Second Chance Story: Overcoming Food Addiction
By: Jimmi Costello
My story...from living to eat to eating to live.
Sometimes the very things that are supposed to keep us alive are the same things that can hold us back. But when you dig into why that happens then you find out that there is way more to the story.
I will never forget the day I was sitting in the doctor's office. I had been in pain for a while. I decided that it was high time to go meet with my doctor to see what was wrong. He did the normal doctor things and asked questions and looked up my nose and in my ears. We spoke to as how things were going in life. We started talking about the pain I was in constantly. After all the questions and small talk he told me something that shattered my life. It caused me to start the process of something that would change my life forever. He told me if I didn't make changes in my life I was going to die.
No, I didn't have cancer. I didn't have a flesh eating bacteria trying to eat me inside out. I didn't even have diabetes….although I was borderline. I was told that I was morbidly obese. That discovery was one of the most hard hitting pieces of news I ever heard. I’ve had some pretty hard things come at me and God has always been there but what was I supposed to do when it came to something that was a comfort to me. For me, food was the only thing I could turn to when I was going through tough times. Food was there when I was going through sad times. Food was even there when I was going through happy times.
I came to the conclusion that instead of dealing with all my emotions and trying to apply God’s grace to them and myself I simply chose to eat them away. I chose something that I thought would help me but it ended up being the most selfish thing I could do.
After I left the doctor’s office the processing of his information began in my mind. The first thing that came to me was who was going to be there for my daughter? I was a single dad trying to do his best for his little girl but really in the condition I was in it would be impossible for me to do anything with her because I was always so weak and in pain. I started the hamster wheel of emotions and beat down procedures that I had done for so many years. I even wanted to eat it all away and forget what the doctor said.
Then God hit me with something that I will never forget. How can I be this guy who can forgive people who have hurt him when I can’t forgive myself? I started asking God what He even meant. I forgive people because they deserve God’s grace just as much as I do I would say to God. Then it hit me. Just because I’ve been forgiven for my past and my sins does not mean that I can’t take that same grace and apply it to my own self insecurities. To me it meant that God loves me right where I am. When I’m happy and when I’m hurt. If God loves me through all of that then I need to love myself through all of that. That meant making some tough decisions when it came to my addictions with food. For the first time in my life I just didn’t talk about food being an addiction, I acknowledged it and choose to do something about it.
So I choose to put my pride aside and sat in a class with people that had similar physical issues like I did. I sat through a 3 hour bariatric seminar. I learned that I was not alone in my struggles. I got a lot of knowledge thrown at me that night. I sat in the seminar alone. But really God was right there with me. So months went and things started falling right in place. Insurance approved everything, appointments were had and then I got some big news. I got my surgery date.
I’m now 4 months removed from my surgery. I’m down a little under 100 lbs and I’m feeling great. But, most of all I’m getting to live a really emotional, spiritual, and physical second chance. I’m thinking differently because I have learned to forgive myself now as well. I’m able to use the tool that I was blessed with to make better decisions.
Some people feel that bariatric surgery is an easy way out. But honestly there’s way more work that goes into it. Not just preparation but if I mess up I’ll know it. It’s a tool. Just like all tools I have to use this tool right. But God is now using this tool He has allowed me to have to live my second chance. He’s using it to remind me as to why I can never give up.
I live my life different now. I still think a lot though things but I have to. Each day I have to make right choices not just for my body but for those that I love. I have to surrender all that I have towards Him so I can move forward in my journey. Where does this journey go from here? I see opportunity. I see 5k’s and hikes and many walks. I also see God using me in a way that will show people that it’s ok to be messed up and know that His redemptive love can change just how we treat others but also how we treat ourselves.