You want the ugly truth? I wasn’t always the model of health that I am today. I didn’t fly out of my mother’s womb wearing a giant fruit hat and a pink and green apron. I never pranced around my living room as an over-active four-year-old shouting that every child should eat more fruit and vegetables. I’m sure that even as a teenager I couldn’t name many types of apples.
The simple fact is that when I was about eight, my parents divorced and my two brothers and I took to drowning our sorrows in junk food. It was the early nineties and the ‘all you can eat’ buffet was a booming business for most family restaurants. Every weekend and some weeknights, my dad would scoop us up like we were a couple of wet rags left on the carpet, and take us to a colourful restaurant that had loud music and an endless supply of soft serve ice cream. This was how I got through the huge anxiety associated with a family break-up. The sugar was there for me and I was there for it.
Little did I know that I was creating a nasty addiction that would only lead to suffering and ill-health. But it gave me comfort at an extremely vulnerable period in my life. The creepiest part is that I began to associate junk food with healing.
The problem with emotional food binging is that it gives you a very short-lived high. You feel really good for a very short time and then you feel really crappy. Whenever I felt the urge to tear my hair out in life, I immediately binged on the bad food.
Here are some of those tearing-hair-out moments:
- Parents sit me down and tell me that we will no longer all be living in the same house.
- Dad announces he is moving to the other side of the country and I can choose to live with either him or mum (the distance being around 4,000 kilometres).
- Both parents re-marry.
By the time I reached my mid-twenties, I had experienced a lot more tearing-hair-out moments and it’s safe to say I didn’t cope well with them. As a result, I had done a lot of binging and I was an emotional wreck. I was also a little overweight and constantly tired because my poor little adrenals were burnt out.