Independence from food altogether isn’t possible, nor desirable of course. However, independence from being dependent on food for emotional satisfaction is not only desirable, but necessary for long term weight loss success. If we depend on food to satisfy our emotional needs then we are using food wrongly. I know, I’ve been there.
The heavier I got, the more I depended on food to help me get through the times of stress, boredom, happiness and hurt. I was emotionally dependent on food, and food was always there for me. The M&M bag never judged how fat my hand was as it reached in to grab the 5th handful in a row, but my wedding ring protested, and eventually gave up the fight. The chocolate pie that disappeared in a couple of hours gave up silently, whereas my pants ripped when I bent over to pick up my child from Sunday School. And the chocolate cupcakes meant for a school event silently went away, unlike my car seat belt, which barely fit anymore.
Being dependent on food to keep me happy wasn’t life affirming for my spirit, or healthy for my body. As I finally confronted my own dependence, and yes, addiction to food, I one by one pushed aside the demons that haunted me. I replaced food that was bad for me, with food healthy for me. I used emotions like anger and frustration as reasons to get things done, rather than as reasons to eat. And when joyous occasions filled the house, I didn’t throw food at it, I threw my own self into the celebration, participating with enthuasism rather than standing against the wall, smiling, while holding a cookie.
Gaining my independence from food wasn’t an easy task. Even as I lost weight, got more fit, and felt in control of my food choices, I still had the desire to stay dependent on food. After all, food never left me, or hurt my feelings. Over time though, with continued weight loss success, I realized that I wasn’t dependent on food to make me feel better about myself. In fact, I finally believed that I felt good about myself because of who I was, not just what I looked like.
You can have this kind of independence from food rather you are 300 pounds, or 120 pounds. Gaining your independence from the emotional ties to food is freeing at any weight, and at any point in your life. As you work through your goals for your life, I’d encourage you to not only look at your possible dependence on food as an area to work on, but on any other area of your life where an unhealthy dependence is holding you back.
You can use this day, Independence Day for the United States, to be your day where you declare the end of your dependence on food to satisfy your emotions. I wish I had declared it long before I did! Enjoy your weekend. Diane