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My Relationship With Food: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do - But So Worth It

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WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Newsflash: "This just in -- Diana Potter wants the world to know the truth about her longstanding on-and-off relationship with food. In a hastily called press conference following the explosive announcement that she's ending her career as a professional overeater, Potter said today:

'Despite the swirl of rumors surrounding my relationship with Rich Food, it is not true that we are getting a divorce. We remain good friends, and we will continue to have respect and even affection for each other. However, the excitement and magic are gone, and we've agreed it's time to move on.'

"Stay tuned as we follow the twists and turns of this absorbing human drama being played out under the bright glare of public scrutiny."

Yes, the excitement and magic of uncontrollably stuffing myself with food are gone now. But what a ride it was! I vividly remember the passions my "forbidden love" for food aroused in me: desire, ecstasy, despair -- a classic romantic rollercoaster.

Only it was a roller-coaster with only me on it. A wild ride, yes. But a lonely one.

Meanwhile, during the many years I lived this way, the vast, incredibly rich drama and excitement of real life -- friends, interests, love, social activities, growth toward goals -- went on. And finally the day came when a tiny voice from the deepest part of my mind and heart broke through to protest my fat, lonely life. At last, I began to want more.

It took awhile, though, for that tiny voice of reason to strengthen until it could override the unreasoning fears that food and fat had helped me control for so long. But in therapy, I gradually began to respond to it.

I've told you about some of the first actions I took to express my growing desire for change: reading self-help books, writing down my feelings, even loving teddy bears as a step toward having the courage to love the people around me -- and to let them know it.

Finally one day I presented myself for therapy, scared of revealing how "bad" I was, fearful of criticism, and amazed that I was actually taking the chance of reaching out to an "other" for help after keeping my distance from others for so long.

But it was time. And so, as I made progress in understanding my emotional eating, I happily discovered I wasn't "bad." I was just me, a person who had made certain choices for getting along in life that worked, yes, but at a cost I no longer wanted, or had, to bear. I found I could make other choices now that would work better.

And I did. Slowly, sometimes painfully, I became able to envision a happy, satisfying life without my "love relationship" with food. A life without my love! The idea of it scared me until I realized that by not letting other people get close to me, I'd been living a kind of "life without love" all along.

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