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Addicted to Happy



Before I lose the ability to eat fourteen rhino ribs and a bath full of potatoes in one sitting, I figured it was probably the best time to do what I do and analyze myself once more and explore one of my most confusing behaviours. To find out why eating so much makes me so damn happy, whilst knowing that the result of eating so much makes me so utterly miserable.

I suppose the first thing to do would be to pin-point any psychological anomalies that could be ear-marked as a place to start hunting for the answer.

Not being a psychologist, I will make have to look in the direction of the only psycho-analysis I have witnessed...cross examination of serial killers from Hollywood flicks! So, here goes:

Did I have a problem childhood?

No. Not that I remember. As soon as the memory kicks in after having been locked in a cupboard for ten years, everything seems rosy.

Did I suffer abusive or problematic relationships?

Definitely not. Every relationship I have had has been as problematic and as abusive as the others.

Am I secure and open in my sexuality?

I am totally secure and open in the fact that know one will ever know which way I swing.

Of course, none of the above is relevant or indeed true. However, in my mind-searching, I can really find nothing of any note that would make me find pleasure in slow suicide.

At this juncture, it may be worth noting that the idea of eating being a "slow suicide" may seem slightly theatrical, but I should point out that the amount of food, the types of food (and not forgetting the amount of drink) that I put away could not be classed as anything other than a direct train ride to the cemetery.

So why did I do it? I have, as most overweight people have, blamed it on everything else but me. It's my genetics. It's my metabolism. It's society's fault. It's my parents' fault. It's everybody else's fault. I would blame my dog - but I ate him.*

Part of this process has being able to admit to myself, it is indeed my fault. Not theirs, not yours - but mine. My genes, metabolism and people around me may well have some influence - but in the end I make the choice of what and how much I eat.

So, if it is all my fault and I know for a fact that it is very dangerous to do it - what the hell am I doing?

I have been on a pre-op diet for over a week now and all week, I have been a right royal pain in the backside to anyone I sat and ate with. I became a "reformed eater" over night. Pointing out to my fellow dinners how many calories they were eating, how much sugar was in their drink, what the percentage of carbohydrates was in their desert. I became the type of person that people just want to choke to death on their liver-reducing crispbread.

Yesterday, I stopped preaching to people...and the reason for that? It's because I am now getting to the point I always get to when I diet - I am getting that urge again. The urge to eat.

It was only tonight after my partner and I had a row, when I reached into the fridge to sneak a hunk of cheese (not a carrot or something equally healthy - but a big fat hunk of cheddar cheese) that I think I have a clue to my problem.

When I feel a hunger pang - my immediate reaction, when I am feeling slightly lower than happy, is to reach for the food that satisfies my hunger and also reminds me of happy times.

The question of course is: Why would cheese remind me of happy times? Well, I would have been equally happy with KFC, steak, Nutella or a pizza. They are things that I was rewarded with as a child, or when there was a special occasion. Cheese, because of cheese on toast which has always been a comfort food. I was never rewarded with a carrot or a salad. I can never remember a big slap-up birthday salad. I was always celebrating with fatty or sugary food.

I must stress, that I am not blaming anyone else (anymore) for my weight - those who offered me the "happy" foods when I was younger do not make me eat it today and I am fully aware of my actions when I eat. But I believe that perhaps I know the reason's as to why the urge is there.

The blame for my weight is simply the fact that my will power, when it comes to denying myself that comfort when hunger strikes, is just not there. My lack of will-power combined with my need for comfort far outweighs my sense when the time comes. It is an addiction that I can't deny.

That lack of will-power is in my opinion a chemical imbalance - I am a Darwinian - I believe all our thoughts and urges are chemical and electrical. I believe that what makes a successful dieter different to an unsuccessful one is the difference in their brain chemistry and no matter how hard I tried - I would always succumb to the lack f chemical influence in the right place - the weakness of me.

Perhaps if I had the time for intense rehab and indeed if there was a place where I could go for this could be trained out of me, I may overcome my addiction in a different way - by destroying the mental link between my hunger and the "happy food". But I don't have the time to go away for a month of intensive re-education - and there isn't a place.

I have found a solution that will get limit my hunger and therefore cut off the necessity to satiate with the things that give me the instant killer lift.

I was nearly beaten tonight, but I took my mind off it by writing this blog instead...

* for all the RSPCA and PETA people out there, I didn't really.

My Blog - Banded Ben

My Site - Benedict Francis


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