One must never lose time in vainly regretting the past or in complaining against the changes which cause us discomfort, for change is the essence of life.
Fortunately, the heat and humidity has broken some, a welcome change indeed, but not all changes are so welcome. Dealing with this new diet has been a 'not so welcome' change for me, and thinking back on it, I realize that food, and my love of it, has always been an intricate part of my life. Some of my earliest memories include my mom's speghetti and meatballs and weekend evenings at grandma's when she made sure I had my favorite Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup and a glass of coca cola. When I found the soup in the supermarket not too long ago, I was ecstatic. I had found a slice of my childhood...
...and I was even happier when I brought it home and discovered that it had not changed a bit. I was so tickled with this that the next time I went to the store I stocked up on them, making sure I had plenty of this comfort food on hand. Today six cans sit in my cupboard. The sodium level is off the map. There is no such thing as never, and perhaps one day I will be able to once again enjoy an occasional can, but for right now, that seems a long way off.
I've been so used to eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted that it never occurred to me that throughout my life I had used food to to comfort myself rather than dealing with the things that made me uncomfortable. Using food for comfort can be a powerful addiction, and I realize today that my addiction started a long, long time ago when a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk every night was a means of coping with the loneliness I felt. And, as I grew older, I began to eat whenever I felt anxious or depressed.
When hubby fell very ill years ago, and it was 'touch and go', I found the comfort I needed in the most enormous chocolate sundaes that I could make --huge scoops of chocolate ice cream, walnuts, chocolate syrup and half a can of whipped cream--and I sat down every night and ate one. And, whenever I got stressed at work, a bag of 'sour cream and onion' chips seemed to take it all away. I didn't need Calgon to take me away. As long as I had plenty to eat, I knew I would be okay. And, it never seemed to affect me. I maintained my weight and showed no signs of ill effect.
In fact, it never really affected me until about three years ago when the weight started piling on....and that I attributed to the fact that I stopped smoking, and my blood pressure had always been normal. Heck, at the most I worried some about cholesterol, and that, amazingly, was about the only thing that did come back normal on my blood work. Because, as with any addiction, it always catches up to you.
So, here I am, at the age of 65, battling an addiction and re-learning how to live, and it has been a journey, to be sure. Healing doesn't come easy when one is so set in their ways. At first, I'm not going to lie, I didn't think I could do it. When one has used food to comfort and protect you for so many years, it may seem as if there is nothing else that 'does it as good'. What I could eat tasted nasty and what I couldn't eat seemed to be calling out to me. But the fact is, 'I want to live', and this is what I kept repeating to myself over and over again...'I want to live'. Simple as that. And with that in mind, I began the slow, but steady process of healing from an addiction.
I read and researched recipes and joined groups and learned much about my eating habits. I learned that it is not that I can't eat, it's that I have to watch what I do eat. Now instead of just tossing foods into my cart on shopping day, you'll find me holding up the cans and checking on the sodium level. Too high? It goes right back on the shelf. It's been a challenge, to be sure, but I've experimented and found various spices that make a saltless meal taste good and have even learned to welcome fruit into my diet. Already my mind is racing towards what I am going to do when the summer fruits are no longer available because I have never really liked apples, oranges, and pears, but I'll just have to deal with that when the time comes.
Healing is the journey. The destination is yourself. The full recognition of all
the different aspects of yourself—your joy, your sorrow, your pain,
your pleasure—all lead you to the source of who you are. Only by
having intimate contact with this source can you experience the fullness
of your life. Only by fearlessly looking within can you embrace the landscape
of your life and open yourself completely to all the love
and compassion that lives inside you.