Monday, September 6, 2010

All About Food

As promised, I'm going to list some of my biggest trigger foods. The impetus for doing this is not only the fact that I talked about it last night in my post, but I also had a showdown with a trigger food earlier today. (I lost - Food 1, Sarah 0). More on that after the list.

Sarah's Trigger Foods:
Candy (every kind, but candy bars in particular)
Bread-like items made with white flour
Chocolate [chips, bars, you name it]
Potato chips
Ice cream
Snack cakes
Mexican food in general
Indian food in general
Cream cheese
Sour cream
Whipped cream
Salad dressing

That's not an exhaustive list, because I remember other ones from time to time while I'm doing other things. But that's a start. What I mean by "trigger food" is that I can't eat the foods listed above in moderation. I am addicted to them. I react to them differently than other people do. If you hand me a donut, something snaps in my head, and I eat it, but while I'm eating it, all I can think about is how to get more donuts. If there aren't any, eventually the feeling of searching urgency will wear off. But if there are more, I will probably eat some of them. If I am left to myself, I will eat them until I feel uncomfortably full. And then I will feel ashamed.

"Abstinence" in OA means, in part, abstaining from eating these trigger foods, which each individual must identify for him/herself. I probably could have listed off my trigger foods years ago, before the inkling to actually start a program of recovery from food addiction ever entered my mind. That's largely because these foods have triggered me for a really long time.

Today I drove to northern Indiana to spend some time with a new friend. I had eaten a Larabar for breakfast and was feeling confident that I could carry over some semblance of abstinence from last night. I guess I should interject here and say that last night, I ate my first consciously abstinent meal. Yippee!

Anyhow, I had eaten a Larabar this morning and was feeling good. I ate a chicken caesar salad from Panera for lunch, which I am aware does not fit very neatly into the "abstinence" category because it contains cheese, white bread items (a French baguette and croutons), and salad dressing. However, I was thinking on my feet and felt hungry, so I'm not going to beat myself up too much about that.

When I was driving home at about 6 pm, I felt hungry and reached into my purse for the Luna bar I had brought. I ate that and drank some water, and knew that I would probably be hungry when I got home. I figured I would cross that bridge when I came to it. I went on for 50+ miles, feeling fine, and then realized I needed to stop for gas. When I went inside the convenience store thingy to use the bathroom, the candy bar aisle caught my eye. All those brightly-colored wrappers and packages were so enticing, mostly because they signified the comfort nestled inside of them. I grabbed two Fast Break bars (king size) and before I knew it, I was back on the road, eating them.

How can I describe the feeling of overeating, as it happens? It's intoxicating, I suppose, and I don't really mean that in a good way. It feels like I'm stuffing down my feelings so I can't even access them anymore. They're untouchable and that's for the best, I figure. Of course, these thoughts aren't actually going through my mind while I'm compulsively overeating, but they're clear as day when I look back on the act. It's the most painful thing I've ever done, and I do it to myself, the person I should love and cherish and care for most. This addiction is, in the words of OA literature, cunning, baffling and powerful.

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