Should Fat People just Suck it up?

I recently watched an episode of West Wing, where a character talks about being an alcoholic:

I’m an alcoholic, I don’t have one drink. I don’t understand people who have one drink. I don’t understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don’t understand people who say they’ve had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this?

Replace alcohol with food – and I am there.  Its hard to believe how much I related.  At work we often go to lunch as a group, and I have watched co-workers order the same entree as me, but leave half the sides.  I don’t get that.  I clean my plate; I look for a bread roll to wipe up the sauces because licking the plate is socially unacceptable.  People bring in doughnuts or bagels into work and leave them on shelves at the end of the cubical row, then others cut them in half to not take too much.  I usually take only one… at first; then a second one; sometimes a third.  Then there are the candy dishes at peoples desk.  I told Stephanie today, I don’t have a problem eating healthy, its eating only healthy that’s difficult.  Salads are great, covered in cheese and dressing, followed by a main entree and dessert.

I’m not looking for a crutch to lean on, or a reason to excuse overeating.  I’m actually doing just the opposite.  Understanding just how bad my addiction is, looking into myself for real understanding is, I believe, the only way I will be able to move toward change.  I want to lose weight, but I first have to understand how I got here.  A crash diet or intense workout routine may help me take the weight off, but knowing what got me here and changing that is the only way I will keep it off.  That’s why I’m thinking about joining Overeaters Anonymous.  No – that’s not a joke… More on that later.

Sunday, Stephanie and I went to a Boston Market to eat lunch.  It was difficult making a good choice there, but just as I was about to order, Stephanie suggested the chopped salad.  I realized when they put the side of cornbread on the tray that I couldn’t eat it.  I grabbed a water instead of ordering a diet coke (I recently learned that diet coke has sodium).  Knowing I’m addicted to food helps me draw the boundaries.  Its amazing to me how many people will say “you don’t have to cut [insert any food item here] out completely, just eat it in moderation”.  People don’t see food addicts the same way they see alcoholics or drug addicts; you would never say to an alcoholic,  “you can still drink a beer, just limit yourself to one”.  While in line at the company pot luck, a co-worker and I were talking about making good food choices, when another relatively skinny guy said “I can eat whatever I want, it doesn’t affect me”.  People around me chuckled, but I couldn’t help but think if I said to an alcoholic “I can drink as much as I want, it doesn’t affect me” how many people would think it was cute.

I’m not looking for sympathy, just making the point that people see food differently than other addictions.  A friend of mine says, “If only I could quit food cold turkey…”; Unlike the alcoholic, I can’t quit eating or going to places where people eat.  Most people see overeating as a matter of will power, not addiction.  That’s where Overeaters Anonymous comes in.  As a support group, they understand the challenges of being addicted to food.

I first heard about Overeaters Anonymous on an episode of “Gimme a break” with Neal Carter.  I don’t remember the details, I was a kid, but I do remember thinking it was a funny episode.  I had all but forgotten the group existed until my brother-in-law brought it up to me yesterday.  I checked their website (http://oa.org) and found there are several meetings close to my house, although they do have online and phone meetings if you can’t get to a face to face one.  I am going to try to join a face to face meeting. I doubt I will be allowed to talk about the meetings due to the ‘anonymous’ nature of them, but I will share my personal experinces as I learn and grow (ok, I’m hoping thats ‘grow’ figuratively and not physically!).

So tell me – do you think food is a real addiction?  Do you see it differently than other addictions?  Are we ‘fat people’ just looking to be the next victim group – over sensitive and seeking protection by the politically correct gang?  Should ‘fat people’ just suck it up?

13 comments

Leave a Reply

  1. CDS · December 22, 2008

    Real addiction. People do the same thing with my color blindness. Without fail when somebosy learns I’m colored blinded that say “Really? What color is this?”. I then say “Hey if I was in an wheel chair would you say, Really? You can’t walk? Show me”.

    That’s what people do with food. Oh you like ice cream here. I was at a friend house (husband and wife skinny) and wife said hey fo you want this (sweet food)? I asked why are you getting rid of this? She replied “I don’t want us to get fat but I hated throwing it away”?

    Oh I see. Crack dealers are not dealers they just don’t want to be addicts who throw away good crack.

    Church is the worst. Pot lucks, sundeas out to eat gathers. WOW. I hate to say it but yes fat people are looking for a little senstivity. Or tell the drugies, alcholies and so forth the same thing. Suck it up.

    • dsackr · December 22, 2008

      I get that all the time – “We don’t want to throw this out, we knew you would eat it”. Maybe I am looking for a little sensitivity – but not because I don’t want my feelings hurt – I don’t want to be tempted at every turn.

  2. CDS · December 22, 2008

    Right!!!!!!1

  3. Amy · December 22, 2008

    Went to oa.org to check it out. Most of the meetings listed were at churches, but one struck me. Panera???? Seriously, to me that like an AA meeting in the local pub!

    • dsackr · December 22, 2008

      Amy – Thanks for your comment… That’s funny stuff – I don’t think I would go to a place were food was available to talk about my overeating addiction…

  4. Amy Parsons · December 22, 2008

    I agree with you, food definatly can be addictive and the majority of the general public is oblivious to this. Understanding this, getting in tune with yourself, and knowing what to do with it isnt an easy pill to swallow but with as with any addiction, support groups bring in a new knowledge and we know that knowledge is power! I think you are going down the right path with this, but thats my opinion!

    • dsackr · December 22, 2008

      Thank you for commenting on my blog – it encourages me to keep going knowing that others are supporting me. It’s hard to accept that I am addicted to food – but I know that I am. I have to stay away from certain types of food and just getting through the holidays makes that difficult.

  5. Pumpkin-Noodleilovestthou2@ · December 22, 2008

    I don’t agree with, “if only I could quit food cold turkey…”; Unlike the alcoholic.” Alcoholics have to drink water don’t they? Alcoholics can’t stop drinking then. Just like we can’t stop eating. We are the same. Bad drink–good drink, bad food–good food.

    • dsackr · December 22, 2008

      Thank you for your comment! I think you make a very valid point – alcoholics do have to keep drinking – just not alcohol.

      I still feel like they have a better chance of avoiding ‘bad drink’ than I have of avoiding ‘bad food’. You would never have a beer put at the end of your cubical row – but I have doughnut put at the end of mine all the time. And even thought holidays are often a time where alcohol is served – I’ll bet that family members of an alcoholic don’t say things like “com’on sober up after the holidays, here’s a shot” – but the number of times I will have cake, pie, sweet potato casserole, sausage stuffing, and the like put in my face with family members saying ‘start that diet after the holiday’s’ and ‘com’on it’s christmas’ are too numerous to count…

    • dsackr · December 22, 2008

      Oh and for those that cannot log into the admin page to see — Pumpkin-Noodle has a website here: http://mysite.verizon.net/res100x7e/ – take a second to check it out…

  6. CDS · December 22, 2008

    Pumpkin,

    I got to disagree with you pimpkin whole heartedly. The premise sounds good but I do not know of one single alcoholic who was triggered into relapse from some mighty fine water, milk etc. Yet, food addicts can eat many things that can trigger them. Granted raw carrots is not one of them.

    Another example is few people drink in front of alcoholics and if the do they don’t offer some.

    I just don’t see it as the same.

  7. CDS · December 22, 2008

    I put “pimpkin” by a typo in my last comment. I meant no disrepect. It should have said “Pumpkin”

  8. Pingback: #275: MERRY CHRISTMAS! Oh, and a little bit ABOUT holiday diet advise | I Quit... Again!