Insights from a Recovering Food Addict

by William Bailey, Program Manager
Veterans Recovery Support Program

As a recovering food addict, my weight has been an uphill battle since as far back as I can remember. I was born slim, but I got very sick when I was 5 years old, and the doctor said that the condition might put weight on me. Now at 59 years old, I have struggled with my weight for over 50 years. I have gone from dieting, binging and purging, fasting, food plans, Weight Watchers, Food Addicts Anonymous, and, finally, a gastric sleeve operation. I have lost and gained over 100 pounds more times than I can remember. I have been as heavy as 445 pounds, and as light as 185. Both of these weights are extremes for my body size and health.

I now weight 290, and I am losing weight in a controlled healthy way by eating well-balanced and nutritious meals. I cook for the week in preparation so I don’t go to the fast food alternative, and pre-pack my meals to save me time and overthinking. I have people who love and support me that I surround myself with, and I have a better body-image than I ever have. I’m not where I want to be, but I am going in the right direction, and not beating myself up anymore -- even if I eat that is not on the preferred meal list.

No more food shaming for me. I accept that I am human, and feed that craving once in a while, so I don’t think I am depriving myself and binge out on sugar as a consequence.

I don’t go and try to lose weight overnight at the gym. Instead, I go for walks or hikes. I go up and down the stairs at work instead using of the elevator. I also get things for myself, instead of asking someone to get it for me. I prepare fruit and vegetable snacks for easy accessibility and place them line of sight in the refrigerator, and drink over 100 ounces of water a day.

No more hiding, and lying about the food I eat. It’s a vicious cycle that just makes you feel bad about yourself, and feeds the negative thoughts you have about yourself. I’m on my way and on a great path toward my goal.

Continuum of Care, Inc.’s mission is to enable people who are challenged with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, addiction, or homelessness to rebuild a meaningful life and thrive in the community.