There is No Greater Joy

"The most effective treatment for breaking any bad habit or addiction is abstinence."    -Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

I've never been drunk, in fact, I don't drink alcohol. I grew up in a home where alcohol wasn’t consumed, so therefore, I didn't acquire a taste for it. However, during college I lived in a house with 28 other girls, and most Saturday and Sunday mornings I witnessed the various hangovers from the drinking parties the night before. I felt so sorry for them. I couldn't understand why they would do such a thing to torture their poor bodies so much.

Well, just a couple of years later when I was in the midst of my own hangovers from toxic food addiction, I could finally understand. When a poisonous addiction takes over, it tortures both body and mind. After a toxic food binge I would feel bloated, painfully miserable, and disoriented for several hours until the foods got out of my system; only to eat them all over again.

For me, being free from toxic food hangovers has been even more exciting than losing weight or getting health restored. To anyone who doesn't understand that concept, be thankful. Be very thankful. To be imprisoned to habitual bingeing hangovers is a terrible captivity, and I was in the dark abyss for over 20 years.

  • I dreaded birthday parties and holiday feasts, yet craved them at the same time.
  • I dreaded the way I'd feel after eating fake stuff, yet couldn't live without it.
  • I even dreaded getting up many mornings to face another day of bingeing; dreading it, yet craving it. What insanity.

Perhaps that's why I'm so staunch about abstinence to the point others may think I'm extreme and crazy. I know how deep one can dig into the pit of food addiction. I've seen what it can do to my body and sanity, and I’ve seen what it can do to others as well . . . and I don't give a rip what anyone thinks about my decision to be abstinent.

Have you ever experienced food binge hangovers, and are you free from them?

If not, you can be starting right now.

 

Freedom is two-fold:

1) One must eat for health by carefully following the nutritional guidelines in Eat to Live; flooding the body with comprehensive micronutrient adequacy to meet the biological needs of the body.

2) And abstain from those foods and situations that trigger addictive binges. Abstinence is a self-enforced restraint from indulging that usually causes one to feel worse for the first several days before feeling better. The key to successfully overcoming an addiction is to never give into the impulse to indulge, no matter what. There is no other way out.

 

Once you cross the threshold where toxic food binges no longer overpower you, you will be free for the rest of your life! You’ll naturally prefer eating less when you consume high-nutrient foods instead of fake foods; you’ll naturally get more pleasure out of eating and living; and you’ll enjoy a healthy body and sane mind that is free from the physical and mental torment of the addiction.

Contend for your freedom today. Eat for health and remain abstinent from triggers. 

There is no greater joy!

 

[The pictures are of yours truly. The image at the top was taken on July 10, 2008, the day I committed to follow Eat to Live; and the image on the left was taken this past summer, four years later. This coming July I will celebrate my fifth year anniversary of being free from food addiction! Click here to view my journey to freedom.]

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 90 Percent Rule

One of the most popular and misunderstood  topics in Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, is the famous 90 Percent Rule for adopting the nutritarian eating-style for life, and every person has his / her own interpretation of it:

“I eat healthy for a week, and then I celebrate.”

“I try to eat healthy, but I know I have that 10% to fall back on if I want to.”

“I use that 10% for when I eat out, because I know I’ll have salty foods and dessert.” 

“I’m not that hardcore following Eat to Live, after all, Dr. Fuhrman even said that we can cheat 10% of the time.”  

 

For those unfamiliar with the 90 Percent Rule, starting on page 223 of Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman wrote about it, and I’ll highlight below a few points that many misuse as a free-for-all license to go back to the standard American diet at liberty.  

 

  • For longevity and weight loss, the Life Plan diet should aim to be made up of at least 90 percent unrefined plant foods. My most successful patients treat processed foods and animal foods as condiments, constituting no more than 10 percent of their total caloric intake.

  • To hold to the 90 percent rule, I recommend women consume no more than 150 calories per day of low-nutrient food, or about 1,000 calories weekly. Men should not consume more than 200 calories of low-nutrient food daily, or about 1,400 calories weekly.

  • Using the 90 percent rule, you are allowed to eat almost any kind of food, even a small cookie or candy bar, as long as all your other calories that day are from nutrient-dense vegetation.    

     

 

Let’s set the record straight. The 90 Percent Rule is not the excuse to intentionally cheat. There is no valid reason to consume the worst foods that we can get our hands on, because junk food kills and perpetuates more food addiction.

The 10 percent allowance of low-nutrient foods is permissible; however, Dr. Fuhrman never intended for that to be the license for cheating, or anything close to that mindset.  He would prefer that everyone eat 100% of high-nutrient foods for the best health that’s possible. However, he also realizes that optimal health is not everyone’s priority, and everyone has that right to choose their own health destiny by the foods they select. 

Eating 100% high-nutrient foods is most beneficial for breaking food addictions, and eradicating obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and a myriad of other diseases. 

Most of us have been consuming fake foods our entire lives so consuming 100% high-nutrient foods is especially crucial for us to reverse years of damage already done within our bodies. Dr. Fuhrman has stated that we may “look healthy” on the outside when we are close to an ideal weight, but we still have much damage on the cellular level to heal and restore due to years and years of conventional eating abuse. 

It’s not a matter of how far one can push a boundary line and get by with it, but how much one desires to heal damaged cells and feel alive and well; excited to be alive! 

Scrupulous, yes.

Sensible, absolutely.

Who in their right mind would want obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, dementia, arthritis, or diabetes at retirement age?

With that being said, living in the best health that’s possible is totally one’s personal choice. If one wants to repeatedly eat traditional holiday meals; or pizza, chips and cake at parties; or ice cream blizzards on the way home from work; or glazed donuts at Sunday School; or buckets of buttered popcorn and boxes of candy at the movies; and then feel crappy, crabby and bloated; plus feed cancer cells and blow out precious beta cells in the process, no one is going to care. It’s one’s personal choice. Each person is in control of his or her own health destiny. 

 

So does Dr. Fuhrman himself follow the 90 Percent Rule?

 

 “What do you think I’m crazy?! My father had leukemia, why would I want to put 10 percent low quality food in my body? That is just for people who can’t yet grasp that nutritarian food tastes better and is more enjoyable to eat, and is the food we actually prefer to eat. Nevertheless, this is not a religion, and if on a rare occasion I want to have something conventional that is delicious, I can.”  

 

Be wise. Use good judgment and always be in control of your health destiny, 100% of the time!

 

[The obese belly above was mine a few years ago when I was in my 40's.  Now I'm 51-years-old and feeling younger & healthier than twenty years ago!]

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!

 

 

  

But it would cost

I got thinking the other day how different my life would’ve been if, as a toddler, beer would’ve been repeatedly put into my sippy cup. . . .and fake food & cigarettes would’ve been a negative stigma to even be around or touch.

And later on, as I got older, beer would’ve been served with my high-nutrient meals, including school lunches.   

Most likely I would’ve grown up not eating pizza, cheeseburgers, spaghetti, fried chicken, beef ‘n noodles, cheese, ice-cream cones, donuts, and chips. In fact, most likely, I would’ve probably thought they were disgusting. . . . just as disgusting to me as the lingering smoke and smell of cigarettes.

However, I’d probably be totally addicted to alcohol and not be able to function without it. Possibly even totally dependant upon the stuff to get me through each day. 

I’d seek friends who also liked to drink. 

I’d seek activities where drinking was encouraged. 

I’d even possibly seek religious and social affiliations where drinking was condoned.

I’d most definitely turn to alcohol to calm my nerves, celebrate victories, cheer sadness, cope with stress, overcome insecurities, escape pain and responsibilities, and soothe a bleeding heart.

However, if, on down the road, I realized the damaging affects of alcohol on my body; including my inability to think clearly, hold down a job, raise a family, and have healthy interpersonal relationships, I may decide to get rid of the stuff. Once and for all.

But it would cost.

It would cost abstinence for rest of my life.

It may possibly require developing new friends and activities. 

And it may even cost finding different religious and social affiliations that would support my decision to remain sober.  

Addiction is addiction. When one is addicted to any health damaging substance, whether it is the standard American diet, sugar, “healthy” sweets, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, heroine, or meth; to live in freedom from the addiction will require a radical commitment to abstinence. Including possibly finding new friends, activities, religious and social affiliations that support the decision to remain free . . . for life!

 

According to Dr. Fuhrman, “The facts are that fast food and junk foods cause a thousand times as many premature deaths compared to cocaine; and it’s condoned.”

 

Are you committed to abstinence?

Think about it.  

 

image:  Emily Boller circa 1964

So what's your Jack Daniels?

fake food

Every year since 2008, I've made it my mission, once a year, to re-read Drunkard, written by Neil Steinberg.

For those of you who know my story, reading that book was one of my ‘turning point’ moments, because it demolished my concrete wall of denial. It forced me to face the ugliness of food addiction head on . . . smack-in-the-face, kind of head on.

Every time that I've read it something new pops out.

This time, it was Steinberg's description of his moment to unwind after work, at the bar, just before drinking his favorite glass of Jack Daniels. He describes it so eloquently in the following excerpt from page nine:


" . . . .I always pause to gaze for a rapt moment at the filled glass, the ice, the Jack, the square napkin, the dark linoleum bar. The twirling universe stops dead, the Jack its motionless epicenter. I pick up the glass and take a long draw." 1


 

When the kids were little and I was obese my "Jack Daniels" was the leftovers after the evening meal. I couldn't wait to be alone in the kitchen. All alone. Totally by myself, kind of alone (while the children were wrestling with Dad in another room) . . . to unwind and soothe my frazzled nerves by eating the slightly burnt & greasy roast and potatoes that were stuck to the sides of the crock pot; or to eat the crusty & gooey leftover lasagna sitting in the pan; or the kids' leftover soggy salads that were swimming in ranch dressing and bacon bits; or the leftover dinner rolls that mopped-up the ranch dressing; or the pieces of cake with melted ice-cream cascading down the sides. The twirling universe stopped at those moments for me.

Ahhh . . . . . the epicenter of calm had been visited.

Later in the evening, after baths for the children, brushing their teeth, bedtime stories, and tucking them into bed, I returned once again to the epicenter of calm . . . .the large, ceramic bowl of Frosted Mini Wheat cereal soaked in milk with a couple spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter on top.  Ahhh . . . .

 

Then I *graduated* to more acceptable ways of escape:

  • Alone time with a humongous bowl of mixed greens drizzled with balsamic vinegar, sunflower seeds, sliced strawberries, and chick peas; followed by a plate of California Creamed Kale. I'd eat beyond full, stuffed, and then some, and still lose weight!
  • Scraping the remaining sorbet or banana ice-cream from the sides of the Vita Mix canister and eating it.  Whether I was hungry or not had absolutely nothing to do with the growing habit.
  • Grabbing extra handfuls of walnuts and raisins while working in the kitchen.

 

If I'm not careful, Jack can still creep into my life ~ ever so slowly now, of course.  He's still there if I'm not cautiously aware of his presence.

He's hiding in the dark crevices, but as long as I continue to shine the flashlight on him, and continue to expose him, he can't and won't harm me!

 

Exposing Jack makes him powerless; he's a coward in the light.

Don't give him the pleasure of lulling you into believing that he will be your calm.

It's a lie.

 before and after pics of Emily Boller

The images above were taken three years apart.  The picture on the left was taken in the summer of 2008 when I was captive to Jack as my epicenter of calm.  The picture on the right was taken this past summer after three years of consistent abstinence AND freedom from food addiction's suffocating grip.   

 

So what’s your Jack Daniels?

 

 

 

Related posts: 

Are you a food addict?  by Dr. Fuhrman

Breaking up is hard to do  by Dr. Fuhrman

The powerful freedom of abstinence  by Emily Boller

Junk food - just as addictive as smoking?  by Dr. Ferreri

 

 

Reference:  

1. Steinberg, Neil. Drunkard. New York: Dutton, 2008, p.9

Photography credit:  Fake Food by Esther Boller 

Painting:   Absinthe (1876) by Edgar Degas; Muesee d’Orsay, Paris

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.

Supporting a loved one through food addiction

Kurt and Emily Boller's wedding dayThirty years ago this Valentines Day my husband and I became officially engaged. We were young, naïve, and deeply in love. Little did we know about the dark prison that lie just ahead for both of us with my budding food addiction and resulting binge eating disorder and obesity. While we were dating, I had confided that I had a “food problem,” but neither of us had any clue whatsoever how powerful it was, or how severely food addiction would take over and practically destroy my life. [Back in 1981 food addiction was not openly discussed or understood like it is today.] Since today is a special day for sweethearts, I want to focus on those who are supporting a spouse or significant other through food addiction by inviting my husband, Kurt, to share his thoughts on the topic. Welcome to Disease Proof, Kurt.  

 

What was your initial reaction when I first told you that I had a “food problem” when we were dating?

 I thought it was no big deal.  After all, in my mind I thought, “Who doesn’t have an extra piece of cake once in awhile?”  Besides, you were so special to me that I couldn’t believe there was anything that was a problem.

 

From your perspective, what was it like to discover and see first-hand the seriousness of my food addiction / binge eating disorder after we were married?

It was hard, especially when it seemed like you were out of control.  I could see that you wanted out of the addiction, yet seemed helpless to help yourself.  My first reaction was to try to control things, and being a typical guy, I thought it was something that I needed to fix. Unfortunately as I tried unsuccessfully to “fix” it, usually in an unproductive way, it only made the addiction worse.

 

Emily Boller when obeseHow did it make you feel?

I felt disappointed and cheated. I realize now that I had very unrealistic expectations and views on life, but unfortunately, my perception was my reality at the time.

 

What was the turning point for you?

I don’t think there was one point as much as a series of turns.  I was so frustrated and disappointed that I got honest with God about how I felt.  Then I just didn’t care anymore.  For awhile I did my own thing, and found ways to detach myself and emotionally escape.  It was just easier to give up and not care or try to help anymore.  Eventually God pointed out my own “stuff” that I needed to deal with; and even though the food addiction was a terrible situation, He used it to burn up some of my own crud that was an issue as well.   We went to a professional counselor, and I learned the only person that I could change was me.  That was a huge turning point in the process because I finally stopped trying to change you.  I worked on dealing with my own garbage, and then I started to believe you when you’d say, “Someday I’m going to get free.”  

           

Emily afterWhat has it been like to see me get free from food addiction and get my health back?

 

It was like a light came on and good things started happening immediately when you committed to Eat to Live ~ beyond anything either one of us had ever dreamed.  It was amazing.  To see someone go from getting beat up mentally, emotionally and physically with food addiction to being healthy, confident, and free; and helping others to do the same is indescribable.  It’s like watching the movie “Rocky” for the first time; witnessing someone that you love and want the best for finally winning in a war they’ve been fighting for years. 

 

 

What are your thoughts to share with others who are supporting a loved one through food addiction and resulting eating disorders and diseases? 

 

  • Be honest with yourself and acknowledge your feelings.  Stuffing your frustrations and anger only makes it worse.

  • Be committed to the relationship.  Everyone needs someone solid and a good influence in their life.

  • Realize you can’t change them.  The only person that you can change is yourself. 

  • There may be times when you’ll need to pull back so your “boat” doesn’t sink.  A person drowning in addiction can pull others down with them so maintain your own mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health; just don’t abandon them.

  • Seek professional counseling for the person as well as yourself.  Not all counselors are equal.  If a counselor doesn’t help, then keep looking. The key is being willing to be totally honest about the underlying root problems and cut out the destructive issues that psychologically fuel addiction.

  • Don’t quit.  Never give up.  Never give in.  Never, Never, Never.  Like the old adage goes, “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”

     

     

 

 

Related posts:

Are you a food addict?  by Dr. Fuhrman

Freedom is for everyone!  by Emily Boller

Food addiction is no joke

Emily Boller obeseMany of us have come out of, or are in the process of, coming out of years of severe food addictions that have consumed our every waking thought and action.

My food addiction got so bad that there were times I couldn't even enter the kitchen to prepare a meal for my family . . . without eating from the moment I started the food prep to the moment the meal was cleaned up afterwards. I could’ve been miserably stuffed, but if a quarter of a pan of lasagna remained, I ate it.

Unfortunately, my children never developed the habit of doing dishes after meals, because I wanted to be alone in the kitchen to devour their uneaten food left on plates (I have five kids), and crusty, greasy leftovers in pans, etc.
 

Denial is the cloak of addiction.  There's got to be a shift of one's mindset to accept the fact that food addiction is serious stuff; just as powerful and destructive as alcohol addiction or drug addiction.  Food addiction and resulting eating disorders and poor health are also destroying relationships, breaking up marriages, draining finances, and ruining homes ~ every bit as much.

 

Our society recognizes the seriousness of alcohol and drug addiction, but food addiction is a joke. Addictive foods and overeating are downplayed and promoted everywhere: by the government, the school systems, the entertainment industry, the medical industry, and even at places that should be sanctuaries of refuge such as houses of worship; therefore, we don't take it seriously. If everybody is participating in it, it must be okay, right?  Wrong.  Right along with "Say No to Drugs," "No Smoking," "Alcohol Prohibited," and "Mothers Against Meth," should be "Say No to Overeating," and "Citizens Against SAD!"
 

The truth is, we cannot, we dare not, mess with food addiction.  Period.  Abstinence and sobriety are just as critical to the food addict as they are to the alcoholic and drug addict. We must accept this fact; if we don't, we are undone. There's really no choice in the matter if we want to get completely free and get our health and lives back.

Making baby steps of change may work for some, but for the majority of us who’ve been entangled for years, we need to throw internal wrestling and debate out the window and just follow Dr. Fuhrman’s basic high-nutrient eating plan that’s outlined on p. 179 of Eat to Live. It’s been successfully proven over and over again to be the way out of the food addiction wilderness. 

Food addiction is no joke; it ruins lives. 

Let's all follow the path of freedom and become everything that we were meant to be!

before and after images


Previous posts related to this topic:  Are you a food addict?  It's time for a revolution!  Lubrication, I like that word  and  Why?

 

All images presented are before and after pictures of Emily Boller; 2008 & 2010.

 

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