By: Quincy McGee, The GW Hatchet
My name is Quincy McGee, and I am a fast food addict.
While I have always had a complicated relationship with food, my sophomore year in high school gave me access to a car and pushed me from being slightly overweight to morbidly obese. I found myself in the throes of a full-blown eating disorder.
What began as a single trip to McDonalds or Wendy’s for lunch or a snack eventually became two, three and sometimes four trips a day to binge on burgers, fries and chicken nuggets. By my junior year, my weight barreled past 300 pounds and into dangerous levels.
Although I was aware of how heavy I was becoming, I just couldn’t stop. Food was on my mind every minute of every hour of every day. If I wasn’t able to get it, my body would shut down, and I would start feeling depressed or cut off. My entire days were planned around when I would be going to the drive-thru next.
The day that I hit rock bottom is still very clear to me. On Nov. 30, 2012, I sat in a McDonalds parking lot in my car. The remnants of the massive meal I had just eaten were strewn across the passenger seat and included 20 chicken nuggets, a large order of fries and three McDoubles. Suddenly, tightness gripped my chest – a tightness that no man at the age of 16 should experience.
I realized that if I continued on the path I was on, I would die. In that moment, I could not see myself living past the age of 35. I went home that day, downloaded a calorie counting app, and started slowly changing my lifestyle. This eventually progressed into joining a gym, running for my high school track team and slowly and carefully changing the lifestyle that was literally killing me.
Within eight months I had dropped nearly 150 pounds. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. As with other addictions, I still consider myself in recovery from an eating disorder.
Mika Brzezinski, co-Host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” spoke at a School of Public Health and Health Services event on Wednesday about how she has worked to overcome her “food addiction.” My opportunity to speak with her there was enlightening, and it encouraged me to come forward and tell my own story.
There are many days that I deal with the same self-doubt that plagued me at 300 pounds. I still find myself obsessing about how much I eat and my body image. Often, it is tough to fight the urge to take a trip to McDonalds.
I don’t know if I will ever have a “healthy” relationship with food, especially when it’s something that I have to consume to survive. But I do believe that I can work to control my obsession, and develop a relationship that isn’t as self-destructive as it has been in the past.
College life presents many opportunities for relapse and falling into old habits. I am in a constant battle between choosing healthy and unhealthy foods. The first couple of months were rocky, and I found myself going back to that place of self-shame.
But the more I talk about my journey, and learn that others are dealing with the same issues, the more empowered I feel. Lately I find myself in a place of acceptance. Perfection is not possible – I forgive myself if I have a bad day, and remind myself how far I have come.
Yes, eating healthy is great, but even for me, 2 a.m. sometimes demands mozzarella sticks from Gallery.