Are You Addicted to Food? (Part 1) : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Monday Apr 18, 2011 | BY |
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I guess if you’re addicted to food, this might be the best kind…

If you’re addicted to sugar, salt, sweets, alcohol or anything else, you have to read this…

Over the weekend, we met a guy named Robby.

Robby is an amazing professional guitar player as well as a ball of energy. Annmarie and I instantly connected with him.

To give you an idea of how much energy and personality he has, he was wearing a bight blue suit and tuxedo shoes to the conference when everyone else was wearing dress casual.

He’s truly a bright light.

Robby, also, is one of the people who is appearing on “Addicted to Food,” a new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Robby, for many years has been addicted to food, which I’m sure you can relate to (no matter how mild or intense, I think everyone has a food kryptonite).

I’ve always thought food addiction is one of the most powerful addictions because we always have to eat.

Alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling and other addictions can be dealt with – though not completely – by removing yourself from the situations that cause the behavior.

If you don’t want to do drugs any more, you can cut off ties with the clubs, the people and the places where those drugs – and the people who are doing them – are.

If you want to stop gambling, you can stay out of the casinos, stop talking to your bookie, or block all the Internet sites you visit.

This doesn’t solve the addiction, but it makes it easier for you to be less tempted.

When you have a food addiction, it’s a different story.

You face your addiction everyday, at least three meals a day.

You always have to eat.

You don’t always have to have a little cocaine or bet on a game to survive.

Anyway, after meeting Robby and getting curious about the show, I went over the network’s site to watch the first episode to see what it was all about.

The show was actually pretty good and it sparked an entire series of ideas, thoughts and helpful tips that I have about addiction.

I was there too, so I think I can help.

This entire week, I’m going to focus on some very specific points that I feel can help anyone start to come to terms with their addictions (particularly food) and finally put them to rest.

In today’s installment of this “Addicted to Food” series, I’m going to tell you a little about my own addictive past.

How my past may be able to help you come to terms with your own addictions…

In my past, I have a history of drug and alcohol overuse. So for me, I understand firsthand what addiction is about and why it can overtake your life.

This behavior started in high school and lasted to about a year or so out of college.

Over those eight years, I found that my addiction became a priority beyond just about everything else in my life.

I remember in college, when money was hard to come by, that I would always be able to buy whatever drugs or alcohol I needed for the weekend (or the week!) – even if I didn’t eat for a day.

I hurt people and damaged property because of my behavior.

My grades dropped dramatically – from an almost 4.0 average to 2.8.

My health was suffering. I was pale, sick all the time and gained 30 pounds.

My emotional health was decimated. I was angry, lazy, volatile, depressed and unmotivated.

Now, fast forward 10 years or so.

I’ve been able overcome my addiction to substances and become a high functioning individual – Ann might disagree – who is motivated, passionate and happy.

(I don’t say I’m fully over my addictive behavior, since I truly am addicted to helping others.)

My experience has also allowed me to look back and see very specifically why I was addicted and to help others based on what I learned about myself.

In terms of how addiction can affect your health, I found my experience with substance abuse was extremely helpful when I was working with personal training clients, because every one has and deals with their addictions in different ways.

In many cases addictions sabotage health results.

If you watch the show, this is very evident in Robby’s case. He’s 370 pounds or more.

That’s not healthy at all.

His addiction is slowing killing him – maybe not even slowly.

What caused my addiction?

When I look back at my addictive behavior, I clearly know what caused it.

It’s taken years to fully understand it, but now I can see what had happened and also see how I was able to get out of it.

Here are the 4 main contributing factors to my behavior:

  • A lack of confidence in myself.
  • A lack of direction.
  • A need to feel loved all the time.
  • The need to to pacify my creative thoughts and emotions.

I want to break down each one of these so you can understand what I mean by all of them.

I’ll start with the last one first, because I think it is definitely one of two issues that Robby and I have in common.

The creative curse…

Creative people, like Robby and myself, tend to have a high rate of addiction to substances because our minds are always racing and thinking and creating.

Think Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. (There are hundreds and thousands more.)

These all were extremely talented people who died young because of their addictions. They all were very, very talented and creative.

Drugs, food, alcohol or just about anything else addictive can slow or stop the mind from spinning and creating for a while – which is sometimes welcome, if you haven’t learned how to work with it positively.

My creative outlet now is here on the blog – teaching and exploring natural health. So my creative energy is focused and clear. This has made it extremely easy to not fall back into destructive behaviors because my creative energy is channeled and harnessed in the structure of our passion and business.

This doesn’t only apply to those who are musicians or blog writers, as I’m sure you understand. Creative people are everywhere and if they can’t harness the energy, they likely will become addicted to something.

I’ve found the only thing you should be addicted to is your mission and your passion.

Addiction to anything outside of your passion is harmful.

Suppressed creativity can lead to addiction as well.

If you’re really talented at art and you’re working in a job that doesn’t allow you to use your creativity, you will be more likely to show signs of addictive behavior.

Look around at the people you know who are addicted to something. Are they good at something they’re not spending any time doing?

I bet they are.

And if you don’t think they are, ask them some questions about what they’re good at, you might be surprised at their hidden talents.

So if you’re feeling that this may be you, or you know someone who this is happening to, the best thing for you to do is remove yourself from your everyday life – take a vacation – and do some journal writing around what your true passion is.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I know what I want and where I’m going?
  • What is stopping me from getting where I want to go?
  • Am I withholding some emotion, thought or idea from friends, family, or myself?

Disregard your mind chatter telling you that you’ll never be able to do what you love and start putting the pieces together to make it happen.

If you don’t, your addiction will continue to haunt you.

Next I want to talk about love…

Robby is a performer, so clearly he is a person who has a higher need to feel loved than others.

We all need to feel loved, but believe me, performers definitely need more than those behind the scenes.

I also felt an overwhelming need to feel loved when I was dealing with my addictions, but when I didn’t feel the amount love that I thought I needed it was easy to pacify those feelings with a substance.

When you’re drunk or high OR feeling full from food, you temporarily disconnect from the need to feel loved.

Unfortunately, the need comes back sometimes in just minutes and you need to use the substance again to suppress it. That’s why the addiction is so powerful.

(That’s why bags of chips go so fast.)

Now, I have a fantastic wife who cares about me deeply, a much deeper connection with my family that I ever did, a group of supportive and motivating friends, and a fantastic group of readers and watchers on the site here.

I feel loved, so now I don’t need to pacify anything.

Surrounding yourself with supportive people is a very good place to start to help address your addictive behavior, but you also have to be able to accept love too in order to really make progress.

I know, in the past, I was unable to accept love. So no matter how much support I had, I still wasn’t able to understand or feel the love I was getting.

I would get gifts and not really feel grateful or thankful. I was emotionally flat.

After I started dealing with my addictions, I knew I was able to feel again, because every movie I watched I would cry. It was embarrassing at first, but I realized that I had finally cracked my shell and I was allowing emotions to flow freely.

If you know you have some issues with feeling loved or letting love in, ask yourself these questions…

  • Do I really feel loved?
  • Am I able to accept love?
  • If no, why not?

The answers will start you on your way out of your addictions.

And the other two factors…

I spoke about direction along with creativity, so I won’t address that again.

As for the confidence, this came with the ability to accept love and understand that every one wants to feel loved.

When you understand that everyone wants to be loved, you can have all the confidence you need.

Why?

Because if you give them love, they’ll love you back.

I’ve always been capable of being on stage or performing, but I truly gained incredible confidence around others when I realized that the reason I was speaking and sharing was to genuinely help people with the knowledge that I have.

I was there to spread the love. How could I possibly go wrong or not be confident coming from a position of caring?

The answer is that I couldn’t.

You can do the same.

Those that love and can accept love are pretty confident people.

You can be too.

Tomorrow, and the rest of the week, I’ll have more on addiction and specifically food addition. I’m going to share tips on how to finally stop that magnetic attraction to food and free yourself.

If you read the whole series, you may just come out on the other end a healthier, more loving, more confident, non-addicted you.

I want to know your thoughts: Have you ever dealt with addiction? What got you out of it? Are you still dealing with it?

Live Awesome!
Kev

PS. If you want to watch this new show, here’s the link: http://www.oprah.com/own-addicted-to-food/Addicted-to-Food-Welcome-to-Treatment-FULL-EPISODE

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Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

53 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Tara Burner says:

    Excellent post as always Kevin.
    And to answer the questions…
    Have you ever dealt with addiction?
    yep…a few in fact
    What got you out of it? I bargained with God twice in fact for one of them and have overcome that one…also overcame one other but am still dealing with another that I’m currently working on and am working on blogging about which goes hand in hand with everything you pretty much posted here…and will hit my blog sometime soon hopefully.
    Thanks again for ALL you do!

  2. Geri says:

    I have a food addiction, been diagnosed and after reading all the synptoms I realize that I do! Its awful! I eat all the time, thats all I think about, food! I am obese and hate it and I know all of my medical problems are from this! Its soo hard to stop. Been to therapy and so on! Like you said in the article, an alcoholic doesn’t ‘have’ to be around alcohol but a food addict has to eat. Its so hard and no one understands and everyone thinks I should just stop it! Its waaay harder than that! I don’t know what to do!

  3. Angie says:

    A 12-step program was a place to start, and creativity helped, as well as consciously connecting more deeply with family & friends, but learning about and using “amino acid therapy to repair the addictive brain” (by Julia Ross – author of “The Mood Cure” and “The Diet Cure”) was and is the key to long-term no-longer-being-addicted-to-anything for me, and it is key to being able to focus on doing all those other positive things. When I consume the right amino acids needed to produce all my needed neurotransmitters, then I have no need for any substance to relieve the symptoms of neurotransmitter deficiencies. End of story.

  4. Amalia says:

    Hi Kevin:

    Thank you for sharing your personal story with addictions. I myself have been addicted to sweets from I was a child, which I shared with my dad. I never had weight problems except a few extra pounds after childbirth, which I lost easily over aprox. six months.
    After forty everything changed. I am still trying to get back to my ideal weight and I am away by about 12 pounds. I am doing much better trying to follow your example of replacing a bad habit with a good one.
    Thanks for your words of inspiration.

  5. Sophie says:

    I always question the argument that other addictions are easier to conquer than food addictions. Alcoholics still have to drink, they just cannot drink alcohol … which I view as comparable to a food addict having to give up junk carbs, or something like that. Gamblers still have to deal with money every day of the week. Anyone who has overcome ANY addiction deserves an enormous amount of respect.

    But, when you think of overweight as being a condition of malnourishment, and the intense cravings of this disorder as our bodies attempts to get the nourishment it needs to stay alive … then, the severity of the “addiction” can be understood. After reading books such as Why We Get Fat, or the old text Nutrition and Your Mind, I am pretty well convinced that the root problem is physiological and not psychological in most cases. This has been my own experience. When I eat crappy, especially when I am protein deficient, I crave more and more and more carbs and still, not matter how full, I never feel satiated. When I eat real foods that my body needs, those wild cravings just subside like magic. It is amazing, really.

  6. I think most of us have some kind of food addiction thankfully mine is going more towards whole food not the junk I used to love.
    This show sounds sorta like one I watch from the UK called Supersize versus superskinny

  7. Sarah says:

    Kevin: You never cease to amaze me! Thank you for sharing something that is so deeply personal with all of us. Undoubtedly you have helped many many people with this blog entry! I worked with people who experienced eating disorders and addictions (actually as a nutritionist with Julia Ross’s clinic)and your description of your experience with addiction was spot on with everything I saw with all my clients there. Describing people who have addictions as “creative” is indeed very accurate; I also think of them as some of the bravest people I have ever met. In my early days at the clinic I used to test my clients’ adrenal function (with a salivary cortisol test) and another aspect you can add to your list is that all were severely taxed. They had been living in “fight or flight” for quite some time. Incorporating some kind of stress management or lifestyle change (usually to take more time to nourish their bodies and spirits)was very critical for their recovery.

  8. Tia says:

    I’m addicted to reasurance.

  9. Caroline says:

    I also think that on a wholistic level, addictions are often initially fueled by lack of nutrients that support healthy brain function. People feel bad and just want to feel good. Addictions may start out innocently enough, due to a nutritional etiology affecting the brain and therfore the emotions. Then, it’s the start of a vicious cycle we all have read and heard about. But I do also think that very few people when in the throes of adddictive behavior want to take personal responsibility to stay the course necessary to adddress that etiology even when they have the correct information. But..even so…everyone has to live out their own personal dharma and that process always should be honored and respected however it manifests. We all have our special path.

  10. Amita says:

    I think I was addicted to food, and still am to some degree, though now I am much more conscious of my choices. What triggered it was breaking up with my boyfriend, and I sometimes ate to make myself feel better or because I was bored and didn’t have a boyfriend there to hang out with all the time. I gained a lot of weight and I’m working now to break my addiction, lose that weight, and feel comfortable in my body again. It took a lot of studying and learning about health and nutrition first, then I started looking at why I was eating. Just being honest with myself, though scary and incredibly difficult, was the first step in changing my life. After realizing that my eating was in fact tied to my emotions allowed me to fight those habits. Like I said, my relationship with food is still a struggle. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your articles on this subject! Thanks for all your hard work 🙂

  11. Stephanie says:

    Ahhhh! Thank you Kevin!! I have to admit I haven’t had a lot of extra time lately to follow you as faithfully as I was through the winter months and before. Today, I knew this was one I needed to read. I have been struggling with what I call “compulsive eating”- or food addiction for over a year now. There have been several events that have contributed to where I’m at now. The bottom line is that I’ve gained a lot of weight and so badly want to stop it all and get the weight off again. It’s a hard habit to break. Everything you wrote felt like you were writing just to me! Thank you soooooo much, and I look forward to the rest of what you plan to write this week!

  12. Trish says:

    I enjoy Caroline Myss’s youtube videos about addiction. She really has an in-depth understanding of all types of addiction and what it looks like, feels like, sounds like, etc… I highly recommend them! Addiction is not something to agree with on any level!

  13. John says:

    I have recovered from drug and alcohol addiction through the twelve step program. The solution doesn’t apply to food since 12 step recovery requires abstinace plus spiritual change through the steps. Well, obviously we can not abstain from eating.
    I’m 51 years old. Fear of diabetes knocking on the door is working right now….one day at a time.

  14. Velda Milani says:

    Thank you, Kevin, for another great topic. It is so obvious that you and Ann Marie do this work out of love – and you do it so well. My addiction is probably a little more complicated than being addicted to a substance. I was married for 30 years to a compuslive/addictive personality …. he was addicted to alochol, food, gambling only to mention a few. I, as you can probably guess, am an enabler … or as some call it, co-dependent. Being an enabler is a very difficult and addictive life. It feels so “right”. You are doing what is best for the ones you love. It really screws up your thinking in more ways than one.

    You are right about the love part. Going into our 30th year of marriage, my addictive husband left me for another woman … a drinking buddy. I am now 63 years old and can honestly say I have never felt loved. It is a very lonely and heart breaking place to be. Even with that said, I try to focus on leading my life in a healthy manner, phsyically, spritiually and mentally. Do I succeed? Actually, I’m not sure. I guess I don’t really have a point, other than to say feeling loved and loving is probably the most important thing in breaking any kind of addiction, and also that addictions are not always addictions to a substance or food. Thanks again for sharing, Kevin.

  15. KC says:

    Geri-
    I had a food addiction about 6-7 years ago, even to the point of bulimia, and it took a long time to get out of it. I still have my moments (though honestly quite rare), but overall I am sooo much better than I was. I can’t tell you exactly what you need to do, because everyone’s path is different. But I can tell you what has helped me: meditating, yoga, learning to love myself exactly as I am now (not waiting until I look different), and being honest with myself and others about my eating and the things I really care about in life. I am not sure that these things will help you, but they have definitely helped me. I wish you the best of luck on your journey towards getting healthy and finding love for yourself!!

  16. Gail says:

    Excellent blog, Kevin!
    And the responses were all so fabulous; interesting, and so right-on. Thanks, to Angie, #3 for sharing the “cure” books – read the reviews immediately, on Amazon.

    Yes, I definitely have my addictions. Interestingly enough, I can go months doing really well; and then, just like tonight, eat something I KNOW is going to ultimately make me feel terrible later; make me WISH I would never do that again and wonder why I do that to myself ON PURPOSE?? And then I know it will be another six months down the road and I will do that again! That’s just nutty!

  17. cam says:

    Food was my answer to everything – boredom, loneliness, anger, being an oddball, parental rebellion. I was petrified of a loaf of bread. Even now at 56, I still get weak in the knees over certain foods. It took years of yo-yo dieting and some drug use before I turned myself around. As Amita commented, so I also lived. Now I am all about healthy eating, healthy living and I love the stuff on your website. Bravo!

  18. Ira Edwards says:

    You can call it addiction when your body demands some substance. When your increased insulin level is reducing carbs by putting them into the form of fat and storing it in fat cells, your body demands calories. As Gary Taubes puts it you eat because you are getting fat, not getting fat because you eat. It is a hormonal problem that I don’t understand well, but the hormonal problem is likely due mostly to the kind of foods we eat, not the amount. If the kinds are corrected sufficiently, the amount will adjust. Though I know more biochemistry than most nutritionists, I don’t know nearly enough. I think Taubes and Jaminet come closest to making sense of the issue. Read WHY WE GET FAT and PREFECT HEALTH DIET.

  19. Stacy Waters says:

    The book “The Pleasure Trap” by Alan Goldhammer is an essential primer on the topic of food addictions, in my opinion. Ironically, the thing that would have driven our prehistoric ancestors to the greatest heights of survival is now part of the demise of many: Overstimulating, processed, fatty, sugary food.

    I was on the bus tour with you last week, and it was really great to hear Dr. Goldhammer speak in person.

  20. Paul says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Yet again, I am amazed and touched at your comments, honesty and wisdom. I’m looking forward to more on this subject.

    My addiction – compulsive eating.

    It is not yet conquered, but I am making headway. I have noticed some patterns to when the compulsion appears – work or time pressure and trying to fulfill too many obligations. There are other weak moments, e.g if I am tired or in an addictive cycle already.

    My best weapons are:
    1. Letting it happen (slowly) and not judging myself during or after but trying to be PRESENT and noticing the CONFLICT that is happening between my body, my thoughts and especially my feelings – what am I not facing up to? what am I avoiding? what’s happening here on the battlefield?

    2. Being open and talking to others about it. People often can’t believe it because I am tall and skinny, so it’s easy to hide the problem, except for me I suffer as it impacts my digestion, my energy and my attitude.

    Cheers
    Paul

  21. Season Naify says:

    Still dealing with it. It is a true hell on earth.

    Thank you, Kevin, and others, for your transparency. It lends courage.

    Love.

  22. Jolie says:

    I really needed to hear that tonight. Thank you for your directness and total honesty. I’m working on getting honest with myself. I am a performer:) However I was not able to make a performance tonight b/c my health is not good.
    It is TMI but I’m going to mention it b/c I’m getting scared. I don’t eat processed food or wheat, but I am unable to go to the bathroom. I’ve spent so much money on supplements and probiotics to no avail. I’ve tried to avoid allopathic docs but I may have to see one.

  23. sharon says:

    “I know, in the past, I was unable to accept love. So no matter how much support I had, I still wasn’t able to understand or feel the love I was getting.”

    What you said here hits the nail on the head for me. I know I eat because of an empty feeling, but I don’t know how to begin to get over that. You say to ask yourself why you are not letting love in. Well, I asked, but I’m not getting any answers. 🙂

  24. That was a great story! I never would have guessed that you had had drug and alcohol addictions in the past if you hadn’t said so. I hope you tell the details of what exactly inspired you to make changes.

    Simply eating better quality food can make drastic improvements. It is a great freedom to not be constantly hungry like I was in childhood.

  25. Susie says:

    Thank you Kevin for this highly relevant post and for sharing your personal experience. I’m particularly inspired about the creativity aspect as this has been knocking on my mental door lately.

    I recently started working the 12 steps of overeaters anonymous and I am experiencing a new level of freedom from compulsion and isolation. I am also feeling much healthier, I have been able to stop eating things that I knew were contributing to health issues. Abstinence from compulsive eating is absolutely possible and is defined by each individual according to our personal trigger foods and behaviors around food. If you are suffering around this addiction, I highly encourage you to check it out. The spiritual aspect is incredible.

    Love,
    Susie

  26. MC says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I have been following your blog for six or months and let me tell you…I have learned so much. Thank you.
    I am addicted to food and don’t now how to get rid of this addiction. I know what I am suppose to do to get rid of it, and I have the knowledge and the tools to do it and I still can’t make myself stop.
    I am my worst enemy…. I have so many plans for my life and what is stpoing me is weight…. me…
    Thank you again.
    M

  27. Cris says:

    Thanks Kevin for another great article.

    I’m like Tia, reassurance, actually an addiction to self-destruction. I was brought on a very demotivating environment, where I was always reminded that I was not good enough, and that became the pattern, it was like ‘home’, it was what I knew, so every time something happened I kept thinking the worst because I wasn’t good enough to deserve better.
    I had some food addictions along the way to support this, but nothing too much. I used to get numb more than anything else.
    It’s been a very long journey in order to get out of that vicious circle, and I’m getting there.
    Now, I’m a much happier raw foodie who is figuring out her purpose in life! An incredible journey that despite of all the ups and downs, I’m really glad it happened as that made me who I am today.
    I’m actually very grateful. 🙂

  28. Sharon says:

    Kevin, please see if you can get Victoria Moran on sometime. She’s wonderful for answering a lot of your reader’s comments.

    I totally agree with the comments about Julia Ross. Excellent books.

  29. Jeff says:

    Epic post man. I’m new to this blogging thing and you’re an inspiration. About your post – I’d say I’m almost the opposite. I’ve been at around 140-145 pounds for over a year now and I have struggled to GAIN weight. My goal is to hit 150 by Summer but I have trouble eating and eating and eating. I’m sure most people would see that as a good thing, but man I would love to put on some good weight. I work out 5 days a week, I don’t do much cardio other than boxing. All I need to do is eat more, but I get full very fast.

  30. Jennifer says:

    I am a recovering alcoholic with over 11 years of sobriety thanks to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m glad you mention this topic because lately I feel like I’ve traded one addiction for another – food. Turning 40 didn’t help. My metabolism has slowed down. I used to be able to eat just about anything & not gain or at least lose it pretty quickly. Like a smoker who needs something to do with with his hands I think eating/drinking keeps me occupied. I have taken to buying sheets of nori seaweed & tearing of bits & nibbling on these as a low-cal snack. I try not to buy junk food but I think it’s the cheese & pasta that are doing me in. I live in the land of cheese (France) so there are many choices. I have started walking in the park during my lunch break & am hoping that will help. I know I have to make like the Nike ad a “Just do it!” It’s hard to get motivated to exercise. I always feel better when I do though.

  31. Jennifer says:

    Oh, and I wanted to say I read an article in Newsweek several years ago about the alcoholic’s brain being wired differently than a non-alcoholic’s brain. They proved it in a scientific study. they showed pictures of alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks & when the martini was shown the alcoholic’s brain lit up whereas the non-alcoholic’s did not. I kept the article. I do believe their is a genetic link in many cases. They said if you had one parent who was an alcoholic your chances of becoming on was more than 50%. I come from a long line of alcoholics. I have seen it skip members of the family (my half-sister, for example).

  32. Sue says:

    Yes! I’m a food addict, that’s why diets don’t work for me! The stuff I put in my mouth is only part of the problem. Bigger issues include issues of love and acceptance, and feelings of self worth. The fight or flight dilemma is a huge struggle for me! Thankfully, I can say that by eliminating meats, sweets, wheat (the eats!) and dairy from my diet, some of the weight is coming off. But, the core struggle remains!

  33. Mitone says:

    Wow. You hit home. I have been struggling with just this issue all my life but especially over the last few weeks as I have attempted to transition to raw. One of my favorite things to quote is SNL Jon Lovitz sketch “I just want to be loved, is that so wrong?” Lol. I was actually searching for ways to break my food addictions but couldn’t find anything. Then your email came. Felt like I was reading a bio of myself. I look forward to the rest of the series and I thank you for sharing your insight. You may have started a turning point for me.

  34. BarbaraL says:

    Wow, hot topic for my whole precious Life! I went from being addicted to relationships, alcohol, sweets and the vanity of being thin, to all of these PLUS bullimia. This lasted about 12 years. I would stop drinking (beer and wine mostly and in the closet) for 6 months, and then out of the blue I would find myself in a liquor store. I prayed and begged for help, did 12 step, did every diet and read every book imaginable. In 1987 I got a DUI and that took care of alcohol on the spot, a gift from God in disguise. Food and men lingered on for a while, even while being a sprouter, vegan and spiritual seeker. I was gifted with a desire for Spirit and a study of consciousness and an artistic soul, and over the years I have worked it all out. I have been Vegan for a year now, about 90% raw and addicted to Peace, Quiet and taking responsibility for creating my experience. I feel truly healed and even enriched by the nightmare of addiction, that with the help of many mentors, spiritual masters and devotion and reverence for Life, I have been given the grace to turn completely around. The biggest factor to start with is not trying to get love or even give love, but learning to love and accept your own multi-faceted, wonderful Self, a child of the Universe. From this place, healing of what needs healing will happen. You will find yourself more and more supported by grace and being in the right place at the right time will become a way of Life. Be grateful for whatever it may take to get you to this place of calm belonging to something greater than you can ever get from any human.

  35. Cindy says:

    Great post. I have fought an addiction to sweets since I was a child. My dad was very controlling & each time my siblings & I would get in trouble, he would then buy us sweets to make up for it. We lived on popsicles, donuts, & candy because we were always in trouble for some dumb thing. So I’ve equated sweets with love my whole life. I do good for periods of time, & then something will set it off again. I’m looking forward to the rest of your posts.

  36. Celia says:

    Thankyou everyone for all these wonderful comments especially BarbaraL comment 30…beautiful beautiful…I’m still struggling with food addiction even though it’s mainly healthy food…trying to remember “it’s not about the food” ! It’s about that emptiness and the fantasy that someone something somewhere will fill it someday, when in fact I know that the emptiness can be filled from within with a perpetual love of our beautiful selves and an awareness of being part of something so much bigger.. and thankyou Kevin and AnnMarie …words can’t express my gratitude for your loving honesty

  37. Scott C says:

    Great topic. I’m similar to Paul- tall and skinny- but still have food addictions.

    I could just eat eat eat and not gain a pound. But I felt like crap (especially in the morning bc I ate late at night). I also work at night in the kitchen (where you dont really eat) and then would get hungry at midnight and eat whatever was in my house!

    I would suggest learning as much as you can about food and what good and whats bad and eventually you realize how stupid it is to put ‘poison’ in your body. Don’t buy sweet/ salty snacks so your not tempted.

    I find drinking some tea right after dinner (yes kevs cinnamon tea is delicious!) I don’t crave something sweet.

    I still allow myself dark chocolate. I think this is important too-to be reasonable and not go ‘cold turkey’ if you dont think you can, unless your doing a doctor supervised fast.

    peace, love and food

  38. Melissa says:

    Kevin I so needed this right now! Thank you!
    I struggle with letting love in too and just loving myself. I realise that I’m self-sabotaging because I have this void and so I’m slowely trying to build up the love for myself and to allow love in.

    Can’t wait for the rest of your posts! Off to check out the show!

  39. mikem says:

    high(?), really? u might want to b a bit more specific. i get high all the time off Life, Eating Healthy and Raw, Yoga, Nature, Herbs, Women, Hemp Seeds, Juice, the Spirit, Breathing u name it. i cant imagine needing any more love at times like those brother..

  40. Martha;) says:

    Thanks for sharing this story and show with a current Food Addict. I have struggled with weight since I married 18 years ago! It has been a shield for my lack of self-confidence, and need for love and to find myself. I was lost. Finding God has started the healing process and I find the more I obey His will, the more I succeed at fighting this enemy! To God be the glory!

  41. Mary says:

    What great responses…..I love seeing people open up and be so very honest, esp. Velda about needing love.

    I don’t think we should pit psychology and phyisiology against one another, esp. with the incredibly destructive SAD diet out there. And it’s hard to resist when it’s all around you.

    I just want to say that if, as so many of you said, you find that nothing works; our birth and early childhood are very key to how we process life and love.
    And by far the most unacknowledged and pernicious experience is sexual abuse. It is so common and so completely robs one at a core level of our sense of self and ability to feel empowered. And many people block it out of their conscious memory due to the level of trauma which is impossible to process as a child.

    The amount of energy it takes to keep this repressed is unbelievable and requires lots of distractions, addictions and overeating.

    I have worked on my own sexual abuse for many years and can say that that compulsive eating that I used to have is all but gone (except for when I empath others!).

    That traumatized inner child will wait and wait and wait until you decide to do the work of finding her or him and reclaiming that terribly lonely little one(s). and there are actually many as the soul breaks up from trauma.

    It’s like finding orphaned children that you lost long ago; yet the rewards are endless.

    To do the work is probably the most courageous thing that you will ever do, but so worth it!

    I recommend John Bradshaw’s books like
    “HOMECOMING” and “THE COURAGE TO HEAL” by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis.

    Let’s bring ourselves out of the closet!

  42. […] [This is Part 2 of a 5 Part Series on Beating Food Addictions. This series was inspired by the OWN Network show "Addicted to Food." Click here for Part 1.] […]

  43. Ms. G says:

    Me too…thank you,Kevin.

  44. barbara says:

    In my health coaching practice I ask my clients what’s eating you? I ask them to keep a food diary it is necessary for them to write down what they eat and how much. I feel that gives them tools to help themselves. Changing habits happens over time, be patient, ask for help, it starts with self love. Reach out there are people out there to love you.
    I sometimes have cravings for sweets but if I am grounded and eating well I do not crave sweets. When you stay away from them and you do eat them the sweet is too intense and I have to spit it out.
    Whatever you eat be thankful for it and ask that it benifit your body in the best way possible.

  45. Kristin says:

    Thanks Kevin it’s amazing how many of us share food addictions until one realizes that very few people don’t have some sort of self destructive addiction. For my friends it is work, sex, alcohol, gambling, gossiping etc. Few people admit food addictions because it is not publicly recognized but I agree it’s harder to break than other addictions. Sometimes I count the food signs on the road. There aren’t flashing signs for heroin or cocaine everywhere, let’s face it. Or commercials or drug parties in regular society. But there are dinner parties, pot lucks, movie theaters, weddings, just about every single day a social event centered around food. It sucks but I believe we can all find a way to overcome it if we are persistent and honest with ourselves.

    Thank you so much for this much needed topic. At least everyone here recognizes the addiction because we tried to stop. Think of all the people who don’t even know they are addicted yet…

  46. […] to Food Series that was inspired by the Oprah Winfrey Network show "Addicted to Food." Here's part 1 and part […]

  47. Samantha says:

    It’s so great to be a part of this amazing dialogue! I want to give a shout out to Angie’s April 18th post recommending Julia Ross’s “Mood Cures.” AMAZING resource! Also, Joan Larson’s “Depression Free Naturally,”
    Dr. Charles Gant’s “End Your Addiction Now,” and Dr. Eric Braverman’s “The Healing Nutrients Within” are invaluable guides.
    All of these books cover the “orthomolecular” terrain of our systems and the deficiencies that, when addressed, make a COLOSSAL difference in addressing all kinds of addiction and mental health issues.
    My story has to do with the aftermath of having my baby boy. I was working as a therapist at the time and was very familiar with the psycho-spiritual underpinnings of the emotional terrain. After giving birth, I felt decimated. Friends and colleagues tried to help by offering up psychological support. No, I didn’t feel trapped by Motherhood… No, I wasn’t feeling displaced in my new Life. I just kept expressing that I felt DEPLENISHED, DRAINED. My GP PATTED ME ON THE SHOULDER AND TOLD ME i WAS THE EPITOME OF HEALTH AND FITNESS. But, I intuitively knew better. After exhausting the resources I had at the time, I set out on a solitary path to find my own answers. The resources highlighted above saved me! ( I hadn’t, yet, stumbled across this amazing site). In the midst of the demands of being a first year Mom, I pieced together the fact that I was, despite “medical” opinion, malnourished. My body and brain were starving for good omegas and aminos and other missing nutrients. Many of the authors referenced above feel it is borderline criminal to expose people to intense addiction rehab without first addressing the physiological deficits a malnourished brain is facing. Treatment Centers like Joan Larson’s “Health Recovery Centers” have a success rate that blows standard talk therapy rehabs out of the water. I didn’t have to resort to going to these recovery centers because I was able to extraplolate the 411 in these resources and formulate a plan. If there is ANY WAY a new Mom could access this 411 and not have to go through the hell of my first year post~partum, I would be so thrilled. I have extreme empathy for all facing mental health challenges, but a special awareness to new Moms that are feeling helpless, overwhelmed and alone. There is hope and there are solutions!;)
    **Lovies to All**
    P.S. Daniel Vitalis addressed these post-partum deficiences during “The Great Health Deabates.” Wow! This rreaaly resonated!

  48. Kristi says:

    Thank you for that amazing blog. It really makes a person think.

  49. Jennie_Raw says:

    thankyou deeply for posting on these lessons and experiences.

  50. […] of my "Addicted to Food" Series inspired by the new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Here is part 1, part 2 and part […]

  51. Ann says:

    Out of print by available used,
    Eating Awareness Training by Molly Groger.

    It’s the answer, really. Will help you relearn how to listen to your body, like you knew the instant you were born….and somewhere along the line were taught to ignore.

    No diets, no special foods, no willpower. Once you let your body take over, it’s simple, simple, simple……to be over food obsession forever after.

  52. I came over here from Gena’s blog Choosing Raw and followed the links to the beginning of your series. Very interesting. I share your passion and interests. I too am finding recovery from compulsive overeating by blogging about healthy food and helping other compulsive overeaters. But my personality does not have the “needing to feel loved” component (I believe that you would be classified as The Helper in the Enneagram personality typing system). My personality is The Peacemaker and my compulsive overeating was done in an effort to NOT have to feel any of my feelings because feelings are not peaceful. Things as simple as feeling tired would send me running for the refrigerator! Forget about it if I was scared or angry. I stuffed down all of my feelings with food. I think that understanding your personality and main motivations is absolutely crucial to recovery. Looking forward to continuing to read your posts on these issues.

  53. Janine says:

    Have only just read your intro starting with the last sign of addiction, and I feel u’ve read my mind. I feel for my daughter, who is only 3 but with similar personality to m. I hope by reading further I will be able to stop her following my footsteps.

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