Giving Thanks for Freedom from Food Addiction and Resulting Diseases
















Over the past six months, Kathleen has been working with Randi Carbone, R.N. and Food Addictions Counselor with Dr. Fuhrman’s Motivational Outreach Program to get free from emotional eating and food addiction; and she’s now 55 lbs lighter and counting!   You’ll be inspired by what she has written below to help you successfully navigate the holiday challenges ahead. Welcome to Disease Proof Kathleen!


Giving Thanks for Freedom from Food Addiction and Resulting Diseases


by Kathleen Callahan


There is something about the holiday season that seems to make dysfunctional relationships stand out more than they normally would. I imagine at one time or another, most of us have gathered at a holiday table with people we felt were toxic to us. We may have spent months (or even years), learning to build healthy relationships with the important people in our lives, so that holiday gatherings became joyful events, rather than occasions fraught with anxiety and pain.

The phenomenon of the dysfunctional family holiday gathering is well-known. A lesser known, though certainly more pervasive phenomenon is that of the severely dysfunctional relationship that far too many of us have to food, in particular, the Standard American Diet.

Ours is a culture of addiction. We expect food to be our savior. I know I did. For me, food was the perfect friend. This friend never, ever let me down. If I was sad, she was there for me. If I wanted to celebrate, my friend lifted me up and celebrated with me. If I was bored, she filled my time. If life was too painful to contemplate, my friend distracted me and eased my pain. Truly, this felt like the best friend I'd ever had.

The SAD (Standard American Diet) brought me solace, comfort, celebration, and was always present when I was lonely. However, it also brought pain and despair. This relationship caused me to gain an enormous amount of unhealthy weight. It exacerbated a genetic condition I have, causing me to end up with such severe osteoarthritis, that I had to have a total knee replacement at age 47. It chipped away at my self-esteem and self-care. Clearly, the sensible thing to do was to end this unhealthy relationship. But, as with all dysfunctional relationships, ending this one also meant giving up the good parts that I desperately needed. How does one do that?

I suspect that the answer to this question is deeply personal and different for all of us. For me, it took watching my dad slowly die as every one of his body systems fell to the Standard American Diet. I remember sitting in my bed, hugging myself and crying. Not only did I miss him terribly, but I saw my own future, and it mirrored his. My addiction to the Standard American Diet was no less powerful than my dad's, and I was terrified.

Days before my dad's death, he had watched Dr. Fuhrman on PBS and ordered the books and DVDs. He was excited and motivated for the first time in years. He told us he was going to follow this plan and regain his health. He never got the chance to try, as he passed away before the materials ever reached him, but I hold in my heart his excitement and hope. When I came across a posting on Facebook for the Motivational Outreach Program offered by Dr. Fuhrman, I knew I had to do this for my dad.

I have spent thirty years dieting myself up and down the numbers on the scale. I am an intelligent woman who understands the scientific research, but was never able to make it work for me. The reason is that despite all I'd read about diet, obesity, weight loss, and nutrition, I never came across anything on food addiction. The Motivational Outreach Program directly addresses this deadly and little-researched problem.

For six months, I worked with Randi Carbone, a registered nurse who specializes in addiction. She helped me to recognize the dysfunctional relationship I had with food. I came to understand that if you are running with a crowd that causes you trouble, that causes you to make poor decisions, that doesn't respect you and hurts you, it's time to cut those friends loose no matter what positive aspects the relationship brings to you. I had to say goodbye to artery-clogging pizza, to greasy Thai food, to chemical-laden Dunkin' Donuts bagels, and to dysrhythmia-producing Diet Coke. As so often happens when you remove dysfunctional relationships from your life, you open up space to form new healthy connections. I now have gorgeous, fresh, crisp vegetables. I have decadently sweet, juicy fruit. I have happy belly-fulfilling beans, hearty whole grains, and luscious nuts and seeds. My new friends nourish me, and never hurt me the way the SAD did. They bring me fun and joy and comfort without the devastating cost of obesity and disease.

I am 55 pounds lighter than I was when I started the Motivational Outreach Program and still losing. I have a much healthier relationship with food. This Thanksgiving, I will share a healthy nutritarian table with my healthy nutritarian family, and I will give thanks for Randi Carbone, Dr. Fuhrman, and the Motivational Outreach Program.

Embrace your true friends this holiday season, and ask them to support you on your journey to health. Who knows, they might even join you for this year’s Holiday Challenge!  Breaking free from any toxic relationship, especially one that makes you sick and unhappy, is priceless. Please join me!














Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (23) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Amy An - November 21, 2012 8:17 AM

Thank you for your story. I have never been able to read your thread at the member center about beating food addiction in honor of your dad; it sounded too close and painfully similar to my own experience with my dad. I found ETL three months after my father passed away. I know that it would have helped him to eat this way; if not to prolong his life, to make it more comfortable (he had painful, small arteries that were blocked).

Thanks for the article!

Susie Wild - November 21, 2012 11:00 AM

What a wonderful article, so beautifully written and full of insight and encouragement. Thank you for sharing!

"Fuhrmanista" - November 21, 2012 11:02 AM

Brava, Kathleen, and thanks for sharing your story. Your Dad would be so proud of you; you are his living legacy to hope and health. Best to you!

Liz - November 21, 2012 11:22 AM

Well written. I'm currently in this place where the food addiction is controlling me. Its not an issue of having the information or intellectualizing the facts, a food addiction is like any other addiction. It has taken me over. I wake up every morning determined to overcome it but by noon its overcome me again. I don't have a really serious health problem (yet) so there is no "fear of death" that's a motivator that creates emotion that's stronger than the addiction. I'm on a really tight budget so its impossible for me to pay for counseling. Please keep sharing, its helpful.

JUDY - November 21, 2012 12:03 PM

Thank you so much for your story! Your story means a lot to me!

Courtney - November 21, 2012 12:46 PM

Eat to Live saved my dads life. I gave him the book last year for Christmas and in February he went into the hospital for a blood clot from his knee to his ankle. After seeing my "i told you so face" he implemented the Eat to Live diet and as of yesterday is down 140 lbs, cholesterol is down 50 points, and his blood pressure is normal.

Our entire families life is turned around because of this book. I am so thankful!

Lilly - November 21, 2012 4:29 PM

Kathleen, such a wonderful article. Your words are so true and just like your thread on the forum, touch hearts with their compassion and wisdom. Thank you so much for writing this article and for sharing your journey so honestly and insightfully on the forum. MOP is an excellent resource. So glad Dr. Fuhrman provides this support for food addiction healing.

Christine - November 21, 2012 5:46 PM

Awesome blog, Kathleen!!!

Kathleen Callahan - November 21, 2012 9:00 PM

Courtney, I just cried when I read your comment. Wow. It makes missing my dad somehow a little less painful knowing that someone's dad got the benefit that he didn't have the chance to. That just made my day.

Liz, are you on the member center of If you can't do the Motivational Outreach Program, maybe the support of others on the message boards could help. My heart goes out to you. I know how awful it is to feel helpless. Please hang in there, and please keep trying.

Amy, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. It does sound like our experiences are very similar. I wish both of our dads could have had the chance to turn their lives around again. It's so sad.

Judy, Fuhrmanista, and Susie, thanks so much for your kind words! What a gift!


caroline israel - November 21, 2012 9:36 PM

Wow, how inspiring! I wish my boyfriend would take note of his dad's diseased body and get the motivation to make some major changes. . . .

Carrie - November 21, 2012 9:39 PM

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I'm very sorry to hear your dad did not get the information in time.

Liz, did you ever think about trying Overeaters Anonymous to help you stick to the ETL plan of eating? It's free. I have no affiliation with them and no interest in promoting them -- just hate to hear the pain and discouragement in your post. Not everyone can afford professional help but you could get tons of help and support in OA for free. You can find them online.

Laura (Aussie) - November 22, 2012 3:43 AM

Congratulations with your success Kathleen you are truly amazing!! Your story bought tears to my eyes because it is also very close to home for me. My father had been on ETL for only 4 weeks when he had a health scare....we were lucky that it was just a scare but at the same time I remember thinking what a cruel twist of fate it could have been if he had discovered it was too late. And for you I realise it was too late for your dad and that is really sad but you are going to inspire so many people and you are going make sure that it wont be too late for others. I am sure your dad is watching over you and is very proud of your success and glad that you wont make the same mistakes. Probably like you I count my blessings everyday that I found Dr Fuhrman. Keep up the great work!!

carfree - November 22, 2012 1:39 PM

I have to disagree with Carrie, above. I heard nothing discouraging in your story. It's inspiring!

carfree - November 24, 2012 3:03 PM

Oh, sorry carrie! I thought you were commenting on the story above instead of another comment. my mistake!

Horsecrazy - November 24, 2012 8:19 PM

Kathleen, Wonderfully written and hopefully helpful to many people. I follow your thread at them member center though I don't often comment. My deepest sympathy goes out to you that your dad didn't find ETL in time but so glad that you have. a result, you will not only save your life, but probably many more that gain the courage to try after reading of your experience. I look forward to following your journey to great health.

Christy - November 25, 2012 2:19 PM


I "pinned" your post so I can easily reference it again. The comparison of addiction to friends that aren't good for you really struck home with me.

Chef James - January 7, 2013 2:30 PM


Teresa - January 7, 2013 4:07 PM

What a beautiful story Kathleen. Thank you for posting this and being an inspiration to us all!

PaulaG - January 8, 2013 4:09 AM

I too lost my Dad at a very young age (55) from food addiction, I can relate to your story and all the comments, thanks for sharing, BTW, you look fantastic!

Kate Florio - January 8, 2013 11:05 AM

I was glad to read all of this about you, Kathleen. I have been on the member to member Center with Joey Nowak. He raved about you, and I got interested in your technique.
Apparently you will be on Dr. Oz this Thursday, so I think I will wait for a while before I call MOP. You are going to be inundated with calls after the show. In the meantime however, I think I will stick to the food addictions section in the posts, and that way I will be able to glean on some positive thinking about food.
Thank you very much for helping people with food addictions, including me, if and when I am able to contact you.

Craig Worrell - January 8, 2013 12:35 PM

Congratulations Kathleen!

You have broken the chains of food addiction for yourself. How encouraging this is for everyone that comes into your life now and for those that are already part of it. All of these people get to see what "Health" truly looks like when they look at you and see your lifestyle.

Thank you for sharing this personal story, it is very powerful and it will change lives for sure.

Kathleen - January 8, 2013 7:45 PM

Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for all your kind comments, everyone!

I do feel blessed to have discovered nutritarianism. Truly, it has changed (and maybe even saved?) my life. I will never have to walk the same path my dad did. I wish for excellent health for all of you, too! It's so gratifying to know that food addiction really can be overcome!


Robin Ball - February 20, 2013 11:41 AM

Damn I am inspired, do not take that lightly, rarely have I ever heard anyone describe my daily battle.
I would love to follow you if you use facebook.

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?