Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Pit of Food Addiction

Four or Five years ago, my son - little Man took a job working as a "forensic specialist" in a local mental hospital. His job was essentially one of protection.  He was protecting both the staff and the patient, and truthfully it was really more responsibility than the 19 year old "little man" was ready for.  It did not take long for the idealistic young man who wanted "to improve someone else's life" to decide this stunk.  The mentally ill did not care that they were being protected.  They were being stopped and they disliked that.  A lot.  So Little Man had to learn to deal with bursts of anger, being slapped, and spit upon.  It tested his resolve.  It tested his momma's too!   Little Man told me about the phenomena of being "institutionalized"...the place where a patient has adapted to living within the walls of an institution so completely, that living outside terrifies them.  He rented the "Shawshank Redemption" to show me an example of what he meant.  Some of the inmates of his hospital had been there for 50 years, a place for the "criminally insane."  The hospital he worked in was considered the first step....patients had committed crimes,  perhaps not all but most of them had extenuating circumstances.  The now elderly woman who attacked the man who had been abusing her throughout her childhood and he died from the attack.  The man who caught his wife in bed with his brother...and he beat them both nearly to death.  Those kinds of things put you in a hospital for the criminally insane.

Some years ago, Beth Moore held a Satellite conference, titled "Get Out of that Pit".  I remember two things about the conference....1. She said some of us have been in our pit so long we have taken to repapering the walls.  That is such a thing as I would do.  lol  And 2. was "oh mercy she is talking about my over eating".  ack.  So I apologize if what I say overlaps something in her book which I have not yet read.

I was reading a motivational thought this morning about getting out of our pits and changing our lives.  I was struck with the memory of Bartimaeus in the 10th chapter of Mark in the Bible.  Specifically it reads. 

46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth,(AX) he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David,(AY) have mercy on me!”   Bart had been sitting in a pit.  Not one of his own making, but he had been living in that pit and surviving.  As a blind man, he had no occupation.  He begged for his foods and clothing.  His needs were provided for by the kindness of strangers and the goodness of those in his city who cared for the handicapped.  It appears however that Bart was not institutionalized into his pit, for he was willing to consider a different option.

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi,(AZ) I want to see.”  Bart took the step on his own.  He did not know yet that this Rabbi would completely change his life.  He asked, but he had not personally seen the results of this Rabbi's work.  So it was in a complete act of faith that Bartemaeus told Jesus he wanted to see.  Ole Bart had opened the door of his pit and dared to look out.

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”(BA) Immediately he received his sight and followed(BB) Jesus along the road.  Just like that Bart changed his life.  Note that I did not comment on Jesus changing Bart's life although he most certainly did.  But Bart made a conscious decision to set off on a new path and asked Jesus for the healing.  Which meant coming out of his pit and stepping foot on a new path.  It meant that Bart was now responsible for his own life and survival.  No more handouts at the city's gates.

It is so easy to stay in our individual pits and become institutionalized within them.  They give us the ready excuse for not improving or seeking to change in our lives.  Bart could have lived his life on the side of the road, begging for handouts and blaming it on his blindness.  I have talked to real life women who make excuses for their pit...well...."it's not my fault.  Its the way God made me so everyone else needs to deal with it."  There are those who know they are really messed up in the head..."I'm this way because I was abused all through my childhood, there's nothing I can do about it."  I was told by a family member once, "She lived a really hard life growing up, she just never had any options like we do."

And I'm willing to shout "Bull hockey pucks".  My mother had a hard life growing up with an alcoholic abusive father.  But she changed her life through Christ Jesus.  She was willing to open the door of her pit.  I have counseled with women who aren't willing to get the professional help they need to heal from the soul depth damages of the past, simply because they will not longer have the excuse for their bad behaviors.  It's no different than women who blame PMS for their outrageous behaviors every month.  PMS is real and I know that.  It can make us feel angry and tense.  Yes.  But our screaming hissy fits where we attack and verbally decimate our loved ones is NOT PMS.  It is our own lack of self control.  These women are institutionalized to the conditions of their pit.

For years I was institutionalized within my pit of food addiction.  I don't like using the word addiction with the word food.  It feels harsh.  I LIKE food.  I'm not addicted to food.  It's not polite to call food addictive.  I don't know if it's worse being a Christian woman or not, but you know every church function is centered around food.  I can make the excuses, I have excessive taste buds so everything tastes wonderful to me.   Several of my childhood years included times when there wasn't enough food to go around.  You ate what you had, because you weren't getting anything else or any more.  What you left, someone else was willing to eat.  Sometimes I find myself wanting to overeat, because either I paid good money for this...or the unspoken fear that tomorrow there will be no food.  Then I had a whooper of a realization as well.  I know full well WHEN it was I started overeating.  I had a health issue that I was unaware of that contributed to weight gain.  But I started eating from the emotional price of ignoring deep painful wounds.  I was self medicating.  The weight I gained 
further protected me  from more wounds.  My husband loved and considered me beautiful.  The extra fluff I carried, insulated me from unwanted attention from other men. God has been bringing me to this point, clawing and kicking and much protesting for years.   YEARS.  

Several years ago, the death of an acquaintance who died for no other reason than being about 300 lbs overweight, kind of shocked my husband and I.  We made some changes.  We had this red meat more than once a week.  No processed foods, but eating the real chicken and fish as it came from the ocean or lakes...not covered in bread crumbs.  Choosing to eat the veggie and the fruit instead of the boxed convenient foods.  We did allow ourselves one treat each week.  That treat could be the corn chips and cream cheese that I love, or the giant ice cream cone from Daisy Delight.  It did not matter.  But we limited the event to once a week.  We allowed ourselves the celebratory dinners for birthdays and anniversaries.  Our goal was to normalize our life...not swing the pendulum the other direction.  It is just as easy to become enslaved to the "law" of diet as it is the "draw" of food.  We started losing weight without exercise at that point.  My husband was hitting the 60 lb weight loss, where I was only closing in on the 25 - 30 lbs.  But he had more weight to lose then myself and men just lose it faster.  Then right as we were getting used to this new program and gaining momentum....I found out I had breast cancer.  

The plan fell apart like the paper targets that Little Man uses at the shooting range.  It shattered into pieces.   During chemo, I just ate what would go down and stay down without issue.  Many may recall my obsession for banana pops.  During the metal mouth phase of chemo, banana was the only flavor that got past the metallic side effect of chemo.  Luckily, I loved banana and still do.  We relied on a lot of convenience food after the most horrendous surgery ever, and then the ordeal of radiation. From the ugly honesty of my depths, some things I ate because I liked the taste was only for comfort.  I wasn't hungry, I was in pain.  I was "treating" myself to something tasty rather than using my narcotics.  It could be argued which was better.  But some choices were made in rebellion.  I am eating the bag of cookies because I CAN.  And girl - you know you are in trouble when you buy a can of frosting, with full knowledge that you plan to go home with a spoon to dip peanut butter and pig out.  I wasn't quite IN the pit so much as I had built a scaffolding to sit in the pit.  Not quite in it but not quite out either.

But life is starting to ease back to a new normal, and I have felt the urging to take back the control of what I put in my mouth.  I did so quietly without proclamation.  I told Mr. Rosey it was time to direct our attentions back to the whole foods concept.  He sighed and agreed.  I had the exercise bike brought up to the main floor.  I quietly started implementing the changes.  Then a few weeks ago a young but dear friend made an astonishing pronouncement on her blog.  She was fighting an addiction.  On reading the title, I was concerned.  But as I read, I saw instead that she shared some of my same stinky pit issues.  She bravely pronounced that she had a food addiction.  She was opening the door to her pit (my words) and changing her life.  I knew I had to support her in her effort.

To read about my friend Marcey and her addiction you can click on the linked caption.  She is a beautiful young mom that you will enjoy.

I offered support to Marcey and told her I battled this pit as well.  But it occurred to me this morning that perhaps I had not made the public proclamation because I didn't want to be held accountable.  I'm not talking about needing people questioning whether I should have that giant piece of carrot cake the other night. (My diabetic educator does that very well thank you very much!)  I'm talking about people who will be supportive, encouraging and perhaps share some wonderful recipes that trick your mind into believing this is WONDERFUL... even if it's not chocolate.  lol  

I don't need people trying to convince me their diet plan works the best.  I don't need devices or special tools.  I only need the Holy Spirit checking on whether I am eating from need or trying to fill some emotional hole.  I need to be moderate in what I eat and moderate in my exercise.  I need to CHANGE my life....not just this month.  For me no prepackaged diet food, special mixes or shakes is going to change my life.  I have to change the relationship I have with food and allow God to fill the emotional holes that I have been stuffing food into.

My goal now is a 60 lb loss and I am now -8 on that goal.  Rest assured I'm not going to post photos of my flesh in the flesh to show the weight loss journey.  That face you see up at the top side of my blog is 90 lbs less than where first I started.  And I'm sure the struggles will appear in the blog as well.

Now for my tip for junk food replacement.  I recently had fresh cut zucchini with veggie dip at a friend's house earlier in the spring.  My husband and I both liked the texture and the crunch, so I have been keeping thin sliced zucchini and squash in the fridge.  My diabetic educator is so thrilled she's doing hand springs and totally giving me the dip options.  Dip has no real carb content so it doesn't do much to blood sugar levels.  But for the calorie conscious friend, the light dips and no fats would work.  Just keep in mind that when they start removing fat, they replace it with chemicals.  So the lower the fat, the higher the chemical longer a whole food.  I fully endorse Daisy sour cream as it's purest form *unless you make it yourself*  But that is my whole food replacement to chips and cream cheese.

Stay tuned for more of Rosey's adventures to conquering the cookie monster.

Linked up with


  1. Right there with you!!! My numbers are different but the eating for no good reason is the same. That's why I started Project 10: Real Women, Real Fitness. Every Wed. I post something for Project 10 and other women link up their posts. I've also signed up for to track my calories in public. Nothing like knowing 12 women are going to see that you binged on cheesecake (which I'm about to do when my kids are in bed) to help curb you (only going to eat ONE of the cakes instead of two).

    I'd love for you to join us! Here's today's post:

  2. Stephanie and Rosey, I'm right there with you. God help me ( a little.. but not too much because I really just like cheese....) I'll be visiting you all more often to hear what you have to say about this battle!

  3. Visiting from Project 10: Great job on your 8 lb weight loss! These sentences really rang true to me "It is so easy to stay in our individual pits and become institutionalized within them. They give us the ready excuse for not improving or seeking to change in our lives." Through some classes I took I learned about "pits" (or rackets, as they called them) and honestly never really considered that food is one of my rackets. It really might be, though. I've got some thinking to do!