Thursday, April 30

My Frienemy

Sun-tzu said, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

I guess keeping an enemy close is a good idea if you are strong enough to thwart their attacks.

I'm not strong enough. I keep losing battle, after battle, after battle.

Who is my best friend? Food.

Who is my worst enemy? Food.

I am a foodie. I love to cook, and eat, and experience food. The anticipation, smell, taste, appearance, texture, chewing, swallowing, and feeling of fullness all bring me considerable pleasure. I use it to celebrate, draw closer to loved ones, show affection, and accept affection.

Food is my safe, always-there-for-me cure-all. I medicate myself with it when I'm sad, hurting, bored, angry, tired, and lonely.

I don't stop eating when I've had enough. After overeating, guilt and regret hang over me. I want to say that I won't overeat again, but I know saying that is useless. I can't control my tendency to eat too much!

I wish I could run far away from my "frienemy" and never look back. That strategy seems to work well for drug and alcohol addicts, but not for me. My drug of choice is food--something I can't survive without. I sometimes feel that it must be easier to recover from chemical dependency, but I know it probably isn't. I stupidly wish my addiction was something else--something less unfair. Ha! How crazy is that?

I recently heard someone in recovery speak about "being on autopilot." I can't remember who said it or the context. The word kept ringing in my ears. Then, I realized that I overeat when I am on autopilot. Often, a little voice inside says that I should stop, but my irrational autopilot overrides that thought.

It happened last night, today at lunch, and again this afternoon. Too much food was available. I knew that I should stop, but I couldn't, or wouldn't. I'm not sure which.

Of course, there are times when I know that I am hungry because of the usual signs of stomach growling, weakness, shaking, irritability... Those hunger cues scare me. So often when I get hungry I lose control.

Last Sunday we ate lunch really late. I know my blood sugar was low because I was shaking and covered in sweat. I ate all of my super healthy lunch. NOT! It was fried fish, fries, hush puppies, cole slaw, and sweet tea. I was still shaking after eating that, so I also ate my son's leftovers. Blah. That was way too much food. I felt crappy afterward.

Around 11:00 am today I felt my blood sugar crash in the middle of an errand. I stopped at a fast food restaurant and got a large order of chicken strips, fries, and sweet tea. I ate it all, even though I was full about half way through my meal. Damn, stinking autopilot!

This afternoon, my son asked me to make him some popcorn. Since I was not hungry, I planned not to eat any. I found myself returning to the popcorn pot again and again, cramming hand-fulls of popcorn into my mouth. What the heck? I wasn't hungry, but couldn't stop.

I did great at dinner tonight! I didn't eat too much! My husband cleared the table and put the leftovers away, so I did not have a chance to pick at them. I really focused on avoiding autopilot.

The kids are in bed now. My husband is reading. The house is quiet. I really, really want a snack! Is it okay to have a small snack? Some yogurt or something? I honestly don't know. Am I hungry? Maybe. Yes, I think so or is this an attack of my frienemy?