I admit it: I am a food addict. Which is no different than being a drug addict, alcoholic, or any other type of addict—other than the fact that people don’t understand it. They think I am being silly when I refuse to go to such-and-such party or restaurant because I’ve painstakingly worked out my food plan for that day, and the holiday potluck or all-you-can-eat buffet does not fit within my goal.

            While some people don’t put much thought or effort into staying trim and fit, for me, it is a daily exercise that requires time, effort and vigilance. I plan low-fat meals in advance, log my daily food intake on a computer program, and run 4-1/2 miles five mornings a week (when I am not lifting weights or doing yoga). Since I am not one of those people who can wake up in the morning and simply eat what she fancies that day, I must use my only effective tool against the constant lure of food, which is to make a daily diet and exercise plan, and then stick to it.

            My husband and daughter think I am an obsessive health nut, but my efforts have paid off. After being overweight my entire life, in my forties I finally managed to lose 40-plus pounds and maintain that weight loss for the past several years. Still, temptation abounds: Impromptu lunch invitations from friends and clients; bowls of Halloween candy on desks and store counters; the irresistible Two-for-One special at the local donut shop. Even in my own home, I must stare down my husband and daughter while they indulge in desserts of ice cream and cookies.

            Fortunately, I have discovered the joy of writing. Writing has helped enormously in my effort to manage my weight. After all, one cannot munch mindlessly on potato chips while typing on a computer. But more significantly, I now realize that years of consuming too much food soothed and distracted me from deeper issues surrounding a troubled childhood. Writing is a wonderful way to process my observations and clear my emotional pipeline each day; it nurtures and fills me to the brim like no food ever could. Gorging may feel good for a minute, but smothering my thoughts and feelings with excess calories extinguishes my creative spark. And even the richest, most delicious food cannot compete with the joy of hearing someone say that my writing has moved them, or simply made them laugh.

            I don’t know that I’ll ever truly overcome my food addiction, but I am committed to consciously keeping it in check with dogged tenacity, daily mindfulness, and writing. Overeating is ultimately a soul-depleting pastime, whereas writing is an artistic and joyful endeavor. Besides, eating too much and carrying around extra weight threatens my health and well-being, and preserving the blessing of good health is my Number One priority. After all, I’ve got a wonderful husband and beautiful daughter to consider. I intend to stick around and nag them about their eating habits for a very long time.