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How Can I Have a Healthy Relationship With Food?

How do you view food? Are you someone who is constantly on the go and just grabs whatever is quick and convenient? Maybe you’re someone who carefully plans each and every meal and prepares ahead of time when possible. Or, maybe you are somebody who tries your best to eat a healthy and balanced diet but occasionally gives in to cravings for brownies or junk food from time to time.

Establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship with food is important to your health. Sure, treating yourself on occasion is absolutely alright. Sometimes, tough times or stress can distract us from prioritizing healthy eating. However, consuming a balanced and healthy diet is essential to good mental and physical health and can aid in addiction recovery.

Addiction and Appetite

Addiction can impact your appetite and the way you eat. Some people find themselves eating very little while they are struggling with substance use disorder (SUD). Food becomes a lesser priority than drugs or alcohol and can often be pushed aside or forgotten. Others may find themselves consuming way too much food or all the wrong types of food during their addiction. Certain substances can encourage you to eat more while others can suppress your appetite leading you to eat less or not enough.

Whether your addiction is to benzos, heroin, or other substances, you are likely to possess some poor eating habits. This being the case, you may find yourself either gaining weight or losing weight during the treatment process. During treatment, your body has the opportunity to heal as it learns to function again without drugs or alcohol. By removing these toxins, your body can reset and begin to absorb the benefits of eating good, nutritious food again.

Food should serve as a source of energy, nutrition, and fuel for everyday functioning. You will see and feel your body change as you start to incorporate healthy foods in healthy amounts into your diet. You will sleep better, have better focus, and feel better overall.

Food and You

So, how do you establish a good relationship with food? This can certainly be easier said than done, especially after developing poor habits as a result of your addiction. It’s important to change your perspective on food. Whether you viewed food as an obligation to survive or eagerly awaited each meal, allowing food to serve as a motivator or comfort, it’s time to change how you view it.

As previously stated, food should serve as fuel for your body. In order to utilize food for its intended purpose, you must select the correct foods to ensure you are getting proper nutrition. When you adjust your perspective to consider food as something that should be working for you and not against you, you can begin to alter what you choose to put in your body and the portions you choose to consume.

It’s important to acknowledge when you’re full. It is equally important to acknowledge when you’re hungry. Learning to listen to your body and its cues can help in creating a healthy relationship with food. Our body has a way of communicating with us and letting us know what it needs. By cleansing your body of substances, you are better able to identify these cues, and your body can clearly communicate them.

Organic Eating

You have probably heard the hype about choosing organic foods. There’s hype around this topic for a good reason. Organic foods are free of pesticides and harmful chemicals that often exist in non-organic foods and are often more nutrient-dense and ethically grown.

Organic eating can be more simple than you might think. Growing your own organic produce and herbs could be a great way to ensure you always have a selection easily accessible and available to you. Here at Enlightened Solutions, we grow our own local produce at our farm to create a menu full of nutritious and healthy meals for our clients. We understand the value of eating well and want to share that with those in our care.

In what ways could you change your relationship with food during recovery? Here are a few key takeaways:

  • View food as fuel
  • Listen to your body
  • Choose organic

By keeping these tips in mind, you can successfully change your viewpoint and perspective on food and will be able to make better decisions when it comes to what you put into your body. Healthy eating is essential to your wellness and can support your efforts to maintain good health throughout treatment and addiction recovery.

Food should serve as fuel for your body, providing essential vitamins and nutrients for good health and optimal functioning. Addiction to drugs or alcohol can cause you to develop unhealthy eating habits. At Enlightened Solutions, we prioritize healthy and organic eating and incorporate this value into our treatment program. At our farm, we grow organic produce and herbs that you as a resident can take part in. You will learn about the growing process, participate in giving back to the community, and come to understand how good nutrition can support you in healing your body and mind after battling substance abuse. If you or someone you care about could benefit from our holistic approach to treatment, please reach out. We would love to help you heal mentally, physically, and spiritually and live the life you deserve free of drugs and alcohol. Call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

Food Addiction – Using Food to Escape Our Pain

Some people have a healthy relationship with food. They enjoy eating and cooking, and they look forward to meals. They include food in their celebrations and as part of the quality time they spend with family and friends. Other people have an addictive relationship with food, and just like any other addiction, it can take over their lives in toxic and painful ways.

For many food addicts, food can be comforting and soothing and can become an escape from emotional problems and troubling thoughts. Food addicts often use food to cope with their other addictions. Food can fill emotional voids and serve as a distraction from painful memories. Many food addicts binge, or overeat, long past feeling full or satisfied. They may eat until they feel physically uncomfortable, are in pain, or become sick.

Just like with any other addiction, using food as a coping mechanism provides only temporary relief from our pain. As we come to learn, the pain we don’t face always returns. Over time, as we continue not to address it, it grows worse, and when it returns, it often does so with a vengeance. Our attempts to suppress the pain only compound it, and we create more layers to the pain. We develop more addictive behaviors and find ourselves with multiple addictions to try to recover from. We need food to survive, but when our eating habits have become addictive, food gets mired in all of this pain and no longer fuels us or makes us happy. Instead, t adds to our feelings of sadness, shame, embarrassment and regret.

When we have any kind of addiction, our compulsive behavior makes us feel like we’re out of control, like we’re powerless and weak. We might logically know what’s best for ourselves, we know our behaviors aren’t healthy, but we feel like we can’t stop. We feel like we can’t control ourselves, and this can be very scary. That fear is often another thing that drives our addictions. When we feel powerless and afraid, we escape into the comfort of our drugs of choice.

Food addiction is unique in that we need to eat to survive, so in order to recover, we can’t choose total abstinence from food. Instead we have to develop healthier relationships with food and use it for fuel and enjoyment. We have to tackle our fears, our emotional and mental issues and our addictive behaviors in healthy ways that don’t add to our pain.

Your addictions don’t have to run your life anymore. Let Enlightened Solutions help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

Eating Disorders are a Disconnect Between Mind and Body

Sadly, so many people in Western culture suffer with imbalances in their relationship to food and their bodies.  These imbalances can manifest in a variety of ways which diagnosed as overeating, anorexia and bulimia to name a few.  While the names and expression of these imbalances may vary, at the core, these people are suffering from a disconnect between the mind and the body.  Food and the way that it nourishes our physical life can be a profoundly mystical experience.  When a disorder has presented, the sufferer has lost the beautiful cycle of food sustaining the physical body so that a life is being lived for its spiritual purpose.  

Often, these imbalances are often paired with dysfunction in the way that people connect commune with others while consuming food.  Our ancestors experienced deeply reliant community in relationship with food whether they were of hunting and gathering or agricultural times.  The food connection was not limited to the consuming of food, but included a necessary shared lifestyle to make food possible for all.  Over the generations, we have lost this communion with others around the life-cycle of our food.  This cultural change is present in eating disorders, whether expressed as co-addiction, the shared addictive consumption of food, binge eating in isolation or eating in community only to purge in secrecy later.  Consider how each of these manifestations may be altered by having a lifestyle of communion around food if secrecy from others related to food was not possible in our lifestyle.

It is in the separation and secrecy from others that our mind is given the space to get trapped in a obsessive-compulsive loop.  In separation from a tribe, the irrationality of our addicted mind can seem rational.  Our desire to escape from powerful feelings overrides our ability to make a healthy choice.  The recovery journey offers the opportunity to reconnect to others by vulnerably sharing where our minds is taking us with food.  This becomes a wonderful bridge to invest in beautifully connected relationships by revealing where the addicted mind wants to go and receiving the support to make different choices to heal the mind and body.  Communion with food and others can be possible today.  

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.

Could Mindfulness Help With Cravings?

We often talk about cravings in recovery like a monster under the bed- if you let them grab a hold of you, you’re a goner. Cravings are, but also are not, that serious. Cravings are a reaction of the brain. Chemical reactions, cravings occur for different reasons. For example, the brain might be processing some residual toxins, memories, and associations which lead to cravings. On the other hand, there might be a circumstantial event which triggers some kind of pain or discomfort in the brain, causing it to want to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter for pleasure. Long Term substance abuse damages the brain’s ability to produce enough of its own dopamine, at least not to a level that creates the same effect as drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, the brain becomes accustomed to such levels and when it cannot achieve them, especially in response to pain or a perceived threat, it produces cravings. Cravings happen because during addiction drugs and alcohol are the answer to everything. Thus, in order to cope with everything, the brain learns to rely on drugs and alcohol. Without mind altering substances, the brain experiences cravings.

Sometimes cravings are a passing experience. Other times, they are an indicator of spending too much thinking time in euphoric recall. Being mindful of your cravings can help you notice what is going on with them: where they are coming from, what triggered them, and what you need to do to calm them down.

According to Mindful, “Mindfulness could be the key to cutting the link between conditioned cues of desired objects and the craving that leads to addictive behavior.” The article emphasizes that just trying to cut off the thoughts where they are is a futile attempt. Instead, mindfulness helps you “build flexibility into how you relate to your own desirous thoughts…what you need is a heaping helping of mindful awareness of thinking– of observing your own thoughts without buying into them as absolute truth or trying to force them away.”

Running away from your thoughts and creating a negative association only perpetuates the problem. You conditioned your brain to reward satisfying cravings to cope with negativity of any kind. Giving into cravings for drugs and alcohol doesn’t work either. “What’s more helpful,” the article emphasizes, “is to build your capacity to serve as a witness to your own thoughts.” “Typically, when we think about something we crave, that thought feels very close, as if it’s inside us, part of who we are.” People often take their cravings as serious signs that they are

going to relapse. Mindfulness helps create distance between the mechanics of cravings and reality. As the article explains, “Mindfulness helps us see the thought as merely a moment of information.” Practicing mindfulness with your moments of cravings helps you gain the information you need to make an adjustment to your recovery program and move through the moment.

Cravings are a natural part of recovery. Learning how to live and cope with cravings is an essential part of treatment. Lifelong recovery is possible. Let the compassionate care at Enlightened Solutions show you the way. For information on our programs, call 833-801-5483.

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