In My journey to health food withdrawal was not something I considered to be something that would have to be factored into the equation. The last few weeks however showed me that not only was it a factor, it was a big factor.
The last 6 weeks have been a considerably rough patch for me. I first developed a viral infection that knocked me down for several days. This infection ran in cycles; first I would get a really bad sinus headache the next day it would jump to my throat and the following day my stomach would begin to burn. This was the cycle. It would run through the three stages and then start again. I may have gotten a day with nothing at all but it wouldn’t last. I was given three different antibiotics but none of them did any good. Two symptoms, however, stayed with me the whole time and that was chills and a fever. I could heap myself over with blankets and I could not get warm.
This went on for about three weeks. At the end of that time the cycle disappeared but the fever and chills remained. It was also at about this time that I started my quest towards being vegetarian and then making it to vegan. The chills and fever simply would not go away. Eventually my family doctor sent me to my cardiologist, but the cardiologist found nothing wrong with my heart. The chills and fever continued. It was just a few days ago that we both realized I was going through a type of withdrawal. Not from drugs but from food.
I hated soda when I was a kid. I just didn’t like the fizzy part. I would drink it occasionally but I preferred juice or lemonade, chocolate milk was good too and as I got older I loved plain milk. In recent years, that changed and I began a love affair with coca cola. I wanted it a lot and drank it about five or six times a week. Not every day, I still liked juice, but pretty often I was having my coke. I also liked fast food, I think I said before that when I gave up sugar it did not mean had given up any fast food place you can name. If I worked at McDonald’s I guarantee you I would not be able to fit through a door. So there was coke and there were hamburgers and there was pizza and fried chicken. Fast food is cheap and easy, but it can kill you. It was these foods that I had withdrawal from. (I forgot ti mention tacos)
Now if you asked me was it a physical withdrawal or an emotional withdrawal? I would be unable to answer that. I suspect it was an emotional withdrawal that had all too real physical effects. I ate McDonald’s when I got stressed, with no McDonald’s I had no stress relief. I developed a rash that is called neurotic dermatitis. That means in rare case when people get stressed they develop a rash and there is nothing that can be done about it. I talked to my psychologist and we came to the conclusion that I had to ride through these physical and emotional oddities there was simple no way around.
That I think is the hardest part of living in the world we live in today. There is no easy way around anything, but we expect there to be one and when it is not there we are angry. We expect instant solutions to problems that took years to develop. We feel we are owed that and if it can’t be fixed it must not be a real problem. I heard recently that fat people, like me, feel as though they shouldn’t be blamed for their weight. In some rare cases this can be true, but most of us know that we mad ourselves the size that we are and no one can fix the problem but ourselves. In the work that is needed to be done there is pain both emotional and physical. There are tears that will be shed, body parts that will hurt and if you have become emotionally attached to food, withdrawal symptoms that will have to be born. There is no easy way out, only the hard way through.
My withdrawal symptoms did include tears. I was and am highly stressed and emotional. I can start yelling at anyone very easily. I cry because I can’t have cake when I want it, and even though I now know that there are 9 teaspoons of sugar in a can of coke, I still crave it. (I thought there would be less sugar in a coke Icee, but I was wrong, there’s more) I am still getting chills and fever but for the moment the rashes have subsided. When I start to study about healthy food, I cry because I want my old ways. I think it is a type of mourning. I bought a scale from Amazon. When I was at the cardiologist I was 398 pounds. In the last three weeks I have dropped ten pounds. The scale said 388 yesterday.
I have found that I do not need sugar like I used to. In the past it would take three teaspoons of sugar to sweeten ten ounces of coffee or tea, I am now finding that one is becoming too much. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in awhile and I am not missing it as much as I thought I would, and whole foods are becoming much more appealing to me than fast foods.
In the middle of The Sound of Music Mother Superior tells Maria that she cannot hide from her problems that she has to face them. She then sings “Climb Every Mountain.” Our job is to face our problem and work through them. We must face each obstacle as it comes up and conqueror it. We may not win the first battle, but we will win if we choose to keep fighting.
I don’t know where you are now, but I challenge you to climb your mountain. Whether it is as big as Everest, or any of the smaller ones, climb it. Fight your fight and find your dream, it is worth the effort.
The other night on my dinner plate was an Ezekiel Pita bread topped with a Portobello mushroom that I had cooked in some butter with a lot of garlic. In the mushroom was roasted cauliflower and it was topped with a sugar free tomato sauce. It looked beautiful and it tasted really good. A month ago I would not have considered eating that. Now it is a wonderful meal. I’ve changed but I couldn’t go around I had to go through. I have to climb my mountains.