My name is Mandy, and I am a food addict.
When I was able to say those words aloud, I knew I was on my way to recovery. Admitting an addiction is not easy, especially with food. Many of us don't even realize that we have an unhealthy relationship with food until it's too late. I've often referred to my food addiction as my "ex-boyfriend". Hear me out, because this does make sense! When you're addicted to food, and an emotional eater like myself, food is often your comfort. When I had a fight with a friend, or my husband, I'd run to the pantry. That food didn't judge me, it loved me as much as I loved it! I formed a relationship with food that was unhealthy, like a toxic ex-boyfriend that I couldn't let go of. It was always there when I needed it, but yet, always had a consequence.
I had to do a lot of soul searching to uncover the true reasons behind WHY I was eating. Why did I start eating my feelings at a young age? Why did I never stop? What is keeping me from it now? Those were all questions I had to really ask myself and be honest in their answers. It was a harsh reality that I had to face. I'll be honest; I cried a lot of tears through this process. It was very emotional for me to have to examine the hardest parts of my life. I had to dig down deep and face problems head on, rather than bury my feelings with food. I remember telling my husband one time when I was upset and wanted to reach for food, that I felt like I was wanting to go back with my "ex-boyfriend" in the pantry. I missed it! I wanted my old comforts back. It's hard, by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
Something happened though when I was recovering from my food addiction; I was finding out who I really was, and finding my own inner strength. I was strong enough to face my problems head on! I didn't have to hide behind my food addiction or be shy anymore. With every push-up, shoulder press, and squat that I did, I was physically becoming stronger every day. The "Inside Out" method taught me the inner strength to match it. This is ESSENTIAL for success, and I cannot stress that enough. You have to break down as a person and find yourself through this process, or it will not work as a long-term fix. I am your classic yo-yo dieter, but no longer am I worried about gaining back the weight because I have the mental tools to go along with the plan.
If you are not willing to strip yourself down mentally, then you are not ready and should stop immediately. If you are ready, truly ready, to lose the weight for good, then you will be willing to do anything that you have to. That is the point where I was, desperate and feeling isolated, where I had to pick up and drag myself along until I made it back to the top.
Look at how you eat. Are you eating because you're upset, tired, bored, angry, or happy? Are you eating because you are really hungry? What kind of foods are you eating? Look at trigger foods. Watch what you reach for when you're upset. For me, it was chocolate and sweets that I wanted when I was feeling overwhelmed or anxious. How often are you eating?
If you think you may have an unhealthy relationship with food, go to this site and find out more about food addiction: http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/are-you-food-addict
Tip of the day: What helped me rid myself of my "toxic ex-boyfriend" was finding another activity to replace eating. For Christmas my husband bought me a Kindle because I love to read. I now read books even more than I used to (which was a lot before!), and I read about weight loss a lot. There are so many books about weight loss and emotional eating. If I feel like I need food for comfort, I reach for my Kindle and play a game or read a book. Replace the activity of eating with another activity! At first it will be hard, but you will get used to it!