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Admitting I Have A Problem: I Have A Food Addiction
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem because you can't change what you don't acknowledge.
With that said, for the first time in my life, I'm admitting the obvious: I have a food addiction.
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This image is a representation of just a snippet of my adult life, where my weight has been highly unstable because of my problem. The peaks and valleys of my weight are much greater than this in the past 20 years.
At my lowest moments, I was typically extremely overweight and too embarrassed to weigh myself because it would be devastating to know exactly what I was doing to myself. Finding out that number would push me into a deeper depression that I was already battling coming out of.
There were two points in my life that I was extremely overweight and it comes off as a representation of how I was feeling inside. One of them, I was living in my friend's furnished basement, unemployed and lonely.
I would drink Coca-Cola in the morning like an alcoholic would wake up by drinking a beer. I ordered out most days and with every delivery, I got fatter and more miserable. I was uncomfortable in my skin but didn't know how to get out of this cycle.
I was poisoning myself with sugar and sustaining my addiction problem with the comfort of fatty & unhealthy foods. I eventually found a job working at a warehouse and slowly regained mental health & fortitude to drop my weight from 266 to 183 pounds.
I became mindful of what I was doing and kept the weight off for a couple of years. However, I never fully acknowledged my problem because I didn't recognize it as an addiction problem but instead a dieting problem.
I was often emotionally eating to soothe my anxiety or frustration and that rush from sugar was always the cure to trigger the endorphins for temporary pleasure. Do this enough times, and it just becomes habitual behavior to find comfort in an uncomfortable world.
With every great weight loss, I had a great relapse. After a couple of years of keeping my weight around 200 pounds, it skyrocketed after entering a tumultuous relationship. I went from a size 30 waist to a size 38 in less than a year.
I didn't recognize the man in the mirror anymore and my depression returned and self-esteem disappeared, ultimately contributing to the end of that relationship.
A couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany as to why this has been happening throughout my adult life and it's because I never labeled my problem for what it really is: an addiction problem. I would say "I need to lose some weight" rather than "I need to manage my addiction".
I needed to change my behavioral patterns, recognize what triggers my unhealthy eating, and hold myself accountable. How someone would count their days of sobriety, that's how I'm counting my weight loss. It's a constant recognition that I have a problem that needs monitoring.
Seeing myself as an addict has helped me tremendously. I'm fearful of going back rather than making excuses to have that familiar unhealthy meal or cover my emotions with sugar. It's moving past the "I can quit whenever I want" mentality & remaining absolute in health endeavors.
The difficulty is that, unlike alcohol or drugs, we need food in order to survive, so I can't completely avoid eating. However, managing my hunger responses, changing my behavior, and getting rid of the excuses to eat unhealthily is something I can accomplish.
Today, I am down 30 pounds since I began my road to recovery on April 5th, 2023.
My name is Adam Coleman: I am an addict.
I have a problem but I'm working diligently to fix it.