Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Food Fights: Put Down the Utensils

I've struggled with food addiction for a really long time.  I'm not sure when it actually started, but I think I was probably in late elementary school when I can remember pulling up a chair in front of the TV in the kitchen, my hand perpetually in the cookie jar.  I could easily eat 6 to 7 chocolate chip cookies in one sitting.  I remember rationalizing each cookie -- How many calories could there be in flour?  In sugar?  And isn't that whole stick up butter spread out through the ENTIRE batch?  So really...

In 2002 (oh-so-many years later), I finally confronted the issues head on.  Since I started writing for the health section in Blissfully Domestic, I been talking about some of the issues that I've had, some of the battles I've fought, and some  battles that I still fight today.  Honestly, once an addict, always an addict.

I thought it would be appropriate to link to my most recent Blissfully Domestic article today for the following reasons:

1. It still shows that it's an area that I cannot completely let my guard down.
2.  I've had success in controlling the addiction, but I need practical, tangible strategies to help me keep it in check.
3.  God has done so much in my life in releasing from the addiction and I really feel that the wisdom He has given me can help other people who are struggling with the same thing.

So, if you feel inclined, please click here to read the article.  Or, actually, just keep reading.  I'm posting the whole thing in full here...

The Backslide Begins
About every four months or so, I realize I have backslid into to some bad eating habit.  The one that gets me every single time is simply not paying attention to when my stomach says it’s full.  It can be waving white flags.  It can be practically screaming in my ear.  But, since I want to keep eating, I choose not to listen.  I ignore all the signs.
And then, I pay.  I pay the moment I set down the fork after consuming every crumb from my plate. I feel full.  Bloated.  Stuffed.  Guilty.  And I think, Wow.  Was that really worth it?  Were those last ten bites so delicious that I don’t mind feeling sluggish, piggish, and gross for the rest of the day, and perhaps even, through to the next morning?
How To Put It Down
When I look back, I think about why it was so hard to put down the fork.  Why could I not step away when my body had been satisfactorily nourished?  The sad fact is that most of the time, I just don’t want to deny myself the sense of pleasure I feel when I am eating.
However, just like any over-indulgence, there are consequences.  Even if I don’t end up gaining a single pound, I never fail to heap the guilt onto myself for not stopping when I should.  I lament the fact that I could not employ a sense of self-control.  I realize that I let the addiction win.
Last week, as my husband and I celebrated his birthday over take-out Chinese food and a movie, I was determined not to eat everything the restaurant had given me.  And even though each morsel tasted every bit as good as the last time we dined on this meal, I remembered.  I actually closed my eyes before I opened that Styrofoam container and I remembered how I felt the last time I stuffed myself to the gills. I relived the physical sensations over being overly full.  I recalled the emotional consequences of failing to realize that this pleasure was oh-so temporary.
And several times during the meal, I simply put down my fork.  I waited to see if the signs were there.  And when I felt my stomach start to extend a wee bit too far, when I saw the white flags slowly waving in the distance, I closed the lid.  I tossed the fork in the dishwasher.  I put the leftovers in the fridge.  And I walked away, pleasantly nourished.  And it did it just by remembering how I didn’t want to feel.

Linking up with Tiffini today - come join us!


  1. Powerful post> I hope it helps others who struggle with this.
    Thanks for putting yourself out there!

  2. So 6 or 7 cookies is a lot? I guess it depends on how big they are! I can't buy Oreo cookies, or they call my name. Thanks for sharing. I don't suffer food addiction, but I do suffer from self loathing over what I chose to eat and how much, and how it will probably make me fat and disgusting...I have to work on not letting myself over indulge, leading to the emotional roller coaster. But I also have to stop and let myself indulge occasionally with no self recriminations. That's my big problem, I guess. I don't think I ever "deserve" a treat. Okay. I'm stopping. This is your post, not mine!

    Thanks for being real!

  3. I'm in the same boat. I can't stand that uncomfortably stuffed feeling. Sometimes I wonder if my tombstone will read "last words: why did I eat that?" I sure hope not...

    Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing!

  4. thank you thank you thank you...
    I never fail to heap the guilt onto myself for not stopping when I should.....this is a biggie for me Jen.
    I am going to try what you did before eating..putting the fork down. Wonder if that is why I feel so driven to " have to " exercise?? just wondering?:)
    xo thanks for sharing...powerful message for women!

  5. I can so very easily relate to this post! This summer I did an online weight loss Bible study to help me and when I stay focused, it really is great. It was eye opening to see what role food had in my life and how that was getting in the way of my relationship with Christ. The whole point was that I was looking to be fed and to feel that satisfaction that only comes from Christ.
    Thanks for opening up and sharing this!

  6. Oh, I like what the last commenter Alicia said. Couldn't have said it better. No matter what our addiction is it is definitely something that can only be overcome by running to Christ! Thank you for your honesty Jen

  7. "I simply put down my fork."

    You have me thinking now, Jen. What does "putting down the fork" look like in the things I struggle with?

    Perfectionism, proving myself, speaking without thinking first.

    How can I put down my fork and think about how I'll feel if I pick it back up again? I'll carry that with me today. Thank you!

  8. Stuffing yourselves to the gills...something I have done for so many years. Now, as a diabetic, food is not my addiction. It is my fuel in order to stay healthy. It took a great deal of work, but I have been able to stay on track...but there are those days when I do backslide, and then the problems begin.

    I don't like being sick...and loosing control is just so annoying :-(


  9. jen...this is so practical and real and good...i relate though now perhaps it's more...blogging, commenting, writing...knowing i should be doing other things...not right now, just in the day when i can be with my kids or at night with my hubby...

    there's so much wisdom here. and it really is one choice at a time. and remembering is so key!

  10. This is a hard one for me, too. It seems to be the last thing I need to work through in finally being completely free from my eating. Thank you for posting this!

  11. I can so agree with this post. I still struggle with this. Thanks for sharing this.


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