Day 22: 3/15/2016
Over the last 3 weeks, I've talked a lot about food addiction. However, I'm not sure if many people know what that means. So I've decided to share some of my history with addiction so that it may be a bit more clear.
At a young age, I started to mask some hardships in life, with drugs and alcohol. From age 12 - 19, I put my body through a gauntlet of torture in the form of abusing whatever I could get my hands on. It started with weed, alcohol, and stupid over the counter crap like Robitussin, Coricidin, and Dextromethorphan. Eventually, it turned into cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and ultimately ending on prescription pain medication as my drug of choice for my last few years of use. My weight would fluctuate a lot during those different use cycles. When I entered a rehabilitation program in 2003, it was a time for me to learn about what addiction was.
Addiction is a mask. It gives a person who can't control anything, control of something. What I usually tell people is this; if you were in pain every minute, of every day, with no end in sight, and you found a way to make that pain disappear, even for a temporary time, that gives you god-like power. Why on earth would anyone desire to give that up?
The biggest problems with that line of thinking is that it's not sustainable for a good life. It leads to your mind and your body taking a big hit... or many. The physical addiction to those substances cause obvious damage. Physical dependencies are real. I remember coming off of opiates. Your bones are fire. Your muscles only know pain. Your skin crawls. You can't sleep. Once you can sleep, you have nightmares. You can't eat. If you do eat, you puke. There's no winning in that detox... Until, day by day, week by week, those symptoms start to leave.
Then you're left with the emotional attachment to using. Your emotions, thoughts, and body have been numb to coping with what goes on in your life. Now what?? In my case, I switched to food. It's needed to survive. It's acceptable to eat. Until it isn't.
Food addiction carries all the same symptoms, causes, and consequences that addiction to drugs or alcohol does. I'm obsessed with it. It's on my mind all the time. That's why there is a fight all the time.
I hear things like "just eat healthy foods"... "Go on walks"... "Play a sport you like"... "You can have unhealthy foods sometimes, that's ok"... "Get a trainer"... "Try Crossfit, it's perfect for people who need something new and different"... "read this book, it talks about what REAL health is"... "Go vegan, it's so much better for you"... "Gluten is what is leading to obesity, go gluten free, it will change your life"... "Have you tried paleo?"...
At this point, from all my trial and error. I'm an expert in health and fitness. I don't struggle from a lack of knowledge. So what is it, then??
Well, it could be that I have the tools, knowledge, and ability to feed an addiction to a substance that not everyone struggles with.
"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want some milk"
If you give Aaron a donut, he's gonna want a dozen, plus a milkshake.... and cheese fries.... and a medium rare steak.... and pastrami burger.... and carnitas tacos.... and oreos..... and the value menu at Wendy's.... That's why this journey is a battle.
When I reach my goal, you'll know that I am more stubborn and perseverant than this craziness. You'd also think that I'd be rid of the hardship.... but in my experience, that's when I allow my lbs to increase.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali