Have you tried to cut back or abstain from processed food, but the discomfort of withdrawal became so intense, you gave up?
In this issue, we will take a look at some ways that you can prepare for initial withdrawal to make it more manageable. Later in your recovery, if you experience accidental ingestion or relapse on processed food, these techniques can help you to move quickly through re-withdrawal by minimizing the distress of symptoms.
Withdrawal from processed foods can manifest in many ways. Symptoms can include, headache, muscle cramps, stomach ache, chills, fever, irritability, depression, anxiety or intense cravings. The severity and combinations of symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Symptoms can last 2-8 days.
Here are several things that you can do to be prepared for withdrawal. Just pick the strategies that are easiest and doable for you. You don’t have to do them all.
Whilst the severity and duration of withdrawal may differ for each person, the reward of clean eating and the freedom from food and weight obsession is so worth it for us all. You can do this!
“The big thing for me is that it gave me reassurance that I'm not a bad person, I'm not terrible rebellious. This is really a physical thing that's going on with my body. Even though I've been involved with many medical and other things to help me become a normal size, not morbidly obese, it wasn't the right thing for me. They haven't been educated in the right direction. Education! I'm thankful for the Internet. I would never have been privy to such wonderful information. My little closed-in house doesn't have access to, but the Internet has opened up a lot for me. I feel sorry for the people who are missing this."
I don't have a question but just wanting to remark on how much I appreciate being in recovery with your support and the support of the ARC. I had no idea just how much the processed foods were affecting the quality of my life, until now that I am clean.
I was desperate for help. I knew I'd gained so much weight but I just couldn't stop eating and bingeing. I had such bad brain fog from the processed foods and my consequent poor health that I was fired from my job for absent mindedness. I was so depressed at times that I couldn't even imagine being happy and I had such bad anxiety that I avoided every social situation that I could. Fatigued, I spent half my life in bed not attending to the things that a normal person should like paying bills on time but could never sleep more than four hours straight.
I am so very sorry to hear how negatively processed foods affected the quality of your life. This was not your fault. Processed foods can completely shut down the parts of the brain that carry messages of what is good in the world. Without these pathways, despair can set in. People also despair because health systems don't know how to treat processed food addiction so people try one weight-loss or eating disorder program after another with no success. This feels like a repeated failure and contributes to despair.
Congratulations on all you’re doing to take back control and abstain from processed foods. You’re bringing joy back into your life.
Recent copies of Dr Joan Ifland's Blog: