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Back & Starting Fast Tonight & Food Sobriety
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Published: 11 years ago

Back & Starting Fast Tonight & Food Sobriety

Hi, Forum, & thanks for the excellent support lately. It has been a really good thing for me, especially that a couple of people have suggested I just take a short break from my attempt to fast 7 or 10 days or so, and come back within a few days. It has made me feel not-alone in the days I have not been fasting. It has made me feel that I am expected to return somewhere. This is really helpful. I really want to pick up the support I developed over my last 3-day fast, which ended against my will/better judgment about 3 days ago. I mean, 3 days is actually a really respectable fast, for me, although I complain. My work on developing my fasting has shown some results. I need so much more fasting to become well, and I need to fast at length instead of in short fasts -- but this is coming.

As I say, for anyone not following closely, haha, I took a fast recently and it went 3 days and 1 hour. It ended , against my will, like 3 days ago. What I haven't made explicit in my recent posts (I don't think) is ... that this is all in the context of my making a supreme effort NOW to stop ALL triggering foods forever, even doing certain controlled but still ultimately painful/sick-making "farewells to food" to effect this change in myself and life. I have wanted to "have certain things one final time." This has not necessarily been a mistake, but it certainly has not been a.... happy experience. I am so sensitive and dysbiotic that it's painful to consume the kinds of quantities I DESIRE of these triggering foods. I don't ordinarily have them, so I am not accustomed to them, so I am sensitive to them... I feel yet unwilling to give them up committedly, forever, without having them one final, ritual time. I just want to make this final-commitment-forever so I can really live in a changed way... I have taken "time off from school and everything" basically to learn how to fast; work on my health; achieve this "food sobriety, this spiritual change in how I live. I will explain presently.
The problem has been that , even on raw foods for 2 years, I have persistently lived eating CERTAIN triggering food (notably fruit; and processed raw foods -- nut butters; raw honey , the like) consistently enough for it to be a dysfunctional pattern.

The situation is: I need to be on this really grim sprouts-only diet. This is a matter of my health and survival.

big parenthesis: Please understand and accept that some people are REALLY sensitive and need such a controlled diet. Please also accept this as my life choice. Please see Gabriel Cousens, MD, "Conscious Eating", about the safety and validity of the raw sprout diet, that is , "living food" diet. Or, better, see Steve Meyerowitz, the "Sproutman." Also , I am not here to debate diet. Thanks... end parenthesis.

Anyway: I have been "stuck" in a place of eating fruit/other triggering foods -- but mainly fruit -- I have really not been junking out -- , on my raw food only diet; and not really doing a sprout only diet, as I should. So... I said to myself that I would start this sprout only diet in a formal way, and use fasting to help the process.

I decided I would say goodbye to fruit,since it is for me a "triggering food." It hurts me; and it seduces and compulses me to eat in the absence of hunger.

again big parenthesis : PLEASE respect this and please no posts about the necessity or validity of fruit. I have done my research and above all please just prefer to be respected in my sensitivity and life choices. I am NOT, NOT, NOT telling ANYONE else what to do. i would not DREAM of telling anyone else what to do. .... I REALLY need to experience support right now. It's a sensitive crucial time. I am really grateful to be able to write about it here. -- terribly grateful, I realize, as I write this. ... Sorry to be dramatic! It has been a long struggle and I have not felt able to share it with most people. This is changing now, though! In the name of (any possible) brevity I won't go into that, but it is real. ... end parenthesis.

... so: after 2 years of being raw only (except this recent relapse, the past month, in my effort to "get the desire for ALL triggering food out of my system") -- after 2 years of being raw only -- and of being compulsed to eat when not hungry, by the triggering nature of fruit -- I have decided enough is enough and I am going to make a spiritual decision to change.

So, as I say, I decided: NO triggering food in my diet. Not even fruit. For ever. This "forever decision" approach is documented as being effective for many addicts. (see the series "Sober For Good--" I forget the author; sorry. ... I decided I would count my days, in AA groups, of staying away from ALL triggering foods, the same way as alcoholics count their days of staying away from alcohol. I knew such a sobriety would free me from my constant suffering with bloating, and make me a lot more functional day to day. Not to mention it would enable me to fast without the troublesome bingeing before/after. Enabling proper fasting is the whole point of food sobriety. ...

On this point -- I should say: I hope this is not seeming like too much of an off-topic post. The entire point of my achieving this committed cleanup of my diet is: -- and again I speak ONLY FOR MYSELF -- *I* can only fast safely and effectively in the context of being COMMITTED TO A NON-TRIGGERING DIET. If I am not so committed, I will binge before and after fasting, to some extent. It is as simple as that. ...... And: fasting is the only way my body is really going to heal. I KNOW this from intuition, horrrible, long experience with myself, and years of research and reading. ... So.... to fast properly and safely I have to get "food-sober." And this post is about achieving food sobriety.

So, I had arrived at the conclusion that I had to give up fruit in a committed, permanent way. ... I began to be very serious about this, in a good way, very committed.

SOMEHOW, though, I felt that in order to make such a full, life-choice, permanent commitment to NO triggering food ever again, I would have to "Say farewell" -- by having a (I hope) controlled amount of ALL triggering food I could SAFELY eat (obviously I would not consume in my "farewell process" anything containing sugar, or even anything too super-starchy). I would ritually have all the foods I "missed" or fantasized about while on my raw foods only diet. Which I had started as a committed life choice -- so it is confusing -- why go back and say goodbye to triggering foods now? ...

... as I say, this desire for one final triggering food "taste" was a strange way to feel. I feel like it was a curious mix of my looking for an excuse to go on a food binge of sorts (controlled, because I am always controlled with food, for the sake of my health; -- controlled, but still enticing) -- and of my actually finally getting serious about cleaning up my diet and beginning to live "food-sober" -- which has various difficulties and challenges which have till now stopped me -- but which I actually feel I have come substantially to resolve. I should tell about them but it takes a bit of time/space. I will just say that: OK. Nontriggering food will not really let you eat if your body has no desire for food... nontriggering non-starchy sprouts will just become very unappetizing if you try to use them for "food comfort" in the absence of hunger. They will even "make you sick --" really, what is happening is, they are NOT seducing the body, so the body is enabled to react strongly AGAINST your eating them -- as it would like, if it is in a sick state, to react against your eating ANYTHING AT ALL.
... if one is looking for "food comfort" therefore AND one is in a sick state with no real hunger, one will, on a raw diet choose fruit, or worse. .Because nontriggering foods "make one sick." .. My body has a great need to fast and heal. So: I have no real appetite or hunger most of the time.

BUT: I have an addict's need for "food comfort." AND -- the degree to which I lack hunger SCARES me -- or it has until now. I have really done some hard work on this fear and on surrendering to my body's desire to fast. I have been ENABLED to make the life choice to say goodbye to triggering foods forever by having done this work which has freed me from the terror of living without them.

This process, of contemplating/executing "farewells to food" as a way of cementing a subsequent total committed food sobriety, began about a month ago.

As I say, I think the urge to "make food farewells" was a combination of healthy and unhealthy (addicted) impulses. I was, first of all, vulnerable to my addicted impulses. One month ago I was in a painful crisis of loneliness. I had come to Calif. from New England . Taken time off from school. I came out here (i had lived here before but...) pretty unconnected. I came out for the SOLE purpose of basically learning to fast and live food sober. Couldnt do a rehab for money reasons and for the reason that it's tough to get rehab type support for fasting. ... I just started going to a lot of AA meetings... can't do OA for reasons I can't go into just now... in this context i ... got rather lonely. Since then it has improved I think and hope -- and I think establishing oneself in a community always just takes time and WILL happen given time -- BUT -- at THAT time, 1 month ago, I remained of course committed to achieving food sobriety and fasting but... I just was weak, lonely, and vulnerable, and began to think more and more often of certain triggering non-raw foods. The foods that I had left behind 2 years previously to commit to my raw food only diet. Frozen yogurt... you know. Not HORRIBLE stuff but a BIG problem for me with my sensitivities.

It was then that I (too terrified even really to recognize that I was out of control and experiencing CRAVINGS) formulated the plan to "work with" this mental fixation on triggering foods that I had sort of developed (not even admitting it had become a fixation). I said to myself, okay it is TIME. I am giving up ALL triggering foods FOREVER, NOW! And I will soften the blow of this by giving myself the "treat" (oh, so NOT a treat...) of formally saying goodbye to EVERYTHING triggering.

This also was in a way a warped reaching-out to the people I was beginning to become connected to. It was an indirect concession to people in my life who had always advised me I was too rigid and controlled with food . I generally felt they were mistaken and still do think so... I felt they were not respecting my having a VERY sensitive body, such as they could not understand. I felt they were reacting codependently, being unable to distinguish between my advocating something for myself and my ordering THEM to do something. I NEED really "strict" rules.... Primarily, though, my detractors were "mistaken" in the sense that they were not respecting my life choices. If they were coming from a place of "fearing for my safety --" well, I don't buy that. They didn't really bother to get to know me, ask questions, and investigate respectfully. They came at me with the fundamentally disrespectful attitude that I just didn't deserve to be first fundamentally accepted but rather deserved only to be violently "set straight."

Still -- and here is where it gets really vulnerable for me -- I myself felt a certain strain of my strictness. And i never felt I had really "known my real limits" with food, only terrifiedly imposed VERY safe/strict rules on myself and tried to live within them.
In my heart of hearts I feared, even SUSPECTED that I did not need such strict rules. BUT... THIS IS THE ADDICT TALKING IN THAT HEART OF HEARTS!!!!! THE ****REAL**** TRUTH IS THAT I NEEDED RULES JUST ABOUT EVERY BIT AS STRICT AS I IMAGINED I DID. THE REAL TRUTH IS THAT THIS TRUTH WAS JUST TOO TERRIFYING TO FACE. i liked to think that I could follow these really strict rules optionally and that bingeing and triggering food were , in spite of my voluntary strictness, yet an option for me.

I used others' insensitivity to and lack of respect for my extreme nutritional sensitivities AS AN EXCUSE NOT TO talk to people openly about myself and insist on my preferences beliefs feelings and desires.

WHAT IF it were revealed in this exploration that i needed to be less strict than i was insisting on?? . it would be a blow to my pride as THEY were telling me disrespectfully i was wrong in my self assessment. THEY were dismissing my need for dignity. I was giving myself strict rules for dignity. THEY were maintaining that I was being dishonest in asserting I NEEDED such strict rules... do you kind of see what I mean? so i never dared make a REAL open honest self assessment, even with myself, privately.

BUT ALSO I FEARED REALLY FINDING OUT THAT I DID INDEED NEED TO BE SO STRICT. this was TERRIFYING. Not to have the OPTION to binge if the emotional compulsion to binge arose -- this was the most terrible eventuality of all.

So, in my fear of what I would discover, I never came to know myself. My strict rules provided a safety margin , but I lived in terror. ALSO, I would overeat and DENY THE EFFECTS OF IT! I never could afford to be openly vulnerable or make a mistake because there would be no support there if I got in trouble. People would be dismissive of my fears of stepping outside really strict rules and I was too vulnerable to admit that in my heart of hearts I suspected EITHER that they were right, I did not need SUCH strict rules... OR... almost worse... that I DID NEED SUCH STRICT RULES, or I would have really serious health consequences. I was afraid to stand up for my strictness and moreover had not enough motivation to insist on it. it can be no fun, after all. If you are in the no-man's land of not being SURE OF THE NECESSITY OF and RESIGNED ABOUT YOUR COMMITMENT TO the strictness. And now, in the end ... it looks like I ... do need to be pretty strict... and I need for my own life and safety simply to insist on my strictness! Let others be displeased/abandon me! I have to live!

anyway, ... I started "saying goodbye forever to foods" by having them once or twice... well... I have been in such pain and chaos. this farewell to food has been hell....I do encourage myself to believe I am not just totally out of control, with the thought that sometimes people go through similar final binges before making transformative fasts. A video posted recently on this forum (I think) showed a guy bingeing before doing the Master Cleanse.( It was very funny the way it was done. But it is scary and food is a real addiction and dangerous and it is so un fun to be ill from overeating. ) As I said above: I believe this is a real beginning of sobriety and hence of fasting. I believe I have been ENABLED to make the life choice to say goodbye to triggering foods forever by having done work which has freed me from the terror of living without them.

Well, as you will read, my "food farewells are over with TODAY.

actually, -- to get back for 1 second to my recent fast -- though i complained about it, 3 days and 1 hour is quite a respectable fast for me. i will go longer next time -- i am beginning a fast tonight. And my eating since the fast, though it has included triggering foods, has been 1500 calories a day. This has been "natural , unforced discipline" and is a result of the fast, I believe.

... i am stopping the farewells to food today, as I say. This is what I am posting to announce. today i will go to abt. 3 gourmet stores & mostly perform these farewells by tasting/having bites, not eating/having quantities. . if there is something i havent had by midnight i will let it go for ever. i have
failed to achieve perfection in many areas of my life -- school is the
primary area that comes to my mind -- and this has been a blow to my
ego and it smarts still! but i have worked with it and changed my
values where i have needed to. though i was a good student... i have
accept that I can't get everything I want. (I do want some foods
"absolutely" and will just try to take like a bite of the most
important ones today . But if I just can't get to some of the less
important ones, FINE. And I will not spend even any money, if
possible -- just ask for samples of things . maybe even chew and spit
them out. maybe if i cant find sugarfree chocolate chip coookies i
will chew and spit out a few bites of a sugar-containing one. & i can
do this in sobriety, too! just like rinse with oil afterward -- "oil
Of course I will have to spend a little money today -- but you know
what I mean. I have actually bonded with the clerks at the frozen
yogurt parlor and today i will give back to them my frequent buyer
card. they can maybe use its credits??? i dunno but i want to say
goodbye to them. maybe i wont say anything. just throw away my card.
i already said to them last night i was to stop getting froyo at all.
so they know what is up.

it gives me gratification to feel i am being grown up/evolved by
accepting not getting everything i want. this gratification
substitutes in part for the disappointment of not having a perfectly
satisfying "farewell to food" experience. It is pretty impossible to
have such a thing anyway , given that I am a food addict and am liable
to make myself ill with food so easily. not only is my body highly
sensitized and damaged and dysbiotic, I have little control, really. I mean that I can and DO stay within limits I set for myself ("I'll have x munber of calories' worth of food x") but when these limits turn out not to be low enough I just go on eating past the point of hurting myself. I'll eat "up to the limit" despite that doing this hurts in some cases -- the limit in some cases allows me to eat too much for my body. I have been harshly criticized for having limits at all and told that they only lead to this kind of behavior but I have honestly found that on balance it is better for me to have limits. & I do feel very disrespected by people when they criticize me for setting limits. I feel they are just not respecting my need for control. I feel some people just have a need for some control and I am one of these people and I accept that about myself.

.. Anyway, this experience of "farewell to all triggering foods" has been BASICALLY controlled but so hard on me physically, and catastrophically expensive, and empty... and so chaotic... EVEN when my caloric intake
while doing it is under control , as it was yesterday (1500 calories).
EVEN with this, yesterday was AWFUL, and expensive -- really
expensive. & it was -- just consumed with getting and eating food.
It was a horror. It was a hell. It was NOT ACCEPTABLE. I WILL NOT
LIVE THIS WAY. I love myself a lot more than this -- not to sound
like a Hallmark card. But I have been really suffering as I have
tried to "experience triggering food" in a controlled way one last
time and it has been terrible, really. I have discovered my limits! I was afraid to discover them and then I did discover them. Not that it was a process I really controlled -- just : Last night I said to myself
that I could not suffer like this any more and today was the last day. This organized, though-out letter (such as it is ) does NO justice to the disorganization, the mess, the illness, the terror, of this "farewell to food" process -- i feel as though i have just lived through about 8 lost weekends in a row. and i have, really. Even though it has all been kind of controlled I have had so much more illness than usual that it has been a disaster. More than that. Such pain.

So today is my sobriety date. i am stopping ALL triggering foods
forever TODAY. I was going to go like 3 more days saying goodbye to foods but NO. Just today will be the last goodbyes. Gently, as I say. and tonight i am starting a fast that I hope will last 7 days.
I am starting the fast tonight.

i shared at an aa meeting last night. I was invited to share; it was
the end of the meeting, and I was the only person who had not shared.
I had been crying a fair amount the whole evening , just in a kind
of release as I decided to stop saying farewell to food, I think, and
start actually not having it. In the AA meeting I said: "Well, I'll
be honest. I am a food addict, and I am not sober today, and it
really hurts, and it is really scary. And I am just here to hear
about how people find sobriety and find that sobriety can be a valid
way of life." Afterward , people came up to me, and one of them even
was accepting of my (radical) stance that thinness/the desire to be thin should not be pathologized (I think the urge to be thin is the body's way of communicating a need to fast). or i dont know if i got that far with him but he
was cool. I just assert this (thinness should be accepted, not
merely on a health basis but as an important moral act -- of
respecting the life choices of others. not invading or controlling
others, saying they are sick or wrong. wars begin in such
thinking/ways. ) -- i assert it wherever I go now. the other night
i asserted it to the a guy in AA I met recently. i prefaced
it with "i dont care if you never speak to me again..." I had to healthily detach from him and his reaction to me.

So I have woken up too early today -- frantically waking up after
only 3 hours'; sleep. To begin the day's eating. I was compulsed to
eat on waking up. I ate only about 500 calories. I am letting myself
have about 1600 more calories in the day today.

i am sleeping now and then going to the final farewell errands. i
am tired and sick. and disoriented and scared.

I had my most important thoughts about staying on sprouts only last
night. I thought, now, how can I bear this? and I thought: suppose
when craving food comfort I just take one single sprouted seed in my
mouth and concentrate heavily on the seed part itself, the
proteinaceous/fatty/yummy/starchy part, as infinitesimally tiny as it
is. I mean -- even an alfalfa sprout. A flaxseed sprout. Sesame
seed sprout. I can get or imagine just enough of a high from that to
tolerate being deprived of fruit/other more triggering food.

Okay. I hope you are all having a very good day. Please write me any time,

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