Tuesday, May 12, 2015

'Addicted to love'? I wish. I'm addicted to food

This morning I feel like I fell off the wagon. 
I am an overeater. 
“My name is Frank.” 
“Hi, Frank.”
“I have a food addiction.”
Believe me, I am not making light of alcoholism or Alcoholics Anonymous in any way, shape or form. 
I understand having trouble controlling your appetite for food is nothing compared with the addiction an alcoholic endures but overeating and alcoholism are compulsive behaviors. 
Being addicted to food has its own consequence and, in terms of one’s health, is destructive, too. 
Nearly two years ago I was put flat on my back for five days, sedated with heavy duty painkillers prescribed by my doctor after a specialist determined I had four herniated discs in my back. The pain was exacerbated by being about 100 pounds over my ideal weight. 
I fell off the wagon because after many months of self control I found the temptation to eat doughnuts and other sweets overwhelming. Not just once in a while but every day. 
“A moment on the lips and a lifetime on the hips” — isn’t that what they say. 
It’s not just the weight but I have to monitor my blood sugar, too. 
Fortunately, after losing nearly 50 pounds my blood sugar remains in nearly ideal levels.
Now, my overall health is good but, like an alcoholic who can’t stop after the first drink, I find that I can’t eat just one doughnut, I have to have two or more at a time. 
Ice cream is the same way. I love that stuff and I can’t keep it in the house. Instead, I satisfy my cravings with light yogurt that contains little fat, few calories (compared to ice cream) and very little sugar. 
So, I am getting back on the wagon. 
How? 
No more morning stops at the corner convenience store for the blueberry glazed doughnuts or the chocolate covered cream filled pastries (how I love them, too.) 
The one temptation I don’t know how to overcome is snacking in front of the TV. 
My gentle wife reminds me what snacking does to me but I just can’t seem to stop, even healthy snacks like oranges and popcorn and yogurt. I think I will have to keep my laptop in front of my while we watch “Big Bang Theory” or reruns of “The West Wing.” If I think about writing while watching those shows, I might keep my hands busy and my mind off food. 
I keep a food diary, “My Fitness Pal.” 
A month ago, I decided to shake things up. I had tried living on an 1,675 calorie a day diet suggested by “My Fitness Pal” but my weight loss had bottomed out and, to be honest, I did not have as much energy as I did on those days when I cheated and went over my goal. 
I found a formula on Google+ to determine how many calories a person needs to maintain their current weight. The idea is that if you reduce that number you should lose weight. Apparently, the numbers I used in the formula were too high because I gained about 10 pounds. 
My fear is that in spite of losing pounds from time to time and pretty much maintaining my weight, I will fall off the wagon completely and start eating anything that looks good like in the old days before I learned I was diabetic, before I learned I have four herniated discs. 
I used to laugh and tell people I was on a sea food diet. If I see food, I eat it.

Yes, I’m back on the wagon. Fortunately, I only gained some of the weight I lost and this morning, the bathroom scales told me those pounds were coming off. I have been walking nearly every day on our treadmill for 20 to 30 minutes and now I’m doing a lot of yard work, planting, cutting weeds and watering, though that hasn’t been much of a problem this spring.