Food Addiction, the Problem and the Solution

Esther Helga Gudmundsdottir

The International School For Food Addiction Counseling And Treatment (The INFACT School) brings you the podcast, Food Addiction: The Problem And The Solution which explores the ubiquitous problems of food addiction and presents the solution. The school, founded by director Esther Helga Gudmundsdottir MSc, is the world’s first and only sugar/food addiction counseling training with U.S. and European food addiction counselor certifications.  infactschool.com Host, Susan Branscome, a recovered food addict, interviews guests who are professionals and counselors focused on the disease of food addiction, as well as individuals who have successfully recovered from food addiction.   The podcast will resonate with food addicts, those dieting unsuccessfully, those desperate to learn more about food addiction and recover, as well as professionals treating and counseling clients with food addiction and medical practitioners treating patients suffering from obesity and obesity-related illnesses and issues. Subscribe to Food Addiction: The Problem and The Solution wherever you get your podcasts! read less
Health & FitnessHealth & Fitness

Episodes

Food Addiction Recovery is Available through 12-step Programs.
May 21 2024
Food Addiction Recovery is Available through 12-step Programs.
Amy B.’s highest known weight was 265 as she used food for many years to deal with stress, anxiety and life challenges. While there is humor and a comedic lightness in this podcast episode discussion between two food-recovered food addicts, the messages are serious and important in talking about what it was like and recovery from food addiction. A recovered alcoholic, Amy used food in the same ways she used alcohol, addictively and to numb emotional pain.  Within the laughter, we talk about how we were numbing ourselves with food and alcohol and found that using a 12-step programs of recovery dealt with each addiction’s negative consequences including carrying excess body weight. As an only child, she was not taught that feeling emotions was OK and learned to escape them in self-destructive ways.  In recovery from food addiction, she learned that her emotions were not going to kill her as she processed them without using food.   We talked about how the transformation in recovery helped her deal with relationships and life stresses in a new way.    Amy learned that she needed to surrender her food addiction to a higher power and get to work on taking action in recovery.  Today she is free from food addiction as she eats no sugar with the use of a food plan which involves eating whole foods that her body needs to maintain a healthy body weight. Listen in to this inspiring story of recovery from food addiction!
Food Addiction Versus Eating Disorders, What Are the Differences?
Apr 30 2024
Food Addiction Versus Eating Disorders, What Are the Differences?
These three incredible professionals have not only personally experienced recovery from addiction, but they have made it their life’s work to help others recover from food addiction and eating disorders.  This podcast panel episode is comprised of three well-known experts in the treatment of food addiction and eating disorders, Dr. Marty Lerner, Amanda Leith, and Esther Helga Gudmundsdottir.  Dr. Marty Lerner is the founder and CEO of the Milestones in Recovery program (Milestones In Recovery website // https://www.milestonesprogram.org/) in southeast Florida Amanda Leith heads SHiFT, Recovery by Acorn ( SHiFT website // https://foodaddiction.com/), and Esther Helga Gudmundsdottir, owner of this podcast, leads the INFACT School (INFACT School website // https://www.infactschool.online/). These professionals agree that as we look at the differences and similarities between eating disorders and food addiction, it can be complicated. Yet one thing they all agree on, eating disorders almost always have some basis in an addictive bodily response, and or addictive and compulsive food behaviors.   The absolute importance of complete abstinence from addictive foods such as sugar, ultra-processed foods, flour, and other trigger foods, weighing and measuring portions can be critical to recovery.   Treatment programs for food addiction are quite valuable to help engage food addicts to begin recovery and food plans can vary by individual.   While there are many ways to look at the emotional and spiritual aspects of food addiction recovery, all agree that 12-step programs are important to long-term recovery. Our society focuses on quick fixes for weight control, restrictive diets, surgery, and drugs, yet the solution is getting to the nature of the addiction and the emotional work around food use and behaviors.  Listen to these experts talk about the disease of food addiction and eating disorders and learn how treatment can work, there is a solution to weight control and compulsive food behaviors.  International Food Addiction Consensus Conference, May 17, 2024 // https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/international-food-addiction-consensus-conference-ifacc-2024-registration-732854436347
Deception And Persuasion By the Food Industry Contribute To Our Food Addiction
Jan 16 2024
Deception And Persuasion By the Food Industry Contribute To Our Food Addiction
Thirty-four years ago, Dr. Debbie Danowski weighing 328 pounds realized that her life was unmanageable and she decided to enter a food addiction recovery program. Today Dr. Danowski maintains a 170 weight loss through a daily recovery routine. In this podcast, we discuss denial, powerlessness and the negative consequences of food addiction.   Getting the message out about food addiction is the driving force in all of her work and the release of her newest book Happy Eating and Food Addiction in American Advertising which profiles how the food and drink industries are contributing to food addiction and obesity in the U.S.  In her research for her book, she watched over 500 food advertisements and outlined specific techniques used in advertisements for ultra-processed foods, which promise consequence-free eating to consumers while encouraging the over-consumption of unhealthy and addictive foods and drinks. Dr. Danowski presents an analysis of promotional methods in the context of food addiction characteristics and behaviors through an exploration of the themes used in this type of advertising such as using food to rebel, play, relax and achieve happiness and good health. Listen to Dr. Debbie Danowski explain how as a food addict she recovered and how her career has been spent on helping others understand the truth about it and how the food industry plays a role. A 30 percent book discount is available to listeners at this website:  Link For Ordering Book  with the use of this code: LXFANDF30 https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781666939262/%E2%80%9CHappy-Eating%E2%80%9D-and-Food-Addiction-in-American-Advertising
The "Addict Brain" Highjacks Our Brains Like a Computer Virus
Dec 19 2023
The "Addict Brain" Highjacks Our Brains Like a Computer Virus
In his book, Recovery Mind Training Dr. Paul Earley cites the statistic that addiction is a devastating brain disease affecting over 23 million individuals including their loved ones in the U.S. alone. He says that the single biggest driver around addiction is genetics and that there is a strong genetic link with addiction in families.  Dr. Earley describes how powerful and insidious the Addict Brain is as it hijacks our brains without us being aware. The Addict Brain is like a computer virus running autonomously in the background virtually undetectable overwhelming an individual's conscious control by reorganizing life goals and ensuring its survival.  Once the addict recognizes this and begins to realize the Addict Brain’s power as negative consequences occur, it is possible to implement new skills and recovery practices and place the addiction in remission. In his Recovery Mind Training method of recovery, he employs six domains including addiction containment, basic recovery skills, and emotional awareness and resilience. The RMT method helps unwind and repair damages to the individual as well as his or her family and social network caused by the Addict Brain. Dr. Earley recommends recovering addicts develop a set of skills and life responses to handle life situations blocking the primitive drive to use the addictive substance. He integrates a 12-step recovery program as part of his model and says when we recover and our behaviors are in alignment with our morals and values we find the feeling of freedom, joy, peace and serenity.  He cites the strong connection between successful sustained recovery and those individuals developing a spiritual side. What an outstanding podcast episode as we host Dr. Paul Earley outlining the problem...and the solution! Amazon Link to Recovery Mind Training: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Recovery+mind+training&i=stripbooks&crid=2FV9H3E4BREK6&sprefix=recovery+mind+training%2Cstripbooks%2C97&ref=nb_sb_noss_1
I Used Food In the Same Ways I Had Used Alcohol and Drugs
Dec 5 2023
I Used Food In the Same Ways I Had Used Alcohol and Drugs
When an overweight friend had a stroke, Tony W. realized that if he did not address his own weight and food issues, his health would continue to decline. Weighing 464 pounds, he had many obesity-related illnesses including neuropathy in his feet and five hernia surgeries. He grew up in a family and culture of fried foods and high-calorie foods.  Tony got sober from drugs and alcohol using a 12-step recovery program, then began using food even more than he had. He entered the Bright Line Eating Program (https://www.brightlineeating.com/) and has released all of the extra pounds achieving a healthy body weight through eliminating sugar and flour, limiting the times he eats during the day, and weighing his food. The Bright Line Eating Program helped Tony focus on the inner emotional work required around the reasons he was using food. The work Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD (https://www.susanpeircethompson.com/), the founder of Bright Line Eating has done as a neuroscientist resonated with Tony given her focus on the chemical reaction in the brain when we ingest sugar and flour. He realized it was not his lack of willpower which caused his food addiction, but rather his body’s response to addictive substances which set up cravings and obsessive behaviors around food. He talks about how automaticity began to play a part in his daily routine in which he has developed new habits that feel normal.  Today Tony W. lives a happy, thin and free life through having recovered from food addiction as he continues to follow his program each day. What an inspiring and hopeful story of recovery from food addiction!
The American Obesity Epidemic is An Addiction Crisis
Oct 24 2023
The American Obesity Epidemic is An Addiction Crisis
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson has the unique experience of being an addict along with having studied the science of food addiction. In her book Bright Line Eating, The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free she discusses the concept of automaticity which is developing important new habits around the way we eat and behave. Her Susceptibility Scale quiz allows clients to determine on a scale of 1-10 how strongly their brains react to the reward of addictive foods."Her book, Rezoom addresses the ways in which we get off track from the program by lapsing. She offers ways to resume with acceptance and grace around addiction and recovery. Her approach toward various parts of our personalities that drive our food addiction such as the Saboteur, the Food Indulger and the Rebel helps her clients identify obstacles in their recovery and how to face them. She says the food industry is aware of our society’s addiction to sugar and highly processed foods and deliberately is manufacturing it.Her new book is out, On This Bright Day, A Year of Reflections for Lasting Food Freedom has just been released and is a daily inspiration book to help food addicts recover. Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson is an inspiring person and a phenomenal advocate for recovery from food addiction!  Susan Peirce Thompson website http://susanpeircethompson.com Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free https://www.amazon.com/Bright-Line-Eating-audiobook/dp/B06XGLWG1N/ref=sr_1_1crid=1I017ZYYOH1TC&keywords=bright+line+eating+book&qid=1697104954&sprefix=bright+line+eating%2Caps%2C98&sr=8-1 Rezoom https://www.amazon.com/Rezoom-Powerful-Crash-Burn-Addiction/dp/B09MYBYY5J/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1XV7871MF6JG&keywords=Susan+Peirce+Thompson+rezoom&qid=1697477303&s=audible&sprefix=susan+peirce+thompson+rezoom%2Caudible%2C78&sr=1-1
Sugar is Toxic and is NOT A Food, It Is an Additive to Foods
Sep 26 2023
Sugar is Toxic and is NOT A Food, It Is an Additive to Foods
Dr. Robert Lustig has a degree from MIT, a medical degree from Cornell University and a law degree from U.C. Hastings.  He is bold in his messaging: Our metabolic health as a nation has been negatively affected by our nutrition---We are not eating real foods, whole foods.  Sugar is added to ultra-processed foods and it is making us sicker.  75 percent of our health care costs in the U.S. are due to our poor metabolic health which is related directly to our poor nutrition.  Doctors treat the symptoms of metabolic disease and do not urge prevention through eating real food. The food industry and big pharma are all financially highly incented to keep us addicted and they know sugar and ultra-processed foods are addictive.   His Youtube video, Sugar: The Bitter Truth (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM) has gone viral with over 24 million views.  His most recent book Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine (https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Metabolical&i=stripbooks&crid=3KXLJ2N75LH2J&sprefix=metabolical%2Cstripbooks%2C109&ref=nb_sb_noss_1) offers an excellent account of what is truly going on:  Food and sugar addiction are real, the food industry knows this and adds sugar to foods, our doctors are treating the symptoms of obesity and metabolic syndrome by throwing pills at the problem and the pharmaceutical industry is motivated to be complicit. Dr. Lustig is a vocal advocate for placing Food Addiction in the DSM-V as a substance use disorder just like alcohol and drugs so that insurance companies will pay for treatment.  What a brilliant and inspiring man Dr. Robert Lustig is! Listen in!
Acceptance is Not Approval and Powerlessness is Not Helplessness
Aug 29 2023
Acceptance is Not Approval and Powerlessness is Not Helplessness
H. Theresa Wright, MS, RD, LDN, is the Founder and Director of Renaissance Nutrition Center, in Pennsylvania where she has developed programs to help people develop the skills to make lifestyle changes that lead to freedom from food addiction and encourage a “sane approach” to eating and living. Website:  Sane Food a nutrition therapist registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist, for more than 36 years, Theresa has helped people struggling with compulsive eating, obesity, eating disorders, weight loss, and food addiction leading them to find freedom and recovery. Growing up in an alcoholic household and witnessing the negative effects of addiction as well as the benefits of 12-step recovery have allowed her to treat food-addicted clients by counseling them on proper nutrition while addressing underlying emotional issues.  Theresa talks about the hallmarks of addiction: tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal, and says withdrawal can come with symptoms as our bodies adjust to eating differently, but they are temporary.  Once her clients become abstinent from excessive food, trigger foods, and compulsive food behaviors she helps counsel them as they emotionally disconnect from the foods they were using. She believes that our unhealthy use of food is hurtful to our minds, bodies, and spirits.   Theresa tells people who are struggling with food to not give up, there is hope to recover and live a wonderful life. https://sanefood.com/
Sugar Addiction is Real….And It’s Not Your Fault
Aug 15 2023
Sugar Addiction is Real….And It’s Not Your Fault
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist, a pioneer, and a world-renowned expert in the field of nutrition, diet, and food addiction. She received her Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University and is uniquely qualified to address the biology of food addiction as well as its psychological aspects. In her books, Why Diets Fail (Because You're Addicted to Sugar) and Hedonic Eating: How the Pleasure of Food Affects Our Brains and Behavior, Dr. Avena discusses our addictive and dependence-like relationship with sugar and highly processed foods. She reports that sugar is hiding in many foods and we have easy access to this highly addictive substance. Dr. Avena discusses the neuroscience around the brain’s pleasure center and dopamine release when we ingest addictive substances like sugar and dopamine release which can be in “overdrive” for addicts. Our society can tend to shame those who cannot control their sugar intake on their own, yet it is not a failure, it is an addiction. She reports withdrawal from sugar is possible and while it can come with side effects, they are temporary. Dr. Nicole Avena’s hope for the world is for all of us to make the connection between the obesity crisis and eating sugar and highly processed foods by acknowledging this and making changes. She has also written books about nutrition during pregnancy and for our children with the hope we will not raise unhealthy and overweight children. As she and others advocate for change to labeling and the addiction of food in the DSM-5 as a substance use disorder, the fight is a big one against the trillion-dollar food industry. Her next book Sugar Less will be released in the fall of 2023 which furthers the discussion around the prevalence of sugar and the addictive response in our society with 80 percent of grocery store products containing sugar. What an inspiring professional and advocate for bringing awareness around food and sugar addiction in our society!  All of Dr. Avena’s books can be found at:   https://www.drnicoleavena.com/bookstore.html https://www.drnicoleavena.com/index.html