It’s time to be honest with myself, and with you: I am a food addict. I always suspected that I was, and then just a few months ago I had that suspicion confirmed during a seminar given by Victoria Moran during the October 2015 Mainstreet Vegan Academy session. She spoke to us on one of our last days about working with clients who may have psychological issues with food. I’d been dreading that particular seminar, just because it is obvious from my outward appearance that I do have some sort of problem with food – I am vegan, but rather than being a shiny, trim, and healthy representative of veganism, I am what they call a ‘fat vegan’. My weight almost prevented me from even attending MSVA; being the only overweight person in a group can be incredibly awkward, and I had correctly assumed that during the course I would be surrounded by a dozen of the most beautiful and vibrant people. How blessed that I am that not one single course-mate or speaker we hosted during the program ever made me feel singled out or different.
Despite what people might think when they look at me, I rarely eat bad foods – obviously, being vegan has greatly curtailed my possibilities for indulgences. Fast food joints in my city don’t cater to herbivores, snack foods usually contain some sort of milk ingredients or palm oil, and if I want vegan donuts I have to go clear across the city on the one day a week they are sold at a speciality market. No, my problem isn’t WHAT I’m eating – it is how much; as Louis C.K. jokes in one of his stand-up specials, I don’t eat until I’m full, I eat until I hate myself. As Victoria read aloud through a list of signs that a person may be a food addict I couldn’t help but recognize all of my behaviours, spelled right out for me. I am a food addict, and at that moment in time, was completely powerless over food. Thankfully, Victoria has lived with the same struggles, and conquered her addiction, and best of all, gone on to write a book about how she successfully found balance in her relationship with food. After that class discussion I purchased her book, The Love Powered Diet, and have been – admittedly very slowly – working my way through it, and the twelve steps. I just completed Step 3 and am now moving on to Step 4, which is a place closer to finding peace with this disease than I’ve ever been before.
As I take an honest inventory of myself in the coming days I will find strength and reassurance in Victoria’s written words, as well as in the friendship and support I get everyday from my friends and fellow vegans. Veganism may not cure everything, as we learned at MSVA, but the group of gorgeous and kindhearted vegans I met from all over the world last October sure do help this chubby girl in finding her way.
Natalie Forman, VLCE is a vegan animal lover living in Alberta, Canada. She spends her days reading, writing, watching cartoons, and spending time with her best friend – her dog, Annie. You can find her on Instagram by searching for @natalie.is, or at her blog, seededmonton.wordpress.com.