I watched a special on TV last night with Peter Jennings, about our nations food supply and the marketing of it to us. It confirmed many of my own thoughts and while we can't blame them entirely the quality of our foods are definitely part of the chain of events for us.
I believe we have the ultimate control, as we buy the products. No one holds a gun to our heads to do so. We have somehow rationalized the choices we make to keep buying this "non-food" because it's convenient and/or because our kids nag us to buy it and that segment was particularly pertinent in our family as my 12 year old daughter was watching also (as part of her homeschooling) and so now she understands more why we keep saying "no" to her requests for this type of junk food.
Because for the past (almost) 3 years now, I have chosen to eliminate sugar and white flour products from my food plan, my trips to the grocery store are pretty much around the perimeter, as that's where the "fresh" foods are. The aisles are where the packaged foods are and there just isn't that many items I get from the aisles.
I have also, as a gradual change over the past years, eliminated beef from my program, it was not by design, I simply preferred other meats over time and have in the last 3 months just stopped buying beef products. I haven't sworn off of them though and may at some time have some, but the desire for it hasn't come up at all. That is pretty amazing to me, a small miracle if you will, as I would eat tremendous amounts of beef on a daily basis before. I even was a vegetarian for almost a year 15 years ago, but everyday of that I was thinking about the meat I wasn't having.... it had been a choice made for more healthy living, but one which I couldn't maintain, and so I returned to my meat-based eating which preceded the last big weight gain I had.
I was explaining to my daughter about the nature of my food addiction and why I couldn't have certain foods. The easiest way for "me" to understand it was this, "if a food doesn't satisfy but rather creates a desire for more" I have to classify that as a problem food for me. Meat falls into that category, especially beef. Fried foods fall into that category. Sugary deserts fall into that category. Potatos and rice fall into that category. Fruit falls into that category. Is there anything left???? oh yeah, vegetables don't fall into that category. I've never felt an overwhelming desire to eat a lot of vegetables unless they had some kind of sauce/dressing on them.. ;-)
So what does this tell me? "Food" is not my friend. It has taken me over 10 years in this program to come to grips with that. I have come to realize that food is nourishment and nothing more. It's why I measure my meals, because no amount "satisfies" me, but I still need it to live. In the 3 years that I have been living in recovery, I have not been "full", which used to be my definition for being satisfied but I am still alive so I must be getting "enough", as I am not suffering any "hunger" either. It did take a while to understand the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. My criteria for that was just to trust the food plan. To "know" that I was getting enough and to believe that if I still had a desire for more that it "had" to be an emotional need.
Working the steps is where the recovery comes from, using the tools is how I maintain abstinence. It took me a long time to understand that abstinence was not the entire program, it's just where we have to be in order to more effectively work the steps. The first step to recovering from any addiction is to "dry out", and for me that means I have to be abstinent, I can't be drugging up on food and then trying to work this program, it just doesn't work for me, it inhibited my thinking and my reasoning, and kept me from feeling the stuff I'd been afraid of feeling.
What I've learned so far is, "I will survive the feelings", no matter how intense, whether good or not so good, they will not kill me. I ask myself now what lesson I can learn from any situation, how will I use this incident to do better next time? Life is for learning, and with each day we learn something. Whether it reinforces old beliefs or whether we look for something new that can be gleaned from it is up to us.
When my spiritual life is functioning well, I see lots of new possibilities, lots of positives, lots of new opportunities. When it's not doing so well, I tend to dwell on the negative, notice the struggle more, look for other things to blame for my condition. When my spiritual life is strong I'm happier, serene, content. I work very hard to maintain my spiritual life as it's the source of all good in my life, it gives me forward looking eyes. In a word, it gives me Hope.
love and hugs,
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