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




 

The refrigerator is never the solution

Four years ago this summer I began the journey to get my health back by choosing to wholeheartedly follow Eat to Live, and it’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made in my life. 

Not only did I get my health back, the tranformation has had a rippling effect on my family, friends, community, and even complete strangers. As a result, many are now committed, or seriously considering, nutritarian eating for the rest of their lives also.

If I've learned anything these past four years, I've learned that food is NEVER a solution to any problem, stressed-filled day, or emotional high or low. Ever. If one turns to food, it magnifies problems, big time.

 

Emotional health is never achieved via the refrigerator, cupboard, or drive-thru, that's for sure.

No matter how much we try to keep stress out of our lives, we all have *stuff* to deal with on a daily basis . . . .it is called living life.

Life is full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains; it's what makes our lives interesting. We are who we are today due to the experiences that we've all lived through: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We must separate food from this day-to-day stuff that we experience. If we don't, we are undone. 

  • Are you thrilled and happy? Gather some friends and dance to some lively music! Play games together, tell jokes and stories. Enjoy life; don’t abuse your body with food.
  • Are you down-in-the-dumps? Go to bed early. Problems always look different after a nap or a good night’s sleep. Get help from supportive individuals; don’t abuse your body with food.
  • Are you overbooked with too many responsibilities on your plate? Schedule an appointment with a professional counselor or life coach to help you prioritize, develop a workable solution, and whittle away unnecessary tasks; don’t abuse your body with food.
  • Are you overcome with grief? Cry until you have no more tears. It’s okay to cry. Sometimes life gets unbearable and emotional pain goes deep. Call trusted friends. Close friends want to help you and be there for you; don’t abuse your body with food.

Abusing one's body with food, complicates problems, enhances sorrows, and adds an extra layer of fragility and tragedy to life. Addictive food and drugs are never a solution.

You'll be pleasantly surprised just how fulfilling your life really is as you allow the up-and-downs of life polish and refine you; instead of escaping to the refrigerator, cupboard, or drive-thru.

Cheers of the best health that’s possible to all ~ through all of life's circumstances!

Always.

How's your PMA?

Right after college I was on staff at a large camp in northern Michigan.  Over a ten week period of time we had over 10,000 summer campers, and I learned the importance of positive mental attitude (PMA) that summer.  Periodically during the mealtimes and various activities, the staff and campers would stop whatever they were doing, and chant in unison, “How’s your PMA?”  It seems like a silly camp ritual, but looking back, continually keeping a check on one’s positive mental attitude was a great habit to develop.

Many have a natural tendency to become negative under stress; and stress is just a simple word for, “Life’s the pits right now, I’m overwhelmed, and things aren’t going the way I had planned.”   

When negativity wraps its ugly claws around our minds, we typically don’t want to make good choices, because negativity causes us to feel sorry for ourselves.  Poor me.  Self-pity mentality can be detrimental to our well-being and to those around us.

Emily BollerHow do I know?  I experienced it first hand last weekend.  On June 3rd I had what was ‘supposed’ to be a simple arthroscopic knee procedure to mend a meniscus tear.  No big deal.  A couple of days off of it, and then a couple of weeks of TLC, and I would be good to go again.  Well, the surgery ended up being more involved, and upon discharge I was instructed to not bear any weight on the injured leg for six weeks; and also be on a continuous passive machine (CPM) for eight hours, every single day, for those six weeks.

It’s summer-like weather now in Indiana.  We just endured a long, cold winter and spring, and the weather is finally nice.  I had a full summer of activities planned.  Being indoors, hooked up to a CPM machine was definitely not on that list.  Worse yet I can’t even prepare a simple meal or wash a load of dirty clothes without enormous effort . . . for me, that’s stress!

Two days post-op I was feeling sorry for myself, and guess what?  I really didn’t care two cents about my health.  Apathy had set in, and the negativity affected my rational thinking and well-being, big time.  Who knows, I might have even resorted to drowning my sorrows in a hot fudge sundae at Dairy Queen; but thankfully I couldn’t drive!

I have no choice but to continuously check my positive mental attitude right now.  I must focus on the positive blessings in my life and not the negative circumstances; otherwise I’m undone.

So when those moments of stress hit, and life gets overwhelming, or when it’s not going the way we had expected, that’s the time to evaluate our positive mental attitude.  That's the time to list everything that we are thankful for.  Our perspective will always affect our choices; and choices will always determine the difference between marginal health and incredible health!

 

How about you?  How’s your PMA today?





Master Food Addiction or It Will Master You

                     

It’s the beginning of a new year. Many are off the starting blocks of eating for health. However, along the way there’s that nine-letter obstacle to overcome. ADDICTION. 

Addiction is that all-consuming craving that pulls one back into a bad habit. Another way of putting it is being continually “stuck in a rut.” Captured.

If you are caught in the continual cycle of food addiction and emotional eating, to break it, you MUST get radical. 

That means you must pay the price to get free. That means making continual choices every single day of your life, through thick or thin, to never allow the circumstances of life be the excuse to quit and give into unhealthy indulgences.

You must:

  • renew your mind continually by studying Dr. Fuhrman’s books and articles; and listen to his various teleconferences and programs
  • eat those greens whether you like them in the beginning or not
  • go for that walk whether you feel like it or not 
  • post your temptations and struggles and ask for help from others
  • and/or talk with others on the Tuesday night phone chats
  • ask Dr. Fuhrman questions on Ask the Doctor
  • stick to the plan; no matter what; no matter how you feel; no excuses

In other words, you must get radically aggressive. Don’t be a passive by-stander. Roll up your sleeves and get in there and fight. Fight hard. Contend for freedom. 

Know that cravings will subside significantly and then eventually go away as you continue to fill up on the wonderful bounty of nature’s delicious and nourishing foods: pomegranates, kiwis, berries, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, bok choy, roasted peppers and garlic, lentils, nuts and seeds.   In fact, when the addiction goes away, you'll naturally desire foods that promote optimal health.  That's the ultimate beauty of committing to Dr. Fuhrman's high nutrient diet-style!  

donuts and candy                      

You must master the cycle of food addiction and emotional eating or it will master you. 

There are no shortcuts. No magic pills. No easy ways out.

But it is so worth doing what it takes to get free. You will never regret any effort you put forth. The return investment will be the enjoyment of renewed health, vitality, and psychological freedom . . .for the rest of your life! 

Many have conquered the downward spiral of food addiction and emotional eating. YOU can overcome it also.

Rise up and be the conqueror today!

Stick to the plan. No matter what. No matter how you feel. No excuses.

 

Are you mastering food addiction and emotional eating? What practical step(s) do you need to take today to fortify your commitment to freedom and optimal health?

 

image credits: Emily Boller