Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ A Day of Love – Not That Kind!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is a day of love and I don’t mean the romantic kind. Instead, this Valentine’s Day, it would be amazing if food addicts everywhere, took time to love and celebrate themselves.

It’s easy to get caught up in the romantic part of this day and while that’s understandable, there’s so much more to love than that. Many food addicts have spent the better part of their lives ruled by their addictions. Between obsessing about food, trying to find it and then hide the evidence of eating it, there was little time for anything else.

We sometimes see food addicts in recovery upset that their lives aren’t “normal” yet, meaning they don’t have romantic partners. It’s important to remember that re-building a life after years of addiction takes time and patience.

It’s also important to understand that a true romantic partnership begins first with loving yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to love you? Learning to love yourself takes time and builds each day as recovery is strengthened.

A very good first step on this day of love is to acknowledge any feelings you may be having today. Then, make a plan to understand and release them. If you’re angry, write an anger letter then burn it. If you’re sad, call a sponsor or friend and talk about it.  If you’re happy, go to a meeting and share your joy.

Once you’ve acknowledged and given importance to your feelings, take some time out of your day to do something special for yourself. For some, this may be a warm bubble bath. For others, it’s a walk outside or a bicycle ride. Still others may want to curl up with a warm fire and a good book or even a favorite movie or television show.  Or, maybe it’s a trip to see a movie or go bowling or, if you’re really adventurous skiing or snowboarding.

Whatever it is that you like to do, today is the day to do it.  You are worth celebrating!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda – Don’t Quit!

Photo by Frank Sonnenberg

It’s the time of year when many food addicts are struggling to stay motivated. Now that the excitement of a new year has passed and we’re entering February, it’s easy to lose motivation but it’s also dangerous.

Food addicts who have yet to recover and continue to binge are creating serious physical and mental health issues for themselves. The risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, stroke and suicide increases with each binge.

Food addicts in recovery who are feeling tempted need to take a step back and remember how painful it was to be out of control; to experience overpowering physical cravings that resulted in feeling completely demoralized from not being able to stop eating. It hasn’t gotten any better. If anything, it’s worse because now these food addicts know that recovery is possible.

If you feel like quitting or if you’re having trouble starting, it sometimes helps to think about the consequences. Food addiction is a disease that has many physical and emotional consequences, the most serious of which is death. Food addiction can’t simply be cured by thinking it away though, if approached as a physical, mental and emotional illness, it can be put into remission.

No longer are food addicts asked to “stick” to a “diet” then left feeling humiliated because they couldn’t. Instead, food addicts understand that they need to abstain from those foods that trigger physical cravings. These are two different approaches and only the second one works for food addicts.

So, it you’re thinking about quitting, think twice. Remember how awful it was or think about how much more damage years of bingeing will do to your body. Is that binge worth your life?

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Mondays and Other Weight-Loss Myths!

Three Mondays have passed in the first month of this new year. For many food addicts, this is the time that weight loss plans begin to fall apart. The cravings become even more overwhelming after several failed attempts at dieting.

The idea that a food addict can simply begin and follow a diet on Monday or any other day without addressing the physiological addiction to food is a myth. It’s just not possible. Food addiction doesn’t work that way. Simply cutting back on calories will not help a food addict to recover.

Many food addicts come to us believing that eating “diet” foods low in fat will help them to lose weight when it’s exactly the opposite. Most low-fat foods contain even more sugar than normal fat ones, which means that for food addicts these so-called “diet” foods are even more addictive.

The more “diet” foods that a food addict eats, the more food they crave. These “diet” foods cause the exact opposite effect in food addicts and result in even stronger physical cravings than some normal fat foods. The only way to eliminate physical cravings for certain foods is to stop eating them.

This brings me to another weight-loss myth:  abstinent food doesn’t taste good. That’s absolutely not true. It is necessary for a food addict to enjoy their food in order to maintain long-term recovery. That doesn’t mean every meal will be perfect but, overall, finding and preparing food that tastes good is an important part of food addiction recovery.

If you’re struggling and you’ve bought into these myths, we’re here to help.



Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Powerless or Helpless?

I can’t take it anymore.   

I don’t want to live like this.   

I give up.  

We hear these words all the time from food addicts. Yet, many who say them go right back to bingeing. Others spend time thinking about the idea that they are powerless over their addiction then decide since that’s true, they may as well continue bingeing.

While food addicts are powerless over their addiction, they are not helpless. There’s an important difference between the two. Being helpless means being weak, dependent, and having no strength. Powerlessness in recovery, on the other hand, means that no matter how hard a food addict tries, no amount of self-control will change the fact that eating certain food substances cause a biological reaction in their bodies, which creates physical cravings for certain foods.

A helpless person has no hope while a powerless person can take steps towards recovery and find more hope than that person ever imagined. In the same way that someone with a cold experiences certain physical symptoms that they have no control over without the proper treatment, a food addict cannot control the physiological reaction that takes place once addictive substances are eaten.

In both cases, there are things that can be done to make living with each condition more manageable. For the cold, there are medical solutions that can lessen congestion and fever. For food addiction, there are professional and Twelve-Step programs to help stop bingeing. Both are a matter of biology that cannot be changed without help.

Recovery from food addiction begins with understanding that it is possible to have a different and better life once you know how to manage the physical symptoms.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Put Your Money Where Your Recovery Is!

Food addiction recovery takes commitment. So does bingeing. This commitment can be in the form of emotional, physical, spiritual or financial resources. It’s estimated that a food addict spends about $60 per binge. While some food addicts binge three or four times a week, most of the food addicts who come to us are bingeing three or four times a day. At three binges per day, that’s a cost of $180 for one day, $1,260 per week, $5,400 per month.

Even at one binge per day, the monthly total is $1,800. This is the reality of food addiction. Though most food addicts don’t go into a grocery store and spend $450 a week on food at one time, many make several trips to fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, cafeterias, or coffee shops and spend significant amounts of money there.

By spreading out their spending at various stores, food addicts are better able to deny the actual amount of money they spend each month on food. This allows them to continue spending large amounts of money and eating a high volume of food without realizing the total cost of literally feeding their addiction.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Spending money on food addiction recovery is a much better “deal” than purchasing food to binge on. Whether it’s putting a few dollars in the basket at a Twelve-Step meeting, buying a book to help with recovery, spending money on healthy foods, or registering for a food addiction program, the benefits are longer-lasting and priceless.

Money spent on a binge goes up in flames quickly. A binge is over in a matter of minutes while food addiction recovery can last a lifetime. More than that, food addiction recovery can create a life that is beyond a bingeing food addict’s wildest dreams.

The choice on whether or not to put your money where your recovery is belongs to you.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ A New Start Anytime

The first of the year. The beginning of the month. A Monday. The day after a holiday. All of these were markers that I used to begin a weight loss program. By the next day or two, I usually “cheated” on my diet which gave me an excuse to binge even more than before until the next “Diet Day” came around.

Each attempt left me feeling more and more hopeless and humiliated. With each binge, I lost a little piece of my self-respect and I hated myself with a growing fierceness that frightened even me sometimes. I felt trapped in a body that weighed over 300 pounds and helpless to change things.


One day, my life changed. It was the day that I attended an Acorn Intensive. What I didn’t realize until then was that I was a food addict.This meant that my body had become dependent on ingesting certain foods in order for it to function “normally.” That made it next to impossible for me to ever control what and how much I put in my mouth.

This was new information, and it all made sense. Better yet, it worked! It worked in ways I never thought possible. Yes, I cut my weight in half by releasing over 140 pounds and keeping it off (one day at a time). However, the things that have been more life-changing, surprisingly, are the internal changes — the changes in how I show up in the world, the changes in my thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the day.

I have a lot more joy and gratitude every day. Most days I get up and want to participate in the world. This is not what I was used to. Before I was in recovery from food addiction, I just wanted to stay in bed, watch TV, eat food, and shut out the rest of the world. I was miserable, sad, angry, and obese.

Today, I can honestly say I am happy, joyous, grateful, and physically healthy. I truly never believed this could ever happen to me; as I said, I was resigned to being fat and miserable the rest of my life. But that isn’t the case today. I found a solution, and now I work with people every day to help lift them out of the trenches of food obsession and addiction.

If you are a food addict, don’t wait until another new year, another first of the month, another Monday or another day after a holiday.  You can make a new start anytime and, if you need it, we can help.

Here’s wishing you an abstinent new year!