Another Client Journey – freedom from food addiction

After reading the journey of one of my clients, “J” asked if she could tell her story. I thought it would be good for others to hear of her past struggles with disordered eating and how she came to realize she was a food addict. This is “J”, in her own words.


“I could not stop eating. I ate in secret and until I was ill. I repeated this behaviour over and over again, despite the negative consequences. For 20 years of my life, from the age of 9 to the age of 29, I struggled with food addiction, disordered eating, obesity, and yo-yo dieting. My mind was incessantly focused on one of three things:

      • what I was going to eat
      • how I was going to keep myself from eating, or
      • how to compensate for what I had eaten

In addition to disordered eating and food addiction, I faced severe depression and ADHD.  I isolated myself, struggled with exhaustion, and was unable to focus on my work. I frequently wished I had not been born, or that my life would end.  I attempted numerous diets and attended eating disorder treatment programs, but was unable to stop my binge eating and associated compensatory behaviours for any significant amount of time. Twice, I successfully lost approximately 70 pounds but on both occasions, I gained back all of the weight back, and more.

Approximately two years ago, I reached my highest weight of 250 pounds and decided to make one more attempt to lose weight, and began researching low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets. Through this research, I discovered books, articles, and podcasts about food addiction. As I read and listened, I became certain that I qualified as a food- and sugar addict. I learned that sugar and flour are addictive substances and decided to remove them from my diet. I searched the internet for a dietitian who could help me to formulate a meal plan that eliminated the foods that I found addictive. I discovered The Low Carb Healthy Fat Dietitian’s website and contacted Joy Kiddie to schedule a Complete Assessment Package. Joy developed a meal plan for me that excluded the foods that were addictive for me and which allowed me to feel satisfied and energized, while losing weight. For the first time, weight loss did not feel like work.

I have so many reasons to recommend Joy as a dietitian. She supports me in my health, weight loss, weight maintenance, and sugar addiction recovery goals while also understanding and taking into consideration my history of disordered eating. She provides me with much-needed accountability. I am able to troubleshoot any challenges I am having with my health or weight loss, and she helps me adjust my meal plan to address these issues. Joy is incredibly knowledgeable about food and nutrition, and is a dependable support in my life.

I have lost well over a 100 pounds, and am a normal body weight and a waist circumference. I am so thankful for my weight loss, and my improved physical health. Even more importantly however, my depression has been significantly better, and I am truly enjoying life. In addition, my ADHD symptoms have greatly decreased, and my mental capacity has significantly improved. For the first time in my life, I can complete my work with little procrastinating.

I have been profoundly blessed and am so thankful for the role that Joy has played in my healing journey. I know there are many others who struggle with food addiction, and I hope my story provides some hope.”

 


og:imageI feel it is important to add that as a Dietitian, I do not specialize in food addiction or disordered eating — but I do help with the “eating end” of things for those who are getting support for these issues through other means.

Some people with food addiction find a 12-step group helpful, while others prefer individual counselling with a trained food-addiction counsellor. Many do both.  Whatever works best for them is fine with me. I am only a part of their recovery process.

While it is a sensitive topic, I am mindful that for some with a background of disordered eating, a “keto” diet can sometimes be another form of food restriction. When it makes sense to achieve clinical outcomes, I may choose to use a low carb diet, rather than a keto diet if I am concerned that food restriction may be an issue.

I do not encourage food restriction except when it comes to person’s specific “trigger foods” that have been identified in their process of their recovery, and for those with a disordered eating past, this sometimes takes some negotiation.  While weighing and measuring food is not what I want for the majority of my clients, many food-addiction counsellors do recommend this and  I am happy to support my clients in this way.  

NOTE: Just like I am in remission of T2D and HTN, I believe that people like “J”  are in remission of food addiction and disordered eating. We aren’t “cured”.  It is my belief that for both of us to remain in remission requires us to keep walking in what enabled us to get there in the first place, one day at a time.

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To your good health!

Joy

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