The Secret Life of a Food Addict

lockeddoor When it comes to living an addict’s life – any addict, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or even tobacco that employs that siren’s call – secrecy is always key. We don’t talk about our addiction, usually we practice it in secret. If caught, we have a myriad of excuses to justify our addiction. The life of a food addict isn’t really different from that of a drug addict or an alcoholic or smoker, the only difference being that while the drug addict, alcoholic, and smoker can – albeit with great difficulty – quit cold turkey, their life not dependent on the substances to which they are addicted regardless of how enthralling those substances have become, the food addict can’t just quit food. We need it to live in some quantity. So instead we learn to live a life where we expend most of our waking energy thinking about it, whether it’s thinking about what we need to avoid eating that day, what we need to substitute in our diets to make up for the loss of foods we crave but know we shouldn’t have, or we’re making those excuses for why we need to eat an entire box of those evil pink-frosted Lofthouse cookies. Our whole lives revolve around food – the thinking about it, the craving it, the shopping for it, the preparing it, the talking about it, the working-it-off, the eating it. Always the eating it. But we rarely talk about it.

At least, we don’t talk about it when we’re on the scale upswing.

When we’re on the downswing – our diet-of-the-month is working, our exercise routine has become, well, routine, our cravings are under control – then we can’t shut up about it. We tell everyone about what’s worked for us, convinced it will work for them, too.

Except when we’ve been down that road a couple of times already.

I recently heard Al Roker on NPR’s Tell Me More talking about his decision not to reveal to anyone but his closest family that he was undergoing bariatric surgery. When asked why, he responded, “In my mind, I felt pretty confident I was going to lose this weight…and my fear was that it was going to come back, or it wouldn’t take, or something would happen, and….besides being fat again, then I would look really stupid, and just be an abject failure.” I could so identify with that feeling. In Hawaii, after the death of my mother, as I decided, To heck with the scale, I need to get healthy, I didn’t want to talk about what I was doing, thinking – like Al Roker also admitted – that no one would notice, worried that if they did notice, the weight would come back, and I’d look like a know-it-all blowhard who had failed again (as all food addicts believe we will eventually do). As friends did notice, and asked what I was doing, I was quick to downplay my newfound routines and eating choices because deep down I was afraid that by talking about it, it would steal some of the magic of what was finally happening – I had found my self control, and suddenly my life didn’t revolve around food.

Back in Maine, those old bad habits slipping back in, the good habits slowly seeing their way out, I again found it hard to talk about. I felt like a failure. Some days, I still do. I know logically that I’m not really, but this blog is my way of combating the addict’s need for secrecy. Because with openness comes support, and no one, especially not an addict, can afford to do without that on their road to Wellville.

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Categories: Honesty is Healthy:

Author:Dory Diaz Photography

Dory is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and social media addict.

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2 Comments on “The Secret Life of a Food Addict”

  1. Uronlyfrend
    February 9, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    H, I think u should describe yourself as a divorcee’ and mother of two, haha. P.s. love the blog

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