I Have No Control or, How I Stopped Eating Cookies Every Day
Hi. My name is Rachel, and I have no control. If there is a plate of cookies in front of me, I will eat a plate of cookies (well, not the plate, although it might get licked). Growing up I was pretty sure that Oreos were a food group, and it seemed totally normal to have a few (or more) after lunch and usually after dinner too.
I have a sweet tooth, and a salty snack habit, and a chocolate thing, and a number of other food loves. I’ve been through the guilty cycles, where I sit alone eating my pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. Food was there for me if I was happy, sad, bored, lonely or angry. And I loved it. And I STILL love it. I love food!
Even though I was one of those lucky, evil people who ate lots and didn’t gain weight, I knew it couldn’t be good for me. For years I dealt with anxiety and depression, thinking I’m just a messed up person. Until one day, I was having a REALLY bad day, and I was REALLY hungry. So I pulled into Sonic’s and got a burger and fries. Within 15 minutes I felt completely normal and balanced. Only then did I realize the food I was eating (or not eating) had a huge impact on how I felt.
From that day forward I started to clean up my diet. I eventually cut out added sugar and greatly reduced anything made out of flour. I added lots of veggies and whole grains. I switched from regular chocolate and sweets to dark chocolate. My bread went from white to Ezekiel (over a period of time). And I felt GOOD. I have added all foods back in, but I spent lots of time paying attention to how I feel when I eat. I’ve learned how much bread/pasta/sweets I can have within a time period and still feel good. I’ve learned that even when I’m having a bad day, it’s not ME, it’s my food AND lifestyle.
This was a huge discovery for me. I found control in my life by changing what I ate. Human beings naturally want control. We want to control our environment because it reduces stress and makes things easier for us to understand. When life gets out of control, food is one thing we can usually still control. So we end up choosing comfort foods that in the long run, and chemically, control us. I took back my food.
I still like the sweets and treats, but I know how they make feel, and I’ve made a decision to NOT feel like that. I exert control when I buy groceries, and whether or not I bake fresh cookies. Those tempting but emotional roller coaster foods generally don’t make it into my house. If they do, I make sure they get out just as fast. I ask myself if that plate of cookies/cupcakes/chocolates is really worth anxiety and stress. Usually I can say no, or have a small bite. But sometimes I say yes, and I make sure I ENJOY that treat. No guilt, just a love of good food.