Monday, April 22, 2013

Admitting that I am POWERLESS Over Food

I woke up today feeling really anxious about the burrito I had last night. I had a very fitful sleep that resulted in waking up SEVERAL times ready to move on to my next task. All I wanted to do was go for a run in order to "purge" the calories that I had consumed at dinner. I know that this is unrealistic, but i found myself wide awake and moving by 6:40am. Before my run I read a story in the big book, which really focused around the first step and admitting that we are powerless over food. The first step to recovery, according to OA is that:

"We admitted that we were powerless over food and that our lives had become unmanageable"

While I was running this morning I did some meditation on it and decided to do some writing about it. At first glance, this step looks like it should be easy. I mean, I showed up to an OA meeting after all, shouldn't that count as my admission of defeat against food?!?! Although that was the first step of the first step, I have come to find that there is a lot more to powerlessness than I had originally anticipated. 

So what exactly does that me, to be "powerless over food"? I am not sure what it means to other people, but for me, it means that Food occupies the majority (by which I mean a minimum of 85%... if not HIGHER) of my thoughts and motivations. I wake up thinking about food, I eat food, I worry about and count calories, I make meal plans repeatedly all day, I think about how eating makes me feel (physically and mentally), I worry about what I am going to eat, what I am NOT going to eat, what other people are eating, what they should and should not be eating, and at a previous time in my life it was "how can I eat foods without people knowing? (for example, going to Ralph's to buy ice cream, danishes and cookies but because they have a self check out line), how can I eat more food without people knowing (pretending to go get water from the kitchen so my step dad doesn't know that I am secretly pocketing granola bars to eat when I get back to my room), what can I get away with eating without gaining too much weight (using purging and laxatives), what stores, restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops have EXACTLY what I want to eat today (debating whether or not Del taco or in n out has the better binge factor)? Did I eat too much or too little food (I overate and would tell myself I needed to exercise more, I would under eat and tell myself that this was reason enough for me to have what I really wanted... and then keep eating)? How can I make myself "feel full"? (drinking coffee, chugging water, soda, soda water, eating mints, smoke a cigarette to suppress my appetite) and the list goes on and on.

Powerless means that I have no control over the THOUGHTS that I have about food. For example, moments when I can suddenly think only about a churro, or the cake that is sitting in my fridge. I've been thinking about eating pretzels and graham crackers for about 4 days now, and nothing is alleviating the craving. This also means that I tend to crave foods even when I am not hungry (especially RIGHT after I have eaten). Immediately after eating the burrito last night, I wanted popcorn, chocolate covered raisins, and something else sweet to balance out the savory food I had just eaten. Or the fact that whenever I am anxious, bored or upset I really wants chips, or crackers or something crunchy until there are none left. 

Powerless means that there are certain foods that I can not eat without becoming insanely uncomfortable  Just thinking about them spins my brain in to overdrive and makes me want to eat them in excess. It also means that when I do choose to eat these foods I am most likely going to want to eat more foods, and eventually more foods to the point that I become so painfully full that I can not breathe. During a binge, it is not uncommon for me to have enough food for an entire two days (starting with any left overs that are in the fridge and then moving on to chips and dip, cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bowls of cereal, granola bars, cookies and usually finishing with Ice Cream... because it made vomiting so much easier). It was not uncommon for me to keep eating until I fell asleep or physically could not move my hand to my mouth. 

For me, Powerlessness meant that the only relief that I could feel was to make myself sick and throw up, and I would not stop until I felt completely empty, and relieved. For me... powerlessness was then finding myself right back in front of the refrigerator unable to fall asleep without putting at least one more item of food in to my mouth. Sometimes it meant waking up in the middle of the night to do the exact same thing. 

For me, powerlessness means that I am going to die with my head in a toilet bowl and a trashcan full of wrappers and a bed full of crumbs.

And so, this is how I have spent the majority of my life. Well, at least the last 1/3 of my life. I was going to start writing "My Story", but I think I shall save it for tomorrow.

I had a pretty good day after all of this. Internship went by quickly, my food was clean, and delicious, I finally got to go to a meeting (I hadn't been to one since Thursday) and I even did a little studying...OK, reading for my exam tomorrow :/

Here are my AEIOU's so I can hit the hay!

E- Ran 6.1miles (51 minutes)
I- I didn't weigh myself :), I fed myself, I learned information for my exam, I got my butt to a meeting!, I did some Step 1 writing, I balanced my food, I bought myself some more OA literature (Lifeline sampler), another Recovery Bracelet... (I lost my other one) and an ED recovery book. (Hi, My name is Christina, and I am a compulsive SHOPPER!!!)
O- I helped my client pay for her California ID, I helped integrate a newcomer in to program,  thanked the leader of the meeting for her experience strength and hope, I helped a fellow commit her food, I checked in on a newcomer I met a week ago and offered her support, and I made an outreach call. 
U- Eating Mexican Food makes me really want to binge, sleep with a LOT of anxiety, and leads me to want to be restrictive and excessively exercise... Thus, it must go on the yellow food list!

And some motivation to keep you going :

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