National Nutrition Month and message from dietitian David Avram Wolfe

Happy National Nutrition month!

Every March since 1973 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has run a campaign focused on bringing people nutrition information and education. The campaign’s focus is on the importance of making informed food choices. “Making informed food choices”…hmm, for a food addict like me, this sounds like an oxymoron!

While I was active in my addiction, shoving food down my throat, there was absolutely no way I could make any informed decisions, much less about food!  And unfortunately, once I got that I was addicted to food, it was pretty hard to get any helpful information on what “making informed food choices” would look like for someone with the disease of food addiction.

The many well-meaning, doctors, nutritionists and dietitians I sought out for help simply made it worse, as they had – literally – no idea what I truly needed to treat my food addiction. And, the truth is, there are only a small handful of doctors and nutritionists/dietitians who do have the knowledge that an addict, like me, needs to support her recovery.

We asked one of those “knowledgeable” dietitians, David Avram Wolfe, to write a brief article (see below) on what he believes it takes for a food addict to be successful in their recovery. David is a registered dietitian, sugar addiction coach, food addiction counsellor and the founder of Trigger Free Nutrition, Triggerfreenutrition.com.

Wishing everyone an abstinent, peaceful last week of March,

Amanda


From David Avram Wolfe MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, FAC . . .

Ellen, a food addict from Boston, had this to say about her experience working with dietitians and nutritionists.

I loved my previous dietitian, she was sweet, but she never understood my food addiction. She did not understand that I could not eat my trigger foods in moderation or just once in a while. Now that I have a dietitian that understands food addiction, I have a much better chance of sustaining the recovery that I have established. I have been abstinent for nearly three years. I have never been happier!”

As a dietitian, I believe that it takes a village to raise a child; however, it takes more than that to support a food addict into sustainable recovery. A food addict needs a professional who understands not only food but also the disease of addiction. The truth of the matter is that if you have everything in place in your recovery except a food plan that is working for you in your life, you will fail over and over again. Regardless of your efforts, you will return to the food every time!

The first thing I do with my clients is establish which foods cause them guilt, romance and/or debate. These foods must be eliminated. I believe if consumed, even in microscopic amounts, addictive eating patterns and behaviors will eventually return. I also discuss the concept that addiction is no longer just a brain disease; it affects the entire body! So, we must treat the entire body. We must heal the gut; we must heal the joints; we must heal everything. Maimonides, a 15th century Rabbi once said, “No disease caused by diet should be treated by any other means.” I believe his words ring true today. This is the medicine of the future!

As a dietitian, I know and understand even minor changes can cause huge problems in a food addict’s recovery and life. So, when in search of the right nutritional support, here are some key questions you may want to ask before making a decision.

  1. Does the dietitian/nutritionist believe in abstinence as the primary treatment for food addiction?
  2. Does the dietitian/nutritionist understand what it means to be in recovery?
  3. Does the dietitian/nutritionist understand what powerlessness means in regard to food and eating?
  4. Does the dietitian/nutritionist understand what it means to be willing to go to any lengths to recover?
  5. Does the dietitian/nutritionist understand that you may be a low-bottom, high-maintenance food addict and what that really means?
  6. Does the dietitian/nutritionist understand what kinds of secrets you have kept and lies you have told in reference to your eating?
  7. Does the dietitian/nutritionist understand that once you are triggered you will do nearly anything to fulfill your food cravings?
  8. Does the dietitian/nutritionist understand the role of a food sponsor?  If necessary, is s/he willing to work together with a sponsor to increase your chances for success?

The one thing to always remember is that no matter what you decide, your recovery is your personal responsibility. Do not put it at unnecessary risk. You are worth more than that!

David Avram Wolfe MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, FAC


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This no-cost abstinence support group is open to all. Led by Sherri Goodman, professional trainee. thereveals@frontier.com
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