Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Next week is a big deal.

February 22-28 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting lifesaving resources into the hands of those in need.

This NEDAwareness Week, we invite Everybody to Have a Seat at the Table. In a field where marginalized communities continue to be underrepresented, we welcome conversations on raising awareness, challenging systemic biases and sharing stories from all backgrounds and experiences. This also ties into World Social Justice Day (February 20th).

Watch this short video for a better understanding of how not everyone feels they can be open about their struggles with food.

This needs to change.

This is an extremely important subject for us here at SHiFT. The relationship between Eating Disorders and Food Addiction is a complex one and definitely not linear, however there is certainly a relationship. We’ve asked one of our Counselor/Facilitators, Phil Werdell, to explain his story with both Eating Disorders and Food Addiction to help illustrate this.

“I learned that my food and eating were really out of control when I discovered that I couldn’t abstain from a food that sent me into insulin shock – not for one day, then over and over. A friend who was newly out of treatment said that I was eating like he used to drink, and he pointed me to the food 12 Step rooms. Others in that first meeting called themselves compulsive overeaters, and I was certainly one, too. Slowly I came to realize that I also had an eating disorder, and finally that I was also a food addict. I’m still a compulsive overeater, have an eating disorder and am a food addict. I’ve learned that for me these are three different diseases, each with a different path to recovery. I need to work all three to be in recovery – and be abstinent and work the 12 Steps. It’s still working. I haven’t binged for over thirty years, and the Spirit is growing in me.”

                – Phil Werdell, MA

This is just one story of how Eating Disorders and Food Addiction are related.

If you are unsure of whether you are dealing with an Eating Disorder or not, or want to get involved in the cause, follow the link below for more details.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ The Month Of Love

As Heart Month continues, we wanted to take a look at another angle of what “Heart” means. Let’s talk about love.


It’s February and love is in the air. A lot of people call it the month of love because of Valentine’s Day, and rightfully so. For food addicts, Valentine’s should be considered just another day in terms of our food plan, however that doesn’t mean we can’t focus on love.


It is important to love others and to let them know the significance they play in our lives. These connections are vital. Thank people for being there for you. Appreciate the time and energy they put into your relationship together. We must also strive to have empathy and kindness towards those struggling not only with food issues, but mental health or financial issues due to the pandemic. Reach out to your friends and family and stay connected, especially right now with everything going on in the world, this is essential. Another worthwhile exercise is sitting down and taking the time to write down the things that you are grateful for, however little they may be. You’ll be surprised how good this can make you feel.

Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we work on them with others. NHLBI launched the #OurHearts movement to inspire us to protect and strengthen our hearts with the support of others.

Here are some facts, how-to tips, and resources to inspire you to join with others, even if you can’t be physically together, to improve your heart health.  

Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being a smoker or overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.

Why Connecting is Good for Your Heart

Feeling connected with others and having positive, close relationships benefit our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Having people in our lives who motivate and care for us helps, as do feelings of closeness and companionship. 

Follow these heart-healthy lifestyle tips to protect your heart. It will be easier and more successful if you work on them with others, including by texting or phone calls if needed.

  •       Be more physically active.
  •       Eat according to your Food Plan.
  •       Quit smoking.
  •       Reduce stress.
  •       Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
  •       Track your heart health stats.

You don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go.


We need to take the time to care for ourselves. So read that book, take that walk through the park, practice mindfulness through meditation for 10-15 minutes every day. These simple activities can pay dividends in terms of your overall health and well-being. 


Not only is this good for your heart figuratively, these activities will increase your overall health and contribute to a healthier heart. 


Speaking of a healthier heart, and seeing as February is Heart Month, we’ve passed a long this free quiz provided by the  Center For Disease Control (CDC) that will help educate you on blood pressure and its effect on your heart health. #HeartMonth


Free Blood Pressure Quiz:

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Make Heart Health Part of Your Self-Care Routine

Devoting a little time every day to care for yourself can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing abstinent meals, and not cheating on sleep can all benefit your heart.


And that’s a good thing, because heart disease is very common in individuals struggling with untreated food addiction. The good news is that we have found that when a food addict is following the treatment plan for food addiction recovery their heart health often vastly improves. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women and men and many people with untreated food addiction remain at a high risk of getting it. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.


“Studies show self-care routines, such as taking a daily walk and keeping doctor’s appointments, help us keep our blood pressure in the healthy range and reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke,” said David Goff, M.D., NHLBI’s director of cardiovascular sciences. 


It may be easier than you think to “put your heart” into your daily routine. Each Sunday, look at your week’s schedule and carve out 30 minutes daily for heart-healthy practices. Take an online yoga class, prepare a heart-healthy abstinent recipe, schedule your bedtime to get at least seven hours of sleep, or make a medication checklist. Then seek out support from others, even if it’s online or via a phone call, to help you stick to your goals.


Here are few self-care tips to try every day to make your heart a priority:


Self-Care Sunday

Find a moment of serenity every Sunday. Spend some quality time on yourself.


Mindful Monday

Be mindful about your health and regularly monitor your blood pressure or blood sugar if needed. Being aware of your health status is a key to making positive change.


Tasty Tuesday

Try one of many tasty recipes included in our Abstinent Cookbook   


Wellness Wednesday

Don’t waffle on your wellness. Move more, eat a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried, make a plan to quit smoking or vaping, or learn the signs of a heart attack or stroke. You could be having a heart attack if you have chest and upper body pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, or lightheadedness. You might be having a stroke if you have numbness in the face, arm, or leg; confusion; trouble talking or seeing; dizziness; or a severe headache.


Treat Yourself Thursday

Stretch your imagination beyond food. Treat yourself to some quality time, take a few minutes to sit still and meditate, go for a long walk, or watch a funny show. Laughter is healthy. Whatever you do, find a way to spend some quality time on yourself.


Follow Friday

Follow inspiring people and pages on social media, or text a friend to help you stick to your self-care goals. Remember to take care of your mental health, too. Two of the main hurdles to self-care are depression and a lack of confidence, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. If your mental health gets between you and your fabulous self, take action to show your heart some love. Reach out to family and friends for support, or talk to a qualified mental health provider. You can also join our 3x weekly SHiFT Strong Calls.


Selfie Saturday

Inspire others to take care of their own hearts. Talk about your self-care routine with loved ones or share a selfie on your social media platforms. Having social support and personal networks can make it easier to get regular physical activity and staying abstinent.


Learn more about heart health and heart-healthy activities in your community, and see what others are doing for their heart health, at or follow #OurHearts on social media.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Sponsors & Committing Food

As part of a 12 Step Program, a food sponsor is usually another food addict who is abstinent themselves. They are a guide in defining a surrendered food plan. Equally important, they can offer structure and support in the day-to-day practice of surrendering to the plan. One simple common process generally works like this:

  1. Write down your food for the day specifically, before eating
  2. Read your committed foods for the day to your sponsor
  3. Go to any length to keep your commitment (checking back with your sponsor if a problem arises)
  4. Be rigorously honest with your sponsor about whether or not you kept your commitment, after you eat your meals.

As with other aspects of abstinence, there are many variations in practice. Some begin by just committing “bottom lines.” Some people just write their food down and don’t commit it. Some begin committing specifically, but later commit generically. Some write their food down and check in with a sponsor afterwards in order to be accountable. It is useful information, though, that a majority of food addicts with long term abstinence commit their food very specifically on a daily basis to a sponsor.

Committing your food to a sponsor has many advantages. First, it means that we are not trying to deal with our food alone. For food addicts, not dealing with our food alone makes a lot of sense.

Second, the process of committing our food and keeping our commitment builds a whole new set of habits and attitudes over time. In the planning, preparing, eating and cleaning up after our meals there are dozens of small actions, many of which need to be changed over time.

Third, the simple act of not making decisions about our food by ourselves is, for the food addicts, one of the best ways to practice surrender. Since for many of us a surrendered abstinence is the only thing that works with our food, it is always a plus to develop our spiritual muscles.

© Phil Werdell, M.A.


If you would like to find out more about Sponsorship or any other topics, please consider joining our SHiFT Strong Calls.

View Schedule Here

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~All About Food Plans

Diets vs. Food Plan

In the long term, diets do not work for people struggling with food, but we still need a way to give structure and support to our physical recovery. Since we have become powerless over food, a food plan must be used in a spiritual context. Thus, a food plan is a spiritual tool; it is an instrument for implementing “surrendered” food abstinence. 

Everyone’s nutritional requirements are subtly different, but there are general principles and patterns which work for most people. When the food addict is looking for an effective food plan, the situation is similar. Every food addict must look to his or her own food history and be rigorously honest about what has worked and what has not worked. Each of us must check out for ourselves whether a particular food plan works for us in practice. Yet there are principles and patterns which have developed in our collective experience and these provide a helpful guide to food addicts wanting to choose the best food plan for their recovery program.

Why Use the Term “Food Plan”?

Since most of us have been unable to eat or diet like normal eaters, we choose not to use the word “diet”. To us, diets mean something we can follow by reason and will power alone. We have come to accept that we cannot manage our food by self-control alone. Willpower failed us utterly, so we surrender to our powerlessness over food. The purpose of the food plan is to make this surrender more specific.

Few food addicts chose a food plan because this is always the way they want to eat the rest of their life. Rather, we chose to surrender to a specific food plan because we have surrendered to the fact that we are powerless over food. There is real choice in deciding to use a food plan and what specific plan to use, but the first and most important decision is choosing to use a food plan – and practice surrendering to it – that works for the specific ways we are addicted to food.

There are some choices which are not available to each of us.

Most abstinent food addicts have an abundance of choice regarding what they eat. There are over two hundred different foods in most grocery stores, and only a handful are foods most of us find addictive. However, there is no choice about which food plans or principle will work and which will not. If you are addicted to a specific food, for example, it is not likely you will be able to include this food in your plan and have an abstinence that works.

Most food addicts would like to be able to eat everything they want, exactly the way that they want, and suffer no consequences. Most of us would like to eat like normal eaters, but this choice is simply not available to us if we also want recovery. There is no such thing as surrendered food abstinence without giving up foods and ways of eating that your disease has long been wanting dearly.

© Phil Werdell, M.A.


If you are looking to start a food plan for yourself, you can reach out to us at and ask any questions you may have.

Alternatively, you can book a Free 30-Minute Consultation with Amanda, who can help guide you in the right direction.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Jumping January


By this point, you have probably seen our #JumpingJanuary hashtag going around and might be wondering to yourself what is Jumping January all about?


Jumping January is a dual-purpose theme. 


We all know the phrase “New Year, New Me.” While we absolutely do celebrate the notion behind using the turn of the new year to reflect internally and set goals for ourselves, we didn’t want to be exclusive to those kick starting their recovery.

Jumping January aims to celebrate those who are brand new to their recovery journey, jumping back into their recovery, while also acknowledging those who have been going steady and are reaffirming their existing program and direction. Starting your path to recovery is tough; staying in recovery is also tough and we want to express our admiration for both equally. It’s never too late to make the jump (no matter how large) and start towards your recovery one step at a time. It’s also never too late to jump your program up to another level.


What are some ways you can “Jump” this January?


Plan ahead – Commit your food daily.

Incorporate daily movement into your routine – Stretch, go for a walk.

Practice self care – Read a book, get sufficient rest, meditate.

Increase support – Call your sponsor, join support groups & programs, ask for help.


Whether you are taking the first step on your path to recovery, or jumping things up to the next level, Jumping January is all about reaffirming your commitment to recovery, putting systems in place, and creating routine to ensure that you have a happy and healthy year.


What are you doing to jump this January?