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The Path To The Holy Grail- Drying Out From Food Addiction.


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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Hi, my name is Robert. I am a recovering food addict.  No, I am not talking about broccoli addiction or my cravings for a fruit fix. I have never lurked in a dark alley trying to hook up with someone to help me mainline a chicken breast. My pusher had a neon sign out front, was open whenever I needed him, and was 100% legal.

Processed fast food is probably the only addictive drug that is totally legal, always available, and is protected by commercial lobbyists who's only loyalty lies in the worship of the almighty dollar.  Don't kid yourself. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars in pursuit of yet another way to crawl inside your head and manipulate you like a trained monkey.  Any casual research on this subject will yield disturbing results.

Our self satisfied Western culture does not like to have the boat rocked.  This is one subject that cannot be ignored any longer.  We are a nation of addicts. 

Don't think so?

If the thought of going without any "non life support" essential types of food ie...drive thru, sweets, restaurant food etc... Sends you into a mental frenzy of panic or justification, you are an addict. I can live without drive thru burgers, fries, soft drinks ( yes, even diet ), or restaurant foods indefinitely without any side effects but if I were to exclude any fruits, veggies, whole grains or lean proteins for a long period of time, there will be troubles down the road.

-The mechanics of food addiction:

Our brains are hard wired for survival. Our brains also possess a reward system to ensure survival. In basic terms, when we behave in a certain way that ensures our survival, there is a release of mood enhancing hormones and chemicals that gives us a very satisfied, safe, and well rewarded feeling. During times of stress, our bodies are hard wired to look for "easy calories". Calories that do not require much expenditure to obtain. In business terms, this is how you make a profit. Obtain the highest gain with the least cost.  For our bodies, our brains look for and identify those easy calories in the form of sugar and fat.  On a smaller scale, we also respond to salt as well but the biggies are sugar and fat.

The food industry has scientists working feverishly to find new ways to find the right combinations of fat, sugar, and salt to tweak your "bliss point" ( their terminology, not mine). Not to be crude, but this is not unlike the bliss point of chemical release found in an orgasm. How else do ultra rich chocolate cakes earn a name such as " better than sex" cake?  While not wanting to delve super deep into the facets of these chemical manipulations, it would be worth your while to read the following articles to give you a general idea as to what I am talking about. They are worth taking your time to read if you truly are serious about getting a handle on this.

www.nytimes.com/2
009/06/23/health/23well.html


www.healthzone.ca
/health/article/1025347


www.hopeforyourho
rmones.com/blogpost-58321/
Sugar-Blog-3Sugar---Fat---
Salt.html


From the above articles, I didnt have to be a rocket scientist to understand that food is not a neutral substance that i take in, then passes out, and merely takes away the hungry feeling for a little while. Certain food combinations produce reactions in the brain hormonally. I am totally convinced, that in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, food companies, fast food conglomerates, and the industry as a whole has been on a long standing quest to make their product stand out from the rest so that you will buy it, even of it means exploiting your biology to do it.  Our sense of food palatability and satisfaction has been severely skewed by years of the food industry persistently raising the bar when it comes to salt, sugar and fat content in the name of profitable flavor enhancement. Like the addict that needs increasingly stronger doses to get the same high, so our tolerances to high fat and high sugar have increased to the point to where "clean food" tastes bland or gross and must be doused with some flavor intensive or high fat dressing or condiment. 

Scientists in the food industry work tirelessly to research how the compounds in their food will trigger the response centers in your brain to keep you coming back. Follow the money and you will find the truth.


-My recovery

I was so out of touch with how food tasted. Many times I didn't even think about what was in my mouth, I was only reaching for another handful. The only way that I have found that works for me ( I said works and not worked because I am still a work in progress) is to dry out like any other addict. There is NO other way for me. 

So how did I do it?.....I had to lower my satisfaction threshold. 

I had become so " tripped out " on the high sugar / fat lifestyle that real food lost out every time I had the chance to choose between the two. Let's face it, what chance does a lean chicken breast and a light spinach salad have against pizza and chicken wings?

There is NO substitution for clean food ....period and I do not mean pre-packaged processed diet meals that are the low fat, high salt facsimiles of their high fat cousins. I am talking about fresh fruit, veggies, leaner cuts of meat, fish and whole grains, all without being doused in high fat / high sugar anything to make it more palatable. There comes a point where we need to shake ourselves and get back in touch as to what REAL food tastes like without all of the enhancement.  Sometimes the process was painful with real withdrawal symptoms. If real, un-enhanced  food tastes gross to you, then know that you are a victim of the food industries manipulation of your brains sensibilities.
I cleaned up my diet a little at a time, one meal at a time, and had LOTS of indulgent moments along the way because drying out isn't easy.

I rebelled, I kicked, and I had my moments until I experienced the following revelation:

A person who has a serious illness never quibbles with the doctor about finding the time for treatment. Family or not, job or not, hobbies or not, the job gets done. Life's priorities are upended. Every thing revolves around obtaining the necessary treatment. No worries about whats on TV or Facebook. What was so bloody important before our diagnosis is now regarded as a mindless waste of time in the light of the crisis that is now consuming us. When it comes to life saving treatment, everyone knows that it is not done at our convenience and neither is it done in between the commercials. It is a priority and little else matters.

It finally sunk in that I was in deep trouble. This isn't about looking sexy, or a smaller pair of britches. This isn't about fulfilling some crazy dream in the heat of a midlife crisis.  This is about saving my life. Obesity is a slow, painful disease that will eat my body alive and destroy my soul.

Liberty and freedom from obesity is something that cannot be legislated through following some restrictive plan, it must be yearned for and pursued from the heart, fueled by the belief that it IS possible to change. I have to want it more than my pet addiction and nothing else will do. When you truly believe that the treasure you have searched for is buried in a certain area, you will stop at nothing, will sell all that you have, pull every string possible until you are standing in that field with a shovel in your hand. Then it becomes a labor of love.

There is the mental addiction of ingrained habit. We are what we repeatedly do. " I ALWAYS get (fill in the blank) on my way to work every morning" Then there is the physical addiction to the stimulation that the desired food delivers to your brain via salt, sugar and fat.  It is because of this that I have watched so many journeys crash and burn. They got the fat off the body but never got it out of the head. Once they hit some perceived goal, there is a backing off of the routine because they feel they have "arrived". It is almost an unconscious, involuntary reaction. They slowly return to their version of "normal" because the transformation did not take place in the mind. To them, exercise and a balanced, clean diet was something radical and out of the normal routine.  Slowly the old version of normal begins to creep in, the drive thru, the couch, the blowing off of the workout for the flimsiest of reasons.

Why did I reach the measure of success I have so far enjoyed? (I have NOT arrived)...... My version of what is normal has been redefined, both in nutrition and in routine. To do that I had to dry out from my food addictions and introduce a new routine, one thing at a time, slowly. Sometimes VERY slowly.

I broke the addiction by drying out through eating as clean as possible, slowly refining my technique until the results started to come.

Final Part In This Series- Response-ability- choosing your response...
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4929786






The "Path To The Holy Grail" Series

Intoduction to the Holy Grail
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4862929


Emotional balance part 1 - journey to the center of the problem
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4867588


Emotional balance part 2 - Relationship with the scale
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4883555


Emotional balance part 3 - Self talk
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4886607


Emotional balance part 4 - Realistic weight loss goals
www.sparkpeople.c
om/mypage_public_journal_i
ndividual.asp?blog_id=4897677


Emotional balance part 5 - Independence And Passion.
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4905207


Reprogramming The Reward Center
www.sparkpeople.c
om/mypage_public_journal_i
ndividual.asp?blog_id=4910896


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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ALIDOSHA 10/17/2012 5:31PM

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SPSPSP1 9/3/2012 3:48AM

    True! Thank you!

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OCLIAO 7/4/2012 11:27PM

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GINIEMIE 6/28/2012 6:26AM

    Your blogs have certainly been informative and inspiring. Thank you.
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ANSWRGAL 6/23/2012 11:15AM

  Thank you so very much for this series. It is quite helpful to have this at the beginning of the journey!

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DEBK0923 6/23/2012 1:53AM

    great blog

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FRENCHMARKET 6/22/2012 11:21AM

    Makes me stop and think....

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SAINTBETH 6/19/2012 6:41PM

    Great analysis! Good advice. Workable solution. Thanks!

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KAREN_NY 6/18/2012 11:21AM

    SOoo true (of course)! Especially the part about taking this as seriously as you would treating an illness. This is my favorite part of the series so far - and it was especially timely this week, when the long work hours and extra deadlines on the job have sapped me of energy, pumped me up with stress, made me sit to much, and brought on hip pain. I should have just said no, and demanded a different deadline schedule, but... lessons learned, priorities revealed.

Thanks for sharing!!!
K:)

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-STARRYEYED- 6/17/2012 9:12PM

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OPTIMIST1948 6/15/2012 9:57PM

    I've started to look at McD and other fast foods as Treats - and havent had in AGES. I was starving the other day, but I remembered another store a few blocks down on the same road that had cut fruit, so I was thrilled that I was able to make a healthy and DELICIOUS food choice (watermelon). Sometimes its those little acts of willpower that keep me sane!

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WONDERJUL 6/13/2012 5:21PM

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing your insight. I believe what you say (and have lived), quite eye-opening.

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SUNNY332 6/12/2012 8:21PM

    Awesome Blog!

Thanks, Sunny

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CINDYBEL 6/12/2012 10:09AM

    Well said.

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SPIRIT42013 6/11/2012 8:28PM

    Thanks again for your helpful blogs!

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JYENNYB 6/11/2012 2:19PM

    Thank you!

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NADS1959 6/11/2012 12:21PM

    I reaD THAT THE PROCESSED CHEESE ON THE mCdONALDS BURGERS WAS PUT ON BECAUSE IT HAS ADDICTIVE PROPERTIES WITH THE FAT AND SALT SO THIS IS RIGHT ON. gREAT BLOG!

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READY2LIVE85 6/11/2012 9:07AM

    This really hit home. Excellent blog.

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BECKAFANO 6/11/2012 9:01AM

    Wonderful! The mind is where I struggle the most. Thanks you for reminding me and reaffirming that I must first master my mind before my body can change.

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THECLEANEATER 6/11/2012 8:55AM

    Thank you for reminding me of my goal when i needed it the most! Great blog! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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SPSPSP1 6/11/2012 1:53AM

    Well said!

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ASHAIXIM 6/11/2012 12:28AM

    even the growing of fruits and vegs and modifying them to be sweeter... the potato we have now didn't exist 200 years ago.. great great blog!

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CM_GARDNER78 6/10/2012 11:46PM

    YES! YES! YES! I don't know what else to say, but you are RIGHT! I love this. Especially the part about not liking what 'real' food tastes like. Had this EXACT conversation with someone a while back............

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DESTINED4CHANGE 6/10/2012 10:25PM

    Wow! What a wealth of information! This will truly have me thinking seriously about clean eating!

Thanks,
Patty

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SERASARA 6/10/2012 8:06PM

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DZDAZR2BGR8T 6/10/2012 5:36PM

    love all you links-just sent this to myself so I can get 'caught up' on your other pieces...Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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EATVEGAN 6/10/2012 5:09PM

    Hi, I'm new to SparkPeople, but I know I'm addicted. If there's food around, I'm thinking about it. If I'm in a group, I make sure I get my full share. I've decided to go healthy vegan for health reasons, but I know I'll have to fight that addiction. I've found out one thing: food sure tastes good when you're hungry. Thanks for this post. I'm going to go back and read the earlier parts of the series. emoticon emoticon

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TRAVELNISTA 6/10/2012 3:14PM

    You are a true inspiration! emoticon

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MARTINT011 6/10/2012 9:06AM

  thanks for the blog.I knew if I ate the candy bar , the next day I would do the same. I said that this will be like an addiction, I will need this again and again. Sobest not to get it started. Good blog with lots of information. emoticon

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LOGOULD 6/10/2012 8:18AM

    Thanks for the blog and for those links, Robert. GOOD STUFF! I never before would have believed in food being an addiction. I always thought it was more of a will power issue, but after this past year, I have come to KNOW for CERTAIN, that foods, especially sugar can be an addiction, not to mention the other horrible things that it causes, ie inflammation, increasing the discomfort and intensity of hot flashes, diabetes, etc etc etc. I have now added sugars to the things that I am tracking and monitoring to see just how much of an impact it is having to my maintenance and my health in general. It is an ongoing study, but I'll be sure to report on my findings.

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SPEEDY143 6/10/2012 4:08AM

    Excellent blog... can't agree more and YES it takes time to break poor eating habits. You can teach an old dog new tricks emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 6/10/2012 12:46AM

    I can relate to a lot of this. I have read "The End of Overeating". It is very good. I would encourage you to do the same if you haven't done so already. I am finally (I believe) breaking my long-standing sugar addiction. It is so liberating. It is sort of ironic that only by setting strict rules on my eating have I been set free. But I believe I have!!!

I am now subscribed to your blog and intend to go back and read your whole series. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!!!

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GOLFLADY11 6/10/2012 12:41AM

    Very good. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.

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JEWELLE217 6/9/2012 7:33PM

    I have enjoyed every one of the "Path the the Holy Grail" series of blogs you are writing. Thank you so much for the insights and great information! Can't wait to read "Mastering Response-ability"!

Deb

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GSUGRADCRIS 6/9/2012 5:33PM

  What a fantastic blog! It really helps educate people about food addictions, the food industries who are making money off of unsuspecting people and causing weight gain and unhealthy eating habits in those who buy their foods. I love this blogger! emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/9/2012 5:34:51 PM

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FIREFLY_MEDIC 6/9/2012 5:20PM

    :)

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DEADEND-DREAMER 6/9/2012 5:06PM

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DUXGRL1 6/9/2012 4:35PM

    Great blog!

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SANDYLH1 6/9/2012 4:31PM

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CUISINEEXAMINER 6/9/2012 2:10PM

    Very well-stated. Thank you.

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KAI_ZEN 6/9/2012 12:14PM

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PEGGY-BEE 6/9/2012 11:43AM

    emoticon
so very well put
I don't want to be an addict

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MFLESCH 6/9/2012 9:31AM

    Thank you for sharing. It is amazing how much money goes into research to make the most unhealthy foods attractive and cheap.

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TEASCHERTZ 6/9/2012 8:07AM

    Amen! Appreciate the article links. It is nice to re-read them to keep on track!
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LEANMEAN2 6/9/2012 6:49AM

    Thank you.

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BLUEJEAN99 6/9/2012 1:59AM

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BELDONDOG1 6/8/2012 11:01PM

    Really enjoyed your blog(s). You really get to the core of things.Keep up the good work! Noel

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GRANDMADAR2 6/8/2012 10:44PM

  I, too, have a serious food addiction. I am very fortunate that I have an AA for food in my area...my OA group. I still haven't broken my addiction, but am trying so very hard. I know it will take time!! Unlike alcohol and drugs, we have to eat! I just need to put what is "good" food into my body. Thank you for making me feel that I'm not the only one with this "addiction".

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BERRY4 6/8/2012 9:47PM

    I was just recently remarking to a few people that I feel that there should be an "AA" for "food" because I was recognizing addictive behaviors in myself.

You've done a fabulous job of presenting a helpful material that I will be checking out. -- Thanks for taking the time to share your journey with the rest of us!

Keep on keepin' on!

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STEPHPARKER28 6/8/2012 9:16PM

    Awesome Blog thanks for sharing that....

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