The 12 lessons I have learnt from being a struggling, over-weight food-addict
Some may not know this about me.
Some may have forgotten this about me.
Some may not fully believe that this was once me.
But I can promise you there was a time when my food addiction and hatred of my body ruled my every waking thought….
I was controlled by my cravings.
I was depressed by my thoughts.
I was isolated by my internal war.
I was was a prisoner in my own body and mind.
During this time I wasn’t educated in fitness, health and fat loss. All I knew was that I was fatter than my teenage girlfriends at school and I couldn’t seem to control my hunger and cravings. I didn’t fit in, look pretty or have a boyfriend. Being fatter than them was my barrier and all I wanted to do was cut it off with a knife! Why was I fat and they not?
So I embarked on a series of diets. One after the other. Some giving short term elation and success quickly followed by crushing depression at yet another failure. Bearing in mind I started dieting at around 11 years of age this was extremely damaging to my self-esteem.
After each diet failure I would subsequently binge and then after the remorse and disgust had turned into determination and my will-power and motivation was fully charged again I would begin the cycle again with a fresh bucket load of hope.
The highs and lows were insane. The high of some fast weight loss…. followed by the crushing pain of the fat returning and the feeling of failure as I demonically stuffed my face. No one was there to tell me that I was doing it all wrong and the reasons I couldn’t lose weight were not my fault. No one explained to me why I trying to starve and berate myself thin was feeding my addiction and leading to uncontrollable binges. I was breaking my metabolism and brain chemistry. I was breaking my soul! I now know:
It wasn’t through lack of wanting to do it.
It wasn’t through lack of laziness.
It wasn’t through lack of greed.
It wasn’t lack of trying.
But I thought it was.
And so my belief system was programmed that I was a fat, ugly failure that wasn’t worthy of love and respect. I was FUGLY! (fat and ugly) and it didn’t matter that I was getting good grades at school or that I was a genuinely lovely, talented person….. I was fat and therefore I hated myself and hated myself MORE for not succeeding at being thin and beautiful! I thought was defined by my weight and inability to lose it.
If only I knew then what I know now…...
Fast forward 27 years or so…..
I believe I have been on this path for a reason. Those lessons I have learned since have helped me craft and practice a skill to help others. I was stuck in an addiction that I couldn’t ‘will’ myself out of no matter how hard I tried. I was swimming against the tide and I would never beat it the way I was trying.
You don’t know what you don’t know! I didn’t know back then…. but I do now! And so now I want to share this!
So here are the 12 lessons I have learned from being a struggling, over-weight food-addict:
- Babies are not born binge eaters or food addicts. I was not my behaviour. It was learned.
- No body ‘chooses’ to be fat and overweight. We are simply letting the program run. The program is the problem. Not you.
- Nobody craves or binges on broccoli or whole foods! Yep foods that come as nature supplies do not create the powerful cravings and addictive thinking that beige, dead foods (#beigedeadfood) such as bread, cakes, sugar, chocolate and ice creams do etc.
- Will power is an exhaustible source. You only have so much will power to rely on. Trying to lose weight with will power alone is like trying to hold your breath under water!
- Real foods such as vegetables and salads taste amazing…. when you stop eating the #beigedeadfood!
- Processed and refined foods are easy to over eat. They are powerful appetite stimulators and disruptors of the metabolism. This leads me onto the next point.
- Some people are more susceptible to these powerful addictive foods. Everyones brain chemistry is different and so everyone is effected by foods differently. Some people will crave sugar more, some savoury, some alcohol, some cigarettes. Half the battle is to work out your trouble foods then remove them. At least until the desire for them has subsided.
- Don’t do it alone! But equally surround yourself with the right people! Don’t expect everyone to understand or support you. Get the right people in your environment who will encourage and not sabotage your efforts.
- I was not fat… I had fat. My weight did not define me. My weight was a symptom. I was treating the cause. Trying to bully the weight off instead of acting from a place of compassion resulted in self-loathing. Self-loathing was hardly going to enable me to respect my body and treat it the way I should have. Or learn to give it what it needed.
- Learn about nutrition and how the body works. Had someone told me how the fat burning and fat storing mechanism worked it would have made so much sense. I was living on a high-carb, low-fat diet low calorie diet! No wonder I was never losing weight… I was starving for 80% of the time and bingeing for 20%! Classic yo-yo.
- To see it as fun! I learned that exercise can be fun. Eating and cooking real food can be fun. I have learned to love the process of learning about foods, my body and exercise. When you enjoy something you will engage and sustain.
- I learned that failure was inevitable. I failed my way to success! Each failure had a lesson attached. Once I stopped repeating each failure and stopped beating myself up, I was able to discover the learning opportunity. Each failure has bought me even more success and happiness.
So fast forward today? I am 40. I have found my way. I love food and I love my body. I am fully mindful and in control of my food choices and it no longer controls me. I no longer spend every waking moment thinking or obsessing about food. I look forward to nourishing and moving my body. I am proud of my body.
My wish is to help people feel this way and find the methods it took me 27 years to find. There is no magic formula. No magic pill or exercise program. Just learn to love your body, understand what it needs and work with it… not against it!
I am building a community where people share a new found love of real, whole foods. We share recipes, support, motivation and encouragement. Questions are asked and answered. Debates are created and shared. Do come and join us:
Big love, small tummies
Jill – The Fat Controller
p.s. Ignite is coming back!!! After two years laying dormant and daily requests to re-run, I am updating it and bringing back the successful formula. Only this time even better! Make sure you stay in touch, on my lists or in the group!