Every year without fail Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 around the world. Did you know Valentine’s Day is NOT about eating chocolate but rather it is actually based on a true story? The Catholic’s religion recognizes several different saints named Valentinus and the actual saint celebrated on Valentine’s Day is officially known as St. Valentine. How about that! So it’s not about eating chocolate or going out to eat but rather it’s about a saint that was assigned to watch over the lives of lovers. St. Valentine is the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages. Hmmmm, I never ever thought about that when I was in the throes of my eating disorder.
I truly thought Valentines was a sad day. I was so caught up in the “me” that I didn’t think past it. Today I think of Valentine’s Day as a lovely day to show kindness to everyone. And for those of you who are Catholics this year Valentines falls on Lent. Whoa! Heck in my past it would have been a double reason to give up chocolate for the 40 days and 40 nights. Now for me cleaning eating goes beyond counting days…
As I was taking a wonderful walk this morning, listening to the birds singing…the sky as blue as blue can be…and flowers blooming, I was thinking about what Valentines represents to me today, versus years ago before I understood my food addiction. In the past, chocolate for sure was my first thought with Valentines. And, I think it still is. The difference is I don’t “act” on it now. I just think back fondly…sort of like an old lover. You could say I romanced the chocolate for sure. In fact, just looking at it makes the brainwaves tingle just as a hard core drug addict would.
Chocolate represents a drug to me, yet we would not have a holiday (like Valentines) with a photo of a line of cocaine as part of the celebration…at least not legally. Yes, chocolate bathed in sugar is an illegal substance for me. Sort of a sobering thought isn’t it.? How could something so sweet (no pun intended) and innocent wreak such havoc in my life. The answer for me is I have a chemical imbalance and when I put sweetened chocolate, sugar, flour, and wheat into my system I can’t stop. Something clicks in my brain and I start to volume eat. I learned after falling many times that I cannot cure this addiction, but I can live a life in recovery. Just like the cocaine addict cannot have one little line for old times’ sake because she/he will jump right back into the illness from one little snort.
So, what does Valentines mean to me today? It means total gratitude. My body is nearly 100 pounds lighter than its highest weight. I am clear in my mind. I love my bike rides and walks as much as I loved the chocolates (okay…not quite…but close!). I am able to help hundreds of people move past this chronic, progressive, and fatal disease. I am able to have “healthy” relationships. The price of giving up decadent chocolate for my life back is definitely worth all the preparation and vigilance I put forth every day to stay clean.
It’s evident that as a foodaholic who binge ate, I was obsessed with food, particularly sugary, high-fat food, and could and did consume large quantities of these foods to physical, emotional, mental, and relational destructive consequences every single time. I never thought about who I might hurt, including myself. I only I worried about how fat I’d get.
Change your life now…there’s still time…no matter how old or how sick you are with your consumption (or lack of) foods. And perhaps Saint Valentine will lend a loving hand. Here are a few steps to start you in the right direction:
I am thankful and grateful. Happy Valentines to all of you! May your day bring you love, peace, and joy.
Hugs to you! I care….
Do you struggle on or leading up to Valentines Day? Share your experience(s). I’d love to hear from you. Together we can change food addiction one addict at a time.
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.