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Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Saying No To Food That You Don’t Eat

One bite won’t hurt you. 

You have to eat cake on your birthday. 

I worked so hard to cook this meal for you.

We’ve all been through it and it’s not fun. Sometimes people get upset and it’s never easy but saying no to food that you don’t eat is absolutely necessary. Remember, your recovery is about you and not about pleasing other people.

While it may seem so easy to simply go along with the crowd, or sometimes your mother or grandmother who talk about spending so much time preparing your favorite food, there’s so much more to this decision than just the time it took for someone to cook.

To begin, think about the time and effort it took for you to get into recovery. Is giving that up really worth the few minutes of pleasure someone else will get from seeing you eat the food they prepared?

Now, add to this the idea that it’s not your job, nor do you have the power, to make anyone else truly happy or, on the flip side, unhappy, and you can see that trying to please someone else by eating addictive foods is dangerous, even life-threatening to your recovery.

Long after the temporary or shallow pleasure others may have is over, you will be left with the long-lasting and possibly deadly consequences of having binged. And, trust me, though you many not binge immediately after eating addictive foods, eventually that will happen. It’s not a reflection of your strength. It’s simply a fact of food dependency. Eating a food that triggers a physiological response in our bodies, causes us to want more and more of that food.

So, even though it’s not fun at the moment, saying no to food you don’t eat anymore will make the difference between food freedom and food obsession.  As always, the choice is yours.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Is Detox Real?

Why am I so tired?

Why do I have such a bad headache? 

Why does my body ache? 

Why am I so irritable?

These are some of the questions those who enter our programs ask. Usually, these questions come up after following our food plan.

The answer to all of these questions is one simple yet sometimes confusing word: DETOX.

Is detox real?

While most of us are familiar with the idea of detoxing from alcohol and drugs, detoxing from food substances isn’t as well known and some don’t believe it’s actually real.

As with alcohol and drug detox, there are certain side effects that come with putting down a substance that your body is physically dependent on.  With food, these substances are usually sugar, flour, wheat and fat.

Though detox from food substances is different for everyone, there are some common side effects that we observe regularly.  The most common is feeling tired which is followed by having head and body aches. Irritability, anger, depression, and sadness are also experienced by some who are in withdrawal.

In general, withdrawal side effects can last up to three weeks but usually lessen by the end of the first week as long as those substances are not put back into your body.  Read that last part again:  as long as those substances are not put back into your body.

If someone who is food dependent puts these substances back into their body, they will be starting the withdrawal “clock” all over again and prolonging their withdrawal side effects.  In other words, they are making the side effects last even longer than if they had kept those substances out of their bodies.

To answer the question in this post:  YES, DETOX IS REAL!  Though it may be misunderstood and oftentimes overlooked by those beginning a food dependency program, detox is very real.  And the good news is that it will pass and everyone who continues to follow their plan has told us that they feel better than they ever thought possible!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ There’s Still TIme!

There’s still time! We have a little over a week left in Active August. If you haven’t already done so, you can still get active this month. Not sure what to do?

Here are a few suggestions: Take a swim in the lake or a walk around the block. Grab the dog and hike in the woods. Climb up and down the stairs a few times. Always wanted to try rollerblading or skydiving? Active August is the time!

Or, how about a walk through the center of your town? Not only will you be active but you’ll also get to know the people in your community. Or, if that doesn’t work for you, what about kayaking, tubing, or rowing down a river or in a lake?

Have you ever thought about horseback riding or playing volleyball on the beach? Active August is the time!

Those who are in recovery from food dependency have the opportunity to be active in ways that were not possible before. While weight loss is one benefit of recovery and there are many more, maintaining a healthy body size opens the door to activities that were only previously imagined.

Don’t wait another minute. Get up now and get active! Hurry before the month is over! And check out our Facebook page to see how our SHiFT Team is getting active this month.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ You Have To Ask For It!

It’s not something we’re taught in school. Our families don’t usually tell us how to do this and it’s one of the hardest things for those who are food dependent to do. I’m talking about asking for help.

When I say that, I don’t mean expecting others to save or cure you. I mean genuinely asking for assistance to help you with something that’s important to your recovery such as finding someone to commit your food to or a sponsor to help you work the steps.

For those who are new to recovery, asking for help can be a truly frightening experience. Some grew up in homes where asking for help was not okay. Others were yelled at or called weak when they requested assistance. A few were even punished.

Many who are food dependent believe that they “should” be able to get into and stay in recovery without any help at all. Some think that if they just try harder, they will be able to figure things out. Almost all doubt that they even need help. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every single food dependent person I have worked with has needed help.  In fact, every food dependent person I have ever known has needed help to get and stay in recovery.  It is just not possible to work a recovery program alone.

Think of it this way.  The only perspective and information a food dependent person has is what’s in their mind.  That mind is preoccupied with thoughts of food and weight loss and does not yet know how recovery works.  How can this mind, all by itself, figure out recovery?

Would you presume to know how to fly a plane, write a book, change a tire, or even drive a car without help from someone who knew how to do these things? Of course not. It’s the same thing with recovery.

If those who are food dependent are going to find and maintain recovery, they need to reach out and ask for help.

So, go ahead. Take a deep breath and ask!  If the answer isn’t the one you wanted, move on to the next person and keep trying. You’re worth it and so is recovery!

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.