HARMON: Am I a ‘food addict?’

August 21, 2013 

I took mom to the doctor’s office the other day and stumbled on one of those tracts you see at different public venues. I found out I needed to enter the 12-step program for food addicts. According to the literature, I have a problem and need to become a member.

There were 20 questions I needed to ask myself in total honesty (like I’ve ever done that before) and “if you answer yes to any of the above questions, then you may be a food addict.”

Question No. 1 put me in the program. “Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn’t?” Have I ever? Dang skippy. Got a roast beef dinner waiting as I write this and I can tell you right now, I will answer “yes” to that one. But there’s an ice pick in this house that will be more than happy to make an extra hole for the belt buckle. As Scarlet O’Hara once said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Question two asked, “Do you think about food or your weight constantly?” To that I would answer, “Only if I want to control my weight.”

Let’s say I have a big ol’ donut for breakfast. Unless I continue to think about that big ol’ donut while the day moves on, I might drift a bit and begin to think about a fried pie, a Twinkie, or some pork skins. Why I’m as liable to eat another donut as not, and according to my wife (a food channel addict), the difference in the donut and the pork skin is air. So I go for the pork skins.

Some would call this ability to think about different foods multi-tasking. I call it rationalizing. Question four was totally economic. “Do you binge and vomit?” Ate out lately? I took my daughter and her husband out recently, my wife was home watching the food channel and the meal, including the water we drank, came to over $100. Remember how the hamster stores food in its pouch? I am as smart as a hamster. No vomiting thanks, it’s much too expensive.

“Do you eat in secret?” I will admit to this one. There is a certain type of ice cream, Green Mint Chip that cannot be shared. So, we eat it by ourselves (me and me) and hide it when we’re not eating it.

Question 10 put me in there also. “Do you eat when you’re not hungry?” Ever heard of Green Mint Chip? No. 11 was sort of weird. “Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve it later?” Are we talking leftovers here? Or something out of the garbage can? Retrieve? You mean like a dog and a bone? Where do you bury Green Mint Chip? This is Georgia for Pete’s sake.

Question 14, “have you ever stolen other people’s food,” took a shot at my character but I must confess and say, I have. I steal my nephew’s food but only because if I don’t get it before he does I won’t get it.

No. 16, “do you frequently feel guilty about what you’ve eaten?” Honestly, I need more time to think about that one. So many different flavors, so little time. The last question on the list is probably the most interesting. “Do you feel hopeless about your relationship to food?” Nope. I’ve learned this after many years of eating. If I can’t find it, I can’t eat it. The trick is finding someone I can trust here at the house to hide the car keys. I refuse to let a pork chop run my life. Ice cream, however, is a horse of a different color.

Eating is probably one of the most personal things humans do. If we were what we ate I’d have melted a long time ago. What I eat, when I eat, how much I eat, is pretty much up to me. And if I can’t control that, there may be a few other “items” out there that need my attention. Plus ice cream doesn’t stick in your teeth like meat -- so there.

Sonny Harmon is an educator at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.

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