The Shame of Food Addiction

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In a revealing confession of what it means to be addicted to food, Denise Wolfe tells us on MSN.com about her experiences.

She describes how her addiction to food turned her into a liar and, at times, a disgusting human being.

I've eaten food from the garbage, tossed the leftovers in the trash — only to return, hours, maybe minutes later, to scrape off the ick and gobble down the food. Or, more honestly, to gobble the trash.

As she explains, there’s one key element to food addiction that other addictions do not share. While substance abusers, gamblers and even shopaholics, can have treatment and then avoid the activity or substance they were addicted to, we all need to eat. That means that even after treatment, the food addict will continue to be exposed on a daily basis, making it extremely difficult to “kick.”

No Longer Controlled by Food

Denise describes her wake-up call coming when she didn’t recognize a recent picture of herself, instead wondering who the obese person in the photo was. That was enough for her to come to grips with her problem and see it as more than a bad habit.

Time to face my addiction. For me, addiction meant that food controlled me; I didn't control my food. I joined a support group and cut sugar and white flour from my diet. Not "mostly," not "usually," but absolutely and completely.

She says she lost 75 pounds by maintaining a state of constant discipline. She’s kept it off for a decade, but still feels the same cravings.

Shame, Humiliation and Discrimination

It’s often said that the road of addiction leads to sickness and death. For those made obese by food addiction, this is certainly so. Diabetes, heart disease and an early grave await those who become morbidly obese.

But the pathway also leads through the shame and humiliation that comes from an out-of-control addiction, as well as the discrimination and barely concealed disgust we have for the overweight. The IV drug user can wear long sleeves to hide the marks. The food addict cannot hide the extra hundred or so pounds.

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