I’m planning my dream trip. I’m thrilled to be going to Morocco, the last country on my bucket list (before I make a new list anyway,) but I’m terrified. Not because I’m a solo female traveler; I’ve been around the world alone so I’m not nervous about exploring by myself. I’m afraid to gain weight.
I just got back from a 2-week cruise and basically ate six meals a day. Actually, that’s not true- I ate non-stop, all day, every day. I already know when I get to Morocco (with quick side trips to Athens, Rome, and Paris) there’s no way I’ll be able to avoid sampling everything, so if I start now I’m hoping to form some healthy habits.
I’m a food addict. I crave flour and sugar. I can’t have just “one bite” of anything. So, while most “normal” people are nervous about getting robbed, or kidnapped, or murdered in a foreign country, I’m worried about getting fat (fatter).
But, I have a plan. I’ve been talking about my plan for a few weeks now, since I got back from the cruise, but actually writing it down will make me accountable (I hope). Plus, I’ve recently been inspired by reading about how successful one of my favorite travel bloggers has been in her fitness journey. You can read about Adventurous Kate’s experience here.
Kate wrote a detailed, specific plan that included fitness and healthy eating goals, as well as writing down the steps she intended to take in a journal. I was impressed with her willingness to be so vulnerable and honest but also saw how announcing to the world your weight loss plan could make someone more accountable and help you to stick to your goals, so, here is my plan. (Full disclosure; I’m writing this plan as I drink my fifth cup of coffee today, with a decadent Mocha Chocolate creamer and a raisin bagel with cream cheese.)
1. Write down my food plan each night.
In the past, I was able to lose 120 lbs by committing my food (and joining FA-see below). Of course, this was only part of what helped me to become successful, but it was one of the biggest steps that helped enormously. Having a food journal helped me to avoid spontaneously choosing unhealthy foods. I will eliminate all flour and sugar, and I will write down specific amounts of each food, for example, breakfast each morning will include one fruit, eight ounces of yogurt, and one ounce of oatmeal.
2. Commit my food to a “sponsor”.
Having a sponsor (or mentor) helps me to stay accountable. I have had many sponsors in 12-step food programs, which are similar to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) but I found the most success in FA (Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous). I struggled with losing weight by trying many different paths; raw foods, veganism, exercise,
3. Commit my food to a Higher Power.
You don’t have to be religious or even spiritual to be in a 12-step program, although may people talk about “God”, or having a “Higher Power”. You can be an agnostic or even an atheist and still benefit from a program like this. Or, you can do it on your own if you like. I find that even though I was successful in this program and know how to do the food plan and suggested tools, I just cannot do it alone. I’m like a crackhead, only with food. But anyway, there’s something powerful about committing my food to The Creator.
4. Pray and Meditate.
Not just before eating meals, but each morning and night getting on my knees and asking my Higher Power to help me to not worship food, and thanking The Creator for a day of “abstinence (from those unhealthy foods) changes everything. I simply cannot do it alone. And I don’t just ask for help, begging and pleading to this unseen power to help me stop acting like a crazy person around ice cream. I calmly and quietly say, “Thank you for taking this obsession and cravings away from me”, in advance. I already know and expect that God (sorry, it just takes too long to keep typing Higher Power) has got this. I will also sit quietly for 30 minutes each morning. Somehow, this makes me saner, and less likely to run to food when my life feels unmanageable.
5. Go to FA meetings.
I know, I know, meetings usually suck and I’m busy and I’d rather stay in bed or hang out with friends or even clean my apartment than to go to meetings. Especially about food addiction. But once I get there and hear (skinny/ beautiful) people telling my story, and asking me how I’m doing (and they genuinely want to know) so I do enjoy them once I get there. I’ve read that you should surround yourself with people who have achieved success in whatever you’d like to acquire, so attending these meetings is key. FA meetings are held all over the world, so check their website to find one near you.
6. Read spiritual literature.
I will read one page from 24 Hours a Day, a meditation book, each morning and two pages from the AA Big Book each night. These books are filled with wisdom and inspiration from people who have struggled with and have found recovery from addiction.
These are just a few things I’m going to do beginning today. I would like to say I’ll start tomorrow, which is Monday, but if I’m going to succeed in my plan, I need to be serious and start right now. In fact, I just threw away my coffee and the other half of the bagel, and I’m going to call a potential sponsor right now. Stay tuned for before and after pictures each month!
Are you wondering if you might have a food addiction, or have you tried to lose weight but have not been successful? Take this quiz (found on the FA website) and see for yourself. Btw, FA is a completely free program. No membership fees or dues, period. I’m not trying to sell anyone on this program, “it’s a program of attraction rather than promotion” is something I’ve heard many times in FA, but it has helped me so much when I did it before, so I wanted to share it with others, and to put in writing that I’m going to do it again, because I absolutely do not want my dream trip to be ruined by obsessing over food or weight; instead I intend to enjoy exploring and falling in love with yet another beautiful city!
Am I a Food Addict?
To find out, answer the following questions as honestly as you can.
- Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn’t?
- Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
- Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
- Do you binge and then “get rid of the binge” through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging?
- Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
- Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight?
- Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
- Is your weight problem due to your “nibbling” all day long?
- Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
- Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
- Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
- Do you eat in secret?
- Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake?
- Have you ever stolen other people’s food?
- Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have “enough”?
- Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
- Do you obsessively calculate the calories you’ve burned against the calories you’ve eaten?
- Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you’ve eaten?
- Are you waiting for your life to begin “when you lose the weight”?
- Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be a food addict. You are not alone. FA offers hope through a real solution to food addiction.