Food addicts are creative. I know because I have been (and may still be) one.
The fear of having our gluttonous ways exposed can lead us to do the most ridiculous things that in a normal eater’s world simply make no sense. None.
I lied to the baker (more than once).
In fact I kept up a charade with one baker for almost a year. Pretending I was dropping in from an office block around the corner with a list of kringles, custard tarts, lemon pies for my various colleagues. Of course they, like the office block, didn’t exist but I would religiously take in my list and ad lib on occasion to make it authentic.
“I can’t remember what Sue likes, I think she’s a jam kind of gal, we’d better get her that jam and cream sponge.”
I would take the feast fit for an office party back to my car and have a gorge fest for one.
I have lied to the home delivery person (more recently than I care to admit).
Upon ordering enough food for a family of three or at least a hungry couple I have been known to walk towards the front door shouting to an imaginary husband in the other room “honey get the plates out the delivery girl is at the front door.” It is important to note I am single.
I lied to my school friends
I baked fudge and covered it in chocolate and peanuts and took it to school to sell to friends claiming the proceeds were going to a charity rather than to my back pocket where I would buy more food baked with more sugar than was used in the actual fudge. Wouldn’t make any sense otherwise because I know, I know, I could have just eaten the fudge.
Oh and I stole lunches from the Year 9 locker rooms when I was in Year 12.
I lied to my employers
A lot of employers, not just the one. There was the petty cash tin I looked after as a junior in an advertising agency, the same petty cash tin that funded my chocolate wagon wheel addiction bought at the local news agency and filed as newspapers and magazine purchases.
Then there’s the story of the dessert fridge at the restaurant I worked at in London. I would sneak in after the kitchen staff had left and inhale the bread and butter pudding, creme brûlées, lemon tarts and more. Then one day I arrived and there was a lock on the dessert fridge and I was so mortified I went beetroot red and fled to the bathroom till I paled.
I was convinced I had been caught only to find out years later that the barmen at the restaurant didn’t mind smoking spliffs after work and would inhale the dessert fridge when they got the munchies. The locks weren’t for me, they were for them.
All this I have done in the throes of a food binge not dissimilar to a crack addict searching for a lab, only my drug is legal despite having similar effects. Sugar is proven to be more addictive than cocaine, cheese is considered an opiate, gluten can numb the brain and Oreos, well, Oreos send rats into a heroin style coma of pure euphoria which means they can’t be good for you.
So I turn to sugar to quell my panic brought on by my addiction to, well, sugar. The same sugar that soothed me as a child when breast feeding was considered peasantry and bottles filled with high corn fructose syrup, evaporated milk and token vitamins were coveted by house wives who bought into the marketing ploy that breast is not enough (more lies).
By age six I was eating refined sugar sprinkled on slices of cheese and wrapped in lettuce (healthier that way), at age ten I was inhaling frozen cherry danishes I found in my mum’s outdoor freezer, at twelve I was dieting, at thirteen I was dieting, at fourteen, fifteen and onwards, always dieting or bingeing or dieting or running to the gym.
Meanwhile drug pushers sold and still sell their wares to me on billboards, on the back of toilet doors, inside taxis, at the petrol pump, on YouTube.
Then pseudo rehab programs and quick fix cures try to get me to sign up on those same advertising platforms, peddling their diets to cure me of my slobbish ways.
When I am fully rehabilitated I am promised a life of true body love, so long as I am one size fits all skinny girls.
Who is lying to who now?
Of course I am big enough and ugly enough to cut through the crap but what of young girls and young boys in today’s image manipulated world filled with public shaming, early sexualisation and body hatred?
And so the cycle continues, shamed for not being thin enough or sexy enough or rich enough or different then turn to the numbing qualities of food we are fed from birth and no doubt already addicted to, feel fat, feel shame, back to food, diet for the promised life that being thin is supposed to give, fail due to addiction, shame and so on.
What a way to not live. When we buy into the lies sold to us from corporations designed to make money from our own sense of failure and our desire for something better that never eventuates then we have no choice but to lie to ourselves. The alternative is to admit we were unhappy in the first place.
The only way out is to be truthful with ourselves and to do it with kindness, care and compassion. To sit with our feelings of emptiness and not stuff them with donuts and gelato in an effort to get away from the discomfort only to discover we have created more of the same. To live our lives now with all our messy complex flaws and not buy into a fantasy life that we are constantly trying to get to.
It is not the size of your thighs that will determine the size of your life.
Now ain’t that the truth?
What lies have you told yourself to get fed?
The featured image on our home page for this post is from the talented Lee Price who explores the relationship between women and food in her art.