By Jen:

Addiction is a funny thing, it is.
Sometimes it makes you want more.
Sometimes it makes you want to throw things out the window and scream.
And sometimes … Sometimes it hides away in the folds of your psyche and likes to pretend it’s not there.
And when this happens we can forget it’s there.
Or we can refuse to remember it’s there.
Or we pretend.
You see, food addiction is the strongest, most prevalent addiction there is. And the mainstream marketplace is counting on us keeping our addictions full force (food addiction = big bucks). So the major food corporations like to do that latter – pretend that food addiction isn’t a thing. And so, so many of us fall into that very trap.
One of the things that happened to me was that I was looking at my addiction from the wrong angle. Yes, I had issues with restriction. Yes, I had issues with fad diet after fad diet. But that doesn’t mean I’m an anorexic or that I need to treat myself the way you would treat someone with anorexia. It means that I have Binge Eating Disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED, for short) is an eating disorder the same as anorexia and bulimia. In fact, most bulimics actually have many characteristics of BED, with one small difference. This  is a great article on BED and what it is exactly.
It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I finally had an epiphany.
Let me tell you some of my story:

You already know my struggle with addiction, so I won’t go into that. This story is a little different. It is about a thing called Denial (and no, it’s not that river over by the Euphrates …).

After I had my surgery, I was so careful about everything I ate. I followed all the rules and did exactly what I was supposed to. I felt, and looked, amazing. I was losing weight. Then … Then I learned that I could have things like sugar, carbs, and soda (yes, my doctor allows soda on the VSG). That started a bit of a spiral effect. So what I did was, I joined a program ran by my friend Audra Baker (by the way, if you haven’t checked her out I encourage you to do so. She’s AMAZING). Her program was about the psycholoy of eating, in a nutshell. She went into some scientific stuff about micronutrients and macronutrients and things like that, but the majority of the program focused on the self and how we respond to eating and food triggers. But rather than holding on to the RIGHT information, I was holding on to one statement – If you want a cupcake, eat a cupcake! But, and here’s’ the thing to remember – I’m speaking with an addict’s mind – I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE EATING CUPCAKES. There. I said  it. And it’s not because cupcakes are “bad” for me. And it’s not because they’re “unhealthy”. It’s because cupcakes (well, sugar, really) are a TRIGGER FOOD. And the thing is, I was denying this small fact. I saw what I wanted to see (cupcakes can be spiritually nourishing therefore I can eat whatever the hell I want) and forgot the actual fact of the matter (cupcakes can be spiritually nourishing when shared with a friend/loved one over conversation and fun and only eaten every so often as a sometimes treat). All my addiction read was “CUUUUUUPCAAAAAAKE!!!” and it went wacko.

(Now … this probably comes as a huge surprise for most of you, since I know so much about the Bariatric lifestyle and eating right … but you can know something and still not take it to heart …).So for a few months after that I ate a lot of junk.
A LOT of junk.
Fast food, chips, sweets, soda … the whole nine yards.
And guess what!
I gained weight! (duh)
But I didn’t care. I was “happy” where I was (oh boy … that sounds so familiar).
I had hit 200 lbs. A weight I swore on the day I hit 195 that I would never see again.
But, there it was staring me in the face, the beacon of warning that I was doing something wrong to my body.
And I chose to ignore it.
“200 lbs is nothing” I said. “I’ll never be tiny. I love myself at this weight.”
But I failed to see that that number was a stepping stone into a place of oblivion that I did not want to return to.

After a few months of eating all this crap, I started to feel horrible (that’s not surprising, is it?). Of course my brain went to, “I have autoimmune disorder!” (which, I do … kind of … but that’s another story altogether). Now that doesn’t seem significant – yet – but it will.
My mom had read a book called Shades of Hope by Tennie McCarty. This book planted a seed in my heart. Before finishing the book, I decided to join a program put on by Shades of Hope (it’s an amazing program, by the way). Going through this program I decided to jump the gun and join Overeaters Anonymous (OA). Note that I didn’t finish this program. But that’s coming up too …

Overeaters Anonymous put something else in my brain. Listening to these people, I felt so ashamed to have had bariatric surgery. I felt like I took the “easy” way out and that I was a bit of an outcast because of it. I had gotten a sponsor, and even she wasn’t very understanding. “You’re only eating 900 calories!” she once told me. Well, yeah. I have a stomach the size of a banana. When I’m eating properly, I don’t usually eat much more than 900 calories a day. BUT I felt shamed for it.

If I ate junk, I was wrong.

If I ate right, I wasn’t eating ENOUGH, so I was wrong.
Needless to say, that put doubt in my mind and, ultimately, I quit OA and the program at Shades of Hope.

That also put something else into my mind.
“I shouldn’t be restricting my food choices because that’s bad too and that means I’m ‘restrictive’ which is another form of addiction.”

Now, get your Bibles ready, kids, because this is where I’m about to preach (come on, you knew it was coming):

Did you know that the Enemy can use things that were meant to be good things and twist them so that they feed us lies about ourselves and feed into every single addiction he’s ever put upon us?

John 10:10 says: “The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy”.
And I firmly believe that’s what’s happened here.
The enemy was lying to me – and I was buying into those lie.

Lie number one: I’m not a food addict.
Lie number two: I can eat whatever I want without consequence.
Lie number three: If I avoid certain foods I am restricting which is feeding into my other addiction.
Lie number four: I am not good enough.
Lie number five: I am not worthy.
Lie number six: I am unloved.

Now here’s some TRUTH to kick out those lies:

TRUTH – I am a food addict. My trigger foods are sugar, snack foods, and fried foods.
TRUTH – When I eat these triggers, my body has a form of an allergic reaction that causes me to not be able to stop eating them. This reaction also cause my body to fight against itself, causing autoimmune issues such as arthritis, ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenia), digestive problems, and skin rashes.
TRUTH – When I avoid my trigger foods, I am able to function properly throughout the day and I am able to fulfill God’s plans for me.
TRUTH – I am good enough – 1 Corinthians 3:16 says that the Spirit of the Lord lives within me – that makes me pretty darn amazing, if you ask me!
TRUTH – I am worthy – Christ died for me (and YOU!). HE thinks I’m worthy enough to die for!
TRUTHI AM LOVED. I am loved by my husband, by my children, by my parents, by my friends, my church family, my pastors, and most of all by GOD. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever beleives in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Guess what. I’m “the world”. You’re “the world”. We are ALL “THE WORLD”. You can replace “THE WORLD” with your name, and it still makes sense. “ … God so loved JENNIFER that he gave his one and only son ….” Yep. I AM LOVED. And so are you!

So … what do I do now?

Well, now I’m in a time of prayer and fasting (I am fasting from my trigger foods) while I wait for God to direct me to where He needs me to go.
While I have no plans to rejoin OA or the Shades of Hope treatment program, I am not opposed to it in the future.
I will begin restarting the 12 steps of recovery, however, using God as my sponsor, so to speak.
I have created a POE (Plan of Eating) that adheres to strict bariatric guidelines (no sugar, few carbs, NO SODA …).
I will be doing daily journaling about what I plan to eat, what I actually ate, scriptures that have helped me, going through the 12 steps, etc.

And in all of this I have realized something very important:
Knowledge does not always equal wisdom.


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