Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship: Part 5

self-loathingSTEP FIVE – Admit the Self-Loathing
As fear drives people from guilt to shame, it also affects the way they see themselves. In contrast to self-respect, overeaters develop self-hate. Although they may not be aware of the fact, they have started functioning in a highly self-destructive manner. Bulimic purging is one way to get rid of the fearful aspects of their lives. One bulimic patient kept vomiting throughout her marriage; she was symbolically trying to rid herself of her emotional feelings about her controlling, abusive husband. Once she finally divorced her unfaithful, physically and sexually abusive husband, the vomiting stopped.

Binges and purging are also ways that bulimics are destroying themselves. As bizarre as this repressed logic may be, millions of people do not face the self-hate that is causing their problems.

Of course, despising themselves enlarges the emotional emptiness they have been feeling for so long. Love hunger deepens, forcing the addictive cycle forward. These sufferers are helplessly entangled in a terrible process that can destroy their lives. Even though they make promises to adjust their eating behavior, nothing changes because they have failed to see the whole cycle for what it is: a process!

– Steve Arterburn

What is the first step toward healing? Please join us at our next Lose It For Life Workshop.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship: Part 4

costSTEP FOUR – Face the Pay-off
Fear forces people with eating disorders into an emotional bind. Sufferers may be forced into isolation and lose meaningful relationship with other people. They feel unworthy to be full participants in a normal life. The cost is high and humiliating.

People feel guilty about their purging and gorging behavior. They also feel guilty because they cannot control their eating. Even worse is the shame lurking underneath the fear. The shame that originated in their childhood is now a dark sense of worthlessness. And nothing is more difficult to bear than shame. This degrading emotion eats away all remaining self-respect and leaves the person feeling naked before the watching world. And as overweight people grow larger, they must carry the double shame of their extreme weight and its degrading appearance. Addiction specialists feel that nearly all addictions arise from experiences of shame or lack of connectedness, or both.

Facing and accepting our worst fears and then moving into the future is one of the ways our heavenly Father sets us free from the past.

– Steve Arterburn

What is the first step toward healing? Please join us at our next Lose It For Life Workshop.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship: Part 3

foodSTEP THREE – Recognize That Food Fuels the Wheel
The addictive process is an endlessly turning wheel until something breaks the cycle. For the alcoholic, the chemical content of alcohol keeps the wheel moving. Food addicts have to accept the fact that food can have a similar effect on them. Let’s enumerate a number of the effects food can have.

First,  food can kill pain. Often people overeat because feeling full gives them a sense of well-being, which pushes away the gnawing anxiety they felt before the meal. Unfortunately, the effects of consistently overeating pile up around the waistline and the overeaters don’t like the way they look. They are actually punishing themselves by becoming unattractive and endangering their health.

Second,  food also has a tranquilizing effect. When we eat, blood sugar levels rise and neurochemicals called endorphins are released to give us a sense of well-being. After a few minutes of trotting, runners often experience a similar pleasant sensation. Food has actually turned into a tranquilizer. The quest for this feeling of well-being turns people into food addicts.

***** The addictive process is an endlessly turning wheel until something breaks the cycle! *****

Third,  food can distance us from others. People who were sexually abused or felt the intense pain of a broken love relationship find that eating excessively can put enough fat around them to keep members of the opposite sex away from them. Consequently, they protect themselves from any further abuse or unexpected rejection.

An oral addiction can also take on many other forms. Smoking, excessive talking, using profanity, grinding teeth, all can be expressions of the same pain. In each of these activities an addictive agent is fueling the Ferris wheel of our addiction. If you are caught in this swirl of confusion, you must put food back in its proper place. You cannot allow the pleasantness of eating to distort what you actually require for your life.

– Steve Arterburn

What is the first step toward healing? Please join us at our next Lose It For Life Workshop.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship: Part 2

emotional-painSTEP TWO – Face the Emotional Pain
Being honest about the depth of our emotional pain is extremely difficult. No one wants to get in touch with the root of the pain system, since this renews the loss and deprivation that we’re trying desperately to avoid.

Generally our apprehension twists our opinion of ourselves, leaving us with low self-esteem. Even though our personal accomplishments may be of considerable scope, we tend to see ourselves in a diminished and insignificant position. The result is emotionally devastating.

***** Self-esteem is a gift only we can give ourselves! *****

We must learn that self-esteem is a gift only we can give ourselves. Rather than a product of accomplishment, enduring self-esteem rests on a sense of self-worth intrinsically ours because we are children of God. I John 3:1 says: ‘See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!’ We have value because the heavenly Father has placed us in this world as His special envoys. We must recognize and accept this fact as true.

***** In God’s eyes we have supreme value! *****

Whether the president of the United States or a dishwasher, we are of supreme value in God’s sight. Recognizing that fact is one of the most important steps we can take to break out of emotional pain. Experiencing unconditional love from good friends over a long period of time also reinforces our feelings of self-worth.

– Steve Arterburn

What is the first step toward healing? Please join us at our next Lose It For Life Workshop.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship: Part 1

denial

STEP ONE – Stopping the Denial
In this article, I will focus on Step One and stopping the denial. While we may have a bundle of good excuses tucked away in our memories to justify every aspect of our problems, we can’t get well until we stop kidding ourselves. Renewal begins when we allow the facts to be the facts. While you may not want to say the words out loud, you may actually be struggling with a love hunger. Take a look at the following story for insight into your own.

Marybelle lived through four years of an abusive marriage relationship. She anticipated a husband like her living father. Because of her great respect and admiration for her father, she never anticipated her husband deceiving and running around on her. When she discovered his adultery, the truth nearly destroyed her. The man had been critical, demanding, unemployed much of the time, and a real cad on top of it all! Obviously, Marybelle’s need for love and appreciation became enormous.

Then, a year after the divorce, Marybelle’s mother discovered she was dying of cancer. Marybelle’s childhood family had been the center of her life. Nothing was more fun than sitting at Sunday dinner around a table piled high with food. Through the years her mother remained the center of the family constellation with all the brothers and sisters circulating around her. During the two years of her mother’s illness, the center of the circle disintegrated. When her mother finally died, Marybelle’s life dropped into a black hole. She described her constant eating as an attempt ‘to fill up a bottomless pit at the center of her life.’ The demise of Marybelle’s marriage and death of her mother filled her with a fear of emptiness. This void, which was really a lack of love, drove her to eat compulsively.

*****Renewal begins when we allow the facts to be the facts.*****

What about you and your story? While admitting a need for love can be extremely difficult, it is the first step out of our addiction. We may have to probe and push to get in touch with the truth, but honesty is the way to start climbing out of the pit.

– Steve Arterburn

What is the first step toward healing? Please join us at our next Lose It For Life Workshop.

Eat the Next Meal

Jennifer Cecil

Don Durham, PhD, and Clinical Director at Remuda Ranch Center for Eating Disorders frequently advised the residents at the clinic to ‘eat the next meal.’ His counsel was to women who had ‘acted out’ their eating disorder, by binging, purging, or restricting their intake of food. He appealed to the women, that they could recover from their slip quickly by getting back on their food plan as soon as possible. ‘Eating the next meal,’ means to eat the next snack or meal at the regularly scheduled time, no matter what you have previously eaten.

The tendency, after a binge, is to eliminate or restrict food intake at the next mealtime. That, in turn, sets you up to be ravenously hungry as blood sugar levels drop. You will be more likely to overeat, starting the cycle all over again.

‘Eating the next meal’ also prevents the sabotaging effects of ‘black and white’ thinking. Often times when we deviate from our food plan, we conclude that we are ‘off’ our diet. If we have failed to live up to our expectations, we surmise that we may as well continue binging because we are no longer ‘on’ our diet.

Our minds gravitate to only two states, success (being ‘on our diet’) or failure (being ‘off our diet’). When we go ‘off’ our diet, we lose momentum to adhere to our food plan. Sometimes we can go days, weeks, and even months before we are able to get back ‘on’ the diet. Needless to say, this can have disastrous effects on our weight and our health as we develop the ‘yo-yo syndrome’. When we finally get back ‘on’ the diet, we zealously and religiously adhere to the plan, until we slip up again. Because we are ‘on’ the diet again, we are convinced that we will be successful and that we will never deviate from it again, displaying ‘black and white thinking’ once again.

When we ‘eat the next meal’, we are taking life one meal at a time and therefore, not reinforcing the addictive ‘all or nothing’ mindset. We will avoid the swings in behavior, the fluctuation in weight, and the frustration of never making progress towards our health and fitness goals.

The next time that you deviate from your food plan, tell yourself the truth about what has just happened:

1. It is NATURAL to deviate at times from your plan. You are human and this is a chosen lifestyle, not merely a diet.

2. Deviating from your food plan is NO BIG DEAL. You will not gain weight or set yourself back with one slip.

3. You CAN get right back on your food plan. You do NOT need to continue binging! (—There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ).

4. You do not need to SABATOGE your success. You can continue moving forward towards your weight loss goals!

5. Remember, that the goal is PROGRESS, not PERFECTION!

You don’t have to go this alone.  Please join us at our next Lose It For Life weekend!

Honor your Health

Juliet Zuercher from The Remuda Ranch

According to Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book, Intuitive Eating, ten principles exist regarding this healthy eating philosophy. The first nine are: reject the diet mentality; honor your hunger; make peace with food; challenge the food police; feel your fullness; discover the satisfaction factor; cope with your emotions without using food; respect your body; and exercise—feel the difference.

The final is:

Honor your health—gentle nutrition

Two facets exist to the concept of honoring your health.

First, honor your physical health by respecting your body. This is done by consuming foods that are healthy and nutritious; foods that are rich in protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, etc. Food that your body needs to function properly. As a child, most of us believed good health was simply a ‘given;’ as adults, we now know good health is a gift. As with all good gifts, it must be valued and appreciated. Honor your health by eating well.

The second piece is honoring your emotional health. Do this by not being rigid in food choices, by not conforming to a structured food plan at all times. If you need comfort food, eat comfort food, then don’t chastise yourself the following day for being weak. This dovetails into the concept of gentle nutrition. Stay away from proscribed diets, meaning don’t follow a regimented plan designed by the latest nutrition guru. Trust yourself to make good choices based on sound knowledge. Keep this in mind: ‘Progress, not perfection is what counts.’

Intuitive Eating

Juliet Zuercher

According to Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book, Intuitive Eating, ten principles exist regarding this healthy eating philosophy. The first seven are: reject the diet mentality; honor your hunger; make peace with food; challenge the food police; feel your fullness; discover the satisfaction factor; and cope with your emotions without using food.

The next two are:

1. Respect your body
Would anyone in their right mind try to squeeze a size 9 foot into a size 6 shoe? Never. Then why would anyone do the same with their body ‘ striving to squeeze a ‘medium’ body into a ‘small’ outfit? Tall, short, big-boned, small-boned — bodies come in many sizes, which is precisely why clothes also do. Don’t punish your body with crazy diets and tight clothes. What’s more, stop comparing yourself to others; what another person looks like is irrelevant. First, reject the diet mentality, then learn to respect your body.

2. Exercise and feel the difference
Along with the diet mentality, it’s time to throw out the idea that exercise must be regimented and can only occur at a gym. What is exercise after all? It’s movement—and, provided an individual is healthy, all movement is good. You do not have to count calories, watch a clock, or follow a proscribed plan. Just move. Integrate more activity, or ‘play’ time, into your lifestyle. Then notice how great you feel. Take your focus off of weight and put it onto health. You’ll be amazed at the improvement in your attitude and motivation!

Principles for Healthy Eating

Juliet Zuercher

According to Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book, Intuitive Eating, ten principles exist regarding this healthy eating philosophy. The first five are: reject the diet mentality; honor your hunger; make peace with food; challenge the food police; and feel your fullness.
The next two are:

Discover the satisfaction factor

How often do you eat what you really want?

If you are like many people, you desire Food A, maybe a candy bar, but instead you settle for Food B, perhaps a nutrition bar. The truth is, you did not have what you wanted. By substituting a ‘filler food,’ your satisfaction level is low. What’s more, you will probably end up eating the candy bar anyway. Give yourself permission to eat what you want when you want it and discover the pleasure and contentment that comes.

Cope with your emotions without using food. Everyone has emotions, both positive and negative. Unfortunately, negative emotions cause pain. Often, people try to negate the pain with food. On so many levels, this doesn’t work. Food may provide momentary distraction, but it fixes nothing. Ultimately, problems must be dealt with. If you are angry, depressed, anxious, or lonely, try to approach it directly. Perhaps a conversation with a friend is in order, or if the problem is severe, counseling may be an option, but don’t try to ‘stuff’ feelings with food. If anything, your negative feelings will only intensify when you realize how much you have consumed and how little it helped.

Healthy Eating: (part 2) Philosophy

Juliet Zuercher

According to Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book, Intuitive Eating, ten principles exist regarding this healthy eating philosophy. The first three are: reject the diet mentality; honor your hunger; and make peace with food. The next two are:
Challenge the food police
When you were a child, the food police were probably your parents. Yet now, the food police are you. Whether aware of it or not, you probably have a little voice in your head that often speaks to you about food. Rarely is this a positive voice; on the contrary, it is usually quite critical and representative of unreasonable beliefs. It tells you that this food is good, or that food is bad. Often these beliefs come from the latest fad diets or magazine articles. Indeed, watch for signs in your own speech. How many times do you say: ‘I was good today because I ate fruit;’ or ‘I’m going to be bad and eat dessert.’ Can food make you good or bad? No. It’s just food. Stop listening to this voice.

Feel your fullness

Your car and the gas pump work together beautifully. When the vehicle is full, the pump turns off. Your body offers you a similar signal when it is full. Your stomach tells your brain that it is full and satisfied. That’s why it is time to start listening to your body. And remember, it takes about 20 minutes for those signals to kick in. So, eat slowly, enjoy your food, then stop when you are full.