We Were Meant To Live

Daydream by MJ Da Luz

Daydream by MJ Da Luz

In my first blog post I talked about how my journey started.   About how I finally realized that for a lot of my life food had been my drug of choice (after I stopped abusing drugs and alcohol…but that’s another story).  My extra weight was a symptom of what was going on inside me and it added fuel to the fire.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” . Or my favorite translation, “Where the mind goes the man follows.” Oh, was I ever living this out. I was a slave to ugly thoughts; disgust, anger, frustration, hate, fear, sadness, shame. I had followed my mind right into the lie that my weight was my identity. If I carried a little extra weight I would hear those voices inside of me telling me how I was unworthy of love and belonging because of how I looked.  And if I carried a lot of extra weight I would hear the voices inside of me AND outside of me, as insensitive as some people can be with their comments and “advice” . And even when I had lost weight it was all I could think about-the fear of gaining it back, the letdown if someone didn’t comment, and wondering if I was finally attractive enough to be worthy of love. I internalized it all. To me, it was shameful to talk about and I never spoke a word to anyone about how I felt. And the only solution to me was dieting. I thought if I changed the outside then the inside would be happy.

God created me with my own unique body. And for years and years, I bought in to the billion-dollar diet industry when it called out to me and told me I should look like every 5’11, 115 lb model (who is usually in their early teens) that graced the cover of a magazine. And I tried, but of course I could never get there. Why? BECAUSE MY BODY WAS NEVER MEANT TO LOOK LIKE THAT. I knew that in the back of my head but I still really, really wanted to be that thin! I would be so happy! But alas, as miserable as I was from all of these unresolved, unspoken thoughts about my fat-old self I turned to more food for comfort. And just like a drug, it would take more and more to satisfy those cravings. So I would binge, and just for a moment I would feel that pleasure and comfort. That feeling of being in control while I was being so OUT of control.

There are different types of eating disorders. For me, I was always a binge-eater but-a- non-thrower- upper (it is clinically referred to as BED or Binge Eating Disorder). I didn’t like the feeling of throwing up, plus I thought I had control over the outcome of the binge by promising myself I would starve myself or exercise excessively the next day so I wouldn’t put on that dreaded weight.

I would feel so awful the next day, physically, mentally and emotionally from bad food, guilt, regret, condemnation and anxiety that all I wanted to do is “drug” again, and I almost always did,  giving myself a green light for  the behavior by saying, “I’ll for sure diet tomorrow”. And so it went on and on until I got up to 250 lbs at one point. I was a  slave to food and to my negative thoughts.  It wasn’t just about how I looked; I was angry and frustrated that it had control over me.  And once in awhile when I got angry enough it gave me dose of willpower and I would find a diet and lose weight – temporarily.

It’s true that diets don’t work and most people gain it all back and more within 5 years.  You have got to find what’s driving the addictive behavior and work from the inside out.  There is a reason you are choosing to numb your pain with food.  And Celebrate Recovery is what helped me begin to discover the reasons for my own behavior.   Here are some of the things I’ve learned or realized during my recovery journey so far:

  • God created the human body and He knows what it needs.  God also made food (raw food, not man-made processed food) as fuel for your body.   He is the Creator and Master of it all.
  • We can’t do it on our own.  However God has the power to help and He wants to help. You just have to ask Him.  And we need connection with others for support. 
  • Working the 12 steps with God’s help gives you courage to face those painful things that might have led you to the “numbing “ in the first place.  And when you talk about your pain and your addiction and don’t keep it inside there is so much power in that. The addiction loses it’s strength because it’s not this dark part of you anymore that squashes your potential and keeps you emotionally and spiritually handicapped. Like we say in recovery, “we’re only as sick as our secrets”.
  • Once you realize and stop denying the issue you can start “cleaning house” – working through the steps and replacing all of that “junk” inside you with powerful weapons like knowledge, love from those that are supporting you, and best of all the living, breathing Words of Life that God gladly gives you.

Food addiction recovery is different than any other; we all need food to survive so quitting cold turkey is not an option.  We have to learn to “dance with it”,  but just not too close.  Its a process and a journey that is different for each and every person.  It manifests itself in so many different ways.  Bulimics, anorexics, binge-eaters, over-exercisers; we all have our different ways of acting  it out to numb the pain.   But the first step to recovery is the same for every addict.   It is by simply admitting that we’re powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, and that our lives have become unmanageable.  

Recently I was struck by a quote I heard from Dr. Brene Brown, an expert researcher on shame and vulnerability.  She said, “We can’t selectively numb. When we numb [hard feelings], we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.”

Amen to that!  We were meant to live, to feel, and not to fear. One day at a time. Because our Heavenly Father is with us through it all.

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”.  Joshua 1:9

7 Responses to “We Were Meant To Live

  • Thanks for putting into words what so many of us have thought, felt & done. You describe the struggle and the steps to recovery so clearly. I know many people think 12 Step support groups are just a bunch of people talking about their problems. If that were so, no one would recover and most would never return. Healthy recovery groups are filled with people truly working the 12 Steps and focusing on the solutions to their struggles. You are the real deal…a great example of our saying, “it works IF you work it.”

  • The pain and struggle are so very real, but you are not asking for sympathy! You are giving God the glory for hearing your prayers and for giving you the grace to live “one day at a time.”

  • You have a golden message to those that have walked in your shoes. And there are many.

    You know though, that if you ate the right, healthy things you can eat all you want. It is a matter of shifting eating habits to a food substance that fulfills your cravings. If you ate smoothies for two meals a day and then had a big lunch, you would do yourself good. Eat breakfast like a prince, eat lunch like a king and eat dinner like a pauper.!!

    • debsolberg
      6 years ago

      Totally with you on that Tim! Got another blog coming up soon related to that! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Holly Arnold
    6 years ago

    Deb, Thanks for sharing your life with us. You are SO encouraging. I am sending some of my friends to your blog. God’s light is beautiful in you! ~Holly

  • Sharon bowater
    6 years ago

    Thanks Deb…you are amazing♥

  • Deb you are so amazing. Thank you for your honesty. You have such an tireless heart for helping others. In the past few years at Celebrate Recovery, I have watched you transition into the Food Issues group, and I have watched the transformation in you. Even your smile has come alive! I love you dear friend. Thank you for serving us at CR and for sharing your journey.

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