A few years ago I attempted to retain the services of an editor to assist me with the mechanics of my book on spiritual recovery from food addiction. The first question she asked me was, “Why are you writing this book?” Why? Hmmm. Well, I stammered through a sentence or two saying something to the fact that I wanted to help people. Silence on the other end, not even the sound of her breath was heard.
Why am I writing this book? Why was I taking a dissertation that was stale and breathing life into a book for a wide audience of therapists, eating disordered persons, and those struggling with weight issues in general? I knew for a fact I didn’t write this book for notoriety, fame, money, or to see my name in print.
I wrote In God’s Hand: Release the Obsession with Food for us, who are alone with the monster (Food) every single day and trying to control it and not let it control us.
I wrote because living with an addiction to specific foods that result in compulsive overeating is an unsolicited and difficult path to venture alone. I know when I was struggling with obsessing and bingeing on food I had no idea where to turn. I was lost and scared and didn’t understand why I couldn’t stop eating to the point my weight was nearly 100 pounds over the suggested healthy weight. I thought something was wrong with me. First I thought I was crazy, and then wondered if I had a physical problem—or perhaps God was angry with me. Or, I was weak and had no control.
Compulsive eaters most often don’t recognize that they have sensitivities to certain foods but rather believe something is wrong with them when they can’t manage their food intake in “normal” amounts—especially in regard to carbohydrates. Often, for this group of individuals, excess weight, mood swings, extreme fatigue, and irritability are everyday occurrences. Seeking answers to what is actually a disease may not be the obvious road for the sufferer to travel, so blaming self for lack of willpower becomes the daily, inner rant.
Compulsive eaters at nearly every stage of their misery pick up self-help books, try fad diets, join diet clubs, and sometimes even enter treatment centers for eating disorders—all of which are structured to help inform and “cure” them of their debilitation. But the books, diet centers, counselors, and eating disorder treatment facilities generally do not address the actual food sensitivity or the sufferer’s ultimate spiritual depletion. Instead, these turn the afflicted addict loose clutching a Band-Aid solution (diet) without looking more deeply into the food sensitivity and spiritual bankruptcy plaguing the food disordered person’s very soul.
In God’s Hand: Release the Obsession with Food addresses those who seek recovery from binge eating and/or food addiction and who define themselves as “spiritual.” My book illuminates the experience of living with food addiction, recovery, and movement in the direction of spiritual revitalization. This is not a ten-step formula for losing weight and/or being “cured” of a compulsive eating disorder—because losing weight is not the focus of the book, and food addiction is a lifelong disease that can only be dealt with one day at a time. But what this book does promise is an increased connection to a self-defined spiritual sense, allowing readers to release a previously unbreakable obsession with what they eat. The book will not be one among many commonplace offerings, but will provide rather an exclusive, in-depth account as to what it is like to live with a compulsive eating disorder—versus confronting one’s inner demons, moving into spiritual awareness, and handling various situations for genuine recovery
I didn’t have the experience or the know-how to understand what was wrong with me before studying eating disorders and weight related topics at length. Now I know. I would like my book to reach out to the teenager suffering perhaps with weight, acne, and loneliness, filled with remorse and shame because she doesn’t know how to stop eating. I would like to say it’s going to be okay—it isn’t your fault, let me show you the way out.
I wish when I was a pimpled, fat, lonly13 year old, standing in front of the fridge shoveling food in not fast enough, someone would have said let me explain to you what’s going on with your body, mind, and emotions. Would I have listened? I’m not sure, but I wish I had at least the option.
I’m writing this book for the young adult who is obese and can’t play with her/his children because the food obsession will not let up and they feel there is no way out. Clothes are tight and moods are up and down. There is no energy to play with the children, besides the mind won’t let go of the obsession of getting food or burning the calories already consumed.
I write to tell the moms and dads how sad I was in my young years and how alone I felt and my parents didn’t know. I want to tell them I was scared and wished I could tell someone but feared rejection or lack of understanding. I wanted to know why I was eating out of control and my siblings were not. I was so bleeping scared and had nobody to tell. I know this struggle all to well. I want to tell every mom and dad to pay attention to your little girl or boy and notice if they are isolating and rarely laugh. Reach out to the child and show them the way to peace and freedom from cravings and to a strong and healthy physical body. And if you can’t do this then find someone who can. I don’t want one more child alone with this disease. And if we can save a child then they won’t grow into a lonely, isolating adult and pass this down to their children. I want to break the chain.
I’m writing this book for doctors and therapists to let them know this obsession is real and to treat it with the right foods, exercise, and spiritual connection. That cutting patients stomachs to reroute their food and/or cutting and filling their stomachs with fill is a wasted effort if they aren’t educated about trigger foods.
I write for my sons, husband, father, and sibling to tell them about my struggles and triumphs. I am writing this book for my mom who no longer is here because her obsessions and cravings led to a massive stroke and took her life before her time. I’m writing this book for my best friend Yvonne (who died before her time) who always tried to help and to understand me and believed I could eat trigger foods in moderation—not understanding one bite of certain foods sent me down the road of bingeing and not returning. I am reaching out to cousins who have the same problem as I do to know it’s genetic and not their fault.
And most of all, I am writing this book for me to work through and understand all my struggles. To understand why I made some of the poor choices I made. To reflect on how lonely and scared I was most of my life.
I am writing this book to save my patients from a disease that kills. I am writing this book because God wants me to write and He will guide me throughout the process no matter how long it takes, no matter how high my mountain will be.
Photos by: Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego