It was about a year ago. We were at a party. I remember there being a large chocolate sheet cake with chocolate frosting. I wanted it. Throughout the night I could barely concentrate on anything that I was engaged in. I don’t remember any conversations because in the back of my head I kept thinking about that cake. I wanted the cake. It was all I could think about.
At one point, I broke off & went to the bathroom, seeking the cake, but couldn’t find it. I think it was all gone & although I was disappointed, felt relief that I didn’t have to think about it any longer.
Shortly after that party, I read James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. It was the first time that I looked at my eating habits as an addiction:
I smell the food, it is breakfast food. Eggs and bacon and sausage and pancakes and French toast. It smells f*cking good. I see the oatmeal in a big crock off to the side. F*ck that oatmeal. disgusting gray mushy bullshit. I can smell the food, it is breakfast food. Eggs and bacon and sausage and pancakes and French toast.
I move closer, closer, closer. My need to get f*cked up has grown exponentially. It has grown to the point that it is no longer a thought and it has grown to the point that I don’t have any thoughts. There is just basic instinct. Get something. Fill me. Get something. Fill me.
I grab a tray and I ask the woman behind the Glass Counter for eggs and bacon and sausage and pancakes and French toast. She doesn’t give me enough, so I ask for more. She gives me another helping, but it’s still not enough. I ask again. She says no, the plate won’t hold anything else.
I sit down and I get a bottle of syrup and I cover the eggs and bacon and sausage and pancakes and French toast with the syrup and I start devouring the food. I don’t look at what it is and I don’t taste it and I don’t care what it is or what it tastes like. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have something and I’m going to take as much as I can as fast as I can. Get something. Fill me.
– a million little pieces by James Frey
That was a HUGE revelation for me. Reflecting on my self-talk as it involved food became a big step for me. I already had exercise down. I was a life long exerciser & knew that I always would be. Yet, although I existed as a thin person, I felt like I was white knuckle-ing it. I knew that my relationship with food was tentative.
I knew I was on the right path, but I still had these episodes. I said all the right things: “Food is fuel!” But I still had times when I was eating myself out of my goals.
This weekend I was again, at a party. There was a cake there. This weekend, it didn’t appeal to me. It didn’t call my name. I didn’t want to consume it.
Why? I don’t know.
I know that I’ve felt more comfortable with my relationship with food over the last few months, and that comfort could be for a number of reasons.
My perspective on my eating has changed.
In February, I found out that a second of my sisters has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though I had changed my diet a few months before, as a result of this news, I tightened up my diet a bit more. I’ve been doing a lot of research on diet, exercise and cancer prevention, and as a result of what I have found, I have eliminated processed foods from my diet, wheat and most grains and refined sugars.
So, was I able to resist the cake because sugar doesn’t have the power over me it once did? Maybe.
Was I able to resist the cake because I was thinking that it could potentially give me cancer? No – that didn’t cross my mind.
Am I over having these obsessive thoughts about food? Probably not.
BUT, it did give me hope that its going to get easier.
I do feel better about my relationship with food. It’s not a “Get something. Fill me.” relationship any longer.