Archive for food addiction

“I am free!”

Cristie CarterBy: Cristie Carter

While I was a child growing up my father was in the produce business so fruits and vegetables were in abundance at our home. My dad would say, “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead,” and mean it. But, we consumed all of the whole milk anyone could want. I remember always reaching for a glass of milk when I was thirsty, preferring milk to drinking water. I grew up healthy and active. It was when I went to college and then got married that I ate more convenience foods.

To be honest I have not been a moderation kind of girl and that has been my eating downfall. When it comes to sweets in the house, no matter what room I’m in they beckon me to come and enjoy. If I were bored or wanted some variety to my day the list of sweet indulgences is long and quite varied with all of the delicious concoctions I would come up with and consume. Epictetus wrote, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” This out of control compulsion was bondage to me.

If you were to visit my library you would soon see that I have been eagerly learning all that I can throughout the years about food and nutrition from the Diamond’s Fit for Life to The China Study by Campbell and numerous books in between. I knew much of this information was important, and in my quest for better eating and health I have experimented being raw vegan off and on for the past sixteen years. I felt great and the physical results were impressive, but because that regimen of eating was so restrictive I found it impossible to adhere to permanently.

This time last year I met up with a friend for lunch. As we were eating I mentioned how wonderful she looked. She told me about a new eating plan she had been following, and when I asked her about it I soon learned that it was very heavy in meat consumption. I asked her if she had any qualms about eating that much meat since the Word of Wisdom states quite specifically that little to no meat is better. That afternoon I went home and did a web search for “MOST HEALTHY FOOD DIET” which resulted in a plethora of varied information. It was then that I found Jane Birch’s blog, Discovering the Word of Wisdom, and began reading all of the inspiring testimonials found there.

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“It was as if the Lord himself was speaking directly to me”

april-harker-husbandBy: April Harker

I’ve struggled with my weight throughout my life. I’ve tried different pills and fad diets that never worked. I’d lose weight and gain it all back. Being overweight is just a depressing way to live. I hadn’t learned how to eat nutritiously, and I struggled with binge eating and severe food addiction.

In January of 2014 I was diagnosed with Hashimotos and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Within a year of diagnosis I gain over 100 lbs. I was sick, depressed, hungry, tired, and lethargic all the time. It took everything I had in me to just get out of bed in the morning.

On July 19, 2015 I decided to start a health journey and get my life back. I started out doing swimming at our local gym and did my best to change my eating habits. I lost a significant amount of weight, but I just wasn’t feeling good. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it was as if my body was trying to tell me something. I had become brainwashed by the health and fitness industries that I needed huge amounts of protein. I was consuming two whey protein shakes a day and two meals loaded with animal protein. Although the weight slowly started to come off, my diseases hadn’t gotten any better, and my body just felt miserable.

Fast forward a year to August 2016. My father ended up passing away due to 30+ years of battling food addiction and diet-related disease. I struggled losing him knowing he could have had a much more enriched life if he just would have been willing to make some changes. Losing him sparked a fire in me. I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps, and I was determined to break an unhealthy cycle in regards to food. I dove into nutritional research at home and school, and watched just about every food documentary I could find searching for answers. I felt similar to Joseph Smith searching for which church was true, except I was searching from truth in regards to nutrition.

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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — December 2016

tiger-walkingNotes from Jane: (1) I’m sponsoring a whole food, plant-based Jumpstart in January: Jumpstart Sign-up; (2) I’m also offering the first ever FLASH SALE of Discovering the Word of Wisdom (Kindle version) to celebrate the New Year! Now $2.99 through Tuesday (regularly $4.99). This is the cheapest Amazon will allow me to sell it. (ALL profits go toward spreading the message about the Word of Wisdom and whole food, plant-based nutrition!).

This post is the latest in a series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, click Duffy Chronicles.

By: Duffy

I recently received an email in my inbox from one of my favorite bloggers. He is incredibly sporadic in his blogging and more than once in the years that I’ve been following him he has gone for several months at a time with nothing, then sent two or three posts in a row, recommitting with the promise of more regular updates. The newest blog post was simply titled “#2,” and it followed a recommit post titled “#1” from the previous day. Last time he recommitted, I don’t think he got beyond two posts. But I still follow him because he’s a great blogger. I enjoy reading his work. And when I saw that second blog post in a row I found myself not only cheering him on in his recommitment, but having compassion for him. Because it is hard. Like really, really hard to put yourself out there in a public commitment and then let that public see you struggle and not live up to the expectations you had for yourself.

Lately when people ask me “How are you doing with your diet?” or “How is the whole food plant based diet working for you?” I feel like what they’re really asking is, “Why are you still obese?” or “If this is really the best diet for humans, why do you look so unhealthy?” or “If you’re actually eating just plants, why aren’t you making more progress?” In reality they may or may not be thinking any of those things. Those thoughts come first to my mind because they’re what I’m thinking, and therefore projecting.

I just looked at my last Duffy post from July of this year. I came within 6 lbs. of having lost 100 lbs. And I gained 20 lbs. back. So if weight loss is the only measure of my success, then I am a failure. I feel like a failure most of the time. My therapist reminded me though that one of the broader goals of the food addiction recovery program I’m part of (Lifestyle Transformation) is to expand the definition of success to include such things as making and strengthening connections with others, doing things that I’ve previously held myself back from doing because of my weight, and becoming more healthy.

There have been a lot of things that I have held myself back from doing because of my weight. One of them was attending the temple. I changed that last month. I haven’t yet sorted through all of this in my mind, but I sense that there is a powerful connection between the promises given in the Word of Wisdom and some of the sacred blessings pronounced and words given in the temple. Its one thing I hope to learn more about over time.

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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — July 2016

Pineapple[Note from Jane: This is the latest in a series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, click Duffy Chronicles.]

Dear Duffy Readers,

As we have just surpassed the midpoint of 2016, I am reminded that its time for an update on my Word of Wisdom journey. Here are a few things of note:

  • I graduated! I earned by Ed.D. in Leading and Learning with an emphasis in Neuroeducation in May 2016 from the University of Portland so I’m now “Dr. Duffy.”
  • I have continued to participate in the Lifestyle Transformation food addiction recovery program and found that there is great benefit in addressing how I have learned to protect myself and how I mismanage my emotions by turning to food.
  • I reached about 94 pounds lost before I took a page from my friend Jessica’s blog and “threw away the scale.” Actually, I recognized that the number on the scale was partially driving an unhealthy relationship with food so I asked a friend to keep it at her home for 3 months this summer while I attend to how my body feels when I eat certain foods.
  • I’ve recently found that processed foods and fast food do not satisfy—emotionally or physically—and frequently contain a chemical-laden, oily and unpleasant taste. I consider this to be a blessing of the Word of Wisdom as my tastes are changing toward a preference for whole, natural foods.

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“The Gospel is not weight. It is wings!”

The Gospel is not weight—it is wingsToday I’d like to share the story of one Mormon mother. This person represents many others: good, faithful members of the Church who live with a certain misery and despair over their weight, their health, and the impact it is having on their families. Almost weekly, I hear from such a person seeking for help and wondering if there is still hope.

I’ve received permission from this person to share excerpts from her emails to me last year. I have left out some details to protect her identity and shorten the story. (Note that I responded to every email she sent me, but I do not include my emails to her.)

I hope her amazing story of transformation will inspire everyone who reads this!

August 26, 2015

Dear Jane,

I have been following your comments on Meridian Magazine for some time now. I am writing to you in a bit of desperation. I am over 60 years old, about 5 feet tall, and about 100 pounds overweight. I have always been active in the church, have a strong testimony, love the Gospel with all my heart. I am only saying these things to help you understand my situation a little better. I was usually a little chubby, but since my marriage, I just got bigger and bigger and bigger. I have not been good at serving healthy, nutritious meals, as the cheaper “casseroles with cream of soups” were always my go-to. I love cake, cookies, brownies, candy, homemade ice cream, chips and dip, homemade bread, etc. Sadly, I raised my children the same way, and now some of them struggle with weight issues. One day a while ago, my daughter said to me that she felt that I didn’t understand the atonement, because I tried so hard to live every law perfectly, and repent for the tiniest mistake, yet in some areas (I know she meant weight) I was not following the commandments. Though it was a bit painful, it was truly a needed wake-up call, but still I have not taken the steps to change.

One day a few months ago in my personal prayers, I said that I really wanted to get my life in order, but I just could NOT be obedient to healthy eating. I knew I was sinning because of my refusal to humble myself and control my eating. I have felt badly since admitting to the Lord that I just wouldn’t do that, but I really believed it was true! It makes me disgusted to think that terrible food means more to me than eternal life with God! And in reality, it doesn’t, but I knew I couldn’t lie to Him, when I wasn’t willing to change.

Two years ago, I had been eating more healthy for quite a while and had lost some 66 or so pounds, though I was still at least 50 pounds overweight. But I went on a trip, and we celebrated with foods I hadn’t tasted in a long, long time. Coming back home, I just went wild and eventually gained almost 45 of those pounds back. It has now been two years, and I am still here, almost 45 pounds heavier, and just hopeless. I really am huge, and it’s terribly noticeable being so short. I know through the years it’s been awful for my husband to drag around a gigantic wife, and it has been extremely embarrassing for my children. What is wrong with me!!!! I honestly sometimes wonder if it is just too late for me—kind of the mentality that this is who I am, who I’ve always been, who I always will be, and that there is just no hope for me. I KNOW that is evil thinking, but I honestly feel so overwhelmed at this point in life that I don’t know if I even want to change. How could I really give up the foods I really like—FOREVER?

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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — December 2015

Duffy face progression

[Note from Jane: This is the latest in a series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, click Duffy Chronicles.]

As 2015 comes to a close, I am pleased to write another Duffy post. This one will be short and sweet.

When I began this series in 2014, I knew it would take more than a year to lose all the weight I hoped to lose. At the time, I had full faith in a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet and didn’t think much about the obstacles I would encounter, especially psychological ones.

In my last post, I shared that I have an addiction to food and was hoping to begin a food addiction recovery counseling program in late September or early October, 2015. That did start and although its been anything but smooth sailing, I am learning so much about myself and my relationship with food and with God.

Dealing with this food addiction has given me cause to consider anew D&C 89:4 and the rest of the revelation, both the warnings and promises. I have much to ponder in my heart.

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“I have never felt better in my life!”

Julie Brown familyBy: Julie Brown

When I was only 8 years old, my maternal grandmother died of heart disease. She was 51. My grandpa died of cancer in his 70’s, and my other grandpa has had three heart attacks, a triple bypass surgery, and now wears a pacemaker. We do not have good “genes.” Subsequently, I exercised and fad dieted throughout my childhood and teenage years.

My interest in health continued into college where I studied fitness and wellness. A week after I graduated, my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world. She was perfect, except for one thing: she was a colicky baby. She would scream and cry and her little body would writhe in pain, night after night. By the early morning hours I was usually crying with her. After trying anything and everything to try to ease her discomfort, the only thing I could do was pray to God for help. I was nursing my baby and had several women tell me certain foods could cause colic. Around that time my Grandma Johnnie Belle gave all of her children and grandchildren a book entitled The China Study for Christmas. Out of respect for my grandmother and a feeling of desperation, I read the book. It was very overwhelming, but I felt impressed to at least cut out milk at that time. It was an attainable goal, and I began to see subtle changes right away; the irritable temperament of my fussy baby began to diminish, and, much to my surprise and delight, the little bumps that covered my upper arms began to disappear. I was beginning to learn what Hippocrates had said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Although five more children would bring joy and continue to bless my marriage, I unfortunately suffered bouts of anxiety and depression in varying degrees. I have always been able to maintain a consistent exercise regimen, but my weight fluctuated as I struggled to know “what” and “how” to eat. I also suffered recurring yeast infections. I felt I had more love and patience to give and felt sorry and guilty all the time. I pleaded for help in knowing how I might more fully serve my Heavenly Father and his children. One day I read Alma 38:12: “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” I was guided to understand that my relationship with food and the food choices I was making were limiting my potential by affecting my mood and energy levels. But, book after book, conversation after conversation, scripture after scripture, article after article, it was very clear that when it comes to food choices and getting healthy, it can be very confusing and contradicting.

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Duffy’s WFPB Journey — August 2015

handcuffed to donutsNote from Jane: This is the latest in a series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, click Duffy Chronicles.

Dear friends,

Lets talk food addiction. Some whole food plant based experts don’t believe it exists and others do. Among those who do, the definition and specific criterion differ. Here is what I know:

When I eat any fat-sugar-salt combination such as a candy bar or refined carbohydrates such as bread, I experience these symptoms:

  • I devour them like a starving person, barely tasting after the first bite.
  • I eat way past comfortably full.
  • I eat until they’re all gone, however much that is, however painful that is.
  • I crave more, more, more… never-endingly.
  • The cravings go beyond taste, to a physical need driven by a chemical imbalance in my brain.

I have been “sober” for 3 ½ days at the time of this writing on August 26th. But I know, because I’ve failed in the past, that willpower won’t be enough to keep me on track. Nor will knowledge or testimony alone. I know about the benefits of a Whole Food, Plant Based diet. I have a testimony of the Word of Wisdom.  I am still driven by food addiction.

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“I wanted revelation like unto Daniel”

Karmel Larson FamilyBy: Karmel Larson

I have discovered a powerful pattern in my life. I ask God questions, and he gives me answers. If I obey those answers, he gives me more. Line upon line, precept upon precept, he has led me down an exciting path of self discovery, self improvement and understanding. I find that the more quickly I obey and comply, the more abundantly the flow of knowledge and revelation comes to me.

Daniel, of the Old Testament, was rewarded by his obedience to God by receiving the gift of revelation. His power to receive revelation was so great that he did not even need to have Nebuchadnezzar’s dream told to him in order to give the interpretation. God, through revelation, gave him direct and pure knowledge of the dream and its interpretation.

I was seeking this kind of access to revelatory knowledge. I wanted revelation like unto Daniel. I wanted to know what was required of me to be worthy of pure knowledge. I wanted access to the mysteries of the kingdom. I knew that it was possible, and I wanted to know what I should refine in myself to be worthy of that gift and privilege.

In 2010 I took this question to the Lord. In response, all of my prayers guided me to a need for “physical change,” but I didn’t know how or what to do with those impressions.

I set a goal to attend the temple weekly. This period of weekly attendance also overwhelmingly directed me to physical change. Here are some of my impressions, promptings, and experiences on different visits, as recorded in a notebook that I take with me to the temple each week: Read More→

“When God, science, and logic all line up”

Greg WilliamsBy: Greg Williams

It is hard to communicate the love of junk food and meat I have maintained throughout my short 26 years. Because my mom was careful to ensure we had primarily healthy options at home, I frequently raided my cousins’ and friends’ pantry and cupboards when I was invited over for play dates or sleepovers. I relished the white bread and sugary cold cereal. I snarfed down candy bars and gobbled up anything with a hint of sugar. What a great treat after being restricted to whole wheat, home made bread, and oatmeal! For my birthday one year my mom got me a package of steaks, and a year later she gave me some beef sticks. She knew me well and was good enough to indulge me.

As a missionary my love of food grew. Serving in the U.S. I ate as much lasagna, burgers, and whatever I could each night and agreed to third and fourth servings of dessert. The members were always emphatic that “missionaries need lots of food!” and I was quick to agree with them. That was the life! Of course I gained 13 pounds after just 3 weeks in the MTC and nearly 40 pounds in the mission field. When I met and married my wife she often noted my funny way of choosing meals at restaurants. “How big is it?” was (and often still is) my primary question. While I had gained some weight, I wouldn’t say I was unnaturally big. Indeed I didn’t really even feel I had a problem. What I wasn’t as thoughtful about was how this way of eating might be influencing other aspects of my life, including my spirit.

Over a year ago, my wife and I made a drastic change (documented in a blog post, “Our New Diet”). My father had given us a copy of Jane Birch’s book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom for Christmas (2013). After reading it, we agreed to give it a shot for at least three months and see how it went. Remarkable things happened for me physically, including the elimination of headaches that were once prevalent, an abundance of energy, and a newly discovered joy in eating foods I had once considered beyond touching with a fork! I also continued to lose weight and settled down at a point that I was at in probably 8th grade. Often I would wonder, is this a good or a bad thing that I weigh so little?! I consider it a good thing since I have more energy than ever before, continue to exercise each day, and feel wonderful. I finished a triathlon earlier this year and have almost beat my mile time set my freshman year of high school. That is pretty crazy!

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