Addiction: the best definition I’ve seen is:An irresistible compulsion to commit an irrational act.
On the ladder of addiction, each step upwards has an addiction listed, rising in the order of the difficulty of quitting. I saw an illustration one time of this but at the moment I can’t locate it.
The lower rungs were street drugs in their variants.
Next were the highly addictive pharmaceutical drugs, the percocets, the bennies, the oxycontins, etc.
Then there was alcohol in all its forms.
Up another rung to nicotine.
And the highest rung of all was food. The most difficult addiction of all to quit.
With all other substances, one can quit cold turkey as I have, or go to rehab, or a treatment centre or find a support group, turn one’s back on the addiction and not have to deal with it again, except with a ‘no thank you’ or an ‘I’m outta here’ if the going gets rough.
With food, of course, one is faced with decisions around ingesting this particular drug of choice three times a day. Moreover, food is served at nearly all social gatherings and calling relentlessly while in the car driving by the winking signs of convenience stores and fast food joints.
While the bombardment of food advertisements and promotions assault from one side, the other side has the fabulous bodies of models swanning about in magazines and television without an excess ounce of fat on them to taunt and tease.
It all can feel so bloody hopeless.
And knowing all the time that there is less than a 5% (some say even less than that) success ratio in Weight Watchers, in Jenny Craig, in all of the so-called Diet Clubs. They refuse to divulge their statistics as they are so dismal. They are in it for the money, of course - all made on the sad backs of the most wretched and hopeless. It is all about the numbers, the weight, the measurements, the calories in, the calories out, the cash leaving your pocket and hopping into theirs, and can we sell you some food while we’re at it? Weight Watchers is owned by the Heinz Corporation, an agri-business, pimping frankenfoods of all kinds.
I’ve tried it all of course. And had the dizzying ‘successes’ for a while. Even down to seeing a medical obesity specialist who subsisted me on a protein drink taken 3 times a day and a shot (horse urine, I believe) in my bum every day from his nurse. Tough going, but I graduated in 6 weeks with a 42lb weight loss and a size 9 dress. Of course in 6 months it was all packed on again and then some. Much to my bafflement. Meanwhile, I tried to find Dr. H., the magic diet doctor once more but he had run out of town to California with at least two deaths to his credit and was a person of interest to the local police department. I should add that even knowing this, I would have gone back to him. Rather a skinny corpse in a casket than a fat one any day.
So I had to move back to bennies which had me cleaning floors at midnight but never eating, losing the entire weight gain but also my mind from lack of sleep.
I’m not much into surgery, the gastric bands, the balloon, the shortening of the bowel, but I seriously considered them all. All stop gap measures as I know now, none dealing with the real underlying issues.
I was bounding from one diet to another, gobbling up the weight loss books, the magazines, the tapes, Richard Simmons, et al. One particular favourite, Woman’s World, always features a picture on the cover of a ‘weight loss winner’ holding her old size 54 jeans wrapped twice around her, while inside has the recipes for 10,000 calorie desserts. Yum and barf.
Every morning for years and years and years I woke up thinking today is the day I take charge, today I will fast, eat 300 calories and lose 50lbs by the end of September (or for the wedding, or for the trip).
Every night I went to bed thinking what a loser, what a pig. You just couldn’t do it, could you, eating 4 plates at that buffet and then getting the munchies later. It is obscene what you eat. If only people knew.
An intelligent person like me defeated by a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, a birthday cake?
I couldn’t make sense of it: I had let go of my bennies, my alcohol and my nicotine. Why in the name of all that was holy, could I not let go of food?To be continued