Love has nothing to do with what your expecting to get – only about what your expecting to give – which is everything.
Does Valentines Equal Chocolate Binge Eating?
Every year without fail, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 around the world for all those in love and those not so in love. Or at least that’s what we think it’s about. Or is it about chocolate, decadent chocolate, or presents, or dinner out perhaps?
Did you know Valentine’s Day is NOT about eating chocolate, but it is actually based on a true story? The Catholic religion recognizes several saints named Valentinus and the actual saint celebrated on Valentine’s Day is St. Valentine. How about that!
So, it’s not about eating chocolate or going out to eat, or sparkly presents, but it’s about a saint that was assigned to watch over the lives of lovers. St. Valentine is the patron saint of engaged couples and fortunate marriages.
Hmmmm, I never ever thought about that when I was in the throes of my eating disorder, it was all about the chocolate on this special day.
The reality is that so many are sad on Valentine’s Day, thinking everyone has a loved one, especially with social media posting pictures of happy couples showered with flowers and sparkly gifts. It paints an unrealistic love story, leaving others feeling lonely and left out.
Long before social media was ever a thing, I truly thought Valentine’s was a sad day when I was younger, struggling with my weight and the inability to stop binge eating. I was so caught up in the “me” that I didn’t think past it.
I recall on February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day was on the same day as Ash Wednesday. As a practicing Catholic Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence. Now as a Catholic and a food addict it was a double doozer for me practicing abstinence from sugar, flour and wheat to calm my food sensitivity while fasting and abstinence for Lent.
For the first time since 1945, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fell on the same day. And for those of you who are Catholic, embracing Valentines and Lent simultaneously was something, especially for the addict with hopes to push forward, attend mass, get our ashes so we can get clean. So Valentines falling on Lent in 2018 it was big. Whoa! Heck, in my past, it would have been a double reason to give up chocolate for the forty days and forty nights.
Today clean eating goes beyond forty days, it’s a way of life. Valentine’s Day is not about chocolate but a day to spread love and kindness to everyone.
As I was taking a wonderful walk this morning, listening to the birds singing, the sky as blue as blue can be, and flowers blooming, I was thinking about what Valentines represents to me today, versus years ago before I understood my food addiction. In the past, chocolate for sure was my first thought with Valentines. And I think it still is. The difference is I don’t “act” on it now. I just think back fondly, sort of like an old lover. You could say I romanced the chocolate for sure. In fact, just looking at it makes the brainwaves tingle just as a hard-core drug addict would.
Chocolate represents a drug for me, yet we would not have a holiday (like Valentines) with a photo of a line of cocaine as part of the celebration, at least not legally. Yes, milk chocolate bathed in sugar is an illegal substance for me.
Sort of sobering thought, isn’t it?
How could something so sweet (no pun intended) and innocent wreak such havoc in some? The answer is chemical imbalance. When sweetened chocolate, sugar, flour, and wheat are eaten some people can’t stop eating. Something clicks in the brain and volume eating takes hold. Perhaps there is no cure but living a life in recovery is promising. Just like the cocaine addict cannot have one brief line for old times’ sake because she/he will jump right back into the illness from one little snort.
So, what does Valentines mean to me today? It means total gratitude. My body is nearly 100 pounds lighter than its highest weight. My mind is clear and cravings are lifted. I love my bike rides and walks as much as I loved the chocolates (okay…not quite… but close!). I help hundreds of people move past this chronic, progressive, and fatal disease. They are learning to cultivate healthy relationships.
The price of giving up decadent chocolate for my life back is definitely worth all the preparation and vigilance I put forth every day to stay clean.
It’s clear that as a foodaholic who binge ate, I was obsessed with food, particularly sugary, high-fat food, and could 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 I worried about how fat I’d get.
Change Your Life…
Change your life now, there’s still time…no matter how old or how sick you are with your consumption (or lack of) foods. And perhaps Saint Valentine will lend a loving hand. Below are ten steps to start you in the right direction.
- Admit you have an issue with food. Often coming out of denial and owning what it is you are doing can open the door to recovery.
- Define your relationship with food. Are you over eating, under eating or normal eating? How is your eating impeding your quality of life.
- Plan strategies to let go of bad habits. If you know you’ll overeat because it’s a holiday, birthday or Valentine’s Day, then work a strategy that doesn’t involve food. You can take a long walk or bike ride or go for a kayak outing (if you live in a warm climate like I do!).
- Turn to Spiritual Food instead of Junk Food. Imagine that, tapping into something higher or more powerful than food. Call it God, energy, or Lucy, but connect with something bigger than food.
- Recognize your accomplishments, no matter how small. Yes, if you are making quality choices, give yourself a hug because any change is a first step towards healthy living.
- Ask for help when you know you cannot get out of this alone. It takes a village to recover from eating disorders. It’s a long and winding road, but with a support team in place, we can travel them with positive outcomes.
- Stop everything. Often in stillness, answers and direction come. When you are beyond your wits and don’t know what to do, I say do nothing. That’s right. Nothing. Sometimes we have to hit the pause button and regroup before we can know what direction to take.
- Take a walk, bike, dance, swim…anything movement, but always in moderation. Movement is one of the quickest ways to get out of a funk and put your happy endorphins back in place.
- Eat foods that are whole, not in a box or bag. Yes, actual food from the earth and the sea and off a tree. Too often we eat foods that are processed filled with chemicals that stir up our obsession with foods that are not quality foods, hence over eating and indulging taking hold.
- Consider therapy with a certified eating disorder professional. Yes, if your eating is interrupting the quality of your life, relationships and your work, it may be time to reach out to a trained professional to help you sort out your eating issues.
- Find a 12-Step group that fits your needs if you want company and group support. The Twelve-Step program is by far one of the best places to work with like-minded people who want the same thing as you—peace with their food.
As Long as you’re Breathing There is Hope…
So Valentines Day is a day for love, but it doesn’t have to be a day for over indulging in chocolate. It can be a time for you to reflect and give thanks for all the blessings in your life. We don’t have to make the day about things or what we think is missing in our life but rather filling our space with gratitude, which can go a long, long way towards peace of mind reining in all the good things in life.
I am thankful and grateful. Happy Valentines to all of you! May your day bring you love, peace, and joy.
Hugs to you! I care….
Do you struggle on or leading up to Valentines Day? Share your experience(s). I’d love to hear from you. Together we can change food addiction one addict at a time.
Share your thoughts by simply scrolling down to the comments section…
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.
Stay tuned. You never know where my mind will wander…
You are the best. I will call for appt soon
Thank you so much Mary!