Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ What is Food Freedom?

You may have been hearing a lot from us about our new Food Freedom Program which launches on July 27. We are super excited about this new self-paced, online program that helps those who are struggling with weight, food, and body issues.

Yet, what exactly is food freedom and how do you know if you have it? We’ve been getting a lot of questions about this so I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to answering some of those questions here.

Above all, food freedom is serenity around food and eating. Food freedom is being at peace with eating healthy, delicious food without constantly obsessing about what or how much you’ll eat.

There are no minutes, days, or hours lost to looking at recipe after recipe or running from store to store to fulfill a craving. There are no lost conversations because your mind drifted off to thinking about what you will eat next. And, most of all, there are no physical consequences from eating too much – no indigestion, no bloated stomach, no nausea, and no difficulty moving.

Food freedom is a healthy, serene way of eating that brings more gifts than I can ever describe though I will give it a try here. For me, food freedom means that I can eat three meals a day without constantly thinking about food. It means that I am exactly that:  FREE.  Free from not only obsession but from all the chains that come with being tied to always thinking about food.

Today, I am truly living a food freedom life. After losing half of my body size, I am now at a healthy weight and I am able to do all of the things I love to do, most among them is to play with my amazing niece Georgia – you knew I was going to get her in here somehow!

I can have relationships that are real and true based on healthy interests rather than collecting buddies who were willing to binge with me or enable me to remain unhealthy.

To me, food freedom is my life and I am super excited to help others live a life of food freedom.

If you haven’t already, please join me in living a food free life.

If you’d like more information about our new program, click here.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Helping More People

At SHiFT, we have a long history of helping people with food, weight and body issues. We have 25 years of success in supporting people in rising up and out of the depths of food addiction.  We are grateful for the work we do and yet we still see so many people struggling with food and eating issues who aren’t physically addicted to food.

For several years now, we’ve wanted to share with everyone the knowledge that we have based on what we know works.  As a result, we are excited to announce that our new Food Freedom Program will launch on July 27.

This new program will take place over 4-Weeks online and is specifically designed to help anyone who struggles with food, weight and body issues. The first recovery program of its kind, the Food Freedom Program includes a uniquely designed, brand new, cutting-edge curriculum to help those who struggle with food, weight and body issues and have yet to find a long-term solution.

While nothing can replace the power of our world-renowned Intensive program, Food Freedom by SHiFT can be a much-needed stepping stone or introduction to learning more about problematic relationships with food and beginning the process to heal them.

Through videos and weekly lessons, Amanda will personally guide Food Freedom participants as they complete worksheets and activities designed to create a lifestyle that promotes long-term food freedom and weight-loss success.

This self-paced program can be done in the comfort of your own home and is designed to help those who struggle with weight and eating issues but have yet to find a long-term solution.  As part of the program, participants will identify the type of eater they are and create a food plan designed to address their particular food dependency issues.

We’ve worked tirelessly over the last year to put together a comprehensive program that will help everyone who struggles with food and weight issues.  With the introduction of this new program, we can continue to help food addicts as we always have while also helping others who struggle.

If you’d like more information about this program, click here.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ The Structure Myth

The Structure Myth

I’ll eat what I want, when I want it.

We’ve heard this more times than we can count. This is denial at its worst. Most people who are food dependent believe that they are being good to themselves by eating whatever they want whenever they want. This is a false belief that perpetuates the denial that makes recovery a challenge.

Though it’s difficult for many who are food dependent to believe, the exact opposite is true. Taking care of ourselves involves eating healthy, planned meals that are four to five hours apart. Spontaneous eating is one of the most dangerous things those in recovery can even think about doing.

Food addiction is a deadly disease that works hard to convince its victims that spontaneity means having fun and that having fun is not possible with the structure of a committed food plan.  Nothing can be further from the truth.

When someone who is food dependent plans, commits and prepares their food, they then have the freedom to live their life without constantly obsessing about food. It is only through the structure of committed and planned food that those who are food dependent can truly experience freedom from food cravings and obsession.

Once someone who is food dependent has their food in order, there is no need to think about it during the day except at mealtimes to get or prepare it. Once the addictive substances are removed, physical cravings disappear and again, there is no reason to think about food unless it’s mealtime. Doing this, gives those who are food dependent the ability to be spontaneous.

Food addiction, eating disorders and emotional eating can cause their victims to believe that giving up control of their food will result in a miserable life not worth living. Again, this is a myth created by denial. A truly miraculous recovery life is based on a solid foundation of structure that includes committed and planned food.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Expectations and Self-Created Chaos

After a year of following her food plan to the letter and a weight loss of over 100 pounds, she was ready for a new life! Her sponsor had told her not to begin a relationship until after her first year in recovery and now, on her one-year anniversary, she was expecting to find the prince she’d always pictured in her mind.

She also wanted a better job and maybe even a new place to live. Her apartment had grown noisy and she wanted to live in a house where she and her incoming prince would be able to start a family.

The day of her anniversary came and went without her prince showing up. Then, another day, a week, a month, two months and still nothing. She began to feel frustrated and sad. How could this happen to her? She had worked so hard to stay abstinent. Where were all the rewards she expected?

She spent the next few months angry, depressed and sad. Though she continued to follow her food plan, she was tempted to overeat in ways that she hadn’t been before and she lost the serenity that comes from being abstinent. Her life became chaotic.

Years later, she would come to realize that it was her own expectations about how her life would be on her year anniversary that caused the pain she felt at this time.

For food addicts, expectations can be a dangerous thing that begins a downward spiral towards relapse. The strong feelings that arise from not getting what we want or think we deserve can sometimes be unmanageable for some food addicts in recovery. Even more, this self-created chaos that comes from expectations can cause an unrest within ourselves that makes us vulnerable to relapse.

Rather than having expectations in our lives and creating chaos for ourselves, it’s better if we can learn to live each day the best that we can. Over time, these well-lived days will add up to an amazing life without the self-created chaos that comes from expectations.

Sharing SHiFts by Amanda ~ It’s All Routine….Until It’s Not!

Over the past few months, many of us have experienced great disruptions in our daily routines. Some, who once woke up early to go to work, are now at home with very different schedules. And now, as things begin to re-open, many will experience another disruption in the routines they have created during quarantine.

For many people, changing their daily routine isn’t a big deal. For food addicts, however, having a consistent routine that includes a regular schedule of meal times is crucial to recovery. Before recovery, many food addicts stayed up bingeing late into the night after others were asleep, not waking up until the afternoon. Others spent the majority of the day in bed as sleep was the only time they felt peace from the relentless food thoughts that filled their waking hours.

In recovery, food addicts learn to create and follow a routine that includes waking up early enough to have three meals and a snack at night with four to five hours in between.  The importance of this routine cannot be understated.

While it’s easy to understand that food addicts must stop eating foods that cause physical and/or emotional cravings, it’s not always easy to remember how important the basic elements of recovery are.

One of the first things that happens to food addicts who’ve relapsed is a break in their regular routines, whether that is not attending support group meetings or changing mealtimes or slipping back into their old habits of staying up too late.  For some, the relapse happens slowly and gradually as the routines and habits they’ve set up begin to break down.  For others, it’s much quicker.  For every food addict, relapse is devastating.

Rather than putting aside daily routines, it is much easier and safer for food addicts to continue following the healthy habits they have created in their lives.  Doing this is one of the best ways to prevent relapse.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Abstinence First, Absolutely!

At this point in time, our world is facing great challenges. These challenges are serious and can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot of frustration, anger, and fear in the nation and among food addicts.

It’s normal and natural to feel these feelings. Many food addicts have spent years, even decades denying feelings they labeled negative or bad and using them as an excuse to binge. While it may seem challenging to get through the unprecedented events now taking place without overeating, it is possible and the key to doing that is to put abstinence first, absolutely, no matter what.

In our Acorn Intensive program, where food addicts undergo detoxification from addictive foods, experience truly sober eating, and begin the recovery process of addressing underlying issues at a profound level, attendees are given a binder with information, suggestions, and worksheets designed to create and maintain long-term food addiction recovery.

The very first suggestion in that binder is “Abstinence First, Absolutely!” The reason for this is to strongly reinforce the practice of making sure food addicts put their abstinence and recovery program first in their lives no matter what is happening around them.

The idea of putting abstinence first, absolutely has never been more important than it is now.

And….it’s never been easier to find an excuse to binge than it is now.

Think about these two things for a second and let them really sink in. What this means is that now, more than ever, abstinence needs to come first no matter what.  Without abstinence, life becomes a vicious cycle of bingeing and feeling ashamed then bingeing again.

Getting through this challenging time successfully, or any difficult period in our lives, is only possible if abstinence is first absolutely. There is nothing that is worth going back to the destructive life of addiction. No food will ever taste good enough to wipe away the buckets full of shame that will come with eating it. There is not one thing in this world that tastes as good as abstinence feels.

Keep working your program and putting abstinence first.  It is the only way to survive and eventually thrive.