One of the enduring myths about sugar and food addiction is that it’s the food itself that is the problem. That how good it tastes is why we binge or overeat. But for those of us who are enchained by food, we know that’s not true. Most of us don’t even savor or enjoy the foods we are using. Instead, food is the misguided solution to the one or many other problems that plague us.
I began self-medicating with food as a child. It was the only thing I could figure out in the face of my mother’s inconsistent moods, my boredom and restless in school, my fears of nuclear war, cancer, abandonment. Eating a lot of sugar or buttered toast didn’t make me happy, but it made me much less miserable for a few minutes. And it worked well enough for me to develop a habit of using food that way. Yes, the food was tasty but I ate it so fast, I didn’t enjoy it. I just wanted relief.
I do believe that sugar has an addictive component for some of us (me included) but even when I’m not eating sugar at all, I still want to use food to relieve any misery. So my challenge—and maybe yours—is to both find new ways to relieve misery and to eliminate as much misery as we can.
What new ways to relieve misery can you imagine?