Me, the big patriarch was at the complete mercy of food. I had become food’s bitch.
I shaved my head and grew a beard. I wore black T-shirts and bigger hoodies. I threw myself into my work even more. I told myself I was the provider, and I must provide.
Then I took the photo on the top (I didn’t want to). I looked at it for ages, all the while battling with the excuses and denial running through my head. “I’m busy with work,” “I’ll start next week,” “nobody really notices,” “it’s not THAT bad…”.
But it was bad, I was taking your run-of-the-mill average everyday dad issues and eating them. Along with a lot of other calories. I’d eat until I was sufficiently stretched to be satisfied, then be too tired (and full) to exercise. So I’d eat some more. Then I’d decide that I would start tomorrow.
So to start tomorrow I would have to eat everything that I would miss, just in case I would “feel like it” tomorrow. “Get it out of the system,” I’d tell myself. But I couldn’t. Because the system that feeds to satisfy addiction is always hungry. Always telling me “one more, and you’ll quit junk forever”.
One day, I put the kids in the car and they screamed the whole way home for an ice-cream. Or pizza, or bikkies. Because I didn't spend as much time with them as mum, I had been buying them off with food. Then using them as the excuse for me to eat the pizza, the bikkies or the ice-cream.
They had become like me. Eating to satisfy an emotional need… an addiction. I wasn't depressed, just stressed. No time, no energy, always angry… always on edge. Food took the edge off. Food made me happy. Food made me playful. Temporarily.
Then I took the photo and realised that I needed to be a better father. I was acting and dressing tough to cover my insecurity. Me, the big patriarch was at the complete mercy of food. I had become food's bitch. But I denied it vehemently. "I am a man, I can't be an emotional eater! Men don't do that! If anything I eat more junk when I'm happy."
But happy is an emotion too. I was stressed, but like every guy, I gloss it with a sheen of playfulness. And my 'fun' side was to eat. A LOT!
Then I said to myself, "It's just not fair to burden my children with my food issues. I created mine through laziness. I can't create theirs through MY laziness. At least give them a chance..."
So I started fresh. I did things differently. I prepared meals. I ate proactively, not reactively. I saw that the Rock ate the same meals every day for 6 months. Boring, but simple.