Collective cultural denial

Often, addictive eaters tell me that in the beginning, the hardest thing in changing the way they eat are feelings of exclusion and deprivation when they have to decline food in social settings. The canapes at the cocktail party… the morning teas at work… the obligatory birthday cake. Feelings of inadequacy often get worse when people ask why we’re not eating. ‘Oh come one, just have one’, they say. ‘It’s so tasty. You’re missing out. I made it especially for today’! Sometimes the most persistent (and often rather large) food pushers judge us for declining their food. As a result addictive eaters are left feeling awkward, crazy and weird. ‘Why can’t I eat like them?’they ask themselves, ashamed and demoralised.

But let’s flip things around for a second. What IS crazy? Is it crazy to enjoy three delicious, abundant, healthy and balanced meals a day abstaining from sugar, flour and quantity? Or is it crazy that  ⅔ of us are overweight and obese? That 380,000 Australians have diabetic foot disease? That Australians born today are expected to be the first generation to die at an earlier age than their parents? That one person develops diabetes in Australia every five minutes? That some of us pay thousands of dollars on fad diets, weight loss pills and plastic surgery?

In a contradictory culture telling us to be thin yet offering mostly food that makes us fat, is it depriving to have strong food boundaries? Or is it a relief? Is it limiting to be eating to a food plan with crystal clear bottom lines of what, when and how much we eat? Or is it enriching? Are we crazy because we’re not buying into this collective cultural denial? Or are we sane? Given the crisis at hand, could it be progressive to be abstaining from sugar and flour? Could it indeed be old fashioned to be stuffing our faces with toxic cupcakes?

The writing is on the wall: Sooner or later our food culture will be going back to basics! Sooner or later, mainstream society will return to eating simple unprocessed foods. Sooner or later sugar and flour will be untrendy. It is already beginning to happen around us…

So, if you’re an addictive eater in recovery and are struggling with maintaining an abstinent lifestyle because others are judging you, rest assured: By the time the mainstream will have caught on to it, you’ll be slim, shiny and free from food obsession and people will ask you how you’ve achieved it. People will follow suit when they see your glowing skin, your slender body and happy demeanor. And even if they don’t, what do we care! Our lives are bigger than their judgement.