I’ve been working on weight loss and getting control of my compulsive food behaviors this year. I have a friend who I talk with regularly about my eating-related journey, and she believes it’s possible to achieve what she calls “food neutrality” where the food doesn’t call to you or tempt you anymore. I haven’t been sure what to think about the idea of food neutrality, but I experienced something this week that makes me wonder if there’s some validity to the concept.
Eight months ago, I stopped eating sugar. Cold turkey. Even went through withdrawals of sorts. Mainly headache, body aches, and overwhelming cravings. The discomfort lasted about a week, and then things settled down. No more physical symptoms, but still having cravings that I battled everyday. I talked to my friend everyday during this time, and her encouragement really helped. I have remained sugar-free for more than half a year. Amazing!
Fast forward to now.
Two weeks ago, I bought two large bags of candy to hand out to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween. I put the bags into a large bowl, and set it by the front door. Now, to give some context, on previous years if I’d bought candy early, I would’ve eaten the entire bag all by myself, and then would’ve needed to buy more candy to hand out. I’m a bit of a sugar addict and binge eater.
But this year it was different. I walked past the bowl of candy (all favorite candies, by the way), and I felt nothing. No cravings. No temptations. When I would look at the candy bowl, it felt almost like I was just looking at a bowl of dirt. Something inedible. Not food for me at all.
Is this what food neutrality is like?
On the other hand, I found myself thinking about the upcoming holidays and all the homemade treats that show up. Will my candy neutrality apply to homemade baked goods, too? I honestly don’t think so. Just thinking about those items (which will remain nameless so I don’t trigger myself) sends me into cravings. But knowing how eight months of living sugar-free set me free from candy, if I make it through the holidays and get some more time under my belt, perhaps food neutrality will show up for other temptations?
In the meantime, I’ll start this month of Thanksgiving being grateful for making huge strides with my weight, food, and body goals. Oh, and by the way, I’ve lost twenty-five pounds! Slowly, but I think, healthily.