Have a plan and stick to it

Getting out and staying out of food addiction isn't that hard per se, but one must be vigilant and persistent at all times. 

I liken it to learning to ride a bike. 

A beginner may have some spills before he/she learns proper balancing skills to ride a bike without falling.  It may even take some extra reinforcement like a parent’s helpful hand of guidance, or a pair of training wheels attached to the bike for stability, but eventually with practice, one learns to successfully ride without thinking about it anymore. Riding a bike becomes automatic, and then one is no longer focused on the learning process, but instead enjoys the pure pleasure of the scenic ride.  

However, one must always be careful not to ride too fast on gravel, not to ride near the edge of pavement, and pay close attention to busy intersections; otherwise a major accident could happen, even to the most seasoned cyclist.  Likewise, I’ve learned that it still takes careful planning and diligence on my part to continue to make wise choices that prevent me from wandering back into food addiction.  

For instance, it’s typically my habit to get up at the same time every morning, sit and read with the therapeutic light, exercise, and then shower and get ready for the day. Those times that I make repetitive, unwise choices like staying up too late the night before, resulting in my early morning routine thrown out the window – if habitually repeated, I eventually become psychologically out-of-sorts . . . and then I become apathetic. [I’m not referring to an occasional late night or two here and there, because life happens, but repetitive poor planning stringed together for several days on end.]

For me, apathy is dangerous, because the “I don’t care” attitude is the stepping stone into the slippery slope of addiction.  Even with the physiological cravings for the standard American diet gone; practically off the radar screen of desire anymore, I could still revert back to psychological and emotional attachments to food if I’m not careful. I could easily eat oat bars with almond butter when stressed, or fruit sweetened ice-cream when not hungry.

For recovering food addicts it’s important not to fall prey to the “I don’t care” trap as a result of poor planning and unwise choices.

Have a plan and stick to it, no matter what ~ one of the keys to ongoing success.   



image credits:  flckr by paulhami and Team Traveller

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Comments (20) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Tammy K. - May 4, 2012 3:09 PM

So very true! Had this "I don't care" kinda day after being verbally attacked (again!) by my mother-in-law. The I don't care attitude sent me quickly into deep thoughts, no make that, deep desires for chips, dip and a Dr. Pepper. Then I reminded myself before going to buy them who would win in that situation, satan AND my mother-in-law. Reminded myself why I'm fat and working hard to eat nutritarianly ( is that a word?!) for my health-for my life.

Emily Boller - May 4, 2012 6:04 PM

Good for you Tammy. Food is never a solution to an irritation, frustration, or complication.

I was sitting in a local physician's office waiting room recently, and children were given suckers for being "good". Hmmmm, is it any wonder, as a culture, so many of us have been trained to turn to food to reward or to self-medicate?

The great thing is we can retrain our minds and bodies to think correctly and establish healthy habits concerning food. We may have a few spills in the learning process, but eventually it gets easy to ride that bike.

You'll get that weight off in no time as you keep persevering onward!

Deb Weston - May 5, 2012 6:20 AM

Emily, I couldn't agree with you more. I have to pay strict attention to what and how I eat every day. I started almost 2 1/2 years ago on a journey to lose weight and this is the first time I have been successful. I not only have lost the weight maintaining it has been the easiest ever. I always thought that changing ones eating habits and lifestyle was impossible because food is not something that you can go without. A friend of mine thinks I am obsessed. I prefer to think of it as diligence.
There is no place for apathy.

Linda - May 5, 2012 9:19 AM

This resonates with me, too. Life is incredibly busy right now, and it would be so easy to just 'let the little things go' and allow short cuts to compromise my quest for my best possible health. Only by keeping my eye on the prize can I hope to reach my goal. I made a little sign for my fridge; it says, I Feed Health, Not Disease In My Life. That little affirmation actually does help me, just that little nudge to not give in to convenience from a factory.

Naturegirl - May 5, 2012 9:43 AM

This arrived right on time for me. I've been going off plan for a while now and when I do I end up in a spiral of shame and hopelessness. I don't know any really because I have had great results in the past. I have a feeling that I am not allowing myself for some deeply buried unknown reason. I quit sugar and now I'm wrestling with carbs like cereal and popcorn and Ezekial bread. I haven't yet got off my training wheels. I haven't been able to totally clean up my environment....or is it willing? My husband still eats some off plan and is losing like crazy anyway.

Emily Boller - May 5, 2012 11:34 AM


You've got it; where there's a will, there's always a way.

And it's the little compromises that sabatoge great results. Unfortunately, your husband is sowing seeds that will only reap poor health eventually on down the road. Eat for the best health that's possible; not just today, but to protect yourself from suffering unnecessary diseases later in life.

Okay, so you've fallen off the bike, no big deal. Most all of us have some spills as we are learning to eat for health; However a spill is no excuse to lie on the ground and wallow in shame and hopelessness. Get back up on that bike today and give it everything you've got so that you can thoroughly enjoy life's scenic ride! You can do it!

Jane - May 6, 2012 5:42 AM

Thank you for this article and for the bike metaphor. It is very useful and encouraging for me! I´ve been a nutritarian for over a year now. With changing my eating habits and adding some great excersize I´ve got amazing results. But lately I´ve been doing really harmful things both for my body and soul. I know that I can do it. I know I am not crazy. And I know it is some kind of a fight for a better health and physical appearence. I´m getting up on that bike again!
Tnaks again.

caroline israel - May 7, 2012 1:10 PM

This is so true. A plan is mandatory! If I were to just fly by the seat of my pants while trying to eat to live, I'd be in the throws of chocolate & bread addiction all over again. Yuk! To those who are struggling, keep trying over & over again. Just like quitting smoking, it might take multiple tries before eat to live sticks for good. Emily, great post!

pat - May 7, 2012 11:30 PM

Emily, your words of "it's the little compromises that sabotage great results" is great advice and so true. Everytime I give in to my cravings it puts me behind and I get nowhere. Having a plan and being consistant is really important for me. I'm getting closer to living the nutritarian lifestyle that I want to live. Thank you for all the inspiration!

Terry Schuh - May 8, 2012 1:04 AM

You are all so motivating. I have been overeating for 40 years, and it's a habit that's so hard to break. I have just "Eat to Live", and I really want to eat that way and lose weight (please "heal" my type II diabetes). I let past and present hurts get to me and lead me right back to tacos and mashed potatoes. NO MORE. I thank you all, and, of course, Dr. Fuhrman. I WILL start placing my health above my low self-esteem issues and unhealthy food, starting right now!!

jerry - May 8, 2012 9:20 PM

I'm confused about why oat bars with almond butter would be bad? I thought Dr. Fuhrman didn't think almond butter in small quantities would be bad?

Mark - May 8, 2012 9:46 PM

Planning for me has been very successful...that is until I found that Spinach, Strawberries, fruits, nuts, seeds and many plant foods contain oxalates that form kidney stones. What now? Has Dr. Furhrman addressed this issue?

Jeane - May 9, 2012 8:52 AM

A statement made by a psychiatrist:

"She must want to get well. Without desire , there is no
pressing or urgent situation. And the internal pressing or urgent situation that demands recovery cannot be manufactured."

The desire to have this recovery more than anything else on earth must come first. This desire makes the decision and the decision forms a plan of action.

Suzanne - May 9, 2012 2:06 PM

jerry - I believe Emily is saying that even tho she's conquered SAD eating with healthful sweets, she'd still be giving in to her food addiction if eating when she's not hungry.

Michael - May 9, 2012 2:45 PM

The problem is eating too much food when you're not actually hungry, but eating due to feeling stressed or to fill some need that has nothing to do with hunger.

Deana Ferreri, Ph.D. - May 9, 2012 4:30 PM

If you do have kidney stones, Dr. Fuhrman does recommend avoiding a few foods that are very high in oxalates, but this won't stop you from following a nutritarian diet. You may want to look into joining Dr. Fuhrman's Member Center so that you can ask him about your condition on the Ask the Doctor Forums.

Emily Boller - May 10, 2012 4:22 AM


Oats bars and almond butter are fine to eat; however when one eats as a reaction to stress or emotional turmoil, or eats for recreational pleasure when not truly hungry, those are not health promoting habits.

Suzy - May 10, 2012 8:40 AM

I am interested in why sometimes we are so motivated that it seems like nothing can hinder our goal to be healthy, and other times we seem susceptible to back sliding.

This is where having a plan helps keep us from free falling back into unhealthy patterns.

Mary - May 10, 2012 9:18 AM

Great stuff Emily! I recently took a job that completely changed my routine and even after many years of a long and unbroken time of nutritarian living, I have been tempted again and reminded of old ways. Your article was timely and applicable for me. Thanks for sharing your insights!

Janice - May 14, 2012 4:02 PM

My husband and I are now eating 90% nutritarian-I say 90% because my son and his family are living with us and she is constantly making things that hit my memory smell bank. Then when I cheat and "taste" the not nutritarian dish, it really doesn't taste like I remembered it! I would love it if they would change their eating patterns and food because it kills me to see what they are doing to them selves. My husband has stage 3 renal failure and funtioned at 33% and at that same time I learned about Dr. Furhrman and what he is teaching. My husband quit eating meat and dairy and eats salads and nuts and seeds and other nutritious foods. At our last visit to the kidney specialist he was functioning at 42%! We are hoping that this number will improve with time but just to see positive results is great. We are 60 and the MD said kidneys function less and less with age. So I consider our results even better.

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