Fathead

Deb & Rob Then
Deb & Rob Now

A few years ago, when my disease was running rampant, my BMI (Body Mass Index) had put me in the “obese” category.  At that time in my life I had given no thought to food addiction recovery.  In fact, I didn’t even know food addiction existed.  I was anxious, fearful, angry, and prone to isolation.  I had as much “fat” in my head as I did on my body.

Back then, the idea ofwalking into a 12 step meeting was laughable.  I thought it was for weirdos and the morbidly obese who needed to get their weight under control in order to save their health and their life. I thought it was a diet program where they ate so little I would rather die of an obesity-related disease than starve to death on their program.  All I really wanted was for the fat to go away – I didn’t want to give up my favorite binge foods. Ever.  And I never thought those horrible thoughts and emotions I experienced on a daily basis could go away. I thought they were for me to manage and keep under control.

Fast- forward to where I am today- active in my 12 step program, more confident, more peaceful, less fearful, and about 10 sizes smaller. Had you told me while I was in the depth of addiction that I could be living this way I would have traded those binge behaviors in a second.  But in reality I got to this point slowly, over time and only because God was leading me every step of the way.  The second I try to take it over I mess it up.  Every. Single. Time.

Recently I heard someone compare food addiction (and every addiction) to a spoiled child; we want what we want, and we want it NOW!  The truth is that addiction never gets us what we need.   We NEED to get better, physically and mentally.  We don’t NEED to be fat, depressed and angry. We need to be healthy in mind and body for our own quality of life and for our families, and in order to do that we need to stop living to feed the addiction and instead live to feed our true selves, who we were created to be.  All of that healing takes time.

I have come a long way in my disease, but I know I still have a long way to go.  A big turning point for me was when I finally got it through my head that recovery IS the journey, its not something you find at the end.  Realizing that allowed me to become more patient with myself; my character defects and my body weight.  I made peace with the fact that if I was going to get the fat out of my head and off my body, it was going to happen in God’s timing, not mine.

Many of us who go into 12- step programs with a lot of weight to lose just want (and often expect) it to come off quickly so we can get on with our lives.  When I first started in recovery I focused too much on the weight and the expectation that it was going to come off in a timely manner.  I thought of it as another “program” because I was still in a diet mentality.  After all, how many diets had I been on in my life?!  But recovery is not a diet.  Or to put it another way, recovery is not a diet.  In other words, recovery is not diet.  Get the point?

When you’re in true recovery your pattern of eating changes, so eventually you start needing less food and you’re able to eliminate cravings for the foods that make you binge.  As a result, you will lose weight.  And because of the healing that takes place in your head during recovery you obsess less and less about your food and your body.  So it’s a double whammy – you lose the “head fat” along with the body fat.  But notice the order it happens; first your pattern of eating and your thoughts change, THEN the weight loss comes.    As my sponsor says, When you eat what you are supposed to eat you will weigh what you are supposed to weigh.

I found a simple scripture about keeping my head in the right place. It’s a good daily reminder for recovery, because I know the minute I start focusing on diets, weight and body image I am headed down the wrong road.  And if God says it, it must be true. 🙂

“And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.”  Col 3:2

5 Responses to “Fathead

  • Susan Kirby
    5 years ago

    I have SO much to learn. Your blog helps me- Thank you!

  • Corinne
    5 years ago

    One thing I know to be true, you do not have to be overweight to have a food addiction.

  • Corinne
    5 years ago

    Deb, you are such an encouragement! Thank you!

  • Melissa
    5 years ago

    Deb, I love your heart and am thankful you are sharing your journey with us. I would love to read your thoughts on addressing food addiction with young teens. There is a danger of pushing our over-achievers into eating disorders, especially with the peer pressure they face in school. 12-step programs are designed for adults. Have you found anything appropriate for adolescents?

    • debsolberg
      5 years ago

      Melissa,
      As a parent of teens, I totally agree. Too much focus on they we look like and not enough on character. And that leads them into unhealthy adulthood. I see alot of young people in my meetings; even parents that have brought their teens. I know some Overeathers Anonymous groups have started teen meetings, but some admit it is a challenge to get them there. It’s hard enough for us adults to walk into those! And since eating disorders stem from a combination of things, everyone is different and there is not a “one size fits all” solution, although personally, I have seen the most success with OA members (myself included). If you do some digging, this is a good place to start: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/binge_eating_disorder.htm#treatment. I haven’t done a lot of research on it, but let me know if you find anything! Thanks!

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