Recovering From An Addiction to Food

“Is it possible that the food addictions so rampant in our culture are related to the absence of primal bonding? Are addicts (of all kinds) looking for nurturing and recognition they never had? Are they running away from the fact that they were never loved and cannot love themselves?” ~Marion Woodman (The Pregnant Virgin)

Dr Woodman asks three questions. The answer to all three is YES.

addicted to food

Many of us suffer from the lack of primal bonding, a deep connection in childhood to a primal source of love (mother, in most cases, but sometimes father). Thus many of us grew up feeling that we were not loved and could not love ourselves.

These conditions create a broad highway to addiction.

Addiction, in this context, is the result of trying (unconsciously) to find a replacement for the missing love connection. Our drugs of choice (food, throwing up, meds, alcohol, sex, shopping, etc.) give us short relief, but then the pain roars back as bad as before.

I believe the only real solution is to look behind the drugs of choice. You need to face the pain you are attempting to hide and then search for an authentic solution.

And that authentic solution is a love of self, of others and God.

The tough work is finding the courage to tell ourselves the raw truth that we were not loved and we cannot love ourselves. Most people would rather lie to themselves about this fact or hide in the daze of a drug.

But our lives reflect the truth back to us without mercy. We are obese or drunk or drugged. We cannot make our relationships work. Our time is spent looking for distractions, and we fear anyone or anything that threatens to drive us towards honest self-awareness.

Finally, some of us reach a place so painful, so dark and so hopeless that we cannot fool ourselves any longer. We finally stop running, open our eyes and face the empty space in our hearts where love should abide.

At that moment, we have begun our recovery and are now ready for the hand of grace that always awaits us at that sacred space.

What does that “hand of grace” bring us? If we are to recover from food addiction and love deprivation, we must learn to be receptive.

What does receptive mean? In brief, it means becoming open to receiving all the love and nurture that life and relationships want to bring to us.

I will explore this topic more in the upcoming article of this feature. In the meantime, take an honest look at your own ability and willingness to receive love and care from others.

You just may be surprised at what you discover. See you next time.

Can Small Changes Really Add Up To Big Weight Loss?

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve no doubt heard the same thing time and time again: “Small changes to diet and exercise can lead to major weight loss.”

Healthy Eating Habit

And if you look at the math, that’s true — weight loss comes down to a number of calories consumed versus how many calories you burn (there are 3,500 calories to a pound).

But, significant weight loss requires more than just cutting out a cookie.

Theoretically, cutting 100 calories each day should lead to a loss of about 10 pounds a year.

But, as many of us understand from firsthand experience, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Why?

In large part, it’s because our bodies are so adept at adapting, explains the article. In other words, when you lose or gain weight, there are a variety of biological factors that come into play to help your body maintain that new weight. 

But wait! “If I’m consuming fewer calories or getting off the couch for an extra 15 minutes each day, how can that not help?” you ask. Well, here’s the thing — it is helping. Just not as much as you might expect.

Once you’re trying for weight loss, you’re out of the small-change realm. But the small-steps approach can stop weight gain.”

And I might not be the only one who feels that way.

The most significant problem with this approach is that many people are eating multiple hundreds of calories over what they need.

Therefore, cutting out one 100-calorie cookie may help slow weight gain, but many people will still be eating way over what they are burning, continuing the weight gain trend.

Still, we don’t want to discourage people from making those small changes. We encourage people to make one healthy change a month.

It takes 30 days to make or break a habit!

For example, for one month attempt giving up soda, and drinking water instead. Next month, keep up the water habit and try to eat fresh veggies instead of potato chips, and so on.”

We would also like to emphasize the importance of exercise. Once again, small changes (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator) are great ways to get started, but keep on going from there!

Work up to a goal of 30 minutes (if not more) of heart-pumping exercise a day, and incorporate in some strength training exercises. I find that the combination of both exercise and calorie reduction are key to successful, permanent weight loss.

Today’s lesson: Making any positive change to your diet and exercise routine is a good step, but it’s important to be realistic. If your goal is to slim down from a size 14 to a 6 by next fall, eating a little less dessert probably isn’t going to do the trick — you’re going to need a bigger effort.

Instead of looking at little changes as a way to lose weight, look at them as a way to keep yourself from gaining. 

Once you recognize how simple it is to add in just 30 extra minutes of exercise a week, you might find yourself making more and bigger changes (and reaping the results!). Just because you start small doesn’t mean you can’t think big.

Nixing the cookies (or the nightly ice cream, or the two-sodas-a-day, or the Thursday happy hours) may not get you all the way to your goal weight, but the minor changes can give you the confidence to make more substantial lifestyle changes. 

And as for that cookie, a single cookie is not responsible for the obesity epidemic, so don’t let small diet slip-ups derail your efforts!