Written by Lisette Cifaldi, MSW, LMSW at eatingsanity.com
Addiction is a phenomenal liar. In fact, lies are the deadbolt that addiction uses to keep us locked in the chaos and suffering it causes. As we live in the self-loathing of compulsive eating, and the shame created from our binging, as well as obsessive thoughts about food and weight, addiction whispers. These soft, deceitful murmurs keep the food addict believing that the misery of their seemingly insane eating is preferable to the misery of actually giving up their problem foods.
The dessert lie is a perfect example. Sugary foods are a gateway drug for countless food addicts. Sweets lead many an addict into compulsive eating, unbearable food cravings and unhealthy weight gain. Yet, ask the food addict if they are willing to give up candies, cakes and cookies and they start trembling with fear. This stubborn defense happens because they believe the lie that addiction has told them. They believe that life will be less pleasurable without sweets. They fear giving them up because addiction has the addict certain life will be less joyful without them.
Addiction tells you that a future without your favorite binge foods is an unfair punishment for past food indiscretions. You are led to believe that the punishment is unjust and unnecessary. The lie is simple…life without cookies is sucky.
It’s a huge, paralyzing lie that your addiction really wants you to believe. I can tell you this with certainty because as a recovering food addict I have not had cookies, candy, cake or dessert of any kind in nine years. When I share this with other, still-suffering food addicts they look at me with dread in their eyes. Then I assure them, as I am assuring you, that my life is not less pleasurable today then it was ten years ago, a time when compulsively overeating sweets was a daily occurrence.
How did I stop believing the lie in order to end the madness? I didn’t. If you had told me I wasn’t going to have any sweets for nine years, I would have pushed you to the ground as I stepped over your body to get to the nearest grocery store for a bag of fun-sized candy bars. (By the way, calling a two-inch candy bar fun is also a lie…just sayin’). So, I did what any self-respecting addict does, I decided I would give up sugary foods for the day. When I was able to get through the day without eating the sweets, I woke up the next day and tried it again. One day at a time I gave up desserts for nine years.
My addiction still lied but the lie became less convincing. When I was able to string days and months together without dessert, I had history on my side. Enough time had passed that I could actually put the lie to test. Had the weeks and months without sweets been unbearable, dreary, joyless? No. In fact a life free from compulsively eating sweets became sweeter than anything I had ever tasted. Both the joy and the pain of eating desserts are distant memories because quite frankly, I just don’t crave or want them anymore.
Are you still listening to the lies your addiction is telling you?
Lisette Cifaldi, MSW, LMSW is a food addiction specialist offering food addiction recovery coaching, education and advocacy. She is also a nationally known corporate and community motivational speaker. You can learn more about Lisette at eatingsanity.com or contact her at email@example.com