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Beating a Food Addiction and a tip for Binge Eaters

Updated on March 2, 2019

There is a three letter “F” word I hate. I’ve been called it a lot. I’ve also been called the Pillsbury Dough Boy, the Michelin Man, and a whole slew of other names. I remember, I was about 30, some young kid asked me, “why are you so fat.” Well, there, I said it.

What I will share today is only a piece of the weight loss puzzle; however, I hope it’s enough to give at least one person… hope and a place to start.

10 years ago,

I had…

Sleep Apnea, Major Depression, Brain Fog, High Blood Pressure, I was hospitalized twice for an irregular heartbeat. I had Diabetes, Fatty Liver, and Neuropathy. I was scared to death of Alzheimer’s… something that runs in my family and is sometimes called type 3 diabetes.

I’m now a recovering crap addict, that’s C.R.A.P. and a recovering binge eater. According to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual, or DSM… Food Addictions don’t exist. But anyone with one, knows they do.

I was morbidly obese for most of 30 years. At my heaviest, I was almost 300 lbs. (Demo belt) I kept my belt to remind me how big I was. I don’t usually wear it, but I did today. Since then, I’ve lost a few pounds, without surgery or diet pills.

For the past 6 plus years, my blood glucose levels, or A1C have been between 4.8 and 5.2, which is almost perfect. My intention is not to brag, but to give someone hope.

I’m now off medication for diabetes and was a volunteer lifestyle coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program for about five years in my local community.

While not the whole story, destructive food cravings come from 4 primary sources:

  1. Food Insecurity. I’m not talking about… not getting enough food to eat, I am talking about not getting enough of the essential nutrients. Food Insecurity occurs when your mind and body do not get all the nutrients they need. As long as you are food insecure, you will crave food. Even if you were to eat a gallon of macaroni and cheese every day… even if you were to eat TWO gallons of macaroni and cheese every single day, if that’s all you ate, you would be food insecure.

I actually had a college roommate who tried that and ended up getting so sick he had to have vitamin shots to regain his health. He was lucky, it could have been much worse. For many, it is. Some of you, may be on a similar path.

According to the World Health Organization <>, and perhaps for the first time in history, there are now more people in the world who are malnourished and obese than malnourished and underweight.

Some believe it is too expensive to eat healthy. That’s a myth… for most. It is actually cheaper to eat healthy and be healthy, even on food-stamps, IF you know how. Many can even eat more than they usually eat, and still lose weight, if they eat the right foods.

The best solution is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, every single day.

  1. Crap. If you eat crap, you will crave crap… period.

Also, if you eat crap, you will feel like crap, if not today, eventually, if you live long enough. There is simply no getting around the law of the harvest. Most of you have a pretty good idea what crap is.

The best solution is to avoid crap. I know, that may sound harsh, but remember, I’m a recovering crap addict… think about it this way… how much alcohol can a recovering alcoholic safely consume? NONE!

  1. Emotional distress. First a story: A couple summers ago my then, 3-year-old granddaughter and two grandsons were on a trip with me, returning one of my grandsons to his mother. My granddaughter was wearing a sequin dress. She decided it would be a good idea to remove a sequin and stick it up her nose.

OK, how many of you have stuck something up our nose and got it stuck? I did when I was a kid. It was on the weekend and was a hassle for my parents to find someone to get it out.

I tried to remove the sequin from my granddaughter’s nose, but couldn’t even see it. When we got back to town we went to the doctor’s and the receptionist asked why we were there. I said: “somebody stuck a sequin up their nose.” The receptionist smiled and asked: “now, who did that?” My granddaughter beamed with delight and patting herself on the chest, said, “me.” When we got in to see the doctor, she was able to see the sequin, but unable to remove it. She referred us to an ENT. Afterwards, she offered my granddaughter a sucker.

Quite often when children are in distress, we give them comfort food. Usually comfort food, is crap. As we grow older, sometimes, when we are in distress, we seek comfort in food, and usually it is… crap. Even if it’s healthy, it’s way too much, which only makes the situation worse.

OK, how many of you have eaten a whole carton of ice-cream, a whole box of doughnuts, a whole bag of cookies, or something similar, after a breakup?

The best solution… learn to manage stress in healthy ways, and seek appropriate help for trauma.

  1. Habitual responses to cues and triggers. These are all around us. Businesses and organizations have become quite expert at using smells, images, and social pressure, to separate us from our money. For some of us, many of these cues almost compel us to eat. While it is difficult, change is possible.

The human is the only animal that can planfully and purposefully reprogram how we respond to cues and triggers. I’ve done it and helped others do it. It’s not easy, but its possible for almost anyone.

The best solution is to avoid difficult cues. However, much of the time, this is impossible. The National Diabetes Prevention Program may help. Other programs and resources may also help.

OK, one more tip for those of you who may be binge eaters, I have learned, as with most addictions, it can be very difficult to make healthy choices when either tired or stressed. How many of you have heard an old commercial that says: bet you can’t eat just one? Well, when I’m tired or stressed, I can’t eat just one of anything. Because of that, I rarely eat after 5: P.M. This strategy has served me well for many years. Perhaps something similar will help some of you.

Remember! You do not need to be a slave to cravings. There is hope and there is help. You can choose to love yourself more fully, you can choose to live life more fully, you can choose your own personal optimal health, whatever that may be.

This was me when I was morbidly obese.  You can see just a tiny bit of my second oldest grandson's arm on the left.
This was me when I was morbidly obese. You can see just a tiny bit of my second oldest grandson's arm on the left.

© 2019 CR Pete Petersen


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