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

Monday Apr 18 | 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.

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