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The addiction of an unhealthy eater

January 6, 2012
McDonalds Menu - McChicken, 6er Chicken McNugg...

Image by JaBB via Flickr

Hi, my name is Mike and I have an addiction.

I’d like to say it’s something glamorous like alcohol or drugs. Nope, it’s just mundane food. But I honestly believe it’s an addiction.

I came to this conclusion over the recent Christmas holidays as it became apparent I’m quite literally addicted to food.

Even though I wasn’t hungry, even though my acid reflux was acting up, even though I’m fighting an uphill battle against my weight (lost 20 lbs. since August), I had the hardest time controlling my eating. Some meals I succeeded. Other meals I failed miserably.

However, what bothered me the most was how often I failed if I didn’t remain vigilant.

On several occasions, after eating something poorly chosen, I would pause, generally mere moments after finishing the meal, and say to myself, “Why did I eat that? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I choose a salad, some fruit or a smaller portion? Why didn’t I skip the fast food and eat something healthy that requires me to get out of my car to order?”

This got me to thinking that perhaps it’s not that I choose poorly, but rather at times my brain literally can’t process what I’m doing is wrong.

We’ve all heard the stories of alcoholics and drug abusers who fight to control their addiction to their respective poisons, they are hamstrung by a chemical imbalance in their brain, either as the result of genetics or environment.

Perhaps I’m being a bit melodramatic, but I’m beginning to think there’s a similar relation to me and unhealthy eating. I have no problem forcing myself to workout, take multivitamin and Omega-3 supplements, and purchase healthy groceries. My problem seems to lie that when given the option of eating outside of my home I cannot resist the urge for bad food:

McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets (20) and fries
McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken and fries
Wawa Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel Sizzli
Wendy’s Baconator Hamburger and fries
Dairy Queen Blizzard

What kills me now (possibly literally) is that in my moments of clarity, I really have no desire to eat any of these things. But when I’m not thinking, I’ll find myself driving to eat something in the above garbage category rather than eating something less awful. It’s not hyperbole when I say it almost equates to a blackout drunk. And the second I finish, I’m consumed by guilt.

It’s insane. Seriously.

I probably never noticed this addiction when I was a kid because my body could handle all that crap. But now that I’m becoming aged I find my digestive system really doesn’t like to be filled with processed food. Unfortunately, my brain and my gut can’t seem to get on the same page.

I think it’s a problem of convenience. If I surround myself with good options I eat good food. But once I leave that cocoon of healthy eating my brain seems drawn to what I need the least.

I don’t know if I have chemical imbalance related to garbage food, but I can tell you that I’m not happy that this is the way my brain seems to work. It’s likely that the real driving force is that I’m hurried and the easiest thing to get on the fly is some disgusting fast food and I choose time over health.

I think this is an example of a guy who needs to get his priorities in order, be late and eat healthy.

I’m not going to go to rehab, but maybe I can find a local meeting of Overeaters Anonymous.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard Agin permalink
    January 6, 2012 6:31 PM

    I really, really enjoy reading these. Coincidentally, I have been fantasizing about Burger King all evening – this may help to overcme the simmering demon in me tonight.

  2. Diane permalink
    January 11, 2012 10:13 AM

    Do you watch The Biggest Loser? If not you might think it’s all trainers yelling at people. But it’s not… they talk a lot about nutrition, why people make bad choices with food, and how to make time for good things. I’ve really learned a lot.

    • January 11, 2012 11:38 AM

      You know, I’ve never watched that show, but mostly because if they require women to wear shirts at the weigh-in I think they should require guys to wear shirts, I don’t need to see F-cup manboobs in prime time.

  3. Julie permalink
    January 18, 2012 7:48 AM

    This is a wonderful article, Mike. Thank you for sharing. You are not alone by any means.

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  1. The Seven Handicaps of Food Addiction: Overview « My Body My Self

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