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Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Let’s Get Moving!

Karla likes to garden.

Tracy enjoys a good walk.

Mary is willing to lift weights.

Phil can really dance.

It’s Active August and our SHiFT team members are getting in the spirit! Now it’s your turn to get going! At SHiFT, we have designated August as the month to get out and get moving. Now, is the time! While we don’t necessarily mean what many think of as exercise, we do know that moving our bodies helps us to feel better physically and psychologically.

For some who are food dependent, this can be a real challenge. Being creative can help with this. If running is not possible then take a walk. If you are not yet able to walk too much then try seated stretches. Swimming is also a great way to move your body and have fun.

While these are all good suggestions, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think about what types of activities you enjoy or would like to try. In recovery, I love to ride my bicycle and kayak. When I’m doing these things, I’m not thinking about how many calories I’m burning. I’m just enjoying what I’m doing.

Walking in the forest is also one of my favorite activities. I can get lost in looking at nature while walking without thinking about my body movement.

For many who are food dependent, the idea of moving our bodies needs to be SHiFTed. We need to think about enjoying the feeling of movement rather than the effort it takes or how hard it will be. The longer we are in recovery the easier body movement becomes.

So, as we move into August, take a few minutes to move your body and post a picture on our Facebook page!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ People Who Understand Me

No one understands how miserable I am. 

No one understands how hard I try to lose weight. 

No one understands what it’s like to feel so deeply humiliated by the size of my body. 

And, most of all, no one understands how truly awful it feels to try diet after diet and still gain weight.

These are some of the things I said to myself over and over again for many years of my life. I hated the way I lived my life and I hated that no matter how many different programs I tried, I couldn’t have the one thing I wanted most – to lose weight.

Even though I didn’t understand all of it at the time, I knew I was truly miserable and that something wasn’t right. I kept searching and trying to figure out how to help myself yet each diet I tried didn’t work. Even weight loss surgery didn’t make things better. I felt humiliated after each failed attempt and more and more hopeless.

What I didn’t know at the time is that there are people with exactly the same problem I have – food dependency. I had no idea that others thought about food as much as I did and that they, too, were desperate for a solution.

Six years ago when I entered the Acorn Intensive, I found a group of people who understood me completely for the first time in my life. Of course, there were people in my life who loved and cared about me (and still do), but up until this point, no one truly understood my struggles with food and how hopeless I felt.

In addition to finding a recovery program, I found something I didn’t even know I needed:  a community of other people who are like I am. To this day, my support community continues to be the foundation of my recovery from food dependency. I regularly talk to my sponsor. I have a therapist, and I have a strong network of recovering friends who support me.

The concept of community is also important to those I work with at SHiFT. Time and time again, I watch as those in our programs connect with and support each other. We have one group of people who attended an Acorn Intensive a year ago and are still meeting in one of our aftercare groups every week. We have another group from a different intensive who created a walking accountability group with each other and our newest Food Freedom program participants are beginning to find connection with each other.

In addition to this, we have seen people connecting on our free SHiFT Strong Support calls and in our Saturdays with Phil Workshops. Many of these connections last far beyond the length of the meetings and programs and these are just a few examples of the ways in which people connect through SHiFT.

I am blessed each day to be reminded of how important it is to find a community of people who understand me. It is my hope that you will find the same thing.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Stopping Before Starting

I’m too busy. 

I can never do that. 

It just won’t work out for me.

These are all examples of stopping before starting. It’s easy to come up with many different reasons not to take a risk and try something new. In fact, it takes absolutely no effort at all to think up a bunch of excuses.

Taking a risk and getting out of ourselves is entirely different. This involves courage, curiosity, and a certain amount of trust that no matter what happens we will be okay. Though this isn’t always easy, taking risks and trying new things can enhance our lives in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined.

When I weighed over 300 pounds and I couldn’t stop eating, I wasn’t able to imagine the gifts I have in my life today. Then, I was trapped in an obese body I could barely move around. It didn’t seem possible that I would ever be able to ride a bike or even walk comfortably again.

I was out of hope but couldn’t quite give in totally to living the rest of my life so miserably. I decided to try one last thing – an Acorn Intensive Program – and that turned out to be what I now know would change my life forever.

That one risk to attend the Acorn Intensive has brought things into my life that I no longer believed possible – a life of serene and sane eating, the loss of over half my body size, the ability to ride my bicycle, kayak, and hike, and an end to obsessive food thoughts to name just a few.

Since then, I have taken many other risks in my life that have all turned out okay.  Even though some didn’t go exactly as I wanted, whatever happened, worked out for the best.

The important thing about all of the risks I have taken is that I gave myself a chance to try something new which had the potential to improve my life.  I didn’t stop before I started and I hope you don’t either!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ What is Food Freedom?

You may have been hearing a lot from us about our new Food Freedom Program which launches on July 27. We are super excited about this new self-paced, online program that helps those who are struggling with weight, food, and body issues.

Yet, what exactly is food freedom and how do you know if you have it? We’ve been getting a lot of questions about this so I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to answering some of those questions here.

Above all, food freedom is serenity around food and eating. Food freedom is being at peace with eating healthy, delicious food without constantly obsessing about what or how much you’ll eat.

There are no minutes, days, or hours lost to looking at recipe after recipe or running from store to store to fulfill a craving. There are no lost conversations because your mind drifted off to thinking about what you will eat next. And, most of all, there are no physical consequences from eating too much – no indigestion, no bloated stomach, no nausea, and no difficulty moving.

Food freedom is a healthy, serene way of eating that brings more gifts than I can ever describe though I will give it a try here. For me, food freedom means that I can eat three meals a day without constantly thinking about food. It means that I am exactly that:  FREE.  Free from not only obsession but from all the chains that come with being tied to always thinking about food.

Today, I am truly living a food freedom life. After losing half of my body size, I am now at a healthy weight and I am able to do all of the things I love to do, most among them is to play with my amazing niece Georgia – you knew I was going to get her in here somehow!

I can have relationships that are real and true based on healthy interests rather than collecting buddies who were willing to binge with me or enable me to remain unhealthy.

To me, food freedom is my life and I am super excited to help others live a life of food freedom.

If you haven’t already, please join me in living a food free life.

If you’d like more information about our new program, click here.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Helping More People

At SHiFT, we have a long history of helping people with food, weight and body issues. We have 25 years of success in supporting people in rising up and out of the depths of food addiction.  We are grateful for the work we do and yet we still see so many people struggling with food and eating issues who aren’t physically addicted to food.

For several years now, we’ve wanted to share with everyone the knowledge that we have based on what we know works.  As a result, we are excited to announce that our new Food Freedom Program will launch on July 27.

This new program will take place over 4-Weeks online and is specifically designed to help anyone who struggles with food, weight and body issues. The first recovery program of its kind, the Food Freedom Program includes a uniquely designed, brand new, cutting-edge curriculum to help those who struggle with food, weight and body issues and have yet to find a long-term solution.

While nothing can replace the power of our world-renowned Intensive program, Food Freedom by SHiFT can be a much-needed stepping stone or introduction to learning more about problematic relationships with food and beginning the process to heal them.

Through videos and weekly lessons, Amanda will personally guide Food Freedom participants as they complete worksheets and activities designed to create a lifestyle that promotes long-term food freedom and weight-loss success.

This self-paced program can be done in the comfort of your own home and is designed to help those who struggle with weight and eating issues but have yet to find a long-term solution.  As part of the program, participants will identify the type of eater they are and create a food plan designed to address their particular food dependency issues.

We’ve worked tirelessly over the last year to put together a comprehensive program that will help everyone who struggles with food and weight issues.  With the introduction of this new program, we can continue to help food addicts as we always have while also helping others who struggle.

If you’d like more information about this program, click here.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ The Structure Myth

The Structure Myth

I’ll eat what I want, when I want it.

We’ve heard this more times than we can count. This is denial at its worst. Most people who are food dependent believe that they are being good to themselves by eating whatever they want whenever they want. This is a false belief that perpetuates the denial that makes recovery a challenge.

Though it’s difficult for many who are food dependent to believe, the exact opposite is true. Taking care of ourselves involves eating healthy, planned meals that are four to five hours apart. Spontaneous eating is one of the most dangerous things those in recovery can even think about doing.

Food addiction is a deadly disease that works hard to convince its victims that spontaneity means having fun and that having fun is not possible with the structure of a committed food plan.  Nothing can be further from the truth.

When someone who is food dependent plans, commits and prepares their food, they then have the freedom to live their life without constantly obsessing about food. It is only through the structure of committed and planned food that those who are food dependent can truly experience freedom from food cravings and obsession.

Once someone who is food dependent has their food in order, there is no need to think about it during the day except at mealtimes to get or prepare it. Once the addictive substances are removed, physical cravings disappear and again, there is no reason to think about food unless it’s mealtime. Doing this, gives those who are food dependent the ability to be spontaneous.

Food addiction, eating disorders and emotional eating can cause their victims to believe that giving up control of their food will result in a miserable life not worth living. Again, this is a myth created by denial. A truly miraculous recovery life is based on a solid foundation of structure that includes committed and planned food.