I used to and not exercising. By 2012 I jumped to 287 pounds. I went cold turkey again. I was kicking ass and in a week and a half have gotten down to 275. My goal is 200 to 220.
One night around midnight I woke up in excruciating pain. Andrea rushed me to the hospital where we learned I had gallstones with one being 6 cm large. The rapid weight loss caused the stones. I refused the surgery and figured I could manage the pain. The stones actually helped me keep the weight off BUT Christmas of 2015 changed all of that and I had to schedule the surgery. After the surgery I lost 10 lbs in one week because I couldn’t eat and was sweating profusely.
Slowly I regained my appetite to the point I ballooned to 330 lbs as of today. I have restarted my weight loss regimen BUT I am still addicted to food and that is the real issue. How do I combat that problem? It’s become a battle of good versus evil, sheer will power. I understand alcoholics, drug addicts. I understand because my drug of choice is food. Just like drug addicts and alcoholics, you can’t stop us. We have to stop ourselves. You can limit the food. We will go elsewhere. Trust me. I know.
This may not be a disease but it is a problem and this past Resurrection Sunday tons of foodaholics descended on your house and wolfed down plates of food. I know because I was one of those people in your house inhaling plates of food. The difference is I limited myself on the amount I suck down. Instead of 4-6 plates of food and then dessert I will work diligently to eat one or two at the most. Remember this when you look at an obese person in your house. Most are not fat by choice. They have a food addiction and they don’t even know it.