My name is Dr. Johnny Bergstrom and I am a Food Addict.
That’s me. A lot of you don’t know that and I don’t really talk about it these days, as it’s a personal problem I have that exists, yet isn’t allowed to define me.
If it’s so personal, why talk about it?
It is personal, it’s a very large part of my life and a lot of people around the world are also food addicts, whether they realize it or not.
I saw some commercials recently for B.E.D (Binge Eating Disorder) and there have been two different women, Monica Seles and Sunny Sea Gold, featured in the commercial. I can’t tell if it’s a PSA or an actual commercial for a product or treatment – but they each go on to explain what B.E.D is and how they have battled it. They basically say that it’s an actual disorder and we should take solace in knowing that and to talk with our doctors.
Ok, for what?
The commercial is pointless as it’s written, because the women state that they suffered from B.E.D in the past, but they never say how they overcame it and if it’s still an issue. It also irked me that women are singled out in the demographic target audience for the commercial, since men have binge eating issues too, yet men don’t have to face it or label it the same way. That’s unfair and inaccurate and I’m calling them out. Need a man for your PSA? Let’s talk. Seeing this got me thinking and I began reflecting on my own battles with food addiction, which is different than B.E.D.
My addictive behavior with food began at five years old and as I grew older, it intensified. I think the adults in my life saw my behavior as what I call “fat kid syndrome” and maybe I would grow out of it. My perspective was that I loved food, I loved everything involving food and all I could do was find reasons to justify wanting more of it. Celebrate this, mourn that, buy this because it’s BOGO – whatever; I could “sell ice to an Eskimo” when it came to justifying the bullhonkey that came out of my mouth so I could eat some more.
My addiction to food was never diagnosed. When I was fat and fifteen, the solutions offered to me were OA (Overeaters Anonymous) and Weight Watchers. I didn’t like the anonymity factor of OA and the thought of being weighed in front of a room full of people terrified me, but because of brand recognition, I chose Weight Watchers.
Throughout the next seven years I would have three different tenures at Weight Watchers meetings. The first was greatly successful, the second was the hardest because my timing was wrong and the third was the charm. Still, going through all of these meetings and talking to thousands of people throughout Palm Beach County, the label of “food addict” never came up. Other members and I would joke around and say that we needed a twelve step program to cure us, but then we’d come to the realization that while an alcoholic or smoker can give up their substances of choice, food addicts can’t just stop eating. There was no cure for food addiction and there never will be.
Food Addiction is the hardest addiction to have because you actually have to eat if you want to live. I could voluntarily have a feeding tube and never taste food again, but the mental battle would still exist – so that’s out.
The primary battle for a food addict is turning a behavioral issue of “living to eat” into “eating to live.”
It seems to me that until now, Food Addiction has been a silent, faceless, unacknowledged problem that is just as severe as other substances that are abused. If a drug addict overdoses it can kill them after one overdose. If a smoker continues to smoke, the grim realities of the destruction that can occur in the body are well-publicized and depicted. With a food addict, if they continue to eat the wrong things in the wrong quantities, they can develop any number of health issues that may not kill them instantly, but over time, can kill them from multiple angles.
My food addiction will not kill me. I lost 120 pounds almost eight years ago and I will never be that heavy again. I battle 30 pounds and I’m open about it. I don’t pretend that my body is what it once was, but I am happy to acknowledge that my body is also not what it once was. Size 46 pants? Never again. I was blessed with a butt and will always be either a 34 or 36, depending on what brand I’m wearing.
My food addiction will not kill me, but it does torture me. I think about eating as often as another type of addict needs a hit of “whatever.” As an addict, you have to make it through each craving, each yearning, each need for more – just one more time. One more time adds up to multiple times and with each time, we get a little stronger.
I wish I could never give a damn about food again. I wish I hated the way everything tasted. Last summer I had an appendectomy and I was on anti-fungals that made me queasy and made just about every food unappealing. It was a dream come true, aside from feeling like I was going to vomit for a week. I hate throwing up, which disqualified me as a bulimic from the start.
At every eating opportunity, I have the same pep talk with myself in my head. “Okay, what can I eat that isn’t going to set me off, that is healthy and that will make me feel proud of myself afterward?” Ninety-eight percent of the time, I make the right choice. Two percent of the time I make the impulsive choice that I own up to, acknowledge and allow myself to experience with the intention of getting “back on program” immediately.
Most indulgences allow for getting back on program immediately while some turn into day-long or week-long indulgence opportunities to give into my addiction and have whatever, whenever in whatever quantity.
I am not the only one battling food addiction and no matter where you are in our great, big world – if this helps you to see that your battle is real, valid and worth fighting, join me in my quest to get the message of food addiction out there and let’s get the conversation started!
My name is Dr. Johnny Bergstrom and I am a food addict.
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE THE ULTIMATE LIFE!
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Dr. Johnny Bergstrom, Msc.D., AMDA, is a Doctor of Metaphysical Science and an accomplished Metaphysician, Speaker, Author, Law of Attraction Expert and Health & Wellness Coach. He has the “gift of ignition” – an innate ability to spark the internal fires and personal passions in just about every person he works with. Whether it is through a motivational speech, corporate pep talk, or the keynote at your next corporate function – Dr. Bergstrom is just the spark you need to ignite a raging fire throughout your organization! TeamJohnny, Inc. is based in North Palm Beach, Florida. To book Dr. Bergstrom, email your inquiry to Johnny@goteamjohnny.com.
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