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Food Cravings: Taking Back the Power

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

In the previous chapter I told you that for long years of my life, emotional eating and food took the place of some very important parts of living. For example, I had few meaningful relationships with other people, and when I moved away from them, I seldom stayed in touch. My most meaningful day-to-day "relationship" was with -- food.

In this chapter we'll talk about what helped me to take back the power that food cravings had over my life and eventually lose 60 pounds.

First, let's talk about that power. Then I'll explain how I was finally able to escape its grip.

What are your favorite foods for an emotional eating binge? Some of mine were pizza, cake, and ice cream, washed down with lots of soda. And just about every day after work I'd rush to get my fast-food fix, consisting of a bacon cheeseburger, big fries, and a shake, before going home -- to dinner!

Even as I ate all that food, I despaired of ever understanding why I did it. I only knew that once a craving began, I couldn't think of anything else but the food until I got it and ate it, as fast as possible. Of course, almost as soon as I was done, I felt physically and emotionally awful. But I knew another craving would come, and I'd do it again.

While a craving had me in its grip, I was stuck, a slave to the overeating and the weight gain that came with it. I never knew when my thoughts about food would begin to gather and focus in my mind, until a pizza or a Big Mac was all I could think about. If I didn't swallow it now -- now! -- in my mind a black hole of nothingness stood waiting to swallow ME.

I know how that sounds to people who aren't emotional eaters. But if you're like me, then you know the feeling. I'm talking about the black hole, or "void" as I've heard it called, that blots out everything but getting food, in an emotional eater's mind, as a craving tightens its grip.

When I first stopped to think about and examine my incredibly powerful food cravings, I realized that I'd experienced this void as a constant threat. It WAS waiting to swallow me if I didn't get the food "in time." I hated it and wanted to pull it out of me.

But as I continued to work with my therapist and learned more about it, I began to see my void as something quite different. It was a kind of "blackout" of my life that happened whenever a craving took control. But my life was still there; I was simply missing out on part of it while the craving had me in its control. Yes, I was stuck in emotional eating and fat. But slowly I came to realize that on the other side of the "void" that kept me from living all of my life, my whole self was waiting to be born.

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