If you can dream it,
you can do it.
New Year’s Resolution—Stop Dieting Start Eating—Release Your Obsession with food!
Have you ever wondered why you start every new year with a promise to yourself to eat healthfully, only to end up making several rounds of fast-food and grocery-store stops—the displays beckoning you to indulge in succulent sweets and crunchy or salty delights—and with you devouring the entire container almost trance-like?
Do you feel you’re doing everything right, but your weight keeps increasing, and your night-before promise to yourself to start clean eating disappears by the end of the following day?
Or maybe you make it to the first week for this new year and then cave.
Do you find yourself eating when you’re not hungry at all?
Does the mere picture of a succulent chocolate cake cause you to obsess over the urgency to get a piece—or perhaps eat the entire cake and your resolution is down the tubes? Do you experience a drug-like stupor after eating certain foods?
Do you feel high at the thought of eating chocolate, followed by a deep depression soon after its consumption? Is food your lover?
Is food your worst nightmare? Do you panic at the thought of not eating cookies, candy, and bread?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may be a food addict.
Are You a Food Addict?
If you suffer from food addiction and treat it with a diet you are setting yourself up for failure. Food addiction is real. It’s not your fault.
You may feel you have no way out of this hell you’re experiencing day in and day out but you do. There is hope and there is help. Food addiction is defined as an uncontrollable urge for excess food, particularly refined carbohydrates such as sugar and flour substances, which are quick to metabolize.
The disease—for food addiction truly constitutes a disease—is biochemical in nature because the body of the food addict reacts differently to some foods than the bodies of other people. A common link between food addicts is sensitivity to sugars and certain carbohydrates. More specifically, the reaction of deep craving begins with just one chocolate bar, a slice of cake, a bowl of pasta, or similar carbohydrates: all normal foods for most individuals.
I recognize food addiction as an addiction that, when addressed through abstaining from specific foods, causes cravings to cease. Refraining from eating these foods then allows the person to live a “normal” life tapped into a higher wisdom connected to spiritual recovery.
Learning if you are a food addict or a behavioral eater can be tricky at best. Often the two are crossed and blended as if the same. In Psychology Today, What is Behavioral Addiction? penned by Jon E. Grand, JD, MD, MPH and Brian L. Odlaug suggest that ingesting drugs and alcohol may produce short-term rewards that then result in a lack of control over the behavior. It is the diminished control that is considered a core defining concept of substance addiction….but this is also similar between behaviors that produce a lack of control.
In both situations there is withdrawal. I find this quite telling.
Do we behave a certain way or is the addiction kicking in? Can we separate the two?
The article goes on to say the idea of behavioral addictions is based in scientific knowledge, but the concept is still controversial. One is looking at a substance going into the body while the other is looking at behavior such as gambling. Both have signs of out of Addictive Behavior
The brain will respond to the behavior in the same addictive manner as the drug or alcohol. In both cases they may become agitated, have trouble sleeping, experience a personality change and be quite irritable. After I struggled with my addiction for well over thirty years, I found if I let go of my trigger foods, the monster within quieted.
I no longer chase the new year resolution or the newest fad diet on the block.
I began my personal journey by adopting a manner of eating in order to get “sober” and avoid relapse.
I learned quickly that if I plugged into the universal life force and omitted processed foods, the demon was tamed, and I was relieved of the disease—yet I remained keenly aware that the consumption of sugar would open the mouth to the devil and ignite the addictive phase.
Yo Yo Dieting
Belinda, a fairly new patient, bolted through the waiting room sprinting into my office like she was running a 10K marathon. Breathless, she plopped down sinking deep into my plush autumn brown couch, perspiration trickling down her face—though we were experiencing a South Florida cold-snap of 44 degrees. She abruptly announced, “I’m starting a 500 calorie diet to get rid of this weight once and for all!,” as she grabbed a fist full of fat from her expanded waist.
As I listened to Belinda promise with such conviction on how she would lose her weight—that she owned the “secret” to drop weight quickly, I felt Belinda’s pain and urgency. Not only do I understand Belinda, I lived her desperation—starting and ending every fad diet imaginable for over 30 years of my life. I promised to lose the weight—that I had the quick weight loss secret. One hundred pounds heavier after a series of diets brought me to my knees begging for a transformation.
I couldn’t help responding abruptly to Belinda, “Stop, don’t do it! Do not make another New Year’s resolution to diet as it leads to yo yo dieting!”
When I explain to patients what’s really going on with desperate dieting followed by binge eating I often see a twinkle in their eye as they nod, bobbing their head like a dolphin dancing on the ocean top–delighted direction is coming.
Food Addiction or Binge Eating Disorder
Belinda is a food addict who binge eats. In my practice, the majority of my eating disordered patients suffer from binge eating disorder and/or food addiction. This isn’t to say all bingers are food addicts but for sure all food addicts are bingers. Some are overweight while others are not.
Truth be known—some actually can be of normal weight.
Moreover, not all overweight persons binge eat. And where does food addiction fit into the mix? The biggest challenge is to sort through whether the patient has food addiction, binge eating disorder, or a combination of the two.
The food addict also eats a large amount of food in a small period of time, and like compulsive eating, it comes with consequences that can be lethal, such as obesity, heart disease, relationship issues, body image, and etc. The big difference between the two disorders is food addicts crave specific foods that are uncontrollable no matter what attempts they put forth to stop (i.e., dieting, restricting, exercising, etc.)
I liken food addiction, an uncontrollable craving for high sugar and processed foods, to recreational drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and nicotine. And the food addict needs to consume the sugary/starchy substance in order to function—to feel “normal.” In all addiction cases, the substance dependent consumes larger amounts of their drug for longer periods than were normally intended with a persistent desires or repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit—even if it interrupts social, recreational, and family interaction—because the addicted substance takes precedence.
When it comes to treatment for binge eating disorder it is often not about the food but rather about the emotional deficits. When it comes to treatment for food addiction it is about the food—specific foods that trigger the compulsion to consume large amounts of it no matter what the cost. Although binge eating disorder and food addiction share many of the same symptoms, food addiction shares the emotional component of binge eating disorder as well as the symptoms such as obsession with body, weight, mood shifts, closet eating, stealing, where compulsive eating is about the inability to deal with emotions.
As Belinda begins to “get it” she has an Oprah “light bulb moment!” realizing that her experience of up and down weight loss is not her fault, but rather from years of dieting and addictive eating.
Today, especially the first day of January, promises of food restriction, clamping teeth shut determined to eat 500 calories a day is a recipe for disaster.
Let’s be clear: There’s no such diet or trick or secret as losing 20, 40, 60 or whatever number of pounds you want to lose in a few short weeks and or months. Belinda’s 500 calorie diet sets her up for quick weight loss followed by quick weight gain. I know, been there done that a million times.
Where to begin? Let’s start with four points…
Ø Admit you are out of control with food
This first step is not easy but it’s a start point to release the obsession with food.
Ø Understand sugar, flour, and wheat are drugs to many binge eaters.
Belinda reminds me of the addict who promises they’ll never take another hit, snort, or shoot up again, without admission to the addictive components. Coming from a “will power” frame of mind is sure to fail.
Ø Develop a spiritual connection to something greater than yourself.
Call it God, Yahweh, or Lucy, whatever—just connect to your Divine Source. Belinda is two hundred pounds overweight. She is a prisoner in her own body. Addictions are stronger and bigger than our will to stop using, we can’t do it alone.
Ø Take one day at a time—practice recovery.
Belinda must let go of the “quick” fix ideation. When humble and focused she can work a whole, natural food plan free of sugar, flour, and wheat. In the here and now, working her program one meal at a time with progress not perfection, I think she’ll make it to the other side: thin and healthy.
When I was in the food I promised I would stop. I too vowed to lose the weight and never binge again. I meant it! Once I dropped some weight and started looking good I fell deep into a binge. It wasn’t until I realized I had to let go of the addictive foods I became free of the obsessions and cravings. It’s not a question of will power but rather of letting go of an addiction to specific foods. As simple as it sounds it worked. My weight corrected and I am free of cravings.
Many patients I work with also are free from cravings and have returned to their normal weight. I wish I could say they all followed my path, but truth be told, many are on the same ride as Belinda, believing there’s a quick fix often losing only to gain more weight than what they started with.
Successful patients have a clear understanding it’s a process and that it takes time if they want to enter long-term success. Eat balanced meals one day at a time is the ticket to recovery.
Although I did not hear specific talk about spiritual recovery, Belinda is beginning to echo thoughts regarding some Higher Force to carry her through the process. She grasps it’s not about the food, nor is it about the weight, it’s an addiction to food. It is about turning to a physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery.
So, when life is challenging rather than turning to food perhaps digging into the root cause might have a better outcome.
Break free from the New Year Resolution Diet and begin in the now to eat healthfully, and once and for all end making several rounds of fast-food and grocery-store stops and displays beckoning you to indulge in succulent sweets and crunchy or salty delights.
Life will get better and better with each passing day, I promise.
What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with your food? Do you think certain foods can lead to binge eating? I’d love to hear from you–your thoughts are important. If you don’t think food addiction is real I’d love to hear from you too…
Stay tuned…you never know where my mind will wander…
You can leave a comment by scrolling down to the section that says leave a reply. I look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you for spending time with me and my thoughts throughout these pages. I hope my words lit your excitement to become your best self for you. I look forward to sharing my next book with you on how to release your obsession with money. God bless you… and your journey through this life and all that awaits beyond…
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, aging, and now money, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.
Stay tuned…you never know where my mind will wander…
And now my newest release:
I learned firsthand and now I’m passing it along to you…