Celebrating 25 years of food addiction treatment and recovery!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Fun in the Sun!

There’s still time!  Summer’s not over yet!  Even if you can’t get away for a week, take a day or even an hour to enjoy the sunshine this upcoming week.  The last week of August traditionally marks the end of summer as do the upcoming American Labor Day and Canadian Labour Day holidays.

At SHiFT, even though we are grateful and honored to do the work we do and see miracles happen in food addicts’ lives at our programs, most especially the Acorn Intensives, we recognize that rest and fun are equally as important as work.

Sometimes in our busy world, we can get caught up in believing we have to do everything and be everything to everyone.  Of course, this isn’t possible and though we may know it on an intellectual level, it’s much harder to understand it in our hearts.  As food addicts, we are used to obsessing.  Most of our obsessions before recovery were about food but there were others including worrying about our body size and how we were going to hide our addiction from the people in our lives.

In recovery, we learn to play and have fun.  At first, it may feel awkward and forced since it’s new to us but it’s important to carve out time so that we can grow used to having fun.  Bringing fun into our lives is an important and necessary part of recovery.  Fun allows us to relax, laugh and be in the moment in a way that other activities can’t.

So, take some time this upcoming week to have fun and enjoy the last days of summer!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Surrendering To Recovery

Willing to go to any lengths for recovery. This is the beginning of long-term food addiction recovery. Many food addicts who call our offices or come to our events, are often shocked by the idea of weighing and measuring their food. Some even criticize this as promoting a “diet mentality” or as being “overly rigid” or “encouraging food obsession.” While many food addicts who were reluctant to weigh and measure their food in the beginning have thought these things, almost all of them have come to understand the value and reasoning behind this concept.

The greatest benefit of weighing and measuring for food addicts is the peace and serenity that come from being 100% certain that they are following a healthy eating food plan that is non-addictive. Many food addicts, in addition to being addicted to certain food substances are also addicted to eating large amounts of food. This is known as volume addiction. Weighing and measuring food takes away any “wiggle” room that contributes to food obsession and manages volume addiction. This means that food is in its place – as a means of nourishment and not used as an emotional crutch.

Another benefit of weighing and measuring is the stability it provides.  Whether in recovery or not, we all go through emotional times in our lives. For food addicts, these emotions are excuses to over or under eat.  Weighing and measuring keeps food addicts honest when emotions threaten to interfere with food choices.

While there are many other benefits of weighing and measuring that you can read about here, the cornerstone of recovery is the idea of surrender.  In order to maintain long-term food addiction recovery, daily surrender to a new way of life, which includes a food plan and higher power, is the foundation of recovery. Many food addicts had to learn to develop an open mind, become willing to go to any lengths to make changes and ask themselves this question before becoming willing to weigh and measure their food, “How is your life working for you now?”

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ 3 Days in New England!!!

What a great 3 days! We were in Boston this week. In addition to enjoying the beautiful city, we had an amazing 3-Day program with some of our alumni. As recovery continues, life happens, and sometimes food addicts need extra support to work through tricky issues.

We saw some amazing SHiFTs during our 3-Day program. One attendee said, “I have a path to living a life beyond my wildest dreams because of SHiFT.”  While another one said, “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that SHiFT has saved my life!”

These changes only happen with the support of others. Most food addicts in recovery aren’t able to figure out solutions to the issues they are facing alone. It’s just not possible to solve a problem with the brain that created it. Getting an outside perspective and developing a plan of action is incredibly valuable in maintaining long-term recovery and rebounding from a food slip.

Some of the attendees in our New England program this week were able to identify emotional and spiritual blocks that were in the way of long-term abstinence, identify feelings they weren’t aware they had, deal with anger, fear and grief, and surrender again to their powerlessness over food.

If you’d like to attend one of our 3-Days with SHiFT programs, there’s still two left before the end of the year. The first one is before OA’s “Vision For You” conference November 12 – 14 in Pottersville, NJ (wait list only) and the second one is December 27 – 29 in Bradenton, FL.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda – It’s Okay to Enjoy Your Food!

It’s summer and it’s all about Farmers Markets!  Next week is National Farmers Market Week, a great way to celebrate healthy, delicious, locally-grown abstinent food.

Most food addicts who begin a recovery program, don’t like vegetables. It’s rare that we see someone who’s binged on plain vegetables though, of course, it’s possible. Most of the binges that include vegetables are because they were deep fried or covered in fats (butter, oil, dressing, etc.) and not because of the vegetables themselves.

Food addicts in recovery learn how to enjoy and appreciate healthy food. While it may not happen immediately, over time, food addicts discover how to prepare healthy food that tastes good. There is a misconception that it’s not okay for food addicts in recovery to enjoy their food. This is untrue.

Enjoying healthy, abstinent food is important as is taking time to shop for and prepare food that you like. Eating vegetables you don’t like when there are options on your food plan that taste good to you can sometimes be a setup for relapse. Depriving yourself of good-tasting abstinent food can cause frustration and self-pity which can sometimes lead to bingeing.

As you go through next week, if it’s possible, visit a local farmers market and purchase great tasting vegetables that you love. If that’s not possible then take a few extra minutes to prepare something abstinent that you like. It’s okay to enjoy your food.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ There’s always hope!

What a week it’s been! We just finished up our July Acorn Intensive Program and I am reminded again of how very grateful I am for the work I do. Watching the change in food addicts as they go through the week is nothing short of miraculous. Food addicts who came in with no hope whatsoever, leave with a peace they didn’t even know existed. Even more importantly, they find a life beyond bingeing and food obsession, one in which there is hope.

After trying countless diet and weight loss programs, these food addicts are demoralized and beaten down to the point of total desperation. To see hope building day by day in food addicts where once there was none is truly one of the greatest gifts of my life.

If you are a food addict who is still suffering, realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. There is hope.  If you are a food addict in recovery, remember how hopeless you once felt. It will keep you grounded and committed to your recovery program. And, if you are a food addict who is in relapse, understand that you can find your way back. There is hope for all of us.

The raw emotion and safe space that was created for me to express and confess my pain. Being in the presence of Phil and Amanda…two special souls. T.R. – 7/24/19

 

 

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Take care of you!

 

It’s almost here!  Wednesday, July 24th is International Self-Care Day which is designed to raise awareness for healthy lifestyles! At SHiFT, we’ve been doing this for over a quarter of a century. In addition to a healthy eating plan, self-care involves many other things. For example, taking time for meditation, prayer, self-reflection or journaling are all important parts of self-care as are regular exercise, fun, recreation, hobbies and relaxation.

For many addicts, it’s much easier to do something, anything, instead of sitting quietly or relaxing.  Active in addiction, the mental obsession with food, tricks food addicts into believing that they are always busy. In many cases, this is true and becomes comfortable even in recovery. A lot of activity goes into maintaining an addiction – finding, getting, paying for, and preparing food – yet these activities have destructive, unhealthy consequences.

In recovery, it’s important to learn new self-care behaviors that don’t involve food or eating. This Wednesday, why not schedule half an hour to do something special for yourself? Sit by the water, read a fun book or magazine, get a massage, give yourself a spa treatment, or find a quiet spot in the park to enjoy nature. You deserve to take care of yourself. Enjoy the day!