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The Food Addict's Guide to Redemption

Friday, June 07, 2013

HEADS UP (since I originally posted): I don't know how long this entry will be up here... while I don't see anything in the content that violates Spark Rules of Conduct, a reader has taken offence (comments deleted... my blog, my perogative), and has apparently reported my blog entry as inappropriate.

I hope that anyone subsequently reading here will look at what I have to say as a whole, and in the context of my own journey: the fact that I myself continue to struggle to eliminate fat and reach goal weight (I have another 60 pounds to go), my belief that fat is a symptom not the problem (being fat has nothing to do with willpower), my underlying belief in Choice Theory (explained by the second link in the entry), and in light of everything I've blogged about for the last five years of my time here at SparkPeople.

Truly, no offence is intended... I've simply presented a point of view to ponder... and to explore questions and information with which I, too, continue to struggle. These are difficult concepts to try and 'discuss' within the confines of a blog entry, and I would be the first to acknowledge that the following is an over-simplification of a very complex issue. I am examining only one very specific aspect as it relates to my own experience.

I would hope there is always room for respectful discussion (and disagreement) as we all continue down our individual paths toward success.

Thanks for reading!


The above link was shared on one of my team threads, and I decided to share likewise.

I think it's important to ackowledge outright that, while I strongly believe in the brain-body biofeedback loop, I don't generally ascribe to widely applied 'addiction' models. However, this document has a lot of valuable information in it, despite that it inadvertantly supports the (IMO flawed) message that one can be 'helpless' in the face of food.

(Honestly, I don't believe myself - or YOU - to be 'helpless' in the face of much... especially in the face of food.)

I believe that cravings and a disordered relationship with food (to which many, many people discover an immediate end once they begin to follow an Ancestral nutritional model), excess body fat, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain mood disorders, and autoimmune issues/disease begin with and are signs that a body is seriously metabolically/hormonally compromised, and *literally* STARVING at a nutritional level... NOT 'addicted'. I also believe that there *IS* bad, sub-optimal, unhealthy, nutritionally bankrupt 'food' and eating it will exacerbate any pre-disposition to any of the above and may, in fact, cause them.

Subsequently, unless underlying nutritional deficits are addressed, 'addicted' is actually misleading, unfair and too simplistic. A 'label' of 'addiction' sets a person up to fail and feel unnecessarily helpless despite sincere effort to otherwise overcome because the body WILL independently drive you get what it sincerely needs because you are *starving at a nutritional level*... unfortunately the body alone is just not very selective, or smart about it because of the survival mechanisms hard-wired into our psyche (it will seek out the shortest distance to resolving its dis-ease). The label of 'addiction' also leaves a person looking in the wrong (IMO) direction for a solution. Until and unless you trust your body's 'voice', you can never fully resolve the dis-ease. At this point you will be amazed at just how very ingenious your body really is... and how very clearly it can speak.

In terms of a very simplistic example, and something to ponder with respect to an overall addictions model: alcohol is a pure (though poor and misguided) energy source for the body (this is why alcohol is not recommended while trying to eliminate fat: the body will burn alcohol first, sugar/carbs next and then stored fat). It is no coincidence that recovering alcoholics - individuals who have chosen alcoholic behaviours (self-medicating with alcohol) and who subsequently damage their metabolic processes - often crave sugar, another quick acting (though poor and misguided) energy source for the body. Aside from the behavioural aspects, 'recovery' at a purely physiological level can be viewed very simplistically as the body needing time to re-convert from burning immediately available (cheap) fuel, to once again learning how to burn *QUALITY* fuel effectively and efficiently. Recovering from poor quality nutrition is a similar process. When a body is metabolically/hormonally compromised it has, to varying degrees, 'forgotten' how to use fat as fuel - that's why it stores it instead. A metabolically/hormonally compromised body is also 'lazy' and will drive you to seek out easy and familiar fuel sources (cravings).

The document's strength, is that it comes to truly useful conclusions, and offers concrete suggestions to solve what is, in my opinion, the REAL 'problem'... not food 'addiction' but a 'lazy' metabolically/hormonally compromised body by balancing hormones, healing the metabolism and re-teaching it to burn quality fuel.

Fruit and vegetable juicing may be key to helping people with addictions

Where an 'addiction' model becomes somewhat useful is that in order to significantly impact one's biochemistry, one must more effectively, responsibly and mindfully exercise one's available choices for fuel. I do realize that biochemistry cannot always be completely restored, and therefore certain foods may remain a 'trigger' for the rest of one's life.

So, I suppose the extent to which you remain physiologically compromised (broken), you can consider yourself 'addicted'.... however, our bodies are extremely gifted in their ability to heal... this document is one of the best I've seen with respect to making the link between behaviour and biology, and offers a really clear path to healing, if you're interested.

In some instances (fewer than we think, IMO) - once the physiological/nutritional issues have been adequately addressed and what/how one eats is no longer contributing to the problem, when one is choosing to eat, instead of dealing directly with feelings and problems not at all related to nutrition and food, then that's a behavioural/psychological issue that needs to be addressed seperate from the root cause... but one is still not 'addicted', because all behaviour can be changed... it's 'habit' not 'addiction' (all behaviour is purposeful - the only way to change a habit is to replace it with a better one). Here is where SPARKpeople is incredibly effective... where modification in behaviour is necessary, SPARKpeople leads the pack.

However, on the flip side, it's also to be noted that one can live an exemplary health-based lifestyle (according to conventional wisdom) and still end up fat and sick (a great number of us are here at SPARKpeople, too). Here's where the document to which I've linked above really shines.

To explain in simpler terms:

The Definitive Guide to Conventional Wisdom

Is Conventional Wisdom Set in Stone?

Is the Stone Beginning to Crack?

Conventional Wisdom Laid Waste

I look forward to hearing what you think! ...And, if you feel so inclined, pass the link to 'Vicious Eating' along!

P.S. Street drugs/pharmaceutical abuse are a whole different ball game because they act DIRECTLY on the brain in a way other substances do not... creating a mental illusion and physiological response that is completely divorced from any natural biological processes in the body. Here is where the concept of 'addiction' bears great weight. This is also what makes 'drugs' so dangerous... they completely short-circuit the biofeedback process because they offer no value to the body.

In a similar way, some so called 'addictive' foods are similarily disruptive. There are chemicals added to PROCESSED foods (not unlike street drugs) that impact directly and swiftly upon hormones and other metabolic processes, causing a similar chain reaction to that of street drugs. Yet, they aren't so much 'addictive' (if you'd never eaten them you would never 'crave' them) as they are immediately disruptive to the metabolic processes that keep our bodies functioning in a balanced and redeeming way... hence the immediate drive to eat/want more.

...and if all of this weren't enough (and just in case anyone still may think my blog entry is about judgement), I found this today... It makes me so sad that this article even needed to be written, and I applaud the writer for doing so in such a dignified and poignant way:


"The implication that “fat” is a problem easily solved through the application of willpower is laughable to me, though, and that’s the biggest part of what I find objectionable in that tweet. It takes a partial truth (we do have some control over our body’s health) and twists it to rationalize a prejudice that itself works against that truth through shame. And that’s pretty evil."


Is obesity really a disease?

Is Obesity a Disease?

Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem?


...Because REDEMPTION is there for the taking!



UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)! Next pictures SEPTEMBER 2013!

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror... and I update whenever I feel the need - likely early September, 2013... to either see for myself what feel like significant changes, or to encourage myself to keep the faith when I feel no change at all despite my efforts)

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED/rewritten: JUNE, 2012)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

DONE Girl Love...

(the footsteps into which I place my own feet)

Leaving NORMAL... In Pursuit of Happiness

Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga

Words CAN Be Enough... page 3

Paleo... Do you really know what you're talking about?

Breakfast is Served! (RECIPES)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for an intelligent and interesting conversation, I think it is wonderful to be able to do this kind of research into a problem that effects me daily.



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    1710 days ago
    I loved this, yet again!

    You have converted yet another sparkly gal.... : )))

    1711 days ago
    Love this blog so happy I found it. I couldn't agree more. It makes me angry that someone reported you. I had another Sparkfriend who was banned for her blogs on this very subject.
    1744 days ago
    So very true, Ramona! Once we clear ourselves of that which is unhealthy, our minds and bodies thank us for it. We become sane again!

    You are spot on, my dear. I've "liked" this blog as well.

    1749 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    Of course, I LOVE your blogs! I clicked the Like button, too. I hope clear heads at SP prevail and your blog is not censured. You are not out of line...
    1749 days ago
    As usual your blog provides a great deal of information! I found this one particularly relevant to things happening in my own life. Please continue to post blogs like this one!
    1750 days ago
    Very interesting (calorie free) food for thought! I think reading about all theories and seeing how they may fit into your own life is a great thing.

    Oh and for whomever took such great offense and reported Ramona...GET OVER YOURSELF!!! If you don't have anything positive to say, guess what, you actually don't have to REPORT someone who has done nothing more than given a different viewpoint. Oh the horror! "Someone else has a different opinion than mine, I'd better report them so I can squash these free thinkers!" How about we all go old school with the golden rule and do unto others as you would have done unto you? Would YOU like someone to report your blog simply for having an opinion they disagreed with? Stifle yourself.
    1750 days ago
  • -LINDA_S
    I've read much of Kathleen DesMaisons' work with regard to sugar addiction (or sensitivity) and how to overcome it. There are indeed profound effects on serotonin and beta-endorphins. It is not unlike alcoholism, in which she is also an expert. The emphasis is on slowly weaning off sugar and eating only whole food, but grains are included for those without gluten sensitivity, although these days the "foods" we eat if we don't know any better seem to be creating gluten intolerance. Keep up the good work!
    1750 days ago
    You make a very good case for steering clear of processed foods that usually lead to an addiction to them.
    Is it any wonder there is an obesity problem?

    There needs to be more education on what processed food can do to a body longterm.

    Great interesting blog as always Ramona, you research well. emoticon
    1750 days ago
  • BERRY4
    Thanks for continuing to put forth the various research items re. the brain - body connection.

    It is both a fact and unfortunate that many of the currents foods available (esp. processed, "fast," and anything else chemically laden or derived from "fake" sources) keep the vicious cycle going in terms of food addictions.

    Food is the ONE addiction that we do not have the "luxury" of attending a 12-step group and counting the number of days since our last _____ (bite!?!?)

    I do thank you for holding out the hope that our bodies CAN find healing if we pursue it and really take stock of what we are eating & all the parts that go with that.
    1750 days ago
    Have a nice weekend !
    1750 days ago
  • -LINDA_S
    Great research! I'll follow up tomorrow when I am awake! Have a great weekend!
    1751 days ago
    I've started reading, not done yet, but hope to get back to your blog.These are very important issues.
    1751 days ago
    Food companies have made processed food addicting so we want more. If I don't eat certain foods I don't crave it, but if I have a taste I want more.
    1751 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    The paragraph about alcoholics and sugar is the best part of the blog. My BF has been sober since before we met, but he still has a huge sweet tooth and I had not really understood why...
    1751 days ago
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