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Fighting to Kick the Habit

Saturday, January 04, 2014

I came across a surprising editorial in the New York Times by Mike Tyson during my 'net wanderings today. Although he focused on his recovery from alcohol / street drugs, I, on the other hand, honed right in to how closely his insights & experiences parallel my own junk (i.e. sugary, starchy) food addiction.

Here is a link to his essay:

Fighting to Kick the Habit

Even the title hits home! Here are some of the more striking quotes:

"For addicts, discipline isn't something to strive for each new year; it’s necessary for every moment."

"I had to replace the cravings for drugs or alcohol with a craving to be a better person."

"I’ve learned that being sober is more than just avoiding drugs or alcohol. It’s a lifestyle focused on making moral choices and elevating the things that make life worth living to the forefront."

"Even with your conscience nagging at you, it’s extremely difficult to develop a sober and moral consciousness without a good support system." Where would we be without our supportive friends, family and SparkFamily? "Recovery is a drawn-out process, and without the continued encouragement of my support system, it would be close to impossible."

"Strangely, times of success are most dangerous for me. When people tell me, 'You’re great' or 'Your comeback is amazing' or 'You’re a god,' I could feed right into it and go get high." Yep, been there, done that...even recently a well-meaning person who hadn't seen me in a while was telling me how good I looked and to myself I replied: Ugh. Don't tell me that! Cuz I know the score. My tight pants knows the score! I have been known to pervert praise as an imaginary "get out of jail free" card. Which we all KNOW doesn't exist, but those well-worn grooves can be so treacherously easy to slide back into!

I know I've seen similar thoughts / struggles from those well into maintaining weight loss: "even though I hadn't been using for five years, all that time I just didn't feel comfortable in my skin."

And near the end he shares a lesson I've recently re-learned, re-honed: "I had learned not to beat up on myself. I remembered that relapse is a part of recovery." Congrats Mike and thank you for passing along your insights!

This is day 3 since my re-set. Tracking & low carbing absolute essentials to where I want to be!

I also GREATLY appreciate the HUGE tip shared by WATERMELLEN (check out her recent blogs:



I've since signed up for Steve Siebold's FatLoser program (Mental Toughness Program for Dieters) and have begun reading his free e-book:

www.fatloser.com and doing the work.

In other news, I was disappointed today to have my allergy problem, which may be more than allergies, I'm beginning to suspect, prevent me from getting out on one of the increasingly rare days when we can cross country ski in our area. I've been sneezing uncontrollably, runny eyes, raw nose from blowing, headaches (which I rarely get) and absolutely zero energy. Despite that I have been able to put together a terrific soup with beef broth, crushed tomatoes, kale, onions, garlic, jalapenos, a smidgen of pumpkin left over and black beans.

AND I've wrapped up my third day of tracking. Sure I feel lousy with my allergies, but hey, no matter what, I can always choose what to eat!

Monday I see my old allergy doc, hopefully get to the bottom of these spells which come and go and knock my socks off!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for sharing the links. Hope your "allergy" issues are resolved soon.
    2565 days ago
    I hope your allergies are better. I like your information on addiction. It is true that you need to stay focused every minute. Plus accepting yourself is so important.

    2570 days ago
    Great blog Don. I can so relate to the content. I have had way too much "praise" in recent weeks and it went straight to my head-at a dangerous time of year-the Holidays. Toooooo many tempting treats and I have given in to the temptation far too many times in recent weeks. It is amazing how seeking support on Spark so often "hits home" with a relevant message for one's journey.

    2571 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    all the best with your streaks!!!
    2572 days ago
    If you have cravings for sugary and starchy foods you may have trouble with Candida - a yeast overgrowth that is fed by foods you mentioned.

    I think that being addicted to drugs is a different thing than being addicted to food. Perhaps some of us are truly food addicts, but sometimes the yeast beast will drive one to eat sugars and starch because the yeast needs these foods to live and multiply.

    Let me clarify a bit. We ALL have candida in our bodies. It's natural. It is only harmful if this bacteria gets out of balance and IMO I do not think is it even possible to avoid a yeast overgrowth on the SAD (Standard American Diet), even if you don't eat that way NOW. Who hasn't eaten that way in their past?

    The fact that I eat well never ever stopped the possibility of having a yeast overgrowth because again, IMO, I have had the problem since childhood. How could I have ever avoided it given the foods I was being fed? I grew up on white bread, peanut butter, jam, spaghetti, canned soups, boxed crackers, store bought baked goods, sugary cereals and very few fresh fruits and veg.

    If there is already an issue and it isn't detected and dealt with, candida can spiral out of control. You can develop all sorts of symptoms from insomnia, to a constantly runny nose, brain fog, lethargy, cravings for sugar and starch (to unknowingly feed the yeast), skin rashes, athlete's foot, jock itch, mood swings, burning eyes, headaches, allergies, mucus in the stool, lump in your throat, ear pain, sinusitis, asthma, anxiety, depression...to name a few, and yeast infections and/or fungal infections for which antibiotics are often prescribed which kill all bacteria in the body. We need beneficial gut bacteria. We need a full spectrum of probiotics in our guts.

    I have a friend who tells me that she believes every illness can be linked to gut health. I agree, even in the case of diseases that appear to have nothing to do with what you eat. I've learned that if I have a health issue I'm going to be looking at my diet first.

    I'm not dissing the article, but our cravings for food are often not a "simple addiction" (now THAT is an oxymoron!). We are driven to eat by the yeast so the yeast can feed. If the candida is left untreated then one can develop leaky gut syndrome. The bacteria in your gut bores holes in your stomach lining and then food particles can enter the blood stream taking these foods all through the body. The candida goes systematic. It CAN get into your brain.

    By my own estimation this is what has happened to me and several people around me including my mother and sister who are both inclined to do nothing about it. They are emotionally overwrought people. They both have anxiety issues in spades and often fly into rages or rants that are nonsensical. I was this way as well and I had food cravings that feed the yeast, as do my sister and mother.

    My mom now has type 2 diabetes which I believe is the candida gone crazy. If left unchecked the candida can get so bad that is masquerades as other diseases including type 2 diabetes, lupus, arthritis, MS and a host of mental health problems.

    How do you know you have candida? Well, you have to do some research. You can ask me for help and I can lead you in the right direction. I've been battling the yeast beast for decades and I have a lot of knowledge on the subject.

    Now, having said all that, I really like the quotes you copied from the article and they can apply to any addiction. Inspiring!

    Thanks for the links to WATERMELLEN's blogs.
    2572 days ago
  • _LINDA
    So sorry about the allergy attack, that is horrible :-( Hope your Dr. can figure it out fast!
    Known for a long time high carb food is very addicting. Haven't learned fully to put the urges back in the box where they belong. Ellen's link and this Tyson article hit the nail on the head. Its mind over matter for sure, and constant vigilance.
    That soup sounds fabulous!!
    Good luck with your reboot!
    emoticon emoticon
    2572 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5127867
    Good luck on continuing your streak
    2572 days ago
    I hope the doctor can do something to help with those nasty allergies!
    2572 days ago
    Sorry about the allergies... and even sorrier if it turns out to be "something more". This morning I'm hitting the "cold front passed through" sinus headache thing that I personally get. Sigh. Never fun, but you live with the body you've been given and learn to cope, right?

    I totally understand where the addiction part of "this problem" (compulsive eating / food addiction) comes in, and the quotes are spot on.

    Good luck with the Mental Toughness training. I'm doing it for the second time, and finding it interesting comparing my homework answers with what I answered in 2012.

    Take care & be well!
    2572 days ago
    Thanks for the link to the article and the quotes you found interesting/relevant. I think the one about success actually strikes home the most.

    2572 days ago
    WOW! What a powerful piece on addiction by Mike Tyson. Definitely some wonderful insights. And Ellen's observation about having to eat reminds me of what my teacher also said, "Let you intelligence guide your choices, not your tongue." And thanks too for that from Siebold, Ellen, that taking control of our health is a demonstration of personal integrity in that we are keeping a promise to ourselves.

    Lots of 0 calorie food for thought!
    2572 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/5/2014 12:22:07 AM
    Nice blog. Good info. Thanks!
    2572 days ago
    2572 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13099273
    Thanks for the article Don - all true - addiction no matter what we are addicted too needs to be kept front and center - in our face everyday in order to keep at bay. Cause in reality dealing with addiction will never stop or ease if we are not consistent and aware of the triggers - I will check of Watermelon 's as I need to thank for a visit - Good blog Thanks , Karen
    2572 days ago
    Don, I'm so glad that you've signed up for fatloser 21 day video coaching -- me too, a refresher, and it's just as great as I remembered it! Love the new ebook too . . .

    And so sorry that allergies are keeping you from our beloved XC skiing. Sure hope that your doctor gets to the bottom of that for you fast fast fast!!

    And I'm absolutely persuaded that addiction to food is like addiction to any other substance -- except I don't "have" to smoke and I do have to eat! So: have to make choices of food for nutrition and not for "pleasure". Yeah!!

    On the issue of moral choices and addiction, one of the interesting things Siebold says in the new ebook: that attacking obesity is related to personal integrity. Because it means we're keeping our promises to ourselves.
    2572 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/4/2014 10:00:35 PM
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