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Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Pay Attention! To What?

As we move through this unprecedented time in the history of our nation, it’s important for everyone but especially food addicts to remember that where we put or attention not only matters but can make a big difference in the quality of our lives.

Will we focus on the fights erupting over supplies or the acts of kindness taking place across the world? Is our attention riveted on the number of sick people or the growing number of those who have recovered?

In our recoveries, we make these same choices on a daily basis. Will we focus on the foods that aren’t on our plans or how healthy we feel from eating abstinently? Is our attention drawn to our flaws when we look in the mirror or to the beauty of our individuality? Are we paying attention to the people we hurt in our past or focusing on making living amends day by day?

Will we look at all of the things we have given up to change our lives or will our attention be drawn to the miracle that is recovery?

Pay attention to the gifts in your life and life gets better. Focus on the negativity and life becomes so.

What will you pay attention to during this time?

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Connecting During Social Distancing

What a busy and challenging week it’s been! For us at SHiFT, the world-wide quarantines have provided us with an opportunity to re-think the format of some of our programs. In the weeks to come, we will be introducing several new virtual support options for both food addicts new to recovery and for our alumni.

In the meantime, we are hearing from many food addicts that being at home without support from other food addicts can be challenging. I cannot stress enough the need to keep connected to your support network during this time. If you have yet to develop a support network, now is the time to find one.

Many Twelve-Step meetings have moved online. You can find online OA meetings here. Online Food Addicts Anonymous Meetings are listed here. Grey Sheeters Anonymous video meetings are listed here and Food Addicts Anonymous phone meetings are listed here.

Keeping in touch with a sponsor if you have one, is important as is reading recovery books.  Here’s a suggested reading list.

If you’re still unsure about what food addiction is, there’s some information about that here.

Whatever way you choose to connect with other food addicts in recovery, be sure to be consistent.  Home alone in your head is not a good place for any food addict.

Remember, we are practicing social distancing NOT isolation.

We’re here to help if you need us.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Fear and Knowing

There’s a lot going on this week. People are scared for their health and things are shifting by the second. Profound changes are happening in our world.

And, there’s a lot of fear everywhere.

Fear is especially challenging for food addicts to deal with. Those in recovery, are used to turning to food to soothe their fears. Those who are not yet in recovery may not even recognize how fearful they are.

The answer to both is knowing. I don’t mean in a religious sort of way but in a knowing that things will be okay.  Sometimes when it seems as if the world is spinning out of control, it’s easy to forget that what we are worrying about today will pass and life will go on, maybe in a different way, but it will continue.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my own recovery is that if I “act as if” something is true then ultimately it works out that way, whether it’s positive or negative in my life.

If I act as if the world is ending then, while the world may not end in reality, in my mind, I will experience the stress of this as if it were real.

If I act as if I know that things will work out and be okay then, in my mind, I will experience a calm knowing that will benefit me in more ways than I can imagine. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take prudent precautions to stay healthy but that we should expand these precautions to include our mental health as well.

Rather than obsessively watching news reports about how quickly the virus is spreading, we can choose to take a break and go outside to breathe in fresh air. Instead of constantly talking or thinking about the dangers of the virus, we can take a few minutes to do yoga or meditate. If the fear feels overwhelming, we can take a walk, ride our bicycles or do some other form of physical exercise.

Today, we have a choice about whether or not to experience extreme fear or the calm knowing that gives us serenity.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Words Have Power!

I will never ever be able to stop eating. 

My life will never ever change. 

I will never ever lose weight.

These are the words of food addicts who have yet to find recovery. They are spoken in desperation and defeat. They are spoken by those who have given up all hope of ever eating normally and living a healthy life. They are spoken to us when we first meet.

It’s not possible for me to eat healthy food and feel satisfied.

It’s not possible for me to stop overeating. 

It’s not possible for other people to understand how important food is to me.

These words are spoken to us when food addicts first arrive at our programs desperate for help yet not believing that anything will work for them.  They are spoken in defiance by those who are not yet willing to make changes.

My life today is an absolute miracle! 

It’s an absolute miracle that I am able to eat healthy meals and feel full! 

I have experienced an absolute miracle that I didn’t even know was possible!

These words are spoken on the last day of our Acorn Intensive by those who now understand food addiction. They are spoken by those whose lives have been transformed in a way that they never could have imagined and most of all, they are spoken by food addicts in recovery on their way to an exciting new life!

The words belong to food addicts across the world, but the choice for your life is yours.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Make The Most Of Your Extra Day!

It happens only once every four years and it’s tomorrow! Of course, I mean leap year. Tomorrow there will be an extra day in this year, a little more time to do something special that we wouldn’t otherwise have.  What will you do?

Before you answer that question, take a few minutes to think about how you DON’T want to spend your extra day – bingeing, totally obsessed with food, hoping and praying for a better life without taking any action to make that happen, or recuperating from a sugar hangover.

Whether you’re in recovery or still searching, how you spend the extra 24 hours that are given to you this month is up to you. Many times, food addicts, both those who are recovering and those who have yet to find recovery, spend more time reacting to life than they do acting in a deliberate way to make their lives better.

Rather than waiting for someone else to plan your day, decide what you want to do. Instead of working your schedule around everyone else’s take a few hours to do what matters to you. If you have small children or other responsibilities, arrange for relief and take time for yourself.

At first, it may not seem like it but the gift of an extra day can make a profound difference in your life. We meet food addicts all the time who come into our programs saying that they couldn’t continue to binge for even one more day. It was on that one day that they hit their bottom and never wanted to live a food-obsessed life again. That was the day that everything changed for them.

The first day of recovery, the first 24 hours of abstaining from bingeing, was the beginning that created a life filled with hope rather than desperation. It was that first day that provided a foundation for a life once unimaginable.

So, when you wake up on February 29th, take a few minutes to think about the value of having an extra day and make the most out of the next 24 hours!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ One Day At A Time!

It’s great to be back home in Vancouver! While I love Florida, Vancouver is my home and where I feel most comfortable. Much of that is because my family is in this area. As I may have mentioned a time or two or five thousand, I especially love spending time with my niece Georgia. That’s us together in our latest photo.  She’s gotten so much more mature in the short time I’ve been away.

Returning home and seeing Georgia has me thinking about the importance of appreciating each day and staying present in the moment. It’s so easy to get caught up in planning and running from activity to activity without enjoying anything. Food addicts who are still bingeing struggle even more so with this. The overwhelming physical cravings for and obsession with food make it impossible to appreciate any moment that doesn’t involve food and even then, there’s no true joy in bingeing for anyone.

For those who have found recovery, appreciating each moment becomes easier. It begins first with gratitude for experiencing freedom from the bondage of the overwhelming need to eat and the total obsession with thinking about and planning to binge. Once the food addict stops bingeing and finds recovery, they are able to pay more attention to the people and things in their surroundings. This is when life can become truly magical.

Watching a bird soar high into a bright blue sky, enjoying the beauty of the first spring flowers, looking at an amazing piece of art, seeing the magnificence of a flowing stream, the excitement in child’s face or the exuberance in a new puppy are ordinary yet spectacular moments that make up each day and all things that go unnoticed when a food addict is bingeing.

Taking some time to look around and appreciate the joys in each day not only makes every minute special but it helps to stay focused on the present moment which will add up to a great life one day at a time!

If you have yet to find recovery, we can help. Our next Acorn Intensive takes place from March 20 – 26 in Vancouver.