Is Emotional Eating Equal to Food Addiction?


During the ten o’clock news one night I watched a major report about food addiction. The report centered the information around the dis-EASE of addiction. A food addiction group was filmed with only the feet of the participants showing, then through a blurred visage a member spoke about her life of addiction to food. “You need food to live, so it is not like you can just abstain from eating!”

Alcoholics have it easy!

I sat in my livingroom wondering if there is an addiction to food, or maybe to certain ingrediants…like sugar maybe or white carbs which have no nutrition but tons of calories. Does a food addict gobble up all of the oranges in the fridge and follow that up with a fresh spinach grazing frenzy? How often does the food addict get caught with tomatoes smeared all over their face? Is it the FOOD or is it the emotions that pull the addict into the pantry?

First there is an event, a thought, followed by an emotion then another thought followed by action. Those two thought inserts can be quick and even a bit subliminal, however, they are there. I propose if one knew what those thoughts were and could manage them better, the path to the fridge would be less worn and the floor around it with less crumbs of passion.

My problem is not food addiction. I do over eat. I do over eat the wrong foods which make my body puffy in water and fat. I don’t drown in buckets of ice cream, but I do have more than I should. My problem is I have extra pounds that keep me from feeling at the top of who I believe I could be. Those extra pounds, though comparatively few to true food addicts who daily find themselves devouring bags of chips, gallons of ice cream or whatever food is their drug, keep me from being 100% me. My problem is this pull of feeling not good enough. Ever. And it keeps me at size ‘unworthy’.

Most of our ideas about ourselves are born when we are young. My feeling of not being good enough started at age 8. I was told over the years I was either too big or too small. See? Never was I just right. By the way, my father is the culprit in this and then I took this learned lesson and incorporated it into every relationship since. My bad.

“Are you going to actually eat that?” Step-monster had made an Italian cream cake and uh, yeah, I was going to eat a piece until I was shamed into not eating it. I was 15. A size 8.

“I am taking you to JAG and dropping you off. The army will deal with you, they will have to.” Dad told me this on a wintry day in January, in Louisville, Kentucky because he told me Marilyn, his wife, told him I needed to go. I had a four-month old baby and a 23 month old baby…we were staying in his home ( a beautiful 3 bedroom, 2 living with extra home on 3 acres) for 4 months due to the deployment of my husband in Germany. The entire MLRS unit was new as it was a new weapon system and all of the soldiers were sent to Germany at once and were in the field for testing for the four months. After that, all families were invited to join their soldiers and make their temporary homes. I was paying for my own groceries, a percentage of the electric bill and for any gas I used in his car. Due to the snow storms in Texas I was unable to get back to live with kind people who cared…then Dad had a talk with a step-sister who told him that kicking his daughter and two grand-babies to the curb was wrong.

He paid for his son’s private high school and private college. He paid for a portion of his wedding.

I got nothing. He did slip me 25 bucks at my reception to ‘help’. When he died, Marlilyn told all of his family I was a “TAKER”. I thought I was his “DAUGHTER”.

He told me I disgusted him when I was crying after a long day of fussy babies and potty training and living in a home where I was told I was not wanted. He told me I should have my kids taken from me because I was weak. I was 24. And for the record, I was a darned good mom at 24.

There is more and each story has the same message. I was not good enough for my father’s love, approval, help.

Being not good enough I set my sights to try and be good enough. I set goals. I finished a masters program with a 4.0, my BA as a Magna Cum Laude all while working and raising my girls. I participated in life and made lots of friends. I became a stand-up comic, had gigs in morning radio, spots on national TV. Nothing ever stuck though, I struggled with the idea I was not good enough.

Now I know those words have damaged my past path. I have vowed to live a cleaner thought life from now on. Not good enough? I am good enough. I am a good mother who would do anything to help her kids, who always tells them how wonderful they are and special, and how they sparkle in my sight. I hope I have stamped them with Good Enough enough that it resonates always.

Food and the extra pounds have kept me on the edge of not quite where I want to be- a manifested, untruth of who I really am.

I am good enough to be a few pounds lighter, more muscular and much more fabulous.

Wrangle whatever thought or thoughts you have that keep you from being fabulous. We all have sparkle, yes even in the dark.

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2 thoughts on “Is Emotional Eating Equal to Food Addiction?

  1. Kim, I loved your story ~ identified with it completely ~ interesting that we both have walked career paths of “entertaiment” ~ much love and many blessings.

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