Dave: I’m a male food addict and my problem is Dave!
Reader: Hi, Dave and welcome!

I was just thinking of the lyrics of a Paul Simon song from many years ago, Still Crazy After All These Years, and decided to slightly modify it’s title for the purpose of the subject of this post. When it comes to being imperfect (not to mention crazy), some of us male food addicts have great difficulty accepting ourselves as the flawed individuals we are. The truth was, is and ever shall be: We are “imperfect”, yet we can recover. To some degree (especially when it comes to food and other aspects of self-care) we are definitely “crazy”, yet we can become more sane — one day at a time (I love the concept “going sane” as an alternative to “going crazy/crazier”).

An obsession/addiction to be “perfect” or “the best” has often sabotaged my recovery effort — and still can at times. I would think the most common manifestation of self-defeating perfectionism has to do with those times we eat “a little more” than allowed by our food plan and use that imperfection to say to ourselves, “The heck with it…I might as well eat everything in sight!”  What started out as a fairly insignificant event then becomes a self-destructive excuse to justify a much larger food intake disaster. Some addicts insist they don’t have “a self-esteem problem.” But I insist that someone who really loved themselves (or at least loved themselves more than they love food) wouldn’t use imperfection to beat themselves up and justify self-destructive behavior.

Here’s one way to “turn it (our imperfection) around.” When I eat “a little more” than the optimum amount of food on my food plan, it serves as a reminder than I use this “event” as a time to Pray (to God), Reflect (within myself) and Share (what happened with other addict) so I can LEARN from my imperfection. And yes, I can also love myself — imperfections and all.

I’m glad that I’ve found a flexible food plan that allows for “imperfect moments”. The days of rigid food plans that only encourage self-destructive actions went by the wayside for me back in 2001, when I re-joined Weight Watchers and began following their Points food plan. DISCLAIMER: I am not saying the W.W. Points food plan is the “only” acceptable food plan for addicts. I just know that with it’s help I’ve released around 140 pounds as of this writing. I would like to point out that due to guidance from two health care professionals I work with, I do not follow the current version of the Points plan, instead I follow a previous version where fruits were assigned a Point’s value and not counted as having “0 Points”. As a diabetic I have to count all carbohydrates I consume, so the idea that carb-rich bananas can be valued at 0 Points like 0 carb Green Beans, well that doesn’t work for me. Your results may vary. I do eat bananas since I do not demonize carbohyrdrates.

The W.W. concept of “FlexPoints” gives me a “Plan B” so if I don’t want it to be, imperfect eating doesn’t have to set me up for a disaster known as a “food binge”. If I want an excuse to go on a binge, that’s one thing. But if I want to “get back on track ASAP”, then FlexPoints become a valuable tool for my recovery. The challenge is to be able to “love myself enough” to CHOOSE to not use my imperfection as a ticket for self-sabotage. We male food addicts are powerless over food, but we are NOT powerless over our choices!

The Belly Is A Wall of Protection?!?I decided to take a break from updating this blog while starting work on a new blog that has nothing to do with the subject matter of Overactive Fork.

At some point within the past six weeks I made a (sub)conscious decision (which IS a decision of sorts) that I just wanted to do a little less work on my recovery effort.

My decision was definitely DUMB (not to mention self-destructive!). After all, my addiction NEVER takes a break from working on me, so where do I get off deciding that I can somehow “let up” on working on my recovery?  Such stinking thinking ALWAYS leads me (and most other addicts too?) to relapse.

My “SIX Week Mini-Vacation From Recovery” resulted in a 1.3 pound weight re-gain (UPDATE: As of Monday, March 31 my TEN week weight re-gain total was 3.3 pounds). Obviously, it could have been a LOT worse — I’m extremely lucky that I didn’t re-gain at least 20 pounds in a six (make that 30 pounds in a TEN) week period!

My relapses over the past few years have usually resulted in small weight re-gains — which (Duh!) STOPS my ability to continue to lose excess weight.  Then again, to be totally honest, I don’t really want to be “THIN!!!”

Pardon me while I vent…

I pretty much DETEST thin (especailly “thin and muscular”) people who tend to cop a negative attitude toward big fat slobs like me!  At times, I actually HATE these folks! I actually wish that they could become a big fat slob just like me — if not bigger, fatter and “slobbier” (Is “slobbier” a real word?) than moi!!!

REALITY CHECK: Of course I’m NEVER REALLY “angry” or “full of hate” — I just STUFF DOWN my anger and hatred to become what one rock song called a state of being “comfortably numb”!

I also pretty much DETEST any food plan that attempts to suggest a saner way to eat than does that self-deluded voice that tells me to “Go ahead, and eat just a little more…”! This is a truly pathetic attitude to cop, especially because the Weight Watchers POINTS food plan is probably the most reasonable, flexible and sanest food plan I’ve ever worked in my life!

And when it comes right down to it: I’m VERY AFRAID to be
“THIN”!!! I can remember people asking me countless time over the years if I didn’t REALLY want to be “thin”. For many years I would respond to the “earth people” with a one word answer: “Sure!” — just to  get them off my back! Anything to just SHUT THEM UP (so I can begin stuffing down even more anger and resentment).

You know who “earth people” are, right? They are the people who walk around with maybe 5 – 10 pounds of excess weight, yet claim that they “understand” what it’s like to deal with the same level of obesity as those of us who are “morbidly obese”. Heck,I’ve SPILLED MORE FOOD at one meal than these folks have probably overate over the course of their entire life!

Some other “earth people” are actually at a normal weight and rarely if ever overeat (let alone act out with any of the major self-destructive addiction). Their “addiction” per se is to feel superior to those of us who aren’t as PERFECT as they are! And don’t they have ALL the answers for all of our problems.

“Bitter…Party of one!!!”

OK. Enough of my tirade against “earth people”, food plans and everything else that gets on my last nerve when it comes to my addiction. Sometimes I just gotta’ vent before I can re-focus and re-group and get back on track with a sane(r) way of thinking. As John Bradshaw or some other 12 Step speaker once said, “Nothing ever changes until it becomes what it is.”

But back to that irritating question often asked of me, “Don’t you REALLY want to be thin?” The truth is NO (some part of me at least) would really rather stay FAT (maybe “less fat”). Deep down I’m AFRAID to let go of the layers of fat that have done such a marvelous job (?) over the years to PROTECT me!

I know this fear is crazy. But since I was in high school (I turned 50 earlier this year), I can honestly state that I have experience the FEAR being thin. Then again, perhaps fear is just another excuse to stay in the food and stay out of the exercise?