Food addiction is just as serious as drug addiction

Emily Boller before pic

 

If we feed addiction, it grows.

If we abstain, it dies.

 

If we give in an inch, food addiction will capture and drag us for miles; literally strangling the very life out of us.

It's mean.

It's ruthless.

It clothes one in rags.

It destroys families and homes.

It robs romantic intimacy between husband and wife.

It eats up finances and drowns its victims in dire poverty.

It’s no respecter of persons; socioeconomic, educational, or professional.

It doesn't care who it maims and disables in its path of destruction, including those the addict loves and cares about.  It's never solitary; it affects everyone surrounding the captive.

Don't give food addiction the opportunity to suck the life out of you. Contend for your freedom if it costs you everything you’ve got. Some may call you neurotic. Others may avoid your company. Still others may ridicule your commitment and entice you to consider moderation, but don't give into the voice of the enemy.
 


If you give in, you are undone. If you “wait until tomorrow” . . . . the truth is tomorrow never comes, because food addiction grows stronger with each compromise.   

I'm a bit passionate, I know. But in order to give food addiction black ‘n blue eyes, and ruthlessly disable it from ever coming after me again, I've had to be.

One day I hit a wall. I saw the seriousness of what the addiction was doing to my marriage and family, my health, my sanity, and my talents; and knew that I had no other option but to radically commit to Eat to Live to stop its destruction. I was willing to pay any price to get free. 

 

Willingness to commit to carefully following the plan in Eat to Live (aka total abstinence) is the key to long-term success. Once one is willing, no obstacle will be in the way as obstacles are just the welcome excuse to continue in addiction.

Emily Boller afterI'll never give up the fight. I'll never quit contending for my own freedom and health, and the freedom and health of my fellow man, no matter what, for life.

 

 

The image at the top of this post is a picture of me the day before I committed to abstinence from the standard America diet.

Compromises are the seeds of addiction

cookies

One doesn’t just wake up one day suddenly caught in the entanglement of an unhealthy addiction. Unhealthy addictions are formed by repetitions of small, seemingly insignificant compromises of what we know to be good for us.  The danger of little compromises is they easily turn into bigger ones.

Typically, rationalizations spark the fire of compromise:

 

  • “It’s late. I’m tired ~ just a piece of toast with almond butter before bed won’t hurt me.”
  • “It’s the Super Bowl. Everyone is eating. Even though I’m not hungry, I’ll snack just this one time with everyone else. I’m not addicted to salt anymore so I can start over tomorrow; no problem.”
  • “Woah, I made way too much smoothie, and I only like to drink them when fresh. Oh well, just this one time won’t hurt to drink all of it. I hate to waste anything.”
  • “I know that I should only eat when truly hungry, but those homemade cookies left on the countertop were calling my name. I couldn’t help myself.”

 

It takes commitment to intentional choices, a solid plan, to keep one off the radar screen of addiction. 

 

Commitment is an action of the mind; a promise that’s based on knowledge. Commitment is hard at times. It’s never the easy way in the heat of a tempting moment.

 

Compromise is an action of the emotions; based on feelings, excuses and rationalizations. Compromise is easy. Any little thing is an excuse to give into impulses of the moment.

 

Perhaps it’s time to honestly evaluate our commitment or lack thereof. Are we committed to eating for optimal health, or are we eating according to feelings?

One produces freedom from addiction. The other produces captivity to it. 

In the heat of the moment, follow the plan.

Freedom to all! 

 

 

image credit: flicr by Kimberlykj

A Valentine Love Story

 

For many, Valentine’s Day is filled with candlelit dinners, flowers and romance. Yet, unfortunately, for many others, it's just another day filled with disappointment due to a loved one’s confusing perils of addiction. 

Addiction is not solitary; it painfully affects everyone, especially those closest to the person caught in the web of its entanglements. 

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting Peggy, the lovely wife of Ronnie Valentine, who I recently interviewed on Disease Proof. If you recall, Ronnie was not only caught up in food and alcohol addiction, but smoked four packs of cigarettes a day. I asked Peggy if she’d be willing to share her perspective of what it was like being married to someone drowning in addiction, (with Ronnie’s blessing), and she wholeheartedly agreed to it. Welcome to Disease Proof, Peggy.

  

 

 

                      picture of young couple

What was your life like being married to someone trapped in addiction?

When Ronnie and I married in 1985, he was disciplined, athletic, healthy, and balanced. His addiction to cigarettes, alcohol and food developed slowly over time, as did my coping mechanisms. I definitely progressed in a downward spiral, in my own way, right along with him. 

As a couple, our once normal, loving partnership turned to one of caregiver and sick, disabled person.  Having to pick up additional responsibilities to cover for Ronnie’s physical incapacities and emotional absence due to behaviors that were chosen by him, I continued in a repetitive cycle of anger, pity, hope, and forgiveness, which was detrimental to my own health and well being. 

 

How did Ronnie’s addictions affect your children and other relationships?

Addiction in our case, as I think for most people suffering from it, affected every relationship within our family, plus our social relationships, in a negative way. Our children experienced the absence of their father. His desire to be in their lives was limited as the addictions were the driving force in his life. I remember telling the kids about a year before Ronnie discovered Dr. Fuhrman’s web site that I felt strongly their father would not be around much longer. We were living with a person who was voluntarily and slowly killing himself. I knew that his will to live had long departed. Although we never talked about it, I knew that Ronnie was putting affairs in order so that I could carry on in his absence. And because his preference was to socialize with those who liked to participate in the same things, our social life also became out-of-balance as isolation took place of relationships.

 

married coupleHow did it affect your finances?

Ronnie was taking medications that were costing over $600/month in out-of-pocket expenses! Our finances were crippled, because more than $2500 every month was being thrown out the window to fund his addictions and medications. Today I’m proud to say that we spend absolutely nothing on prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, cigarettes, alcohol, eating out, junk food, or any other vice. 

 

How did you cope with the ongoing stress? 

I wish I could say that I was the pillar of strength and support, but that would be an inaccurate assessment. However, I do believe for those married that we ultimately want our marriages to succeed. The need to WANT to trust our partner is strong. I knew that this was the foundation to our relationship. If the trust was gone, we were through.

I experienced a naïve type of hope that wanted to find something good to hang on to, which became my coping mechanism. However, eventually over the years, my instinct and good sense confirmed to me that this problem wasn’t going to get any better or go away. As a last resort, I went to my God on Ronnie’s behalf and begged for mercy. I began to pray a lot.

Only God can change a heart. All the diets, disciplined efforts, exercise programs, treatment centers, hypnosis, or any other methods are destined to fail if the heart of the person has not decided to live. I think many people have to hit bottom in order to look up, and Ronnie was no exception. After his second trip to the hospital for treatment of serious heart disease in three years, we were both at rock bottom.

 

What was the turning point for you?

Upon returning home after having three stents put into his arteries [two years after quadruple bypass surgery], I watched Ronnie search for a new way to live. He discovered Dr. Fuhrman’s web site and began to communicate with him about his health. As Ronnie gained information, he began to change. Although that first year was hard, (Ronnie had been smoking four packs of cigarettes a day and stopped cold turkey), his decision to live never faltered. It was an instant decision on his part. Seeing his will to live again was a turning point for me as I could look forward to a future with the man that I loved the most in the world. My assumption of being a widow was no longer valid! God had come through in His mercy.

 

          before and after pics of male

What has it been like to see Ronnie change right before your eyes?

There has been a lot of attention, and rightfully so, spent on gaining knowledge about vitamins, minerals, what and when to eat, how foods affect the body, human anatomy, exercise, and managing stress; almost a hobby and passion for Ronnie. I am very proud of his dedication to learn this information and his willingness to share it with anyone ready to listen.

A new trust has been restored to our relationship. We are now on the same page for the first time in years.  Our children have been released of the constant burden of worry, not only for their father, but for me as well.

Sometimes I still forget that I don’t have to do everything by myself anymore. I now have a healthy and fit husband who can help bring in groceries, mow the lawn, and move heavy boxes and furniture with ease; all of which he couldn’t do when he was sick and incapacitated.  I no longer see our money flying out the door with nothing to show for it. Our life is so much better and easier, and an open book to family and friends with nothing to hide.

 

Is there anything that you would like to share with those who are committed to a loved one through the devastation of addiction?

Ronnie was hurting, but he was a dynamic and extraordinary individual waiting to jump out and live again.  I think it’s important not to put a lot of unnecessary blame on someone caught in addiction, and in the process, bypass our own shortcomings. 

If you are reading this and are a parent or grandparent, be watchful of your children and grandchildren. Their physical and emotional well-beings are impressionable, and their nutritional habits are being formed by you. Some of the answers to addiction may lie here, and I suspect that if taught early, good habits and health would carry throughout a lifetime.

 

                                          

Happy Valentines Day Ronnie and Peggy Valentine! May you have many wonderful years together!

 

 

Image credits: roses, theresampetoskey@Flickr; silhouette, emergingcity.com

 

 

 

 

It Takes Commitment

Okay, let’s be gut level honest here; if one is going to get completely free from food addiction and live in optimal health, it’s going to take commitment.

Commitment is fully engaging one’s mind to act upon a decision. Commitment includes involvement and dedication.

Commitment is not, “I’ll give it a *try* . . . . . (until I don’t feel like it anymore.)”

Nor is it, “I’ll be a nutritarian during the week, and a junketarian on weekends.”

Making the commitment to get health back has everything to do with, “No matter what, every day I will make choices to eat for health for the rest of my life. No argument. No wavering in the midst of trial. The decision has been made. Period.”

When the mind is 100% committed, there are no more excuses.

(100% commitment has nothing to do with 100% perfection. BIG difference. I’ll discuss that topic in another post.)

A nutritarian whose mind is 100% committed to optimal health will:

Remove junk food, processed cereals, white flour products, salt, and sweets from the house.

Make time to study Dr. Fuhrman’s books and tutorials; understanding the difference between toxic hunger and cravings versus true hunger, the body’s need for digestive rest as much as nourishing food, and the instructional teleconference on overeating. Success is dependent on how much information is comprehended, not on how much willpower is possessed.

Ask like-minded and supportive members on drfuhrman.com for practical success tips and delicious recipes to make it through an upcoming birthday party.

Know how to make scrumptious sorbets, ice creams and cakes from nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.

Make time to clean and slice romaine lettuce, tomatoes and red onions to make a huge, great tasting salad instead of zoning out in front of the TV.

Make a homemade salad dressing from wholesome ingredients such as blueberries or kiwis,
tomato paste, or flavored vinegars and cashews rather than just pour a bunch of oil and salt out of a bottle.

Prepare a large pot of cooked beans with basil, garlic and spices for use throughout the week.

Choose to stop by the farmer’s market instead of the fast food place, knowing the sack of fresh green peppers, tomatoes and peaches will support nutritional excellence.

Click here for sample recipes from drfuhrman.com.

Have you made the commitment to optimal health, or are you just trying to eat more healthfully?

The latter will be laced with hundreds of excuses, and will only set you up for failure at the next curve ball that life throws your way.

If you haven’t already done so, pick a date, and make the commitment.

Let’s dialogue. Have YOU made the commitment? If you haven’t, what excuses are holding you back?