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Quitting the Habit

Friday, May 03, 2013

Once again, lots of links today. Because I've got nothing better going on this Friday night :) Feel free to read over the post here to get all the awesome, juicy links. wp.me/p1N36Q-6R

Chocolate cake at work today. Didn't binge, but definitely had a slice. Otherwise behaved.

So I'm finally through Dr. Pam Peeke's food addiction "detox" chapter in her book, The Hunger Fix. I had first been tipped off to Dr. Peeke about a month ago in a podcast where she shared how a cupcake acts like cocaine. Given all of my setbacks as of late, I was hoping she'd get right to the point. Tell me, Dr. Peeke, how I can walk away from bagels, cookies, and all of those other sugary/fatty food combinations that make me eat irrationally - especially when I'm not in control of the food that surrounds me?

She lays a lot of foundation before getting into any solutions - sharing that food addiction is, in fact, a thing. She points to research by Dr. Nora Volkow in which brain patterns of food addicted subjects mirrored that of those with other substance abuse issues. Stressing moderation will have no impact on a food addict - in one study, lab rats with unlimited access to high-fat/high-carb foods were willing to walk across electric plates and endure painful shocks in order to get the junk food.

Great! So I'm an addict. Should I just quit eating like other addicts quit their drugs? Cold Turkey? Pardon my impatience, I just need a solution - like, yesterday.

She then goes into why some are more susceptible than others to addiction problems - family history (nature as well as nurture - 40-60% of our vulnerability to addiction is directly linked to our genes), depression, anxiety, etc. All of these sound applicable to me - but according to Wheat Belly, the food may be the cause of psychological issues, not the other way around. Maybe it's a cycle: Bread --> Anxiety --> More Bread as Medication --> More anxiety.

If you were hoping for the Detox plan after this, you aren't getting it until page 80. First, you have to see if you really are food addicted using the Yale Food Addiction Scale . (A score of 1 or higher on any of the questions means you are on the spectrum of food addiction). Then, she asks you to go through some exercises using cute phrases like "What's your Healthy Hunger?" and "Find Your EpiphaME." I get it - if you have a reason so strong NOT to binge, it's something that you can go back to get yourself out of those really dire situations. I don't know what my EpiphaME is. I just want to be normal. I don't want any of The Evidence hanging around any more. Isn't that enough?

Finally, she gives you the Detox blueprint, which focuses on "The Three M's:" Mind, Mouth, and Muscle. This part may or may not have been worth the wait (ask me in 3 to 4 weeks - or more - which she considers the appropriate length of time of the detox phase of food addiction). I won't write out her entire list of detox suggestions here, only the ones that struck a chord with me:

1. Mind

"Fight Back Against the Lies" - When your brain says "Come on, it's JUST one cookie," take a deep breath and shout (out loud or in your head) that it's a lie. Keep repeating this until you've drowned out your inner addict.

"Keep a Healthy Hunger Visual Reminder" - Something like a rubber wristband, ring, bracelet, whatever that will provide a visual cue to you when you reach for your "fix" about why you don't want to do that anymore.

2. Mouth

"Cut the cravings, ditch the deprivation "- change the foods you eat to healthy, whole foods but NOT the quantity. She points out one exception. Can you guess?

Whole grains. Grains can easily become false fixes when you're trying to detox from other carbs. Interesting.

3. Muscle

Actually, I had a hard time identifying with everything she said in this section. She suggests taking it easy and gives a few reasons I don't really understand for avoiding intense exercise. As a runner, I can't follow this advice right now.

So I am interested to see how her advice changes as you phase beyond "Detox" into "Beginner Recovery" but it will be quite some time before I'm ready to implement it. A significant chunk of the book details an eating plan and provides recipes, so I'll probably read over that before getting into the recovery section and see if it's gluten free enough for me to follow.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for the great review! I'm just going into the detox phase. Hope folks will join The Hunger Fix team/group here on SP: www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_

    1470 days ago
    I'm a binge eater. I think we all need to find what works for US as a person. We're individuals. I've read many books on the topic of binge eating and emotional overeating. My conclusion so far is that it's best for me to combine tools that I got from different authors, making a tool box that is unique for me. Seems that every author on food addiction and binge eating found out the wheel by themselves. But what works for them need not per se work for me. Or the next person.
    Things that seem to work for me are waiting for 3 hours after a meal, not having modern wheat (but spelt bread I do have, usually in limited amounts), eating lots (and lots) of vegetables and fruit. Journaling, writing down the 'reasons' when I overeat.
    1562 days ago
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