MANILA, Philippines – “Hi, I’m Rachel. I’m a foodaholic…”
If I instead said, “I’m an alcoholic,” like I were introducing myself at an AA meeting, my next sentence would be about how long I have been sober, how long since I had my last drink.
But since my addiction is food — something we can’t live without — I can’t possibly tell you how long since I’ve quit eating altogether.
Not to belittle the plight of those struggling with alcoholism, but let’s face it: their everyday decision-making dilemma is much simpler — to drink or not to drink. There’s no quitting cold turkey with food, which makes this particular form of obsession seemingly impossible to lick.
In O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah Winfrey talks about her very public struggle with food addiction. She said, “I could oversee a show and a magazine that tell people how to live their best lives, but I definitely wasn’t setting an example.
“I was talking the talk, but I wasn’t walking the walk. And that was very disappointing to me.”
We may not be anywhere nearly as successful or rich as Oprah, but I know many of you out there — like me — can relate to her story. A good number of us are accomplished, driven individuals; some could probably even afford to hire a trainer or nutritionist.
Each time we fall off the wagon, we ask ourselves, how have I allowed this?
How can I be so weak when I consider myself to be disciplined and focused in almost every aspect of my life?
For years, my first waking thought in the morning would be something like, “Oh, no. Why did I eat that entire box of pizza last night? Oh, and that whole bag of Cheetos!”
I would then make a quick inventory of everything I ate the day before, and after realizing I had consumed enough to feed a small village, my stomach would start to grumble. The question of what to have for breakfast would come to mind.
And just like that, I had absolved myself of my “crime” and resolved to start again on “Day 1” of yet another diet.
The thing is, I’m pretty certain the public has never even suspected that I have this condition.
Thanks to the fact that I inherited my dad’s body type, I am genetically predisposed to being small and have an amazingly efficient metabolism.
In the past, if I’ve gained more than 10 pounds, I would immediately place an order for those notorious “Bangkok pills” that were such a hit in the 90’s. As a result, I’ve never been obese or even more than a little chubby.
Since I was 10 years old, I’ve tried every diet program known to man and read dozens of books about how to lose weight fast; so much so that I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the subject.
I thought my research would turn up a “miracle” diet, where you could eat as much as you want of a certain combination of food and magically lose weight.
Folks, sorry to disappoint, but I’ve long since discovered that no such thing exists. Instead, my obsession gave birth to a business idea: a health food catering company called The Sexy Chef.
In 2004, my sister Barni Alejandro-Rennebeck went to culinary school and became my personal chef. She would make the most delicious healthy meals that centered around my favorite foods. I stopped thinking of being on or off a diet because I just ate whatever she gave me.
Soon, friends and co-workers had her cooking for them, too.
What started out as mom-and-pop operation is now a thriving family-owned corporation.
Barni found her calling and, in way, I found my salvation.
Don’t get me wrong. To this day, walking around a supermarket for me feels like being a drunk in a liquor store. When I pass the snack foods aisle, I could swear I hear Boy Bawang calling my name.
As they say, old habits die hard.
The only thing that truly helped me was that I stopped focusing on what I was not allowed to eat and instead started considering what my body needs to be healthy. Now, I tell myself that I can put the fork down and just have the rest of my food later.
That way, I experience it more fully than when I stuff myself senseless.
Despite my struggle with being a closet foodaholic — who, at one point, considered getting a tattoo of a pizza slice on her belly — I believe there is hope for anyone with this addiction.
You try and try again until something clicks, or you find what it is that can put an end to that unceasing hunger. – Rappler.com
Rachel Alejandro is a singer-actress turned entrepreneur. She is co-owner and VP for marketing at The Sexy Chef, OBC 5 Star, Inc.