“You can eat whatever you want, as long as you do so in moderation” This was the biggest myth I’ve heard all throughout my life from well-meaning individuals who comment on my weight or eating plans. For someone who has an eating disorder and food addiction, moderation just simply does not exist. I am a flat out addict when it comes to certain food combinations. When it comes to combinations of sugar, fat, and flour- I cannot exhibit any moderation. A simple bite of cake will lead me to obsess about more, even before I finish the slice I’m on. I will constantly think about the taste, the feel, the elated mental state I experience once a bite of certain foods hit my tongue. The phenomenon of craving kicks off and there is no going back. There were even times where I would pack myself to capacity, vomit, then fill up again. After a period of binging, guilt would set in and plans of getting back on track would promptly be implemented. This would often lead to restrictive eating, trying to keep my calories within a certain limit. I would begin to feel deprived. My stomach would growl constantly. This would lead me to take a bite of something off plan, then the cycle would begin again. This would happen with so many foods but predominantly those with high fat, sugar, or carb counts. The control is completely absent. The idea that some people could have just one slice of cake, one slice of pie, or maybe even two – and not become so overwhelmed that they must finish the rest is completely foreign. The idea that you can eat a meal, enjoy it, and not want to continue eating until you feel like you need to vomit? How can that be? This entire process of losing weight this time around is truly difficult as I’m completely learning how to eat and fuel my body without harming it. My entire life, I’ve tried and failed repeatedly. Over the past few months, as I work on the mental aspect of my weight loss, I can see clearly just how jacked up my eating habits are compared to an average person. My weight alone is enough to signal that I have eating issues, but paying more attention to how others eat – I see how far off I am. Most people don’t finish their entire meals within minutes – this was always the norm for me and my environment growing up. The quicker you eat, the sooner you can get seconds, the sooner you can do other things. People actually talk during meals? You mean they don’t keep their heads down and focus on the food in front of them. Average people haven’t had instances where they sold their belongings to pay bills but ended up buying fast food with the money? People don’t get food poisoning on a regular basis because of eating expired or tainted foods….you mean they throw them away? The mental aspect of food addiction completely renders the “Everything in Moderation” argument null and void. It cannot apply to people that lack control over certain food combinations. If I go out for a drink, there’s no guarantee I’ll stop at one drink. One shot will more than likely turn to 12. I can’t have alcohol in moderation because of my addiction to it. In that same respect, I cannot have a slice of cake…because it will not end until its completely gone. Moderation does not exist. There are promises in 12 step recovery programs that at one point, the mental obsession will be removed. However, using the offending substance even just once – will lead back to a relapse and the obsession will return. I’ve haven’t gotten to the point where the obsession has been removed yet. Then again, I’m still early in my recovery. I do know, that each day, I wake up with a mindset of thankfulness and recovery and I work towards ending each day abstinent – from my trigger foods and drinks. It’s not easy, but I do have more successes than failures. Moderation is not an option for those like me, for us, complete abstinence from our triggers is the only way we can start to change.