Boundaries Keep Us Free from Addiction

Emotional eating and food addiction not only ruin health, but relationships as well, because both addictions have the potential to cause irrational thinking and behaviors. 

  • In the throes of my addictions I stole my children's Easter candies, Halloween treats, Christmas cookies; carefully making it look like nothing was missing, of course. 
  • I ate my husband's leftover birthday pie our first year of marriage, and when he found out he was shocked and furious! I even ate the top tier of our wedding cake that was intended for our first year anniversary celebration.
  • I ate out of the trash can; especially after a party when half-eaten Sloppy Joes and pieces of discarded birthday cake were calling my name. I would wait until the guests had gone home, and my family was sound asleep before the raid.  I loved the paper plates loaded with leftover cake and frosting flowers stuck to them the best.  
  • Besides my favorite, burnt edges of lasagna straight from the pan, one time I even ate salty, hardened hamburger grease that was sitting on the kitchen counter in a container - now that's the humdinger of addiction!

And to be totally honest, the 100 lbs of fat that I’d gained as a result of emotional eating and food addiction wasn’t nearly as painful as the inner turmoil and shame that it created within. The addictions consumed my thoughts, actions and moods; and both ruined precious relationships along the way. However, I overcame them by establishing a clear boundary line and made the steadfast decision to stay within it. Impulsive slip-ups happened from time to time, but I refused to let them derail my decision to stay 100% committed to be free from addiction and get my health back.   

That may sound too simplistic to be true, but it worked. 

Within four days of making the commitment to carefully follow Eat to Live, my teenage son with Type I diabetes ate a 2# bag of M & M’s, and he didn’t inject himself with insulin to cover it.  Suddenly, I was thrust into a tumultuous medical crisis that lasted the better part of three months. I wasn’t able to focus on books or programs to unravel the reasons behind my emotional eating. I didn’t have time to analyze every morsel of food that went into my mouth. During that time of crisis I couldn’t dig up past wounds to contemplate those who had wrongfully hurt me, or that I had hurt. My thoughts were consumed with saving my child’s life, and nothing else mattered.        

Thankfully, I had copied the Six-Week Plan, that’s outlined on p. 216 of Eat to Live, onto several 3x5 cards and had them laminated at an office supply store.  Those cards were my “boundary line” at all times.  I kept one in my purse, one in a book, one in the car, and attached one to the front of the refrigerator with a magnet. Those cards made all decisions for me, regardless of the turmoil that engulfed me.

I also worked on a daily piece of art anytime that I was tempted to eat. I carried 4"x4" squares of Bristol board, and colorful markers and pencils with me everywhere I went. I focused on creating art instead of eating food; and many times it was just doodling with colors in a hospital room. That was a tremendous tool to help divert my frustrations and anguish, and the resulting cravings to eat.

After three months the numbers on the scale were down 40 lbs, but more importantly, both emotional eating and addictive cravings for unhealthy food had significantly subsided.  I actually craved green vegetables instead of bacon, cheese, and peanut butter!

I've had episodes of emotional eating since then, but they have been short lived. For example, the following year during another diabetic crisis involving my son, I was pouring cocoa powder into bowls of oatmeal and banana ice-creams like crazy. (More like I was dumping it on!) Dr. Fuhrman told me to "Stop. Stop immediately, and don't use anymore cocoa powder for two weeks." That was my boundary line. Sure, I still nearly drowned in raging emotions that were all over the place, but I clung to the safety of the boundary line throughout the ordeaI and overcame both emotional eating and addiction to cocoa powder as a result.   

Then this past summer I was extremely sleep deprived and experienced PTSD symptoms from a sudden, tragic event in my life.  I craved dopamine producing, high calorie, low-nutrient, “healthy” foods over high-nutrient choices.  Dr. Fuhrman instructed me to focus on shopping and preparing delicious tasting, high-nutrient foods; and to focus on getting deep sleep every night by darkening my bedroom windows. Again, that was my boundary line. Within a few weeks the PTSD symptoms subsided, I desired high-nutrient foods again, and my sleep cycles were restored.


If we want emotional, psychological and physiological freedom from addictions, we must establish a clear boundary line and stay within it no matter what. 


It may seem scrupulous, but it has to be.

 

Some will think it is extreme, but so is addiction. 

 

Addicts cannot afford compromise. Addicts cannot turn back. If we do, we will be undone, because the addiction will recover strength and take over our lives.  



 You may also be interested in reading The Powerful Snare of Compromise” and

“Food Addiction is Just as Powerful as Drug Addiction”

 

 

image credit: “Death by Dumpster Diving” © 2012 by Emily Boller




 

Compliance gives the most pleasure out of life

For me, being 100% compliant to eating for health means following Dr. Fuhrman’s high-nutrient food plan (“GOMBBS” - greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, nuts/seeds), stopping before full and eating only when truly hungry.

Following the food plan isn’t the hard part for me; the "stopping before full and eating only when truly hungry" is the hard part. The stopping before full habit has taken me the longest to retrain and develop. I actually feel about as miserable now when I'm full as I would if I ate processed fake foods; but it took much repetitive training, and many failures, over three years' worth, to get to this point.

Plus, eating as a social and recreational activity has been hard to change as it has been so engrained in me over the years. However, I'm now much more aware of how many times a day most of society eats as an activity. In fact, it's pretty sad. For instance just recently I attended a social gathering, and of course, just an hour or two after dinner, a snack was served. AND it wasn't just a snack, it was a mini-meal. As a culture, we celebrate eating (the verb form) just as much as the processed junk food version of it.

All in all, it does take a lot of effort, sweat and perseverance equity to retrain damaging habits.

However, I will continue to keep these health promoting habits an intentional part of my life. For instance, I don't desire to go back to the standard American diet foods, but I would like to sit down on occasion and just pig out on unlimited amounts of high caloric, nutritarian-friendly desserts without restraint.  However, I can't go there. I can't do that.  No way. It would open the door for more and more and more until I'd go right back into a binge eating addiction. Been there. Done that. Bought the plus size t-shirt and it was no fun. 

Junk food addiction and binge eating addiction are both were very damaging habits that I never want to develop again in my life. That's why I stay compliant. I know what would happen if I didn't follow the plan. 

In all reality, for me it's a "get to" . . . .not a "have to." 


 

  • I get to remain free from craving the standard American diet and binge eating!
  • I get to enjoy life without feeling miserably bloated, tired and depressed.

  • I get to enjoy wearing pretty clothes on hot summer days.

  • I get to ride a bike and enjoy the sights and smells of a fresh, spring morning in the country.

  • I get to wake up in the mornings refreshed and happy to be alive!

  • I get to live my life without ongoing endocrinology and cardiology appointments.

  • I get to save lots and lots of money by not needing to buy test strips and insulin. 

  • I get to live in no fear of ever having a heart attack in front of my kids. [Dr. Fuhrman told me that it would be impossible for me to have a sudden heart attack now.] 

  • I get to stay out of bypass surgical suites.

  • I get to be free from astronomically expensive and toxic pharmaceuticals. 

  • I get to sit in an airplane seat and not be encumbered by rolls of fat.  

  • I get to play with future grandchildren someday instead of sitting on the sidelines in a chair. 

  • I get to do all of this and more!


What a privileged opportunity we all get as a result of choosing foods and habits that give the most pleasure and quality out of life; knowing that we are supporting, not destroying, our health as we enjoy eating!

 

 

  

Perhaps it's time to grow up

Yesterday I ended six weeks of continual passive motion (CPM) therapy for a knee repair that I had back on June 3rd. Nothing has ever pushed my buttons of frustration more than this unexpected time of rehab, and I’ve experienced a lot of frustrating and stressful moments in my life up to this point. Perhaps it was because I felt well, and lying on my back with a leg strapped to a machine for that long during nice weather just felt so unnatural and claustrophobic. Perhaps I didn’t like being dependant upon others; or isolated from society; or unable to cook, clean, pull weeds, or do laundry the way I like. For whatever reason, the volcano of frustration increased with each passing day, and last week it erupted. Big time.

baby and pacifierSo I took off for the kitchen. 

I had no idea what I was going after, but I was determined to find something. 

After opening the cupboard doors and spotting a canister of cocoa powder I found my drug of choice. Now mind you, there’s absolutely nothing unhealthy about cocoa powder, but I wasn’t going after nutrients to nourish my body. I wasn’t hungry whatsoever. 

I was mad. 

I was frustrated AND desperately wanted a quick fix to soothe and pacify my frazzled nerves.

First I dumped a bunch of cocoa in with frozen bananas and made a scrumptious chocolate dessert. After that vanished I dumped a bunch more into some hot oatmeal.  Ahhhh.  I was soothed.

Or so I thought. 

That was, until the next morning when I woke up. I had created not only a toxic headache, but stirred up even more frustrations so I headed straight back to the kitchen. This time I dumped at least twice as much of the powdery stuff into a frozen banana dessert and bowl of oatmeal. As I was in the process of bingeing, I gasped slightly at the amount of cocoa that I was putting into my body, but it didn’t bother me enough to quit.

However afterwards, when I came to my senses, I couldn’t believe that I had this much “attack” still left in me after almost three years of overcoming many emotional eating hurdles. Then the light bulb turned on.  Have you ever misplaced an infant or toddler’s favorite pacifier or blanket? Watch out.

Immediately after that revelation I had absolutely no desire whatsoever to go after the cocoa powder. Why the change? 

We all know that most everyone turns to food (and/or drinks) to celebrate happy occasions.  Likewise, for years I’d viewed eating as a normal response to life’s stress, because it seemed like most everyone also turned to food as an acceptable drug of choice when frustrated too. Now I view it for what it truly is; silly and immature behavior, an out-of-control temper tantrum that only adds more stress. 

I never had a pacifier, but I clearly remember the day my favorite blanket named “Pinky” was put on the burn pile. (I grew up on a farm.) I was six or seven-years-old and the blanket was in shambles. The time had come for me to let go of it; it was time for me to grow up.

Perhaps pacifying emotions through unhealthy eating behaviors is something that many of us need to let go of. Perhaps it’s time to grow up.  

 

image credit:  flickr by ff137        


       

The Six Week Holiday Challenge

In America there’s a mindset that it’s totally acceptable and expected by well-meaning friends and relatives to gorge on decadent, rich foods during the holidays; aka the “Six Week Holiday Binge.”  It’s been taught and modeled to most of us since childhood, and for many, it’s hard to break free from the culturally engrained habit of eating for disease during that period of time. 

Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving paintingI don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with being pulled into the culture’s holiday eating traditions:

  • traditions that are excuses to eat (and drink) for disease; planting seeds of toxic addiction and premature death
  • traditions that cause one to feel “blah”
  • traditions that result in the accepted norm of waking up on January first ~  lethargic, bloated and depressed; necessitating the need for New Years’ dieting resolutions

Whether one has many pounds to lose and needs to overcome toxic food addiction by following Dr. Fuhrman’s six-week eating plan as outlined in Eat to Live; or just wants to fine-tune a healthy habit like: eating only when hungry, or make a new, health promoting recipe each week, or increasing exercise intensity; most all of us can commit to a health improvement during the holidays. 

To help us get and stay motivated, I’ve invited several guest contributors, (including faculty from the Nutritional Education Institute, founded by Dr. Fuhrman), to share their expertise and practical tips to help us successfully navigate the holiday season ahead.  For example, they will instruct on such topics as why moderation fails, sidestepping sweet seductions, eating for health while away from home, and the wonderful benefits of daily exercise.   

The change of one is a transformation ~ the change of many is a revolution. Invite your family, friends and co-workers to jump on-board with you!  Let's all band together and intentionally challenge and change the cultures’ status quo by wholeheartedly committing to eating and exercising for health during the holidays. 

The six week holiday challenge will begin on November 20th and go through December 31st; with the official kick-off on Saturday, November 20th.  Stay tuned to Disease Proof in the weeks to come to be inspired and motivated by the line-up of guest authors!  

We are in control of our health destiny; not the medical industry and pharmaceutical companies, and definitely not the holiday traditions!  It's time to celebrate the holidays feeling well, and wake up on New Year's Day feeling our very best!

 

Let’s hear from you. What will be your six week holiday challenge? 

 

 

"Freedom from Want" painting by Norman Rockwell

Radical changes produce radical results

For years I suffered from binge eating [aka Binge Eating Disorder]; usually after episodes of restrictive, deprivation dieting. I read plenty of self-help books and occasionally went to therapy for it. The standard advice given was not to have a radical, “all-or-nothing” mindset concerning food choices. The reason being perfectionism can lead to binge eating as a coping mechanism for dieting failure and resulting false guilt. I totally agree that perfectionism can produce a false guilt that can lead to eating everything in sight; however, radical changes are absolutely necessary for the food addict to get free!  

cooked vegetablesAnyone prone to binge eating can overcome it by focusing on eating high nutrient foods for optimal health. There’s no false guilt when one is actively nurturing and giving his/her body the best care possible. When ETL is viewed as a restrictive dieting plan, binge eating most definitely will result for those who have been previously entangled in deprivation/bingeing/guilt cycles.

Dr. Fuhrman strongly urges that moderate changes produce little to no results, but radical changes produce radical results. When one experiences radical improvements of health in a relatively short amount of time, it produces momentum; both psychological and physiological.

The standard American diet is radical and dangerous, and its popularity does not make it less destructive; it is slow suicide. Dr. Fuhrman likens making gradual changes with food to making gradual changes with cocaine. For both the food addict and the cocaine addict, merely cutting down just fuels an overwhelming desire to use more. 

berriesA nutritarian diet is sensible, scientific, logical, and produces great results. I encourage anyone struggling with bingeing to view eating a high nutrient diet as a boundary fence of safety and freedom to enjoy optimal health. The eating plan will enable anyone to successfully get through toxic food cravings and see and feel radical results relatively quickly. If one fills up on nutrients, the cravings for junk will eventually disappear. Guaranteed. 

Abstinence, not perfectionism, is the key. Radical changes produce radical results, and radical results will produce motivation for life!

 

 

Previous posts related to this topic:  Junk food – as addictive as smoking? / Your hunger can keep you healthy / Breaking up is hard to do / Abstinence is key / The powerful snare of compromise  / What kind of glasses do you wear?

 

image credits: flickr - vegetables by ssimm1rg; berries by Lilia’s photos

Deprivation dieting, binge eating, guilt . . .

Eating donuts

Deprivation dieting, binge eating, guilt, deprivation dieting, binge eating, guilt . . .

Know what I’m talking about? 

For those reading this post and have never struggled with an eating disorder, count your blessings and feel free to move onto reading something else of interest. 

However, for those who can relate, and know exactly what the cycle is like, let’s dialogue about the subject. 

Here’s how the typical scenario goes: 

Nutrients are unrealistically and severely restricted to cause the numbers on the scale to go down; aka deprivation dieting.  It's like trying to desperately breathe with no oxygen available.

 One survives a few days, and then . . bam, pent up emotions emerge out of nowhere. 

McDonalds ~ quickly! Big Mac, fries, chocolate shake, and apple pie. 

Next, Dairy Queen is in sight. Oreo blizzard and a caramel sundae.

Gas station is on the way home. Two chocolate bars and a bag of salted cashews. 

At home more food is ravenously eaten like a giant monster that has been let loose.

The belly expands. Fatigue overwhelms. Guilt engulfs. Remorse entangles. Vows are made.

 “I’ll diet again tomorrow,” is the infamous promise. 

Three days pass, and without warning, the monster returns with full vengeance.

How does one stop the cycle? 

The following are suggestions that have worked for me:

  • scalesStop deprivation dieting. If one’s focus is on calorie restriction for the scales instead of eating necessary nutrients for optimal health, that mindset will eventually lead to binge eating, guilt, and more binge eating. Guaranteed every time.
  • Take food addiction seriously. It’s right up there with destroying one’s life every bit as much as heroine and cocaine. Know that literally thousands have been set free from severe food addictions by following Dr. Fuhrman’s eating plan for optimal health. Thoroughly study his books and articles to understand the science behind his recommendations. Hold onto his life-saving instructions and don’t let them go, no matter what.
     
  • Establish habits of creative expression to replace the habit of releasing emotions through eating. For example, I’m a painter, and when I began the journey to get my health back, I chose to document my feelings along the way through visual creativity. I cut up 4”x 4” pieces of illustration board and committed to make one artwork per day. Sometimes I painted on the illustration boards, other times I wrote or doodled on them with markers, and a few times I glued items that I had collected on a walk. Any form of creative expression, whether it is quilting, knitting, wood working, sculpting, dancing, journaling, writing poetry, singing, songwriting, playing an instrument, or whatever one enjoys, will keep the mind engaged and distracted from the habit of turning to food for emotional release. Plus, as an additional benefit, a creative project specifically dedicated to documenting the journey, will keep one continually focused on the goal of earning health back, even in the midst of life’s many, and sometimes stressful circumstances.
     
  • friends walkingDevelop a healthy support system with likeminded friends, and seek professional counseling for the deep stuff. Isolation fuels pent up emotions like kerosene fuels a fire. I learned to process and communicate my thoughts and feelings on the member center instead of turning to food. The gift of understanding that others gave was priceless, and helped me establish a new path of emotional health. 
        
  • Exercise. And I’m not necessarily talking about the regularly scheduled, daily workout; although that’s vitally important. Get out in the fresh air. Go for a walk with a friend. Hop on a bike and ride around the neighborhood. Play a game of ping-pong with the kids. Many times, just a brief diversion of exercise will release pent up emotions that are brewing within.
     
  • Be still and visualize. Take a few moments to be quiet, close the eyes, and visualize life in one, five, and ten years from now living in optimal health. Make time for daily,
    quiet moments to recharge vision.  
     

Food addiction and emotional eating can be successfully overcome. The availability of toxic foods and the ebb and flow of emotional turmoil will always be a part of life; but food addiction and emotional eating doesn’t have to be!

What’s worked for you?   

 

image credits:  scales, dailymail.co.uk;  friends walking, sports-council-wales.org

The danger of exhaustion

exhausted male

Exhaustion. 

The kind of fatigue that develops as a result of the newborn crying again at 3 am. 

The kind that develops while recovering from major surgery.

The kind that no amount of cheering fixes. 

Exhaustion is dangerous stuff that leads to apathy. 

Apathy says, “I don’t give a rip. I don’t care.”   

When one’s body gets to that degree of fatigue, watch out! 

Recently, I found the following writing that I had posted on the member center of DrFuhrman.com during the year that I’d lost 100 lbs.   It was dated, March 14, 2009; a little over eight months into the journey of earning my health back. The scales were down about eighty pounds, and I was well out of toxic food cravings. Just a few weeks prior to this writing I had had a major surgery, and decided to take a road trip to visit my son at college; a 3 1/2 hour drive away.

 

          I had a wonderful drive to visit my son. It was beautiful weather, and he had an eventful afternoon planned for my 14-year-old daughter and me. We went gallery hopping, window shopping, grocery shopping; plus, we toured the campus. On the outside I look relatively well now, but I’m still recovering from a major surgery that I had just a few weeks ago. This trip was my first "day away" since surgery. Can anyone spell s-t-u-p-i-d? 

          Well, between cleaning the house, and a 1/2 hour incline treadmill walk in the morning before departing; plus, all the excitement of the day, by early  evening, I had bit off way more than my body could physically manage. I was extremely exhausted, and was facing another 3 1/2 hour drive back home. At that moment, my rational mind shut down, and the irrational thought of "I don't care anymore" took over.

          My son had given his little sister a sack full of chocolate pop tarts (leftovers from his dorm breakfasts ~ the breakfasts of champions for college students.)  In "I don't care" mode, I asked for a pop tart, and my daughter graciously obliged. I opened the package, and the two pop tarts were stale, but I didn’t care. I ate them anyway. Then I read on the package that I had just eaten 73 grams of carbs. This freaked me out so I bought some tuna salad that was swimming in mayonnaise at a deli to compensate for any blood sugar issues that I might have created with the pop tarts. You know where this story is going . . . 

          I stopped mid-drive home, and got a gooey, hot fudge sundae. Then an hour later, I bought a candy bar and cream filled caramels at a gas station, scarfed them down, and then devoured a peanut butter sandwich when I got home. Then I collapsed in bed. Forget brushing the teeth . . . my body was beyond exhausted. There was not one ounce of self care or nurturing left. *


exhausted female holding cupWhen we are extremely exhausted, we have a tendency to make unwise choices. Oftentimes, we no longer desire to properly nurture and care for our bodies. When the body is pushed beyond healthy limits, it automatically shuts down, and goes into "I don't care" mode; and that's the most dangerous place to be! One can have good intentions, but in "I don't care" mode irrationality takes over.

We need to be diligent to make time for proper self-care; that includes nurturing as well as nourishment. We need to be kind to our bodies and not abuse them by overextending their capabilities. We need to make time for rest and rejuvenation, which may include asking others for help; especially in seasons of additional stress.

Wise choices produce freedom! 

 

After two years of eating high nutrient foods, I now have a strong aversion to junk food, and would get violently sick if I binged on those same foods.

 

 

image credits:  vbd.com; magazine.ayurvediccure.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Dorothy

I met Dorothy on the member center of DrFuhrman.com. I was thrilled to observe her excitement as she became set free from food addiction and  yo-yo dieting this past year. Although she’s happy to have reached her “dream weight”, like so many others have experienced, she is most excited about the freedom that eating for health has brought to her life . . . for the rest of her life! Welcome to Disease Proof, Dorothy.

                         female nutritian; before and after images

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?
My life was like a miserable rollercoaster ride. I was a chronic yo-yo dieter, and caught in the cycle of deprivation dieting to lose weight; however, I was unable to maintain it as I always fell back into bad habits. At age 20 I required a gallbladder removal as a consequence of following the low carb, Stillman Diet during my high school years.

I was always hungry, and dealt continually with food cravings and binge eating. Dieting to lose weight for an upcoming event, and then sabotaging my efforts became a way of life for me. I started to wonder if I was just going to gain and lose the same 20 lbs forever and maybe it was time to face the reality of being heavier than I liked. However, because my family has a strong cardiac disease history, the fear of getting sick drove me to keep looking for a solution. I prayed that I could find something that made me healthy as well as thinner.

 

How did you discover Eat to Live?
In November of 2009, at age 53, I searched and found a website called Peer Trainer, and through that site I was introduced to nutritarian eating and Dr. Fuhrman’s teachings. His basic message was eating a lot of high quality nutrients, and the focus was not about, “You can’t have this or that.”

I thought to myself, “Okay, I can make a smoothie and add some kale and spinach.” I remember standing in the supermarket looking for kale and not knowing what it looked like.I started eating green vegetables and making smoothies, and it was like someone flipped a switch and my hunger and cravings vanished. I actually started craving healthy food, and willpower became a non-issue for me. The more I learned online, the more I wanted to know about Dr. Fuhrman’s high nutrient eating style so I bought his books, and the rest is history.

 

female portrain

How do you feel now?
I feel great! I’ve gone from weighing 172 lbs to 134 lbs; which is below my dream weight of 135, and my total cholesterol has dropped 38 points. I now enjoy exercising regularly and shopping for fashionable clothes; going from size 12’s and 14’s down to 6’s and 8’s. I also like eating high nutrient foods, because my taste buds have changed and I no longer desire salty, processed, and greasy foods. [Plus, as an additional bonus, my daughter who has type 1diabetes, has been eating high nutrient foods right along with me, and has significantly reduced her insulin requirements!] 

 

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

  • Eat high nutrient foods, and the desire for junk food becomes less and less desirable. 
  • Focus on what you can eat; not on what you can’t eat.  
  • Make delicious, fruit smoothies with berries, a ripe banana, almond milk, spinach, and/or kale. 
  • Establish a support system. I’m a member of Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center, and being able to communicate with Dr. Fuhrman has been really helpful for me. Additionally, the other members have a lot of practical advice, encouragement, and recipes to share. The member center helps me stay on track.

 

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you?  
It has totally changed my life because I’ve been freed from “Food Jail!” I feel good about myself now that I’m in control of the food that I put into my body. Cooking is now more enjoyable as I’ve discovered new foods and recipes. I also handle stress better, and I longer turn to food for self-medication. As a nurse I know that nutritarian eating will certainly increase my odds of staying healthy for the rest of my life.

 

Congratulations Dorothy ~ we applaud you! 

 

The anatomy of a binge

binge eating

Binge eating isn’t necessarily a household word, but it’s become a common and secretive behavior behind closed doors. Binge eating is consuming abnormally large amounts of food in a rapid amount of time. The binge eater feels uncomfortably bloated afterwards; followed by feelings of remorse, guilt and disgust. Immobility and fatigue are the immediate responses following a binge, but over time, obesity and rapidly deteriorating health are the ultimate outcomes.  

How do I know? I was a chronic binge eater for nearly thirty years of my life; plus, I’ve been interacting with many binge eaters [aka “overeaters”] over the past two years. It’s a behavior that shrouds the participant with shame and embarrassment. Like all unhealthy addictions, it is disease promoting, and one must overcome it to live in optimal health. 

A binge usually starts with a small compromise of some sort.  It may be as simple and innocent as an extra handful of nuts with dinner. A healthy response to that extra handful of nuts would be to acknowledge it, “Okay, I just overrate an extra handful of nuts.” Then the next step would be to quickly move on and not think anymore about it. The key phrase here is quickly move on. Most likely he/she will not feel hunger for breakfast the next morning, and that’s perfectly fine. Perhaps after a vigorous workout and a morning of work, a light lunch at eleven, when he/she is truly hungry again, will be most welcome and pleasurable. This natural response is health promoting.

The mindset of a chronic binge eater is, “I blew it. I over ate that extra handful of nuts with dinner. I’m a failure. I might as well give up and eat anything and everything in sight now.” The problem with this unhealthy thinking pattern is the person will go to bed stuffed and miserably uncomfortable; only to wake up the next morning full of remorse and defeat which will immediately perpetuate more binge eating. The cycle continues until the person has created a pathway of ruts straight into the dungeon of obesity. 

So, if you are reading this post and caught in the cycle of a binge:

1)      Stop. Stop immediately. Put that spoonful of nut butter down. Throw that handful of M&M’s in  the trash.   

2)      Acknowledge it.  Verbally list in your mind what you just over ate. Don’t deny it. 

3)      Move on quickly. Depending upon the amount that you over ate, you may not feel well. No big deal. This too shall pass. Be kind to yourself and don’t eat until you are truly hungry again. 

4)      Listen to Dr. Fuhrman’s teleconference in the member center library, “Curtailing Overeating.” Watch the Livestream by Dr. Fuhrman from the Health Getaway on Food Addictions and Weight Loss. Thoroughly understand his instructions on not eating again until your body is at the end of the catabolic phase of digestion and repair.

5)      Visualize what you will look and feel like when chronic binge eating is completely removed from your life. 

6)      Be 100% committed to overcoming binge eating. 100% commitment is not the same as 100% perfection. Slip-ups happen on occasion. They just do. The key to success is minimizing slip-ups and move on quickly. Quickly is the key word! 

7)      Feeling good is highly motivating. Once you feel good again, it will be a thoroughly pleasurable experience, and will thrust you into the contagious cycle of enjoying optimal health for life!

Freedom from binge eating to all!

 

image credit: avidityfitness.net

Food Addiction and the Holidays

Christmas candles 

Amongst the warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas lights, tinsel and a perfectly decorated tree, let’s take a moment to have a gut level, reality check about food addiction.

In our culture we tend to “categorize” addictions by the priority we place upon them. 

We have programs in public schools to teach students to say no to drugs.

We encourage teens not to smoke or drink.  We’ve even established laws to prevent them from purchasing the destructive items. 

As a nation, we’ve put a high priority on educating the culture about the life controlling power and damaging effects of drug, alcohol and cigarette addiction.  We’ve heard the stories.  We’ve seen the graphic images.  We’ve developed special care for crack and fetal alcohol syndrome babies.  We’ve even put Surgeon’s General Warning labels on packs of cigarettes.   

We understand the concept that once an individual makes the decision to stop nicotine addiction, there’s no going back to smoking just one cigarette. 

We understand the dangers of a recovering alcoholic having that innocent sip of wine at a cocktail party.

We wouldn’t think of putting a recovering drug addict back on the streets to sell cocaine.

                                              drug addict

Unfortunately, as a nation, we’ve put a low, almost non-existent, priority on the life damaging effects of food addiction.  We think nothing of grooming the taste buds of children for a lifetime of addiction to salty fries, donuts and Big Macs.  We think nothing of celebrating the holidays with a month-long food binge. 

Just because Christmas cookies, fudge and cheese balls don’t have a Surgeon’s General Warning label on them, doesn’t mean they’re safe to put into the body.

Food addiction is serious stuff.  Because it’s both psychological and physiological, for many, it only takes one bite to unravel weeks and perhaps months of nutritarian progress.  For most, it's unwise to enter the traditional, holiday feasting arena; even an occasional detour.       

If you are caught in a situation this holiday season where food choices are life threatening to your commitment to health, are you prepared to JUST SAY NO?  (You will not die if you have to wait until you get home to eat.  Better yet, keep apples and almonds stocked in your car for those emergencies.)

Are you intentionally planning and preparing your own health-promoting food to take with you when you attend a holiday party?

Be proactive.  Don’t allow the month of celebrations unravel your commitment to optimal health.

Diabetes is serious.  Heart attacks and strokes are real. 

Food addiction kills.  It strangles the very life out of a person; destroying health and ruining precious relationships. 

If food addiction isn’t taken seriously, repeated compromises will lead to addictive necessity.  Guaranteed. 

It’s important for each of us to know our limitations, establish clear boundaries and live within them.

That is where freedom abounds; and freedom is where health abounds.  

Freedom to all this holiday season!

 

Be honest, do you take food addiction seriously?  Do you have clear boundaries established this holiday season, and if so, what are they? 

 

image credits: computerpartsgames.wordpress.com; markhoustonrecovery.com