An Excerpt from: Release Your Obsession with Food: Heal from the Inside Out
I’m often asked how I went from overweight to normal weight after years of bouncing up and down. Let’s be clear, I was the yo-yo dieter of the decade from early adolescence through my thirties. My weight and my relationship with eating were constant struggles for me until I understood my chemical reaction to certain foods.
After years of trial and error, research, clinical knowledge, weight loss, and then stability of weight, I recognized that eating whole, natural foods free of sugar, flour, and wheat restored a balanced mood for me. Eating in this simple way, I instantly became calm and centered, clearing my mind chatter. This opened my awareness of how my metabolism works, and I began breaking free from yo-yo dieting and building a health-positive lifestyle regarding food.
I listened to my body, noticing when I was hungry, tired, irritable, and stressed. Soon, from the whispered messages I received, I developed a trust in my body’s inner wisdom. This ability to tune in to what my body had to say didn’t appear like poof announcing a magic genie. I cultivated this knowing through mindfulness—that is, by removing the mental clutter of everyday life and paying attention.
Of course, being able to reap the harvest of inherent wisdom because of paying attention to my body’s messages rose from my first planting the seeds of consciousness by way of spiritual work—described at length in Release Your Obsession with Food: Heal from the Inside Out. Our first step in being able to listen to our bodies is to learn to listen to our inner spirit—and that’s something everyone can do with practice.
The best way to begin your food recovery journey is to follow a simple formula of having four meals a day and breaking down each meal according to an easy structure of specific foods: fruit, protein, fat, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. I’ve found, too, that at the beginning, the most workable way to do this is to commit to your food plan prior to the start of your day, rather than merely hoping you’ll arrive at this optimal arrangement by random eating.
The process of preparation doesn’t have to be taxing or time-consuming. You can email yourself the next day’s menu in 30 seconds. Often you won’t have to even re-read your commitment or plan, as writing it down often seals the deal. In my early days of recovery, I sent my food list to a trusted mentor, who never judged or commented negatively but simply received my food plan, anchoring my undertaking.
I’m not perfect, my life is not a continuous happiness. I get mad, frustrated, and irritable, just like anybody else. The difference is I don’t turn to my drug foods of the past because I realize the consequences aren’t worth the indulgence. I do get mad at life when my computer crashes and I lose valuable data, or when I have to turn down a fun-filled event due to work obligations, or my husband says my mother-in-law is moving in. YIKES!!! The old me whispers, “Let’s wolf down a delectable block of dark chocolate and make the world disappear.”
But, no matter what life struggles present themselves, I recognize that binge eating simply isn’t an option for me anymore. Nor is sugar, flour, or wheat on my food list, because I know that the devil of addiction if stirred will surface, and chaos will return with a vengeance if I ingest any of these. I compare my situation to that of an alcoholic who can’t have just a smidgeon of scotch; he must abstain completely to stay sober.
When I followed these specific guidelines—even when I didn’t want to—my negative mind chatter quieted, and for the first time I could become still and hear God’s whispers. I connected to my inner strengths, and a spiritual understanding emerged in me. I found inner peace, God, and love. Love for myself, others, and the universe strengthened inside me.
Not only was I calmer, kinder, and less self-centered, but I perceived a bigger picture. I saw food as real and not real: God’s food and man’s food. I chose food from the earth, sea, and air rather than processed and boxed. I turned to God, and the “noise” in my head ceased, and the addiction flattened. These days, I eat to live rather than live to eat. Healthful foods and a refreshed faith are now my fuel to keep optimal health and weight.
At the start of this discussion, I suggested it’s possible to release your obsession from food addiction when you let go of the diet mentality if someone will lead you on the journey or point you in the right direction. Follow me…
Here’s a little piece of hope: If your immediate thought was ‘I can’t live with obsessive eating any longer,’ then you’re a great deal closer to making peace with your food addiction than you might think, and the battle is much more one of finding a better chemical balance than you might think. Those who can’t be dissuaded from a healthful, clean-eating lifestyle are a lot more likely to reach their goals, regardless of the path they originally chose.
Okay, here’s the part you’ve been patiently waiting for—the food! Addictive-free eating isn’t about dieting but about spiritual recovery from food addiction and binge eating disorder. It’s about changing your relationship with food from dysfunctional to functional. It’s a lifestyle choice, not a diet. Taking a daily prescription of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a half-meal, free of sugar, flour, and wheat, sends the proper signal to your body and ignites your ability to operate your thinking and emotions at an optimal level.
Think of your body as if it were a machine that requires “real” foods to work as fuel to burn through calories and rev up your metabolism. You wouldn’t put cheap gas diluted with water into the gas tank of your car would you? Unless you wanted your car to sputter, shake, and conk out, I don’t believe you would. Well, for this same reason you want “quality” foods going into your body—your temple.
By combining protein, fruit, “whole” complex carbohydrates, fats, and vegetables in balanced portions, you will create a harmony that’ll satisfy your needs and fill your belly. Staying away from processed foods such as sugar and man-made carbohydrates, you’ll feel better—allowing a calm to come over you.
Your body will recognize and respond with higher energy than you could ever have imagined because it’s now fueled with the proper nutrients— actual foods, made by God, who doesn’t make junk!
Drink at least eight glasses of water a day so your body will flush out the toxins, hydrate you, quench your thirst, improve your skin, and satisfy any false sense of hunger. Often we think we’re hungry when we’re really thirsty.
Recovery is about getting out of the prison of dieting and quieting the lion within. The trick is to stay as close to natural foods as possible. Make every food you eat count!
∙ Breakfast consists of fruit, a starchy “whole” carbohydrate, four ounces of lean protein, dairy, and one teaspoon of fat. EXAMPLE: half a melon, one cup cooked steel oats, two poached eggs, one cup skim milk, and one teaspoon butter.
∙ Lunch includes two cups of vegetables, four ounces of lean protein ), and one teaspoon fat. EXAMPLE: two cups of steamed broccoli and mushrooms, four ounces of baked chicken breast topped with lemon and a teaspoon of butter or olive oil.
∙ Dinner consists of a starchy “whole” carbohydrate, raw vegetables, lean protein and one teaspoon of olive oil. EXAMPLE: One cup of whole grain brown rice, four ounces of sirloin steak, two cups of romaine lettuce with tomatoes and cucumbers, and one teaspoon of olive oil and vinegar.
∙ Half-meal as a metabolic boost (otherwise known in most circles as a snack) includes a fruit and dairy—and if you’re dairy sensitive, replace the dairy with two ounces of lean protein. EXAMPLE: one cup of Greek yogurt mixed with one cup of frozen blueberries and mangoes, adding cinnamon and ginger to taste. If you want to take this delight up a notch, freeze it for a few hours and you will have a close fit to sorbet or ice cream—but better!
• Examples of protein: fish, chicken, steak, lamb, eggs, hamburgers, tofu, dairy, black beans, tofu, et cetera.
• Examples of fruit: medium apple, pear, orange, half a melon, one cup of grapes, one cup of strawberries, one large peach, one cup of fresh blueberries, et cetera.
• Examples of dairy: one cup of plain nonfat yogurt, one cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, one cup of low-fat buttermilk, one cup of skim milk, one cup of fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese (make sure it’s free of sugar), et cetera.
• Examples of fats: one teaspoon of butter, one teaspoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of Newman’s oil and vinegar, one teaspoon of coconut oil, one teaspoon of Dukes mayonnaise, et cetera.
• Examples of starchy “whole” carbohydrates: six ounces of potato, six ounces of sweet potato, one cup millet, one cup peas, one cup brown rice, one cup corn, one cup cooked oatmeal, one cup cooked polenta, et cetera.
*Men should increase their protein portion for breakfast, lunch, and dinner by two ounces.
*Drink at least eight ounces of water daily
*Dairy and protein can be interchanged
*Take one multiple vitamin per day
Some foods known as “gray” foods may trigger you to eat out of control. These foods include: nuts, peanut butter, chocolate, caffeine, sugar substitutes, olives, wine, cheese, alcohol, baked chips, banana, sugar-free cocoa powder, and popcorn. If you experience cravings because of eating these foods, these foods are to be avoided, as you most likely are sensitive to them.
Are you on the Yo-Yo diet? How’s that working for you? What changes have you made to better your relationship with food?
Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum of this blog. If you have something you’d like to say, I’d love to hear it. YOU are important and your words need to be heard. I’m here for you.
To learn more on recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, and aging, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.
Stay tuned…you never know where my mind will wander…
And now my newest release:
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.