“I am in a codependent relationship with sugar and carbs,” she said laughing. Although humorous at the time, this statement is too true to be funny. It was the way I lived for most of my adult life. It is not a fun place to reside.
Relationship with Sugar
I clearly remember the day my mentor asked me the question, “Where did you learn your relationship with food?” I think it’s interesting that I didn’t have to question if I had a relationship with food. I knew I did.
This personification of food, especially sugar, should be the first clue that something is wrong. When we elevate a substance to the level of “relationship” we are headed for trouble.
Any substance, whether it be food, drink, money or something that gives us pleasure, has it’s purpose but it is for us to use properly. When we elevate a substance to the status of a human being we have automatically given it a position that includes the possibility of control.
You Can’t Live Without It
One of the first signs of being in a codependent relationship is that you can’t live without the other person. You feel in some way that you are not whole without them.
I learned a long time ago that marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. It’s 100-100. It’s the joining of two whole people made better by the union. I am complete with or without my husband, though I enjoy being complete with him.
The same is true of food. Yes, it’s necessary to live, but we control it. It should never master1 us. And we should never feel we will die if we can never eat sugar or high carbohydrate treats again. If we do, it’s time to examine the past to discover where we learned to have that kind of relationship with food.
You Feel Your Happiness Depends On It
Everywhere you look there are advertisements of happy people, eating donuts, ice cream, cookies, birthday cake, pizza. You remember happy times growing up that all revolved around food.
However, how did food get to be the centerpiece rather than the relationships with people? How did the focus become what we are eating rather than the camaraderie around the table?
Sometimes there’s a feeling of lack in our normal lives and then on special occasions we focus on the food to fill that void.
I was talking with an individual who weighed over 350 pounds. He said he didn’t have any abuse in his past and lived an idyllic childhood with lots of love in his home. He wasn’t large as a kid or teen, but when he left home his weight became an issue.
He couldn’t figure out why. I asked what meal times were like growing up. He remembered an abundance of food, mashed potatoes, gravy, fried chicken and lots of desserts. There was interaction with his family and a feeling of being carefree.
Then he got married and started a family. All of a sudden, he was no longer the child. He was the adult with responsibilities. He went back to the only ingredient from his growing up years he could recreate—food and lots of it.
He had unknowingly promoted food to being the thing that determined his happiness. He thought he was in control of it because he bought it, fixed it, ate it. In reality because he made his happiness dependent on it, it became his controller.
You Don’t Feel Free
This was also true for me. I did not feel I could ever be free of food made with sugar and flour. At the time, I didn’t realize I had a choice.
My relationship with food ran deep in my life. It was the one thing I felt I could turn to when everything else was topsy-turvy as a child. Home was sometimes unpredictable because of my mother’s emotional instability.
Grandma’s house was the perfect environment. The part I could duplicate was cooking all the things she taught me to cook. Then those things became more than just a remembrance. They became a part of me I thought I couldn’t live without.
They brought me pleasure. Everything I did had to revolve around high carbohydrate foods in order for me to feel anywhere close to normal. I had allowed it to master1 me. It was a sad day when that truth sunk in.
You Are More Concerned With Getting
I didn’t see that I was selfish. After all, I would make food for my entire family. In reality, though, I was cooking what I wanted and loved. I was more concerned with making sure I was getting what I wanted to eat than serving healthy, nutritious meals.
The foods I made were designed to capture people and make them remember the great things I (emphasis on I) cooked. I thought I was showing them love. I was actually getting my food fix.
I had given myself over to being mastered by foods made with sugar and flour.
Change the Relationship
Identifying that I had a relationship with food and changing it became a quest. Once I saw I had that codependent relationship, specifically with foods made with sugar and flour, I began to walk out the journey of closing that door.
I was the one who allowed these foods to take over my life and I was the only one who could change it. I had allowed it to become a stronghold2 in my life. The battle for my life had just begun.
11 Cor. 6:12 NASB
22 Cor. 10:3-5 NIV
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