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Posted by on in Food Addiction

2017 was athe most difficult year of my life.  I had a health crisis, had to go away to Arizona and leave my 10 year old son for 45 days, had to surrender my 20 year pharmaceutical career and income, lost my mother and lost my mind for a while.  Ironically or maybe not, it all began with a heartfelt prayer.  I recognized I was unhappy, angry, depleted and questioning whether life had more than what I was experiencing.  My chase after money as God supreme and the answer to all my woes was never-ending.  No matter how much money was in the bank, I never felt fulfilled, joyful or grateful. Thankfully, after years of doing recovery work and going to meetings and meditating and seeking, I did realize I was off course.  I went to see an energy healer and everything changed-quickly.  I set an intention with her to remove any negativity or fear that was standing in the way of my connecting with my inner joy.

It all began with a crazy rash and a crazy GI effect.  I went to the OB/GYN seeking answers and thinking it might be a hormonal imbalance.  I was 48.  I was perimenopausal.  The GYN sent me to a nutritionist.  The nutritionist too quickly labeled me "Leaky Gut", put me on a drastic elimination diet (no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no caffeine, no processed foods).  I was already thin at 5'7" and weighed 125.  I couldn't afford to lose more weight. My work addicted mind which now had no work to focus on turned from studying Pharma world to studying leaky gut world.  The internet is a miraculous and awful tool depending on how you utilize it.  It is filled with any and all stories-pro and con.  You can find what you are looking for, even if it is wrong.  In my case, I was looking for the solution to Leaky Gut and all I found were tales of horror about how I would never eat normally again, special diets, autoimmune issues, etc.  After months of researching this diagnosis and despite all the medical professionals telling me my physical exams showed me in perfect health, I lost my ability to reason and fell into deep despair.

After being on the diet for a few months, I now weighed 109 pounds.  My doctor told me my condition was psychological.  That angered me.  I was not a mental case.  I was someone who was given a diagnosis who had symptoms similar to what was reported for leaky gut online and I was following the nutritionists guidance on what foods to avoid.  He said he thought my former eating disorder had been triggered.  I was never anorexic.  I wanted to eat.  I loved food.  I had no urge to throw up.  What was he talking about.  I couldn't see how my addiction was triggered, yet it was.  I was insane.  I was convinced I was sick when I was not.  I could not tell the true from the false.  Apparently, just being on the diet and going back to the idea that some foods are good and others are bad was enough to trigger my disease.  My brain recalled the pattern of my old eating disorder and ignited panic in me.

I was baker acted because I told the doctor I was having dark thoughts that I couldn't go on living in this state of despair, frightening low weight, and loss of control.  I couldn't properly parent my child, I couldn't eat out at restaurants, I thought I had to eat special Gluten Free foods, I thought I had to have fresh chicken or meat and never left overs, in following her elimination diet, plus an IBS diet from my Gastroenterologist and a low histamine diet from online, I was left with 20 foods to eat over and over and I was a mess.  I thought God had abandoned me.  I prayed hard and constantly and thought my prayers were unheard.  Until finally, the doctor in the hospital where I was Baker Acted told me I needed to go to treatment for my eating disorder.  I couldn't believe my ears.  I had never been to treatment.  I didn't have an eating disorder.  What the heck was going on.

A voice within me said this is for you.  Follow this path.  You need to go.  Don't question anything anymore.  Look at you.  You are stuck in a hospital bed because you started to think life wasn't worth living.  You have made your family scared.  You need to go.  

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

This will probably be a rather short post. It's just an observation about the decisions I made or could have made to get my weight down to a reasonable size. The funny thing about it is that I don't feel like I'm overweight. Well yeah there's the whole added stress to your joints thing. But I mean until I look in the mirror sometimes it's hard to believe that I'm not a tiny size 5 anymore. Added to this problem of overeating is the knowledge that if I were to stop taking my psychiatric medication I could probably lose the weight so it comes down to the question of sanity or physical appearance. So many people judge a person based on appearance. I've had the rare opportunity to be on both sides of the weight coin. In the late 1980s my weight got down to the point where I was wearing a size 0 and that was too big. At five foot eight that made me skeletal. I can look at photos of myself now and realize how gaunt I actually looked. Until I was in my forties or maybe thirties I didn't have a weight problem. I was a solid size 7. I was also a meth addict which messed my metabolism up. People don't tell you about the damage that a drug had it will do to your body. Most of the damage you hear about it between families and the adict that they're related to. It's quite common to see shows on TV or read articles and various publications, that talk about the harm that a drug habit can do to a family. Lost of trust is only one of the side effects. This must be very difficult the standby and watch someone you love waste away to nothing. What compounds the tragedy is it when they're off the drug, God willing, they will begin to eat as normal again and a body that has been starved for so long goes into starvation mode and packs on the pounds. Much in the same way that a camel stores water. At least that's what happened to me. I had been small for so long that since we didn't have a weight scale, so I was unaware of how dramatically I was gaining weight. For all the days and nights that I had eaten nothing, I made up for it immediately when clean by eating whatever I wanted.

Now many years and dietitians later, I have what is a reasonable diet that I follow. It consists of the several small meals a day that I since learned is required to keep me from gaining weight. I never give my body too much food at one sitting because I don't want to give it enough that it's got surplus. In this way I have learned that I can maintain my weight and even lose a little along the way. I'd very much like to be the small size 7 that I once was for so long. I've discovered that's probably not realistic. So I'll take what I can get in the way of weight loss and I'm just happy when it doesn't creep back on. I'll try not to eat at night when I wake up or make a glutton of myself at the desert counter in restaurants. I guess really my battle with food has far outweighed my drug battle. But for now I'll continue to use the tools at my disposal in the way of weight maintenance and the power of Prayer to sustain my way. Thank you for your time.

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

3. Why are so many women over 40 developing eating disorders?

I suspect that with the "fifty is the new thirty" mantra, there are pressures to try to be fit, beautiful, successful and happy in ways that have not been seen before.  I also know how difficult it was for me to get better back in the 1980s because there were few role models and very few treatment centers, so I suspect that some people just went in and out of their disorders without ever stringing together long-term health.   Recovering from an eating disorder and staying better is especially hard, too, because food is a necessary part of being alive, and temptations and triggers are everywhere, regardless of where you go.  So I think that there are a huge number of women who have been dealing with some version of disordered eating for decades, and that there could be others who are feeling disoriented by upheavals in their lives – divorce, unemployment, empty nest, poor health, changing hormones – and focusing on their body distracts them from coping with other problems.  I also don't think that there is a widespread belief that long-term recovery exists, so there might not be enough hope for people to persist through the setbacks they encounter.

 

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

1. What are the key ingredients to a successful, long term recovery from bulimia?

 

The things that have helped me the most are abstaining from alcohol, continuing to work on the emotional challenges that always come up in life, maintaining a moderate and healthy approach to food, never weighing myself, staying active with a variety of sports, pursuing my own professional/personal goals, giving support and help to others who want guidance, having a spiritual practice, having a contagiously positive circle of friends, being grateful for my blessings, and sharing my story with those who still struggle because it keeps my addiction fresh in a good way.

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

Food has been a problem for mankind since Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. The word forbidden conjures up thoughts about sin, punishment, guilt and shame. Food is still an emotionally charged area of life for many. If you have been on diet after diet after diet I bet that you want to be free to eat what you want without looking over your shoulder at the ghosts of the “diet police.”

Sometimes the “diet police” are real people, a parent or spouse who stays on your case and judges you or makes remarks about your looks or what you are about to put in your mouth. Sometimes you hire a policeman in the form of a doctor or nutritionist to tell you what to do. I once met a woman who wanted me to help her with her food cravings. After the first session she called to cancel. She explained, “I want someone to tell me what to do, so I am going to Weight Watchers because they weigh you, and if you don’t lose weight, they kick your ass!”

It is a fact that diets often lead to full blown eating disorders. When we hear someone tell us that certain foods must never pass our lips again it can cause a harmful reaction. The first Overeaters Anonymous meeting I ever went to scared me so much that I didn’t go back for four years!

The speaker, a slim woman, reminded us that we were allergic to sugar and if it passed our lips we would be certain to go into uncontrollable eating binges. She proudly announced that she hadn’t had a piece of cherry pie for umpteen years. Although I wanted to look like her and have the peace of mind she seemed to have, I went home and ate up a storm. Even though I hated cherry pie, the thought of never having it again, or any pie was more than my deprived inner self could accept.

What is a “bad” food? One person’s mayonnaise is another person’s ice cream. Carla told me that she had to stay away from mayonnaise because she liked to eat it with a spoon. I felt like gagging when she said this because mayonnaise is not one of my favorite foods so I have never felt a craving for it. Yet in my past I often ate peanut butter with a spoon and even had to hide it from myself. How can you hide it from yourself when you know where it is? This is crazy making!

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