Be comforted dear soul! There is always light behind the clouds.

~Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Thanksgiving should be a day of thanks, a day of praise, a day of gratitude, but often for the food addict it’s a day of all out gobbling. Sure, there’s gratitude but it’s not in the front of the addicts mind. Food is!
Thanksgiving for the food addict is like line after line of cocaine for the cocaine addict who is trying to abstain. Nobody would think to do that to the recovered drug addict, but little thought is given to the binge eater on this festive day. Heck, she/he should just “control” her food intake and eat in moderation.

Although with good intentions, moderate eating sounds like a simple solution but impossible if the doorway to platter after platter of hot mashed potatoes lathered in gravy, stuffing, hot rolls drenched in butter and one decadent desert after another right is in plain sight with an open invitation—especially once the food addict puts the chemicals (sugar, flour, wheat) into the system which ignites the binge.

Hi, my name is Lisa and I’m a food addict (in recovery!) and I know what the horror of this disease is like, especially on a holiday such as Thanksgiving, and the days to follow.  

Is there always a light behind the clouds?

Can you remain true to your clean eating Thanksgiving weekend with all the leftover festive side dishes ever-so-present every time you open the refrigerator, pantry, or look on the counter tops?  Let’s get real, these foods are calling you and you are blaming yourself for indulging.

It’s not your fault! You have a food addiction and there’s a dark cloud over you.

Food addiction is a loss of control over eating coupled with the physiological tolerance and psychological dependence that occurs when a specific stimulus (food) is ingested. Typically, this addiction can result in negative consequences for basic life functions and relationships with family; social situations; intimate relationships; the sufferers relationship with God and spiritual development; or in relation to the law, health, and work life.

Early in childhood I was fixated on sugar—never getting enough and going to great extremes to obtain it: stealing, hiding and hoarding. Although I didn’t have an awareness of food addiction, I knew something was wrong with my relationship with food. In hindsight, I realized I ate out of control and bargained with myself and God to stop—after this one last pastry.

I felt shame if I got caught stealing food or money to buy food; yet, I didn’t have the mentality to understand I was compulsive eating until my adolescent years when weight began to pile on. And even then I didn’t know there was an actual eating disorder called, binge eating disorder—and that I had it.

The depiction of addiction to food resembles the hallmarks of any addiction. The food addict is caught in the grip of a compulsive, habitual behavior that can’t be controlled.

Thanksgiving was not always a time for me to sit in gratitude. I’m a recovering food addict, and in the past, Thanksgiving marked the eating frenzy that launched my holiday eating. On Thanksgiving day I’d eat until I could eat no more—until the food was all the way up to the rim of my throat and my pants cut into my bulging stomach—promising I’d diet come Monday. And Monday never came.

This Monday, for me,  is just another Monday.  No guilt. No shame. I’ll go forth and continue to eat my four healthy meals spaced four hours  apart—and life goes on—in recovery.

How did you handle your Thanksgiving? What about the leftovers? What would you do differently? 

Photo by: Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego!/Drlisaort

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