Day 88 of 365: How changing my diet helped me heal binge-eating and other addictions (PART 1)

If you learn nothing else from this and following related posts, I hope you’ll at least entertain the following:

Your (or your loved one’s) binge eating and/or addiction is not a lack of will power. It’s a matter of biochemistry, and of learning [and implementing] the importance of feeding the brain and body and emotions and soul with what they’re truly hungry for.

Period.

~

I speak from [years of] personal experience and research alone. I am not here to diagnose anything or go against whatever program may currently be working for you. As you read, take what you like and leave the rest.

~

I use food as fuel. I use it to feed my brain and my body and to help keep my vibration at a high level so that I can be receptive to spiritual+creative+healing downloads.

I also use my diet to stay sober.

And to stay emotionally balanced.

And to actively feel my emotions in the present moment (rather than numbing and repressing).

My journey started with this book.

Now… My original problem was binge eating. (Or at least, that’s what I thought the problem was. I’ve since learned that eating disorders and other addictions were simply symptoms of deeper, underlying issues.) I was still not yet privy to the fact that I was also addicted to alcohol and pain pills and caffeine and sugar and self-harm and exercise and unhealthy relationships and and and.

(Lots of symptoms. My sweet body and brain were screaming for my attention.)

I just knew that, when I got ahold of certain foods, I couldn’t stop eating.

Legitimately. Couldn’t. Not wouldn’t.

It felt like I’d be thrown into the back seat while this insatiable hunger jumped in the front.

Example: I’d eat an entire box of cereal, half a jar of nut butter, and a sleeve of cookies… After having eaten dinner.

My weak spots were processed carbs (sugars and breads and crackers). And, when I cut those out (because I thought the issue was that I needed to fully omit these foods and then I’d be cured), I started binging on nut butters and high fat foods. No matter how much I ate, I still felt hungry.

(Spoiler alert: there’s more than physical hunger. There’s emotional hunger and spiritual hunger. More on that later.)

In Diet Rehab, I learned about serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters (feel-good chemicals in the brain that, when balanced, help us to function in a healthy, balanced way).

dopamine.png

For a long time I assumed I knew everything about brains because I knew about these two neurotransmitters. Which is cute. (I still do that. I learn stuff and I’m like “I AM A PRO EVERYONE LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAAAAY!” within a few days.) (Or hours.)

I learned that certain healthy “booster” activities and foods help to increase the production of these neurotransmitters in a far more sustainable way than high-sugar + high-fat foods (which rapidly flood the blood with sugar and the brain with feel-good chemicals, followed by a rapid decline and subsequent returning hunger).

Dr. Mike Dow’s whole concept is to “add before you take away.” Add healthy foods; don’t try to take away the unhealthy “pitfall” foods. His program removes the issue of deprivation.

Truly.

It also brings in healthy activities, such as meditation and socialization and even silly things like cleaning a junk drawer.

He has it set up week-by-week for 28 days, and it’s a gradual weaning process… Moving toward the booster foods and booster thoughts and booster activities. (Rather than so much focusing on moving away from the pitfall foods and pitfall thoughts and pitfall activities.) (And yes, there’s a difference in each mindset.)

Here’s the magical part. At no point in time did I feel deprived or like I was withdrawing.

Because I was feeding my brain more than enough of what it needed (via booster foods and activities), I stopped craving the unhealthy foods.

Legitimately. Gradually it just… Stopped.

I remember one morning I awoke without a headache. I didn’t feel groggy. I woke up before my alarm, even. That’s when it hit me: I hadn’t consumed any alcohol the day prior. I hadn’t even thought about alcohol the day prior.

A full bottle of my favorite vodka in the fridge and at no point in time did I touch it, nor did I feel deprived from it.

It slipped my mind.

To give you a frame of reference: I had had some type of booze or depressant every day for years. YEARS. It was a part of who I was, or so I thought.

I went a few more days without alcohol, and it was like a fog was lifting. I tried drinking while on a vacation a week or so later, and it didn’t impact me the same way. I didn’t feel like I needed it anymore. And so… On April 5th, 2014, I stopped drinking. I haven’t had a depressant since.

For the first time ever, I felt like I could be free of these substances I previously thought I couldn’t live without. Prior to this? I thought I’d always deal with binge eating, with calorie obsession, with alcoholic behavior, etc.

<We live in a world that teaches us to shut up and keep your head down. Accept who you are. You can’t change. Here are some pills. Go work the job you hate and chew on antacids to quiet your screaming stomach. Good day at work? Have a drink and some fried, sugary food; you deserve it. Bad day at work? Have a drink and some fried, sugary food; you deserve it.

I’m here to help shift our world to one that teaches us how to healthily cope with our multifaceted depth and complexities as spiritual beings having a sentient, human experience. We’re closer than we’ve ever been, and this thrills me.>

I was still struggling with overeating and portion sizes (more on that later), and it wasn’t a perfect process. But there was certainly progress. Noticeable progress.

My curiosity was officially piqued and my skepticism/cynicism officially challenged.

And at that point, I dedicated myself to learning everything I possibly could about the brain, about emotions, about food, and whatever else came my way.

3.5 years later and I’ve read over 75 books on these matters, been to countless meetings/support groups, done psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, past-life work, energy work, and much more.

It’s taken a while for me to feel comfortable sharing about my process. Mostly because, well, I’m still in it. Also, there were a lot of steps involved to get to where I am now. And, without a guide book, I felt lost and terrified the majority of the way. I thought, If I’ve taken this long and struggled this hard to pull this off, all while being the hardworking uber-dedicated Type A person I am, how on earth will other people feel motivated to make a change?

I realized tonight while driving home from my dear friends’ house (after watching Wonder Woman, which helped me feel UBER empowered and ballsy) that I have no control over motivating you or inspiring you. I can’t convince you of anything. You, as a human, have free will.

All I can do is offer you my experience, my journey, and what I’ve learned… and hope that it’s enough for you to stop, question the status quo, and consider that maybe, just maybe, there’s another way to live. Maybe, just maybe, life is far more magical than you ever anticipated.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll use that beautiful free will of yours to take a step toward your truth.

Because, at a core level, we all want to be well. We want to feel healthy and fulfilled and connected and loved and balanced and beyond. But on a surface level, we have no fucking idea how to get there. And in a surface-level world, we are taught to keep the mask on and go through a mediocre life, masking all of our body’s attempts to point us in the direction toward our depth, our truth, our heart.

This is POST #1 of I don’t know how many posts about these topics. I feel as though each post will peel another layer back… And I’m going to trust that process.

I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me. And please, if you think my journey can help others, forward this to them.

Authentically yours,
Jen

 

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Sometimes I write about happy things. Other times I write about sad things. Either way, there will be doodles.

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