Food Addiction Is Real, And It Ain’t Fun

I’ve said it before. Food can be addictive, and obesity isn’t necessarily a sign of weak-mindedness. Finally, there’s some scientific proof. An new Yale University study shows that so-called ‘food addicts’ show similar brain activity to other substance abusers. But don’t take my word for it. Here are some links to the study and related news reports:

Neural Correlates of Food Addiction, Archives of General Psychiatry, 4/4/2011

Food Addiction May Have Impact on the Brain, WebMD, 4/5/2011

Can people be addicted to food?, CBS News, 4/5/2011

Food May Be Addicting for Some, The Wall Street Journal, 4/5/11

Also, here’s a link to Google News, which lists additional articles on the topic.

So, the evidence is mounting that food can be addictive. It’s also the only addictive substance that we can’t actually live without. Recovering alcoholics can abstain from alcohol. Cocaine or heroine addicts in recovery can avoid drugs. But food addicts? We’ve still got to eat. It’s inherently unfair, ain’t it?

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More speedbumps, a weight-loss milestone and the future…

So as of this morning I’m down to 201.8 pounds. Yes, I’m counting the decimals now. That’s a total weight loss of 124.2 pounds. Forgive my language, but HOLY SHIT!

Honestly, I haven’t felt a burning need to update the blog in a while, mainly because until the last two weeks or so I’ve been doing so well. I’m running, as much as 3.5 miles four times a week. At least I was, until about two weeks ago, when some belly pain kicked in again. It actually got pretty bad, and I ended up back in the hospital again, on heavy-duty painkillers. They can’t figure out what’s causing it. The surgeons say there’s “something there,” but they don’t know what. Their solution is to cut me open again and take a look. The GI guys have no better answers. At this point, for all I know, it’s in my head.

People keep asking whether I’m glad I had the gastric bypass in the first place. Clearly, it’s been a mixed bag. On the one hand, I’m closing in on a weight loss of 125 pounds. That’s huge. It’s an entire person. But it’s been more than 10 months since the original surgery and I’m still facing significant complications. The answer is that sometimes I’m glad, in the same way I was glad in the sixth grade when I finally kicked the @#$% out of Jeffrey Glick after he called me fatso for the millionth time. At other times, I think it was the biggest mistake of my life.

The truth is, it’s really not that simple. I can state without reservation that weight loss surgery has been the just about the worst experience of my life, in some ways worse than the premature birth of my son almost five years ago. But its also given me some amazing gifts. Yes, I’m a smaller, healthier person. It’s also taught me how to really advocate for myself, in the middle of a horrible crisis. Even more importantly, it’s helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. I want to write.

I’m working on turning this blog into a book about my experience. It’s a weight-loss memoir, but it’s also part self-help. It looks at the obesity crisis in our country and the pressures on men that make them unhappy. I’m hoping the project helps me learn why I got fat, and maybe provides some insight for others. Maybe I’ll actually get it published. It’s a big project, bigger than anything I’ve ever done before. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I’m trying to stay out of the hospital and keep running.