How your eating habits can affect your lifespan…
March 7th would have been my dad’s 73rd birthday. Instead, I buried him at age 67, when I was 5 months pregnant with my second child, my daughter. He was found on the floor or his apartment, next to his bed; his heart finally gave out after a lifetime of abusing his body with food.
I witnessed what he ate; lots of junk food, fast food and ice cream. And, I watched HOW he ate; he inhaled his food, without savoring or finding pleasure in it and he ate lots of it. It was, an endless empty void he was trying to fill. Sometimes my dad would reach for seconds or thirds and my mom would slap his hand or say, “Rob, you don’t need to eat that.” He always just defiantly shoved it in his mouth anyway.
Once I was old enough to understand how our eating habits and obesity affects our health and longevity, I knew my dad would die relatively young. It was the unspoken truth between us as my mom, brother and I wondered why he didn’t love us enough to take care of himself. It was hard not to take it personally.
My dad was a travelling salesman, on the road every week. His four-state Midwestern territory kept him driving a lot. He was wild and free, and running from something. And, it was the perfect excuse for him—both, to eat poorly and to keep emotional distance from his family. When he was home, he spent his time working in his office or in front of the television.
My dad’s battle with food and weight was a constant in his life, a battle I now understand was about so much more than what it seemed. My dad was an addict. His painful childhood left emotional wounds so deep he was unable to heal and instead sought comfort from the highs and distractions of this most highly addictive substance.
The spectrum of addiction goes from use to dependency; which is something we all do with food. But in the middle section of the spectrum is Misuse and Abuse. When we eat for any other reason than for nourishment and fuel—and the occasional joy eating in moderation, then we are misusing and abusing food.
Food is not companionship for the lonely, entertainment for the bored or relaxation for the stressed out.
My dad was full of self-loathing, his emotional pain hidden from most people by a quick wit. Food for him was sedation. And though his eating habits and addiction led to diabetes, heart disease and eventually a life confined to a scooter—had alcohol been his drug of choice, we might have lost him much younger.
Today, when I see people significantly overweight, I want to beg them to take better care of themselves and to teach them what I know—that focusing on diet after diet will only perpetuate the self-loathing, frustration and hopelessness.
The answer to this largely misunderstood problem hinges upon our courage and willingness to address the underlying reasons it exists in the first place. If Rob’s story is similar to your story in any way, then NOW is the time to make a change. You CAN do it and we can help. Love Yourself Now by recognizing your eating habits and making the changes necessary. If you are interested in learning more about a change in your eating habits I can show you how!