I understand your pain!
I would like to take this moment to “really” introduce myself to you. My name is Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego, PhD, LCSW, CAP, NBCCH. I had weight issues and food issues for a good 25 years of my life. I think if there were a prize for the biggest binge eater or person most out of control with their food, I would have won!
My weight and my relationship with food was a constant struggle for me until I began to change my behavior and understand my chemical reaction to certain foods. I didn’t begin to change my behavior and understand my food reactions until years after personal trial and error, and tons of research.
I believe my nightmare began early in my life without me even realizing. First off, I am the 6th child with two sets of twins sandwiched between my oldest sister and myself. There are only four years between my eldest sister and me! My poor mother was knee deep in diapers for probably what seemed like an eternity, while she was still a kid herself. I learned early to comfort myself with a bottle and food! Although I was a skinny, scrawny kid who was on iron drops for anemia, I had some early “dysfunctional” eating behaviors already blossoming. I remember climbing up on the kitchen counter to retrieve chocolate syrup and just free pouring it down my throat until I felt that sense of, “ahhhhhhhhhhh” that we food addicts are so familiar with. I also remember hiding in the dark coat closet in the front of the house and stealing change from my parent’s coat pockets just so I could go buy a “stash” of candy.
One time I was so desperate I even stole my father’s pouch of parking lot change (hundreds of dollars) from the third drawer of the china cabinet and took it to the store called “Pennies” to buy candy. Of course, the bag was too big for my tiny little 7 year old frame and I dropped it…coins flew all over and the store owner turned me in to me parents! It was the first and only time my Dad ever spanked me! I even remember giving up candy for Lent and could not make it for more than a few days in third grade. I would sneak sweet foods during my 40 days and 40 nights of abstinence, and feel sure God was going to punish me! I learned early in life about sneaking sugary foods and guilt. This entire sneak eating caught up to me by the time I turned 13. At the same time, my hormones were raging out of control. My body began to grow and grow and grow! I went from a little girl’s body to a full-breasted woman, with a little kid tucked inside of me! This is when my diet days began! My first diet was eating only Ritz crackers and cream cheese with hot tea and skim milk. I miraculously dropped 50 pounds and began to lose my hair, short-term memory and my moods were vacillating from deliriously happy to miserable. I lasted about two months and all the weight returned with a vengeance!
From there, I started using diet pills and any wacky diet I could find. In the beginning of my “diet” days I gained and lost big amounts of weight for years. I tried every crazy diet under the sun only to lose weight temporarily and regain it back in bigger amounts than what I was trying to lose in the first place! Each diet failure left me a little more bruised emotionally and discouraged physically. Fortunately, in my late teenage years I found my way to a wonderful, popular weight loss company that began to partially turn my life around. I reached my “healthy” goal weight for the first time at the age of 19! I stayed there and basked in my glory for a whole five minutes only to gain it back again. I went on to reach my goal weight 3 more times, and in my thirties I finally was able to lose nearly 100 pounds and managed to keep it off for 10 years! I even started working for this well-known company and thought I had found my solution. Although I had part of the equation for weight loss I was missing some very important ingredients, as were many of the individuals that came through the doors of this popular establishment. I was not sure what was missing but I knew that I still was having binging episodes, mood swings, terrible fatigue and small degrees of depression. Through constant diet and exercise I did manage to keep my weight down but not without a terrific battle with my binging and head games.
The out of control eating began to take its toll on me and very slowly my weight was starting to creep back on, a pound here and a pound there. Before I knew it 34 pounds found their way back and none of my old faithful plans worked. I was petrified that I was headed back to my old world of being well over 200 pounds! I was already studying in post-graduate school to become a doctor in addiction psychology with the emphasis on eating disorders including food addiction. I was becoming the expert yet I was drowning myself! More than anything in the world, I knew that I could not be heavy again. I had to fight this one with education, information, spiritual recovery, self-hypnosis and trial and error. After a while, I became very conscious of a change in my behavior with certain foods. I also became aware of my constant fatigue with specific foods. I began to notice anger, anxiety and low self-esteem directly after eating particular types of foods. For me this was a tremendous break through! For the first time in my life I realized it was not my fault! I was not weak …I had a definite reaction to certain foods!
After careful, personal scrutiny I became familiar with the foods that had a profound affect on my moods, cravings and an arduous case of fatigue. These issues were seriously getting in the way of my everyday life. After working with thousands of patients and weight loss participants, I knew that I was not alone. I knew there were wounded birds just like me out there. I knew there had to be a simple answer and I was determined to find it! As I ate my foods I began to notice foods that were giving me my biggest problems. The foods are sugar, flour, and wheat! Could the answer be this simple? I found with eating a balanced breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack and avoiding sugar, flour, and wheat, along with spiritual discovery, exercise, and drinking plenty of water, I began to stabilize in my moods and my weight began to drop steadily until it reached the ideal weight for me. My cravings were no longer there and my energy level soared to heights unimaginable. The binging episodes are non-existent and the depression is lifted as long as I stay away from these foods!
Using spiritual discovery and hypnosis to change my thought pattern and staying away from sugar, flour, and wheat, I have quieted the “noise” in my head. I no longer fight the addiction. I eat to live rather than living to eat! Healthy foods and feeding my spiritual needs are my fuel…my energy…my resource to bring me to the most optimal health possible!