Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Healthy Living Addict

It's 6:00 a.m.  She wakes up for school, drinks some hot tea with no sugar, gets dressed and goes to class. 

Her stomach is growling for food by 10:00 a.m. but she ignores it and puts a mint in her mouth in an attempt to ease the hunger pains.

By 1:00 p.m she is home from school and tries to eat as little as possible before she is on her way to work by 3:00 p.m. 

At work she drinks diet sodas because she doesn't want to consume calories and the carbonation will hopefully curb her appetite.

On her work break she eats a bag of sliced apples and a Lean Cuisine frozen meal.

By 8:30 p.m. she is back home and begins studying for a college exam while snacking on baby carrots and Fat-Free Italian dressing.

It's now 11:00 p.m. and although her stomach is still slightly growling, she goes to bed because if she is sleeping she will not be reminded of how hungry she is.

The next morning she wakes up and her schedule repeats...

She continues to feel control over her world by controlling the amount of calories that she consumes.

She is refusing to give her body the amount of fuel it requires to function because she not only enjoys the feeling of being thin but she also feels a periodic "high" by withholding food while everyone around her is stuffing their faces. 

To some extent, she enjoys being different from everyone else.

This is the mind of a young woman with an eating disorder.  Her brain and body has learned to function on one-third of the calories it used to several years ago.  She has an addiction to not eating food because the feeling she gets from withholding food provides a sense of pleasure, comfort, and control. 

Unfortunately the "high" that results from withholding food is temporary.  It the meantime, her physical health is suffering because it is not receiving the nutrition it requires to function properly. 

She is not happy. Her weight is less than ideal.  Her stomach growls much of the day.

She uses withholding food as a form of escape.  She doesn't have to feel so much sadness or disappointment or hurt in her soul if she uses food (or lack thereof) as a coping mechanism.

It will take hard work and inner strength to overcome the condition of anorexia nervosa.

While the stressors of life continue through the college years, she starts to enjoy feeling "buzzed" after drinking a few beers with friends. 

When she has several drinks she realizes how hungry she is and eats without caring what the calories will do to her body.  She also does not care about withholding her body from men.

Her family and friends frequently comment on her ability to control her alcohol consumption, but she believes she is fine and does not have a problem.

She doesn't understand why everyone is so concerned about her drinking because everyone drinks in college.

But, overtime she gets sick (literally) of being hungover nearly every weekend and starts to enjoy smoking marijuana instead. 

Her stress and anxiety diminish every time she lights-up and she eats as much junk food as she wants.

Over a period of time she enjoys mouth-watering double bacon cheeseburgers, chips, and ice cream more than the feeling of smoking a joint.

She is now pushing 30 years old.  Her weight went from being significantly under ideal in her late teens from anorexia to being significantly over ideal at age 29 from binge eating.

It will take hard work and inner strength to overcome the addiction of binge eating.

In this woman's case, she went from addiction to addiction trying to cover-up unhappiness, stress, anxiety, fear, and/or responsibilities of life.

The pleasure she felt from withholding food, binge eating, binge drinking, or smoking weed became more important to her than taking care of her soul.

On her 40th birthday, she realizes how lucky she is to still be alive and decides to live the second half of her life much differently than the first.

She is fully aware of her addictive personality but wants to use it to her advantage versus destroying her health and possibly her life.  She becomes addicted to living a healthy lifestyle. 

She starts by planning three healthy meals and two small snacks a day. 

She starts taking walks around the block after work even though she is dog-tired and would do anything to lay on the couch.

She starts becoming thankful to God for her body even though it is far from society's standard of perfect. 

She realizes how lucky she is to have the ability to care for herself.

Because her attitude toward her life changed in a positive way, so did her health.

Living a healthy lifestyle was no longer an addiction to her.  Healthy living was a different way to live life.

Over time, she realized she did not have to cope with life's stressors and sadness by resorting to highly addictive foods or substances.  She realized how destructive food, drugs, and alcohol can be to her health and she wanted the opposite.

She realized that stress, sadness, and negativity exists in life, but she can choose to deal with negativity by taking part in activities that are not destructive to her health.

She is now 45 years old and feels stronger than ever physically and mentally because she took control of herself.  She doesn't let negativity destroy her and instead she destroys negativity.

I have met several people in my lifetime that have been or are currently addicted to food, drugs, or alcohol.  All three can be highly addictive and destructive to our health.

Living a healthy lifestyle involves more than eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice. 

We choose whether or not we want to live healthy everyday.

How will you choose to live tomorrow?


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