The members of the ARC were kind enough one day to share with me what they did during the holidays to keep themselves from lapsing. We asked the Facebook Group, Food Addiction Education, to answer a poll with the most common techniques used to keep control over food through the holidays. Here are the top four answers.
Number 4. I didn't bring processed foods into my house.
This is a brilliant strategy for any time of the year, but it's especially valuable during high-risk times. High-risk times are those times when food and stress stimulation increases. High-risk periods can happen any time of the year. So it's great to know how to get ready for them.
Not bringing processed foods into the house is a lot like not permitting smoking in the house. People say, but smoking creates second-hand smoke that's dangerous. Processed foods don't do that."
Well, processed foods do something much worse. They create second-hand cravings. And cravings are what lead us down the path to consuming harmful processed foods. Research shows that having processed foods within reach stimulates the craving pathways in our brains. Keep processed foods out of the house leads to a direct reduction in cravings stimulation. This leads directly to better control. Better control leads directly to better health meaning your doctor can take you off of medications. Fewer medications lead to fewer side effects.
The list of benefits from keeping processed foods out of your home goes on and on.
For the members of your household who insist that they have some right to access processed foods at home, keep their stash in locked in the trunk of their car.
Please let me know how you do with this in the comments. Or email me at [email protected]
Reason number 3. Use a clean food shopping list. A clean shopping list is essential for maintaining self-control. When I look at other 'food addiction' recovery programs, I always see addictive foods on their list of OK foods. This astonishes me and also fills me with despair. How can anyone recovery from cravings if they're eating craving foods? The three most common problems are gluten, dairy, and food additives. These food substances can make it impossible for a recovering food addict to escape from cravings.
Gluten contains natural morphine. It's like Mother Nature wanted to give us an extra gentle reward for finding food. When it's in the whole kernel, it's not too addictive. But when it is ground into a powder to make flour, it becomes concentrated and more addictive. Furthermore, wheat in the US has been hybridized which made the gluten content about twice that of wheat in other countries. Now that we have been eating this gluten-containing flour were sensitized to it in any quantity. This means that we benefit from avoiding wheat, but also rye, spelt, and barley. Getting off of gluten could give a huge boost to your well-being and self-control.
Dairy is the perfect addictive food. It contains sugar (lactose), fat, a bit of salt, cow hormones. Also, it contains four powerful dairy morphine. Mother Nature put those morphines into cow milk so that baby calves would fall asleep after eating it. Calves need to fall asleep so that they absorb the nutrients in the milk.
So dairy is a big no-no for us. The last thing we need is to be feeling groggy from dairy morphines. If you have been on a food plan that includes dairy, eliminating diary could be a great breakthrough for you. What a big improvement to look forward to!
And last are food additives. Processed food manufacturers are addiction mongerers. They sell addiction. They hire researchers to make their products addictive. They don't have to list all additives on the label. So, manufacturers can put addictive substances into products without telling you.
This is why it's so important not to buy anything that has a list of ingredients. Just buy foods like celery or sweet potatoes that don't have a label on them. Make sense?
Reason for Self-control Number 2. Having a place where I could share each day honestly. Food addiction is complicated. A tremendous amount of inaccurate information about food is swirling around us all the time. Some of this is ignorance from well-intentioned writers, but much of it is deliberately distorted by the food industry to maintain sales. So we need a place where we can talk about what has happened to us.
Specifically, we need a place where we can safely speak about lapses. Lapses in recovery from food addiction are normal. Yes, we work hard to avoid lapsing. We train hard to avoid the pain of lapsing. But in this culture of highly intense food triggers and lots of stress, the risk of lapses is very high. So we need a way to recover from lapsing, so it doesn't run away with us.
Having a place to share about the lapse takes the momentum out of the lapse. The most important thing about a place to share is that the place is safe.
Safe means that someone there will be able to explain what happened to you. An expert in the group will be able to explain that the human brain can only absorb so much food stimulation and then self-restraint is used up, and we lapse. This is a normal brain function. Research shows that lapsing is normal. So safe means that your support group will be sympathetic and compassionate. If the lapse means that withdrawal is coming, then the expert reviews how to manage withdrawal to minimize suffering. The group lifts the person who has lapsed and reassures them that it will get better.
Reassurance is the way to go when someone is suffering. Reassurance that the suffering will be reduced. It's just a matter of time.
An unsafe group does ignorant things like blaming us. The groups may even take away hard-earned status. Worst of all, the group may prohibit the person from talking, when the person needs to talk the most.
Be in an educated, compassionate group to get self-control, OK?
Number one reason for self-control. I remember that processed foods make me feel awful. In spite of the zillions of ads showing people having fun with toxic processed foods, people who have self-control keep in mind that processed foods make us really sick. They make us sick emotionally by giving us depression, irritability, anxiety, and shame. They make us sick mentally by giving us obsessive cravings to the point that it's hard to do anything but think about food. And, they make us sick physically with nausea, headache, fatigue, aches, and pains of all sorts.
These memories are stored in our frontal lobe. So keeping ourselves mentally fit is the first line of defense against losing control over processed foods. Using a brain-training game such as Lumosity is very helpful. Research shows that it can also help with attention span, learning, and decision-making. I recommend just signing up for the free service and playing the three free games because even Lumosity can be addictive.
I'm so grateful to the members of the Addiction Reset Community and of the Food Addiction Education Facebook Group who contributed to this newsletter. It's hard to maintain self-control when the food industry neuro-marketers are throwing everything they've got into psychological warfare to get us to forget and to lapse. We understand the situation so well, and you're in my heart. I know how real and desperate the struggle can be. Just remember that you're not alone. I see you, and I care about you.
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