Denial of My Food Addiction Caused Me to Live From the Neck Up

In the 21st episode of “Food Addiction: The Problem and the Solution” podcast, host Susan Branscome talks with Kristie M, who shares her personal and transformative journey of struggling with and recovering from food addiction. This blog post is a reflection of that conversation to contribute a beacon of hope for anyone facing similar struggles.

Tune in to hear about:

  • Kristie M’s childhood and struggles with food addiction
  • Kristie M’s experiences with dieting and denial
  • Kristie M’s journey and recovery from food addiction
  • The role of shame and secrecy in food addiction
  • Kristie M’s relapse and challenges with her food plan and alcohol use
  • Introduction to 12-step groups for food addiction
  • The importance of surrendering to the program and listening to others in recovery
  • The role of sexual orientation and self-acceptance in recovery
  • The spiritual aspect of recovery and the need for a power greater than oneself
  • Kristie M’s personal experience with food addiction and recovery, including facing traumatic events and finding support

Roots of Addiction

Kristie’s story begins in childhood, where food was the epicenter of family life. As the oldest of four siblings, and the family moving frequently, Kristie experienced a sense of restlessness that later became mirrored her relationship with food. Despite a seemingly normal upbringing, her preoccupation with food was anything but ordinary. She remembers her fourth birthday not for the gifts or the guests, but for the ice cream cone she dropped in a puddle and ate despite the protests of others. This was an early sign of her food addiction, which intensified with time.

Struggle with Shame and Secrecy

As she grew older, her addiction manifested in shame and secrecy. She felt judged for her weight. She found herself going through drive-thrus and eating in parking lots to hide her eating habits. She did achieve an initial weight loss of 140 pounds, but then relapsed, regaining 100 pounds. She was able to ultimately achieve a net loss of 170 pounds, and maintain this for over 20 years now. This journey was not without its challenges, including a battle with alcohol and the need to find a sustainable food plan.

Listen to the full episode

Turning Point: Embracing Recovery

The turning point in her recovery came when a friend introduced her to 12-step groups for food addiction. Despite her initial resistance, she realized that it was necessary to face her problem with food directly. She learned the importance of surrendering to a program or support, and got to experience the clear headedness that comes with neutrality around food. This process was not just about abstaining from certain foods but also about addressing all aspects of her addictions, including alcohol and drug use.

Role of Self-Acceptance and Spirituality

Susan and Kristie touched on the role of sexual orientation in recovery. They both recognized the sense of being an outsider and the importance of self-acceptance and love in their journeys to recovery. The spiritual aspect of recovery was also crucial, and she emphasized the need for a greater power than her ego to provide the necessary willingness and ability to recover from addictive thinking and behaviors.

Resilience in the Face of Adversity

“My recovery has been tested by life’s hardships, including the diagnosis of my sister with stage four pancreatic cancer and the subsequent loss of my sister and partner. These traumatic events could have derailed my progress, but instead, my recovery provided the strength to navigate these difficult times without turning to food for comfort. I’ve learned to live one day at a time and to lean on the support of my fellowship.”

Blessings of Recovery

Reflecting on the significant changes in her life since entering recovery, Kristie has seen improvements in her relationships with her siblings and has found unexpected blessings in the most challenging experiences. Recovery allowed her to experience the positive outcomes that can arise from adversity.

Message of Hope

As the conversation drew to a close, Susan asked Kristie what she would say to someone struggling with food addiction.

“My message is one of hope: recovery and freedom from food addiction are possible for anyone willing to seek help and find a solution that works for them.”

For those interested in learning more about food addiction or becoming a certified food addiction professional, I encourage you to visit the International School of Food Addiction Counseling and Treatment at Remember, no matter how daunting the journey may seem, transformation and fulfillment are within reach.

Susan expressed gratitude to Kristie for being a guest on the podcast and encouraged listeners to seek help for food addiction at the INFACT School providing Food Addiction Informed Treatment, Food Addiction Treatment Practicums, and an education training professionals to beome a Certified Food Addiction Professionals to deliver Food Addiction Informed Treatment.