Do you find yourself grabbing a cup of coffee to make it through the morning?
Do you reach for a pastry when you need a quick boost of energy?
Is food a stimulant to keep you going?
For years food was my stimulant to combat fatigue. As a young mother it was my drug of choice to make it through a stress-filled day of caring for a three-year-old, an 18-month-old, and a newborn. Fatigue was temporarily overcome with morning donuts and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Nap time for the babies meant *down time* for Mom; a bowl or two of caramel praline ice cream and corn chips. Nine o’clock bedtime for the kids began my happy hour of processed cereal, milk, and crunchy peanut butter.
I didn’t know at the time that my overwhelming fatigue was an addictive withdrawal symptom from eating poorly. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman says that fatigue is one of the chief withdrawal symptoms mistaken for hunger and an excuse to eat for more stimulation. When a person eats healthfully, he/she no longer feels fatigue; although tiredness may be experienced when more sleep is needed. There’s a big difference.
My addictive cycles continued for years.
When those babies got older, I had to keep up with the rat-race of soccer practices and games, wrestling matches, dance practices and recitals, 4-H meetings and projects, sleepovers, birthday parties, thrift shopping for kids’ clothes and shoes, and the never ending mountain of laundry that five children produced. Because I continued to eat poorly, McDonald’s drive thru was a necessary, mid afternoon pick-me-up when my fifth baby was asleep in his car seat in-between an older sibling’s dance practice and music lesson. Then I desperately needed that late night bowl of cereal and milk to calm my shakiness before crashing in bed.
Food temporarily enhanced my alertness; it kept the shakiness and cravings of withdrawal at bay and boosted my motivation when I was down-in-the-dumps. Food had nothing to do with nutrition, but everything to do with stimulation and moment-to-moment survival. In fact, I had been incorrectly taught that shakiness and cravings were signs of low blood sugar and that I needed to eat, when actually they were symptoms of withdrawal.
Perhaps today is the perfect time to hit the “pause” button of life and ask:
- Is food a stimulant to temporarily energize the symptoms of fatigue due to addictive withdrawal?
- Or is food a source of optimal nutrition to keep the body functioning at its very best?
The former will produce a sub par life of disease and continually feeling blaahhh.
The latter will produce a disease-free life full of health and vitality!