Jennifer Joyner was "a longtime member of the morbidly obese," avoiding the reflection of her 336-pound body in the mirror and wondering how her husband could still want her. For years, she could not stop eating, "cheeseburgers and French fries and pepperoni pizzas and chocolate bars smothered in peanut butter, all washed down with gallons of Mountain Dew and sweet tea," she writes on Salon. She didn't enjoy it; she wanted to stop, but although she tried Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, Atkins, a trainer, a gym, doctors, a psychologist, and even talking to a pastor, nothing worked.
After finally, reluctantly undergoing gastric bypass surgery (which resulted in complications, hospitalizations, hair loss, depression, and a 153-pound weight loss), she finds herself in the grocery store one day, buying chips even though she isn't hungry. "I figure it won't hurt to have a couple," but that turns into the whole bag and soon she is "hideously sick." Even so, she does the same thing the next day, and the next, and then it dawns on her: "I am addicted to food." In retrospect, "the classic signs of addiction are so obvious," she writes. If only "even one of the doctors I consulted in all my years of extreme dieting had mentioned food addiction, maybe I wouldn’t have gone through the physical anguish of gastric bypass." Click here for her entire thoughtful essay.