Food Addiction: What Is The Hunger About?
By the time I finished reading Listen to the Hunger by Elisabeth L., I understood clearly for the first time that I was using food, mostly sweet foods, to mask various issues in my life.
I was desperate as the author said to get “unstuck” from this behaviour. I was ready to learn the answer to the question “What is the hunger really about?” I called the woman who’d recommended the book and we had a good chat at the end of which she invited me to accompany her to my first “Greysheet Overeaters Anonymous” meeting.
Greysheet Overeaters Anonymous is a 12 step program and like all 12 step programs it is based on the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and believes that the first step to recovery is to first admit that there is a problem. I knew I had a problem and I was desperate to find a solution, so I had absolutely no reservation about getting up during that first meeting and saying: “Hi I am Nona, I am a compulsive overeater and sugar addict.” That evening I got a sponsor (someone to support and guide me) who gave me a low-carb food plan known as the Greysheet food plan and the next day I began the most amazing journey of my life.
When I started the program, I had reached an all time high of about 86kgs/190lbs. Over one year at a consistent rate of about 5-6 pounds per month I lost 31kgs/70lbs to achieve 55kgs/120lbs. for the first time in my adult life. I maintained that weight for 5 years.
In order to lose the weight and maintain it I ate 3 meals from the Greysheet food plan which consisted of fruit, vegetables, and protein. I weighed and measured everything I ate without exception even when I ate out. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life but it was also the most freeing. I also ran for ½ an hour five days a week and lifted 5-10lb free weights in my apartment. I stayed in Greysheet for 5 years and then switched to regular Overeaters Anonymous because I wanted a less rigid food plan.
OA did not recommend a specific food plan and my weight fluctuated a little as I tried to figure out what food plan would work best for me. Finally I decided to use the Greysheet food plan and continue to weigh and measure but with exception. I returned to my optimal weight of 55kgs/120lbs.
Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight changed my life in several ways. for the first time I felt comfortable in my own body. I was amazed at it … at what it could do. I loved to run, jump, skip move. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to move. Having been overweight my entire life, movement didn’t always come easily to me. I loved the way my clothes fitted and I loved the confidence looking great gave me.
As great as the impact on my body was, the impact on my psyche of doing the 12 steps program and seeking therapy was more profound. Slowly over 10 years I was able to excavate, examine and resolve in the minutest of detail the debris of my life. Finally I understand what the hunger is about for me.
After 10 years of “recovery”, I thought, “okay this is it. I’ve got this thing all wrapped up.” Well, I was to discover that when it comes to addiction you never have things all wrapped up.