Are we ever “cured”?

July 2, 2009 at 2:01 pm 1 comment

In September, I will have been doing my lifestyle change for seven years.  That’s a long time, and it seems like it should have gotten easier.  Unfortunately… not so much.

I have been struggling for the last few months with a 7-pound weight gain.  I know why: I’ve got a huge amount of stress in my life right now.

1) I’m planning a wedding.  Even though it’s an untraditional wedding, low-key by wedding standards, it’s still a big event, and big events require a lot of work.

2) I’ve branched into doing TV for my work.  It’s extremely difficult to see myself on television.  To me, the flaws are glaringly obvious and exacerbated by the medium.  I’ve been fighting not to get depressed over it, but it’s tough.

3) I’ve been doing a lot more public speaking on evenings and weekends.  I am so excited to be doing this outreach because it’s critical to get the consumer protection messages out there.  But, there’s a lot of pressure when you’re dealing with people face-to-face who’ve been victims of fraud or are losing their homes.  They want answers, and they want those answers from you.  It’s also tiring to prepare and to work the extra hours.  It’s definitely worth it, but it takes a toll.

4) My fiance and I have been doing a lot traveling, off-roading and camping with various mishaps occurring along the way like wheels falling off vehicles, getting lost, flying at weird times of day, etc.  Lack of sleep and anxiety bring out my desire to munch.

Most of my stress is “good” stress, coming from positive events in my life.  But, when I’m stressed, no matter where that stress comes from, I want to eat.  When I get tired, I want to eat.  At times, that urge to eat is nearly irresistable.  In fact, it’s proven to be irresistable for me a lot recently, which is why I’m up seven pounds.

Do we ever get “cured” of overeating?  Will I ever be “normal” in how I approach food?  I don’t think so; I think I’ll always have this yoke around my neck.  It will be lighter sometimes, but it’ll always be there.

It’s an issue that obesity researchers continue to explore.  Irene Rubaum-Keller’s article “What is recovery from addiction?” asks, “If you are an addict, can you ever really get well or are you just destined to manage your tendency to be addicted to things/people/substances forever?”.  My experience tells me I will not “get well”, that instead I’ll just be managing the situation for the rest of my life.  And it bums me out that experts, people who’ve been researching this problem for years, don’t have any answers for me.

Rubaum-Keller says:

The bottom line is; we don’t know the answer to that question. The definition of recovery the committee came up with was this “a voluntarily maintained lifestyle composed characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship.” It involves trading the easy drug/sex/gambling/food/shopping/alcohol high, with something more difficult to attain that is also more meaningful and lasting. Recovery does not just mean sobriety. It is a more holistic experience that involves improving one’s life in various ways.

I am committed to the path I’ve chosen, and for the most part, I’m glad I made the choice.  But voluntary maintenance is HARD.  I keep expecting it to get easier, and it just doesn’t.  That’s my reality.  For now, I can’t change it, so I’ve got to be aware of it and work with it the best I can.

In my current situation, I’m trying to focus on the fact that all I’ve gained is seven pounds.  I’m also proud of having taken on a very intensive exercise program with P90X.  My body is really strong; all my clothes still fit.  I’m having the adventure of a lifetime.  I’m managing the food situation successfully for the most part.  That’s the best I can do, and it has to be good enough for now.


Entry filed under: about me, coping strategies, science, self image, tips & techniques. Tags: , .

Week 2 of P90X P90X – Month Two

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Angelika  |  July 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I don’t think we can just simply put a label on obesity and call it “food addiction”. One can’t get addicted to food for the plain reason that we need it for survival and we can’t “quit” eating it, ever. I think what we suffer from as humans is laziness. We want easy food which equals bad food, in most cases anyway.
    What you CAN do with food is stretch your stomach if you don’t control your portions. That’s very easy to do. And once you stretch your stomach it is easy to feel like you are addicted, because you need more food to fill that stomach.
    But calling it addiction is an easy way out.


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