It’s been awhile since I have posted here. I have had so many ideas of my next blog and truly have meant to write for weeks yet here I am over a month after my last post. Where did February go?
As I sit down to write this blog post I realize that today is Fat Tuesday. I had a totally different idea in mind to write about today but why not write about a day that is dedicated to partying and eating? But really, what a name for a celebration.....
For those that may not know, Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is a day known also as Mardi Gras Day. Fat Tuesday is well known to be celebrated on Bourbon Street in New Orleans with parades, Mardi Gras beads and lots of food. The thought behind Fat Tuesday is people eat all they want of everything and anything they want because the following day starts the Lenten season. During lent, Christians fast and give up something special they enjoy. So, before they give it up they enjoy it fully.
I can relate to this so much. Every time I was about to start a diet, I would have my own “Fat Tuesday” though it normally would fall over a whole weekend because diets always started on Monday. So, starting Friday through the weekend I would binge on all the foods that I was going to restrict from myself once my diet started. I would have Chinese food one night, then a bagel sandwich for breakfast with an iced coffee with sugar, then don’t forget about Chick-Fil-A, pasta and mountain dew. I didn’t just have one binge, I was out of control. But in my mind, I rationalized that I would be going on a diet and it would all drop off anyway. Then Monday would come along….. And I ate so badly all weekend that I would just not feel up to starting my diet so I would tell myself I would start the next Monday….. and the cycle continues. I would do ok during the week, then binge again before my real diet started Monday, and so on and so on……. Then fast forward years later after lots of work on myself, I have recently admitted to myself that I have a food addiction. Now, vulnerably, I admit it to you.
And I know I am not the only food addict out there. The world certainly does seem to focus so much on food doesn’t it? What to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, when not to eat…. Celebrations focus around food, disappointments focus around food…. Do well on your report card and you can get an ice cream, Not feeling well then have a popsicle. No matter if it is good times or bad, food is so often the center of it all.
I learned from a young age that food could be used to make me feel better if I was down about something. If I had a bad day, I would eat something to lift up my mood. But really it only helped in that moment, it did not change anything about how I felt about my day. I also learned that I could use it to celebrate something great, but really, when I think about it now, why was food at the center instead of whatever great thing? I find myself now as an adult using food in the same way….even when I am now educated and I know that the food doesn’t help, I tend to go back to my old ways. Why? Well it was so heavily engrained in my life and I am still a work in progress! I even found myself rewarding and comforting the kids with food. An M&M when they would go on the potty, a treat if they did all their chores and McDonald’s on the way home after they behaved so well at the store. What was I doing?!?! I was repeating the very things that I swore I would not. I don’t want my kids to use food in the same way I do.
Now that I see the addiction, what can I do now? It’s not an easy addiction to kick.
Well, for one thing, I will not be celebrating Fat Tuesday, but rather I will be working on myself today. My main focus will be Self-Care and Introspection.
I will give myself grace, treat myself well and accept myself where I am at TODAY. And I will examine how I mentally and emotionally process things. There is definitely a disconnect with how I want to process things and how I actually do…. I will figure out my triggers and find a way to use something other than food to appease them. This will be a lot of work but I am more than determined this time. My new addiction will be my amazing personal, family and professional life and food will be how I sustain that amazing life, not the focus of it!