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Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Put Your Money Where Your Recovery Is!

Food addiction recovery takes commitment. So does bingeing. This commitment can be in the form of emotional, physical, spiritual or financial resources. It’s estimated that a food addict spends about $60 per binge. While some food addicts binge three or four times a week, most of the food addicts who come to us are bingeing three or four times a day. At three binges per day, that’s a cost of $180 for one day, $1,260 per week, $5,400 per month.

Even at one binge per day, the monthly total is $1,800. This is the reality of food addiction. Though most food addicts don’t go into a grocery store and spend $450 a week on food at one time, many make several trips to fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, cafeterias, or coffee shops and spend significant amounts of money there.

By spreading out their spending at various stores, food addicts are better able to deny the actual amount of money they spend each month on food. This allows them to continue spending large amounts of money and eating a high volume of food without realizing the total cost of literally feeding their addiction.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Spending money on food addiction recovery is a much better “deal” than purchasing food to binge on. Whether it’s putting a few dollars in the basket at a Twelve-Step meeting, buying a book to help with recovery, spending money on healthy foods, or registering for a food addiction program, the benefits are longer-lasting and priceless.

Money spent on a binge goes up in flames quickly. A binge is over in a matter of minutes while food addiction recovery can last a lifetime. More than that, food addiction recovery can create a life that is beyond a bingeing food addict’s wildest dreams.

The choice on whether or not to put your money where your recovery is belongs to you.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ A New Start Anytime

The first of the year. The beginning of the month. A Monday. The day after a holiday. All of these were markers that I used to begin a weight loss program. By the next day or two, I usually “cheated” on my diet which gave me an excuse to binge even more than before until the next “Diet Day” came around.

Each attempt left me feeling more and more hopeless and humiliated. With each binge, I lost a little piece of my self-respect and I hated myself with a growing fierceness that frightened even me sometimes. I felt trapped in a body that weighed over 300 pounds and helpless to change things.


One day, my life changed. It was the day that I attended an Acorn Intensive. What I didn’t realize until then was that I was a food addict.This meant that my body had become dependent on ingesting certain foods in order for it to function “normally.” That made it next to impossible for me to ever control what and how much I put in my mouth.

This was new information, and it all made sense. Better yet, it worked! It worked in ways I never thought possible. Yes, I cut my weight in half by releasing over 140 pounds and keeping it off (one day at a time). However, the things that have been more life-changing, surprisingly, are the internal changes — the changes in how I show up in the world, the changes in my thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the day.

I have a lot more joy and gratitude every day. Most days I get up and want to participate in the world. This is not what I was used to. Before I was in recovery from food addiction, I just wanted to stay in bed, watch TV, eat food, and shut out the rest of the world. I was miserable, sad, angry, and obese.

Today, I can honestly say I am happy, joyous, grateful, and physically healthy. I truly never believed this could ever happen to me; as I said, I was resigned to being fat and miserable the rest of my life. But that isn’t the case today. I found a solution, and now I work with people every day to help lift them out of the trenches of food obsession and addiction.

If you are a food addict, don’t wait until another new year, another first of the month, another Monday or another day after a holiday.  You can make a new start anytime and, if you need it, we can help.

Here’s wishing you an abstinent new year!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ The Costs Of “Free” Food!

At this time of the year, many people have the chance to eat “free” food. Parties, work-related events, school-sponsored programs or even a trip to a bank that puts out dishes of candy, can all be opportunities to eat food without paying for it.

For food addicts, however, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as “free” food. Even if there is no monetary price associated with the food, the costs of eating it are far too high.

In order to maintain long-term recovery, most food addicts need to follow a non-addictive food plan with specific amounts and types of foods clearly outlined. Deviating from this plan even a little most times results in full-blown relapse, which can turn into years of bingeing and massive amounts of weight gain.

It’s important to point out that some food addicts who eat this “free” food are never able to get back into recovery. Think about all of the diseases associated with obesity – diabetes, strokes, heart disease, high blood pressure, to name a few – and you have a pretty good idea of the physical costs of “free” food.

Some of the emotional costs of eating “free” food and relapsing are depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. The financial costs of “free” food are also high when thinking about the price of binge foods, clothes that fit, or any of the other things that come with weight gain.

It’s important to remember the costs of “free” food before you take that first bite.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Feelings are.

For many food addicts, the month of December can be quite a challenge.  Not only is it filled with several holidays but it also marks the end of another year.  For those still deep in their addiction, this can be a painful reminder of promises made and broken about losing weight or developing healthy eating habits.

For those in recovery, the holidays themselves may bring up feelings of loneliness or sadness.  Some may mourn the loss of their “best friend” food while others the loss of family members or friends who don’t quite understand the idea of not being able to eat just one of something.

For others, it may be a time of great sorrow as past holidays are remembered even idealized then compared to today.

Yet, for many it can be a time of great joy and gratitude for a life of recovery from food addiction.  It can be a time to develop non-food-related celebrations and self-care practices that nurture the healthy recovering person they’ve turned into.

Whatever it is that you’re feeling this month, know that feelings are PERIOD.  Feelings are is a full sentence, meaning that we don’t need to put judgments on our feelings but simply accept them as being true for us at this time and in this space.

Feelings can change from one second to the next, from one hour to the next and from one day to the next. And while we sometimes might not like what we’re feeling, it’s important to remember that feelings only have as much power as we give to them.

Quite acceptance of what we’re feeling results in serenity and the knowledge that all feelings pass while trying to force ourselves to change our feelings brings frustration and even anger.  Take a few minutes to consider which way works better for you to manage your feelings – accepting that feelings are or fighting to change them.  The choice is yours.



Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Relapse Prevention Technique:  Staying Right Sized!

When I weighed over 300 pounds, I thought everyone in the world was looking at me, watching to see what I was doing, who I was with, and most of all what I was eating. I truly believed that everyone was talking about me behind my back. Many times, I was too overwhelmed to even leave the house because I couldn’t handle all of the negative things I was sure people were saying about me.

I wasn’t alone in thinking these things. Many food addicts struggle with grandiosity – the idea that they are at the same time unique and superior to others yet not as good as everyone else. In Twelve-Step programs, this is known as “an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.” It’s an odd mix of feeling not good enough but yet important enough for everyone to care what they’re doing.

And, it’s a one-way trip to relapse if this continues in recovery.

The way to prevent this behavior from causing a full-blown relapse is to stay “right sized,” meaning to understand that you’re no different from any other food addict.

Before recovery, I was convinced that my life and my food addiction was worse than anyone else’s; that no one would ever be able to understand me or my problems and certain that I would never be able to find the help I needed.

I was wrong.

From almost the second I entered the Acorn Intensive, my entire world changed. I found people who not only talked the talk but had been where I was and found a way out. I heard many stories about binges, some were worse than any I’d ever had and some were not as bad. The one thing we all had in common was and continues to be that we have a physical disease which needs to be treated on that level first.

An important part of long-term recovery is to remember that no one is better or worse than anyone else.  We are all human beings, and in this case, food addicts trying to do the best that we can. At SHiFT, that means remembering to be “right sized” and working a recovery program one day at a time.

If you need help, please contact us.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda – Family Is What You Make It!

This past month, I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent with our alumni. I consider each and every one of them to be part of the SHiFT family, a family in which we are creating healthy, nurturing relationships.

Many food addicts struggle with family issues that can sometimes result in relapse. It’s important to understand family dynamics in order to create safe conditions for recovery. The disease of addiction runs through families and for many food addicts being surrounded by relatives with addictive behaviors is dangerous.

Of course, not every family has addiction in it though many, even without meaning to, may have habits that can be dangerous to recovering food addicts. Some of these things can seem harmless yet to a recovering food addict, they are not. Family meals may be filled with addictive foods while outings may include trips to holiday fairs bursting with sugary foods. Even a trip to the coffee shop can be a slippery place for a food addict.

This being so, food addicts need to create families that work for them. This can be with other recovering food addicts in Twelve-Step meetings or professionally-led groups or with like-minded people at work, neighbors who are supportive, or it can even be with pets. It’s important to find what works for you and to remember that family is what you make it.