Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window…
but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
Twenty-seven years ago, my mom had a massive stroke on Easter weekend—somehow it seems almost like yesterday.
Every Easter, too many to count, I loaded the car early Saturday mornings with son Benjamin and Oscar (my Pug!) in tow and headed out on a four-hour drive from Alligator Alley over to Sunshine Bridge to Madeira Beach, Florida to welcome in the holiday.
Easter should be a light time filled with spring in the air, bunnies and daffodils. A new life as we come out of winter to spring—death to resurrection.
When I think of pale, yellow daffodils with deep golden centers, the first thought that pops into my head is my mom, as she loved this flower most of all. And we were about to spend this lovely, favorite holiday up in Madeira Beach with my parents.
Easter of April 1998 did not differ from the previous ones to ring in the freshness of life and all that Easter means… until the phone rang Friday (April 11, 1998) at 4:00 a.m.; my father was frantic on the other end expressing, “Your mother just had stroke and the paramedics are coming!”.
A Turning Point…
No doubt that night was a turning point for me—a time for self-reflection. Yes, I was maintaining (by a frayed shoe-string) my weight loss of nearly 100 pounds for many years, but I was bingeing with active bulimia through excessive exercising, all of which kept my weight down.
At that time, I sort of, kind of didn’t eat sugar, flour and wheat… but it was a sloppy eating plan for sure. My flour restriction was white flour and of course that meant I’d sneak in any flour made of whatever other flours were out there which always led me back to the great binge, especially on Easter Weekend where I’d wolf down any, and all sugary, chocolaty foods I could get my hands on.
Mom’s Obesity, Massive Stroke… and Shortened life…
I knew if I didn’t wise up, I’d be in the same situation as mom who wasn’t that much older than me as she had her six children (two sets of twins) barely out of her teen years. As I sat in the Intensive Care Unit listening to the oxygen feeding my mom each breath, I knew it was time for me to get real and admit I was a food addict with bulimia… even though I looked good on the outside…
On to a Lighter Note…
Easter/Passover weekend, and Ramadan for the month long, is now upon us and the temptations are great for many… especially for the binge eater… and particularly the food addict.
I can’t tell you how many Easters I binged to the point of no return after giving up chocolate for Lent. I struggled to not eat the chocolate Cadbury Creme Egg to the point of having physical shakes in full-blown withdrawal. I’m happy to report I no longer do that, and you don’t have to either.
It’s clear that as a foodaholic who binge ate, I was obsessed with food, particularly sugary, high-fat food, and could, and did, consume large quantities of these foods to physical, emotional, mental, and relational destructive consequences, every single time.
I never thought about who I might hurt, including myself. I only worried about how fat I’d get.
Change Your Life…
If any of my experiences resonate with you, I’m here to tell you it’s never too late to change your relationship with food—and your body. You can change your life now…there’s still time…no matter how old or how sick you are with your consumption (or lack) of foods.
Below are some steps to begin on your path to a healthier self. Of course, take what you need and leave the rest. There is no such cookie cut (sorry for the pun) plan for anyone. The best plan is to fit what works right for you. And of course, keep it a plan that’s sustainable. What ever you do to correct is what you keep doing to maintain.
- Admit you have an issue with food. I know this sounds simplistic, but it’s not. With any addiction, the first step is to admit you have an issue in order to step into recovery.
- Define what it is you are doing with food. Are you hiding food? Are you bingeing and purging food? Remember, purging is not only throwing up your food, but it’s also abusing laxatives or exercise.
- Plan strategies to let go of bad habits. Take a walk or get outside biking or skating or whatever would shift you out of the habit of over-eating or under-eating. Distractions are great for moving out of difficult behaviors that are challenging to break.
- Turn to Spiritual Food instead of Junk Food. Spiritual connections are personal. What I might consider spiritual might be religious to you and vice verse. Connecting with an energy or higher source can bring great comfort in moving you away from self-absorbing thoughts and behaviors.
- Recognize your accomplishments, no matter how small. Too often we skimp on patting ourselves on the back for doing a good job. Any move towards living a healthier lifestyle is a big plus.
- Ask for help when you know you cannot get out of this alone. It’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak or bad or any other labels you might give yourself. In fact, the one who reaches out for help is the wise one.
- Often in stillness, answers and direction come. Meditation also is personal. Some sit in the quiet for a good amount of time, either focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity. The goal is to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
- Take a walk, bike, dance, swim… anything movement, but always in moderation. Movement to your liking is one of the best things you can do for your mind and your body, not to mention your health. Some even combine movement and meditation. If you’re too wiggly and your mind won’t be quiet, you just might be the perfect candidate for movement meditation.
- Find a 12-Step group that fits your needs if you want company and group support. If you feel alone and want support, there are 12-Step groups everywhere for compulsive eating issues. In my early recovery years, it was the 12-Step groups that brought me peace knowing I wasn’t alone and that there was a way out.
As Long as you’re breathing, there is Hope…
Mom was not so fortunate. She passed on February 7, 2002, four years almost to date of her stroke. She was only 67 years old. She lived the rest of her years paralyzed, confined to bed. I promised when she was in ICU I’d help anyone and everyone who binges or restricts with their food, including myself.
As long as I knew my mom, she was significantly over weight which I believe contributed if not caused the short life she lived.
Mom was obese and never exercised, which prompted me to do the opposite but unhealthily until my awakening on the cusp of her declining.
I realize I have come a very long way from those many Easter seasons of the past correcting my eating disorder one day at a time.
Do you binge eat? Do you have a family history of binge eaters? Are you overweight? Are you underweight and binge eat? Share your thoughts on what’s happening with you.
Please scroll down and add your thoughts… together let’s quiet binge eating and make a difference, leading by example…
Thank you for spending time with me and my thoughts throughout these pages. I hope my words lit your excitement to become your best self for you.
I look forward to sharing my newest book with you on how to Release Your obsession with Your PHONE.
God bless you… and your journey through this life and all that awaits beyond…
Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum of this blog. If you have something you’d like to say, I’d love to hear it. YOU are important and your words need to be heard. I’m here for you.
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