Author, Speaker and Success Coach
President, Managing Life, Ltd.
Tennessee National Speaker Association President 2009 - 2010
Sandy Griffin's Secret Addiction with Food
By Jewel Graham
The 700 Club
Sandy Griffin had 12 brothers and sisters and she was stuck right in the middle! As number six, she felt she wasn’t seen as an individual and her achievements weren’t really celebrated by her family. Consequently, she really didn’t feel she was loved.
“I would go out thinking, ‘Well I’m just not good enough because of who I am,’” Sandy said.
At an early age, Sandy began to fill her emotional emptiness with food. It all started when she and her sister inherited the family paper route.
“We would buy candy bars. They were six for a quarter. We would either buy six or 12 each,” Sandy said. “Sometimes we would eat them by the time we got to the paper place. We’d deliver the papers and sometimes we’d stop at another place and get cream puffs and eat those. Sometimes we would be so full we’d run up and down the hills trying to get our appetite back.”
Sandy’s love of food quickly became a secret addiction.
“I think I was probably 11 or 12 when I started hiding it,” she said.
As she got older, she got her younger sister involved in the eating habit.
“I would take her out and we would buy bakery things,” Sandy said. “I would show her how to hide it with the scarves and mittens that were up on the shelf.”
This childhood behavior turned into an adult life of compulsive overeating.
“I got up to 210 pounds, but I probably should have weighed 400 pounds realistically for what I ate,” she said. “It’s a horrible, horrible place to be because it’s not who you are. You know you’re not defined by how you look and you let it define you. And you don’t thrive because you feel like you don’t deserve it because of your weight.”
Sandy just couldn’t stop. She continued to eat around the clock. She’d be driving home from work, thinking that she should eat, even though it would be 1:00 a.m.
“I didn’t want them to know it was just for me, so I’d order eight or 10 hamburgers,” Sandy said. “But I’d have to order eight or 10 fries so that they would think it was for eight or 10 people. I’d eat that. It could be 1:00 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. Even as I was doing that I would think, ‘I’m so tired of doing this.’”
In desperation, Sandy tried all the fad diets.
“When I was 21, I went on what was called the Last Chance diet,” she said. “I didn’t eat for eight and a half weeks. I drank three tablespoons of liquid protein. I chewed three pieces of sugar free gum a day. I drank a lot of liquids and I did it from a doctor; and 38 people died from it while I was on it. But I knew better; I was so tired of being fat. I thought if I was thin I would really like myself and so would everybody else; not realizing people liked me anyway, just not liking myself. I lost 70 pounds in eight and a half weeks.”
For 21 years Sandy continued to gain and lose weight. A failed marriage and three children later, Sandy found herself home alone, looking for a job.
“All of a sudden God told me to go get a Bible and I thought, ‘hmmph, easy for you to say, I don’t even know if I have one,’” Sandy said. “I opened it up and I opened it to 1 Corinthians 1:8 and He said be strong. I remember the word strong and I remember I was walking around going, ‘Why am I so weak? Why am I so weak? I saw the word strong and it wiped out the word weak. I didn’t know that you could give your life to Christ. I hadn’t heard any of that. I knew at that point that something had happened. I mean from that minute on, life was never the same. It was like I’m strong. I’m not weak, I’m not and it was like it wiped out all the weakness I had had my whole life. It was like all of a sudden I understood that I could get to know God instead of just know about Him.”
Right then Sandy prayed for salvation. She immediately realized what she had been looking for in food, she had found in Christ. As her insatiable appetite disappeared, Sandy gradually lost weight over time. With Christ, she kept it off!
“My theory is we have two stomachs,” Sandy said, “One stomach for food and we have a stomach for God. It was a matter of replacing the food with God. It’s like feeling full; eating and feeling satisfied and going praying before a meal. Thanking Him for it. Realizing where it comes from. But even before you go to a meal, you’ve gotten your daily bread.”
Today Sandy is an author, a life coach, motivational speaker and a woman who uses her story to touch lives.
“If I had one thing that I could tell people, I would tell them to draw from God and start to realize that food is not food, that you’re hungry and you think you’re physically hungry,” she said. “Look at what the source is and go back to where it comes from. And I would tell people, start finding out what your gifts are, find out who you are and who you were created in God. When you take that scene – OK, now God, what do you want me to do with that? And from there you will find out who you are.”
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