Three Benefits to Reining In Food Addiction (none have to do with weight loss)


Since using my calories-in/calories-out journal three weeks ago, I've felt so much better spiritually and physically. Almost instantly my attitude changed from combative to relaxed…

Benefit #1:  Peace of mind.

Once I took the first Three Steps to food addiction recovery seriously I experienced a lessening of spiritual tension. What a relief!

1.  I admitted I was powerless over food – that my life had become unmanageable.

2.  I came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

3.  I made the decision to turn my will over to the care of my Higher Power as I understood It.

Now this might freak a few people out, so bear with me. My Higher Power right now is my calorie journal. I am a great believer in accepting our Higher Power as we understand it. Too many people reject the Twelve Steps program because it's too religious. Nonsense. If your Higher Power is your toaster and that helps you accept your path to recovery, so be it. Not for me to judge.

Letting something (or someone) else light the path so that all I have to do is follow, eases my mind. Does this mean I give up taking an active part in my recovery? Of course not. In fact, I have decisions to make every time I think of eating or drinking. That I choose to make those decisions with the benevolent guidance of my calorie journal leads me to…

Benefit #2: Boost In Self-Esteem

As I said before, I do not believe in restrictive diets that encourage fast and temporary weight loss. Those regimens are toxic to the food addict. They invite you to give up all responsibility with seductive promises of instant thinness. Using a calorie journal gives me the guide; the responsibility remains mine.

Since I started this journey back in January 2009, I took up that responsibility, but it was like hiking in the wilderness with a map and no compass.

I've learned a ton since then. Mostly I learned that with a food addiction I couldn't take responsibility without guidance, but how to find healthy guidance and not succumb to a DIET? Welcome to my calorie journal, my source of power and self-esteem.

The riding analogy really helps me. Riding a horse without reins can cause panic and despair (unless you're a professional trainer or really know your horse). Riding with reins, gentle guidance and a good seat is not only a pleasure, it infuses you with the joyful side of power and responsibility. Which leads me to…

Benefit #3: More Energy

About a two weeks ago, I enslaved my family to do much needed yard work. After an hour everyone wanted a break. I was ready too, but I noticed my body was asking "What else could I do?" instead of "Where can I lie down?" Since then I've been more aware of having that extra spark of energy that I've missed so much.

In a secondary manner I admit that more energy is probably tied to losing some weight. It's got to help that I'm not carrying around what amounts to a five pound bag of potatoes all the time. My joints don't ache as much, too.

But I believe the excitement I now feel is gained from finding Hope that a woman of a certain age can lose those extra fifteen pounds in a healthy-for-life manner.


  • is your focus on health or those last 15 pounds? Because the two aren’t necessarily one and the same…
    As for the 12 Steps, I generally dislike them not only because they’re often overly-religion-based in nature, but also because I don’t believe that we are powerless over food. I think that sometimes it is a struggle to manage our emotions with food and that struggle can certainly feel as if we are powerless, but that we can regain that power with the benefit of therapy and self-analysis and exploration of the reasons behind our food-related addictions.

  • Dear Rachel,
    Thanks so much for your comment. My focus is on health 100% and I’m sorry I haven’t made that clear. A year ago my doctor told me I had abnormally high lipid levels and I needed to get that down. I asked my husband, a biochemist, what that meant, and he said, “Your blood is fat.” OK, ew!
    So getting lipid levels down has meant basically healthier eating but also losing weight.
    Most of my adult life I’ve had chronic illness. Gaining and maintaining health has been my priority. Being in remission for over three years is something of a luxury for me (knock on wood fast!). Being able to fine tune, so to speak, is nothing compared to battling an active illness. Even so it hasn’t been easy.
    Regarding the 12 step thing. You are right. It’s not about being powerless over food and a lot of power is gained from insight.
    For me, (and this is very personal, I don’t mean to say this is for everybody,) there is something in my ATTITUDE toward food that I am powerless over. I’m not only a therapist, I’ve been in therapy, (geez… my father was a psychoanalyst), I know from WHY I have this challenge. The thing is, as one of my therapists told me, “you can analyze a thing to death but until you DO something with it nothing changes.” So my present empowerment is in finally doing something and for me that is using the food/calorie journal to provide guidance to how I use food.
    BTW…I use a high calorie budget (to lose 1/2 pound a week) and always use every single calorie PLUS whatever I gain with exercise and I’m not manic about that.
    Your comment really made me think, thanks again. Your website/blog ‘The F-Word’ is very cool. I look forward to visiting it often.
    dr a

  • your blog is highly motivative…. educational and informative, daily i read bunch of blogs… all you need is to be constant with your educative posts and I’ll be one of your favorite followers

  • This is very inspirational. I agree on each and every detail written on it relating to food addiction. People should read this. Especially those who couldn’t help themselves on food addiction.


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