Are you continually fatigued?

Do you find yourself grabbing a cup of coffee to make it through the morning?

Do you reach for a pastry when you need a quick boost of energy?

Is food a stimulant to keep you going?

Emily Boller when she was a young motherFor years food was my stimulant to combat fatigue. As a young mother it was my drug of choice to make it through a stress-filled day of caring for a three-year-old, an 18-month-old, and a newborn. Fatigue was temporarily overcome with morning donuts and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Nap time for the babies meant *down time* for Mom; a bowl or two of caramel praline ice cream and corn chips. Nine o’clock bedtime for the kids began my happy hour of processed cereal, milk, and crunchy peanut butter. 

I didn’t know at the time that my overwhelming fatigue was an addictive withdrawal symptom from eating poorly. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman says that fatigue is one of the chief withdrawal symptoms mistaken for hunger and an excuse to eat for more stimulation. When a person eats healthfully, he/she no longer feels fatigue; although tiredness may be experienced when more sleep is needed. There’s a big difference.   

My addictive cycles continued for years.

When those babies got older, I had to keep up with the rat-race of soccer practices and games, wrestling matches, dance practices and recitals, 4-H meetings and projects, sleepovers, birthday parties, thrift shopping for kids’ clothes and shoes, and the never ending mountain of laundry that five children produced. Because I continued to eat poorly, McDonald’s drive thru was a necessary, mid afternoon pick-me-up when my fifth baby was asleep in his car seat in-between an older sibling’s dance practice and music lesson. Then I desperately needed that late night bowl of cereal and milk to calm my shakiness before crashing in bed.    

Food temporarily enhanced my alertness; it kept the shakiness and cravings of withdrawal at bay and boosted my motivation when I was down-in-the-dumps. Food had nothing to do with nutrition, but everything to do with stimulation and moment-to-moment survival. In fact, I had been incorrectly taught that shakiness and cravings were signs of low blood sugar and that I needed to eat, when actually they were symptoms of withdrawal. 

Perhaps today is the perfect time to hit the “pause” button of life and ask:

  • Is food a stimulant to temporarily energize the symptoms of fatigue due to addictive withdrawal?
  • Or is food a source of optimal nutrition to keep the body functioning at its very best?


The former will produce a sub par life of disease and continually feeling blaahhh.

The latter will produce a disease-free life full of health and vitality!




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Comments (19) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gerry - February 28, 2011 8:22 PM

Was disappointed she did not give examples of how she conquered her fatigue problem so people who are in the same circumstances might learn how she started and/or succeeded...

Emily Boller - February 28, 2011 8:35 PM

I committed to only eating high nutrient foods, 3 times a day; and quit eating processed, sweetened, or high fat foods. (Dr. Fuhrman's eating plan that's outlined in his book, Eat to Live) First the "brain fog" disappeared, and then the overwhelming feeling of continual fatigue from withdrawal went away. Today, over 2 1/2 years later I rarely need a rest time during the day or more than 7 hours of sleep at night.

For more details, click on my name above in this comment, and you can read my month-to-month documented journey of getting out of food addiction; including images and medical stats.

Janet - February 28, 2011 9:23 PM

Thanks Emily. Great picture too.

Destiny Champion - February 28, 2011 10:57 PM

Emily, your story is so inspirational!!! I can't believe your the same person in the pictures.

I'm making a copy of your flyer to give to all of my clients who are struggling with health issues...which is all of them. As a marriage and family therapist I see how food choices affects every part of my clients life including their mental health well being.

Thank you for sharing!!

Dani- danielleislosingit - March 1, 2011 12:19 AM

I would also like to hear more details on exactly what you ate to give you more energy!

Kristen - March 1, 2011 1:13 AM

Those are beautiful photos in your gallery, Emily!

Snova - March 1, 2011 2:30 AM

Emily, Every time I read one of your articles, I'm uplifted and reassured that I'm on the right track! Thank you for sharing!

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) - March 1, 2011 7:52 AM

Great posting Emily! I always love your old family photos. They illustrate your points so beautifully.

Life is so incredibly demanding. I am so glad that I had the good fortune of being introduced to Dr. Fuhrman's work. Without his aid, I really don't know where I would be right now.

keith collins - March 1, 2011 9:28 AM

i dont know what i am doing wrong ,
i must have to become and vegan , i love meat. i have tried the veg and meat i tried the vegetable thing , i a diabete 2 565 and 235 male. looking in all the worng places for love and health ha,ha

i tried dr bruce west all natural aupplement with health alert out of monteey CA ,
i was on that for about six month and i ran out of money for his product at christmas ,
i was on his protocol ,diaplex and standard process products,for heart and artery clense and iplex for the eys
i find your protocol very limited seeing i must of that already
but i love olive oil and meat
presnetly no drugs for me , i
i am working on loosing the weight with hhcg 15 wegiht lighter
in one week.
i dont see your program would work for me keith

Dina - March 1, 2011 10:52 AM

Emily, I always enjoy your wonderful posts! I especially liked this insight you had: "Food had nothing to do with nutrition, but everything to do with stimulation and moment-to-moment survival." :)

Grety - March 1, 2011 11:10 AM

Truly amazing and INCREDIBLY inspirational! Thank you for sharing your story and pictures!

Michael - March 1, 2011 11:54 AM

I went through this struggle a few years ago and found my fatigue was directly related to low Vitamin D levels. When I fixed the deficiency, my energy skyrocketed! I would get yourself thoroughly tested to see if there are any deficiencies. I've read low levels of iron and B12 can cause issues as well.

Michael - March 1, 2011 11:59 AM


Oil is the most calorie dense food on the planet. Regardless of where it comes from, it is 3000 calories per pound. You aren't going to lose much weight getting a significant amount of oil in your diet because it doesn't fill you up at all for the amount of calories it contains and most of the nutrients have been stripped away from the original olive. all processed foods should be eliminated or severely limited for the same reasons.

Kris - March 1, 2011 5:14 PM

That picture is just so incredibly awesome!!

Stacy - March 2, 2011 3:48 PM

OMG - that photo is making me feel fatigued!!! What a wonderful snapshot of motherhood.

Kate@ahealthypassion - March 3, 2011 9:43 AM

great info very inspirational thanks for sharing your story and helping so many understand health!

Bill - March 3, 2011 9:39 PM

Emily, you continue to rock stories for us and keeping them real. Love that about you and ETL. Thanks so much!!!! I've got to put this into power for me too. I'm sure it's too much coffee each day.

waylon - March 9, 2011 8:06 PM

that picture is priceless!

Fibromyalgia and Faith - March 11, 2011 5:04 PM

Emily- Did you have fibromyalgia by any chance? I noticed you said something about brain fog. Did you also have fatigue?

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