I’m currently on family holidays in sunny Noosa and recorded this episode before we headed up and prior to my podcast breaking last week. This episode is a 2 part mini series focused on my on going journey through food addiction. I’ve been wanting to record something like this for a while now but I always find it so nerve wracking to sit and share my story into the mic and knowing there is no guest to fall back on, no safety net, all eyes (ears) are on me.
If you have been a long time listener, much of this won’t be new to you, but there should still be some things that you might not have heard before and some pieces of my story that you might find beneficial in your own recovery.
Food addiction has been a part of my life for longer than I have had a term for it. It was actually this episode with Andrew Taylor that finally gave me the words for the relationship I had been having with food for the majority of my life - food addiction. The way I interacted with food wasn’t nourishing, there was nothing ‘healthy’ about it, it was a toxic relationship, it was destructive, it was emotionally, physically and psychologically damaging not altogether unlike the damage caused by alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use; it was harming my life and health in a multitude of ways and yet I couldn’t stop - it was an addiction.
Like many people with addiction issues, I believe childhood trauma my have been the catalyst. I was just four years old when my elder brother Brett was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and we were told he wouldn’t live past the age of 15. From then on I would have nightmares of trying desperately to protect him from murderers and monsters out to kill him. I was 4 years younger than Brett and he was my best friend and I could not comprehend him growing weaker and weaker until he suddenly ceased to be in my life. I would wake terrified from nightmares where he was a frozen statue in my bedroom, or exhausted after desperately carrying his body through water whilst feeding him bananas to keep his muscles strong. From four years of age, my entire life became focused on trying to save Brett, to put myself in Brett’s position, to feel what Brett was feeling, to somehow make all the sadness in my family a little less sad.
Needless to say, it was a lot of pressure for a small child to handle.
I lived in the middle of nowhere growing up and there was really no one I could talk to about my big fears for Brett because everyone in my immediate family were busy grieving in their own way, so, like so many people living with big emotions that feel unmanageable, I turned to food for comfort.
If you want to read more about the relationship between trauma and addiction Gabor Mate has written a great book condensing a lot of the latest research on the subject called In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.
In this episode I talk about:
My childhood and growing up overweight
Why certain foods are addictive
The Pleasure Trap (read this for a more thorough explanation of the pleasure trap by Dr Doug Lisle and Dr Alan Goldhamer )
Stress and food addiction
Dieting and why diets don’t work
Strategies I have found helpful (more to come in Part 2)
This journey has not been linear for me, I have definitely gone round and round the mulberry bush but I will say, with every loop, things get a little better, I keep learning and growing and deepening my self awareness around my triggers for overeating/compulsive eating. These days the foods I tend to over eat are no longer entire sticky date puddings and 3 blocks of chocolate, these days when I’m triggered by stress or low self worth I might eat too many high calorie fruits, nut butters or an occasional vegan dessert, but the wins on the board far out weigh the losses and I know, without doubt, that I’m moving in the right direction on my journey healing my relationship with food and ultimately, healing my relationship with myself, once and for all.
I’d really love to hear your experiences/thoughts re food addiction in the comment section of this episode if you’d feel comfortable sharing it - what has worked for you?
If you would like to talk to someone about your own struggles with food addiction, you can book a time to speak with me for free here: https://corinne-nijjer.youcanbook.me/
Full disclosure, I do offer 1:1 coaching for those seeking a loving guide to help them on their path to optimal health and wellbeing but the above link is just an opportunity to have someone listen and hear your story, you are under no obligation to work with me.
If you do want to work with me however, you can check out these links for more info:
Also, don’t forget, I have a new eBook THRIVE which you can grab to use on your plant-based journey!
Here is a list of links on some of the topics mentioned in this episode:
Mindset - Carol Dwecke - Book
Cowspiracy - documentary on environmental impact of animal agriculture
Forks Over Knives - documentary on health impact of saturated animal fats and processed foods
What The Health - documentary on the negative health impacts of meat, eggs and dairy
Earthlings - documentary on the realities of factory farming and animal agriculture/exploitation
Dominion - documentary on the realities of factory farming and animal agriculture/exploitation with Australian footage
The Brain That Changes Itself - Book on Neurolinguistic Reprogramming
I hope you enjoy this episode and thank you for listening.