Nfld. & Labrador

Downsizing: Lies, damn lies, and french fries

When it comes to lying about my addiction to deep-fried foods, I ought to have been among an all-star lineup of liars, columnist Dave Sullivan writes.

Dave Sullivan struggles with a deep-fried withdrawal

A diet heavy in french fries and other deep-fried foods proved to be difficult to change, columnist Dave Sullivan says. (CBC)

It’s amazing, sometimes, what you let your mind believe.

After several weeks of nightly walks, I wasn’t losing weight. I was deeply frustrated about that, and one night I just broke down. I felt as if the weight should be coming off, and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t. 

But here’s the kicker. I was still gorging on fast food.

You see, when you’re an addict, you become exceptional at one thing: lying.

I was a pro. Like, if there was an all-star lineup of liars, I’d be in the starting lineup.

It wasn’t malicious. Lying was something I deemed necessary so I could continue to feed my addiction.

It didn’t matter if you were family, a friend or a co-worker, everyone was fair game. 

And the person I lied to most was myself.

I had somehow convinced myself that I wasn’t eating fast food every day. I‘d hide the burger wrappers away. To this day, I’m still finding soda cups stashed in nooks and crannies around the house.

This way burgers, that way health 

So, there I was, standing at a crossroads.

I  would argue with myself.  “What’s more important? A cheeseburger or staying alive?” The cheeseburger lost every time.

One path — to certain death. The other — to  health, and God knows what else.

I continued to eat burgers and fries for another few weeks. Then I waited until I drove Caitlin to the airport for a visit home. 

I hit a drive-thru on the way back from the airport, ordered two meals with desserts, went home, sat on my couch and ate.

After it was all gone, I stood up and walked to my patio door. I saw my reflection in the glass and uttered two words: "Never again."

The following week, as I removed fat and sugar from my body, was awful.

I was some crooked.

Withdrawal symptoms

I paced around the house. I had constant headaches, my hands would tremble, and I barely slept. Bear in mind, this is food we’re talking about, not some hard street drug.

When the thoughts of a fast food fix would creep in I would argue with myself.

“What’s more important? A cheeseburger or staying alive?”

The cheeseburger lost every time.

The withdrawal lasted about a week, maybe two.

These days, I have a balanced diet. I eat a lot of veg, and I think a lot about what I put into my body. I’ve used it as a trash can for way too long.

A hard habit to break

I’ve read that the key to changing any sort of habitual behaviour is replacing it with something more positive. For me, that’s exercise.

Every now and then I find myself driving towards a drive-thru. Even turning into the lot, sometimes.

It’s not because I’m going to buy onion rings. It’s just a habit.

Something in my brain tells me “this is where I need to go.” And I go. It’s the strangest thing.

These restaurants were my church, my place of comfort, my haven.

Now the task is to redefine what comfort means to me.

I will move heaven and earth to find it.

And believe me when I say, that’s no word of a lie.

About the Author

Dave Sullivan is a writer and ad creative proudly living and working in St. John's.

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