“I’d like a cinnamon scone and a grande vanilla non-fat latte, please.” That was my Starbucks script just about every day for a year. Of course I had to have non-fat milk in my latte, as if that was going to somehow make up for the 480 calorie scone I was consuming. Before the scone obsession, it was the daily Starbucks molasses cookie (360 calories) and vanilla latte (200 calories) obsession. Before that, it was the Dunkin Donuts peanut doughnut (450 calories) and large coffee with double cream and double sugar, also known as the “coffee candy bar” (470 calories) obsession. There were others, but you get the point.
It all started when I was around five or six years old. I would sneak into the pantry, open a box of cake mix, pour it into a cup, mix it with water and eat it. I did this regularly and blamed it on my brother. Baking became of passion of mine, probably because I loved the cookie dough, cake and brownie batter just as much as I loved cooking. I still love to bake today, but I don’t do it as often as I’d like because I don’t want to fall back into my passion for eating it.
So why am I telling you all of this?
I didn’t just eat too much of the wrong things, I complained constantly that I couldn’t lose weight. “I don’t understand why I can’t lose weight, I hardly eat,” I would tell myself and anybody who would listen. I lived in denial about what I was eating, and I can assure you, this 600-900 calorie breakfast every day was just the beginning of my daily consumption. I was a very big fan of ice cream after dinner as well! I’m not sure why it was so easy to fool myself though, I saw the food going in and yet in my mind I was well within a normal daily range for a skinny person. Oh ya, by the way, I didn’t exercise. And somehow I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing weight.
I can say with certainty that I was an emotional eater. I ate when I was happy, sad, depressed, frustrated, angry, you name it. Food was my escape. I learned to numb my feelings with food very early on and I used food to continue to avoid feeling for most of my life. The problem with this method of coping, aside from the obvious, is that once I started eating I would begin to feel guilty and ashamed because I knew I wasn’t doing what was best for me. And once I started feeling guilty, I ate more. Not a foolproof plan. Naturally, my clothes became tighter and more uncomfortable, obviously not the outcome I was striving for. I would get angry with myself and I would eat more. A vicious cycle.
Eventually, I began to exercise and slowly noticed a change in the food choices I made. It wasn’t fast and today I still make decisions that aren’t in my best interest at times. But there was one event that changed it all for me and helped me to turn the corner towards taking better care of myself and putting these obsessions behind me.
I was at Starbucks one morning, ready to order my cinnamon scone and vanilla latte. Mmmmm, I could taste it! There was a lady in front of me and one cinnamon scone in the case. I began to pray, even beg God to help me have the strength to not order that scone. I prayed that the lady in front of me would order the last scone. She got up to the front of the line and ordered a cinnamon…roll. It was like slow motion how she said it too, almost to taunt me! I was so frustrated I started begging again “Please do not let me order that scone! I am so tired of living this way! I need help, please!” I got up to the front of the line and ordered the cinnamon scone and the vanilla latte. I couldn’t even help myself. It was singing to me! “Come and eat me, I am delicious!”
But then something crazy happened, the Barista reached in to get the scone out of the case and…she dropped it on the floor! Ahhhh! I was so excited! I screamed out loud and danced in line! She apologized and asked if I wanted a blueberry scone. I said “No, thank you” with a big smile on my face. I knew this was a gift. From that day on, I no longer had that type of obsession for food. It was the craziest thing! I am incredibly grateful for this experience; as brief as it was, it was actually one of the most poignant moments in my life that taught me about trust and faith.