Step 1: Surrender

13 Steps to Freedom from Food Addiction

Day 1: Surrender to Things Just As They Are and Just As They’re Not

AFFIRMATION:

“I hereby accept and love myself just the way I am, and the way I am not. I surrender and accept my experience. I am whole and com- plete, precious and loveable. I am perfect RIGHT NOW where I am in the process.”

From a larger spiritual perspective, this is all true, but for most of us, this declaration sounds crazy, because a part of us knows that when addiction runs our lives, it is not our natural state of being. We know it is a disease and not something to “accept.” Rather, it is something that is not an authentic expression of our higher Self, and which impedes our ability to accomplish our purpose on this planet.

WHAT YOU RESIST PERSISTS!

Regardless, do not resist where you are in your process right now—even hitting bottom has its purpose. Let’s assume that your soul is so wise that it chose addiction, as its teacher— and that you’re here to learn from addiction or any other suffering you have chosen as your companion in this lifetime. Let’s assume that you are far more powerful than you may realize, and that you have somehow chosen your current addiction and all of the circumstances of your life on a subconscious level. In this step, you are being asked to choose them on a conscious level.

Just as we surrender to our third grade teacher who says we have to learn math, we will honor our addiction as one of our greatest teachers. Once we learn the lessons of addiction, we won’t need it anymore, and we will graduate. This program is one of discovery! Often is it is our greatest suffering that becomes our greatest pearl of wisdom. Just like oysters turn a grain of irritating sand into its most beautiful treasure. We can’t take treasure with us when we graduate from this lifetime, but we CAN take our experiences and spiritual treasure.

If you find yourself resisting any exercise, just notice what the objection is, thank your ego mind for sharing, and do the exercise anyway. For example, you might think, “that’s not true.” It doesn’t matter if the affirmation or exercise is true or not. What matters is whether it works. Let this be your new test for the stories you tell. Ask yourself “How is that story working for me?” For example, we often make wishes on our candles at a birthday party. It may not be “true” that blowing out candles makes wishes come true, but it seems to “work for us,” because it creates a feeling of expansion and happiness. Go with it to find out what, if anything, the exercise reveals to you.

Our linear minds are often trapped in a dualistic conversation that says, “That’s right” or “wrong,” “That’s true” or “untrue,” “I agree,” or “I disagree.” If you allow these mental judgments to stop you, you will dramatically limit your experience in this life, which is mostly GRAY, not black and white at all.

“Between the concept of right and wrong, there is a field. I will meet you there.”ii

 

Day 2: Feeling Depleted? Surrender to Nourishment

AFFIRMATION:

“I choose nourishment. I choose to connect with my higher power. I am filled. I am fulfilled. I have always been embraced and loved unconditionally.”

This archetype of the Great Mother is about nourishing myself. How can I trust so deeply that I don’t need to fill my “empty” void? How can I appreciate the emptiness like a golden chalice—the Holy Grail—that has been prepared so that I am consciously filled with the gifts of the spirit—whether they come in the form of food, music, uplifting movies, emotional intimacy with others, art, conscious touch, kindness, inspiration or fulfilling my dreams.

No wonder we eat so much—we’re so hungry for so much more than just food, but in our culture we have forgotten to fill up on what we really desire—thinking that if we just have more stuff, we’ll feel better.

PUTTING THIS INTO PRACTICE

How can I create more sanctuary, rest and retreat for myself? I can set aside the time every day to nourish my soul. I create a sacred place to sit and BE. This is a place to empty myself so that I may be filled with something other than food. It requires that I drop OUT of my head away from too much thinking and into my feeling space, my heart and OPEN. I shall fill up on remembering how grateful I am for all that I have been given thus far, for all the beauty of my life, and for all the love, people, and blessings. I shall listen to beautiful music, inspirational writing—like mystical poetry—enjoy images that inspire me to decorate a sacred place or altar that honors my beliefs. I shall give myself plenty of time (at least one-half hour) every day to feed my soul.

I choose nourishing thoughts and feelings. If a thought or feeling depletes me, I choose a different one. I have a wonderful list of affirmations that light me up. I even have a set of inspirational cards that I made so I can choose one at random every morning and place it on my sacred space like an intention for my day.

This is NOT the time to do a cleanse. This is the time to nourish myself. For me, that means hot lentil soups, cooked green vegetables, bone-broth, protein smoothies with cinnamon and ginger tea. I’ve learned this because I have a nutrition coach/chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist and a naturopathic doctor who all agree and I feel better when I eat this way. I also know that walnuts and inositol magically stabilize my blood sugar and release me from white-knuckle sugar cravings. I am not on a diet—that sounds like scarcity and limitation—I am giving myself the super food nutrition that I need and deserve to honor my beautiful body. There is nothing “good” or “bad” to eat. Everything wants to nourish me in some way; even chocolate cake nourishes my little girl’s desire to have a treat.

However, if a food depletes me—I choose not to eat it. For example, soda pop depletes the calcium out of my bones. Since it’s not a whole food and doesn’t bring its own minerals for digestion, my body has to supply them, depleting them from other places where they are needed. When I eat depleting food, it makes me crave even more food. I want nourishing minerals in my body!

I choose to schedule time to go grocery shopping and prepare nourishing food—like a fun game that I get to play. This breaks me out of my comfort zone and old habits. The game is to come up with both a delicious and a healthy food plan. It’s time for abundance thinking—not scarcity thinking. Avocados and whole foods beautifully prepared are in order! If I don’t have time to cook, I’ll ask someone to cook for me or have the food delivered. I’ll start my day with hot lemon water or fresh celery juice to reset my PH, followed by a high quality breakfast.

POWERFUL PRACTICE

Determine what your body and soul need for nourishment and make a list. Enlist whatever support you need to make sure you are nourished. For example, add self-care items to your calendar to make sure they happen—exercise, etc.i

 

Day 3: Surrender to the Unknown

AFFIRMATION:

“I surrender to what I don’t know and what I don’t know I don’t know. I trust in the vast unknown to hold me. All is well.”

One of my earliest fears was trusting that everything was going to be all right because I didn’t know the future. I ate anxiously often wanting something in my mouth (usually potato chips) to numb my fear. I got anxious about money, relationships, politics, and the global suffering I saw on TV every day. The media feeds on our fears and anxieties. Sometimes in my fear of the unknown, I would act out familiar habits of eating even though I knew better. Intellectually, I knew the processed foods will make me feel worse, but I ate them anyway.

The three things I do to break free from my fear or lack of trust are:

  1. I CHOOSE to believe that life is great, that we can ALL have it ALL, and that everything happens for a reason pro- moting our spiritual development. In short, I have to remind myself that everything is going to be OK. It doesn’t matter whether our beliefs are actually true or not. The measure of a useful belief can be found in the results it produces. In this case, my belief creates peace and joy rather than fear. Try this on today.

 

  1. To take 100% responsibility for my If I CHOOSE to believe that everything occurs in my life because I’ve chosen it, then that means I can create something different at any moment. That is powerful and leaves me inspired to create my future rather than feel powerless about my circumstances. Try this on today.

 

  1. To drop into meditation and remember my spiritual I’ll share more about this in Step 3.

 

Day 4: Surrender to Receptivity

AFFIRMATION:

“I receive.”

Assume today that the entire universe is conspiring to sup- port you. Assume that your only job is to notice this phenomenon, receive the gifts and be grateful for them. Try not to have preconceived ideas about what that support might look like because that might get in your way. Just be open minded, open hearted and open to support.

I dreamed once that I was in a small dark shack in the rain forest in Puget Sound, Washington. There were a few leaky holes in the roof and I ran around frantically catching a drop or two in each of my seven golden chalices. I worked quickly moving them around continually inside the shack hoping for a little water. All I had to do was step outside the mildewed shack and stand in the rain to have

abundant water filling all my chalices without any effort. That’s as simple as this step is. Identify how you might move out of the limita- tions of your mind and how you would be open to what receptivity would look like for you.

I learned at age 3 when my father left us to “do it myself”—our individualistic western culture promotes this idea. I spent the first 35 years of my life in this mode and only recently allowed a partner (in my case, a man) to contribute to me. That receptivity required me to surrender and trust him. Let yourself lean on someone stable this week. Practice asking for help. Don’t limit yourself to this 3-dimensional-plane, but ask your angels, fairies, ancestors, guides, dreams and higher powers to assist you now.

It is divinely feminine to receive. How can you be more receptive?

 

Day 5: Surrender to Your Magnificence

AFFIRMATION:

“I am a magnificent being, much bigger than I ever thought possible. I’m amazing, full of surprises, and so is everyone else. I now step fully into my magnificence, embodying my Divine essence.”

Believe it or not, this may take a lot of courage. One of our greatest fears is not that we are inadequate, but that we are magnificent beyond our imagination.

We are trained to play small. I have wanted connection, amongst women, and I have been afraid to express fully my beauty for fear of female competitiveness. I thought I needed to gain weight so that other women would like me and not see me as competition. Some- times I gained weight to avoid unwanted sexual attention from men. That’s playing small too.

Now it’s time to celebrate our magnificence. What are you most amazing qualities? What keeps you from expressing them? What would you look like if you played big? Begin to create a vision board of your magnificent Self.

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT

Now it’s actually time to BE who you really are. At first, this may feel fake. You’ll get over it! It really took me about a year to own my big beautiful Divine Feminine Self. In the meantime, I pretended. I started to dress like my magnificent Self, decorated my room magnificently and created my life with more freedom and flair. I would ask, “What would I eat if I were a Goddess?” “What car would I drive?” “Where would I live?”

Warning: The world is longing for the Divine Feminine to reemerge. Others may begin to see you this way and want to worship you. I choose to graciously allow this, but not for my ego’s sake, just in service. Think of what it might be like to be Amma, appearing to be a saint and hugging everyone in the world. She got used to it. You will too. Graciously receive the gifts and adoration that come in response to this practice.

 

Day 6: Surrender to New Eating Habits

AFFIRMATION:

“I am willing to take whatever steps are necessary to create a won- derful relationship with food.”

I used to hate food, wishing I didn’t have to eat it ever again. That would be so much easier than facing my addiction every morning. When I transitioned from being a stressed-out lawyer for twenty years to living my dream in Hawaii as a mermaid, I assumed that food addiction would just magically disappear. I assumed that the stress of being a lawyer was to blame. However, as a wise person once said to me, “Wherever you are, there you are!”

To heal food addiction, we will actually have to create new eating habits. This will require a WILLINGNESS to change as well as some effort. It doesn’t have to be “hard” and you don’t have to know how to do that yet, but you must answer the following question with a yes to get started: Are you willing to change the way you eat?

If not, then you may not be in touch with WHY you want to heal from food addiction. Knowing the why is critical to your recovery. Make a list of all the things you want to do and be in this lifetime. Circle the ones that are the most important to you. Ask yourself, if I suffer from food addiction, will I be able to do or be these important things?

If you are still not willing, then you are a functional addict, just as I used to be, and you haven’t hit bottom yet. No worries—hitting bottom will be your motivation in the near future. Spirit always has a way of getting our attention when it’s time for us to grow. I prefer an easier route—willingness before I hit bottom. I visualize what bot- tom would look like for me—write it in my journal and pretend it has already happened.

If you ARE willing, begin to make a list of what foods you already know work well for your body and what foods don’t. Over the next 12 months, continue to explore this and add them to your list so you don’t forget when you are hungry.

Are you willing to give up old ideas and beliefs about food? Be open-minded to the possibility that your old ideas and beliefs may not be working for you. Are you willing to surrender your ideas of how long it should take to heal or what your ideal body weight should be? It is enough at first to be willing. You don’t have to figure out “how.” The how will reveal itself soon enough.

 

Day 7: Surrender to Feelings

AFFIRMATION:

“I am responsible for my emotions and the stories I make up that causes them. I choose to own them or rewrite them powerfully.”

When I eat to numb my feelings, they are packed into my fat cells for later processing. That’s like eating on a credit card, and I’ll have to pay the price later by dealing with the emotions when they come up. They come up when that fat cell releases the old emotion or trauma back into my system as it leaves my body.

Hopefully I’m drinking plenty of water to help this process occur gracefully. I hope that I have created space on my calendar to process my old feelings! This can be time to journal about them (See Exhibit H). It can be taking a bath once a week to have a good cry. It can be date night to discuss feelings with friends and loved ones. The faster we process the old feelings, the faster we lose the need to cover them up. Ask yourself, “What am I most upset about?” or “What do I want others not to know about me?” This can be the hardest part of the process for some of us after decades of cover up.

This is not an excuse to dump things on others, however. You are 100% responsible for your emotional reactions and the triggers that create them. Our emotions are often a reaction to a story we made up about reality. Unpack your emotions to get to the underlying story that now pretends to be more than just a story—it feels REAL. This is an illusion. We make up stories all the time and then convince ourselves that they’re real.

We create our reality this way and call it our past. Our past then becomes our future only because we recreate the same story repeatedly with different players and circumstances. We are stuck in a cycle of storytelling. Ask yourself, “How is that story working for me?” Does it make me happy, feel loved and create more love for others?” If your answer is no, then make up a new story.

Once you surrender your attachment to the old story, you can easily make up a new one that works better for the future you desire to create, since we just make everything up anyway. If there is a TRUTH out there, only our higher power has the ability to see all perspectives on it. Therefore, understanding that our vision as humans is quite limited in its perception helps us give up the idea that we have to be “right.”

For example, I always used to think, “Something was wrong.” I spent my whole life looking for evidence of that. This didn’t work well for me because I lived in a world with little trust and little appreciation of what was going well.

If you are willing to give up being “right” and more interested in creating a story that works for YOU, you will be free to create whatever you desire regardless of the circumstances.

You can identify stories that aren’t working for you by asking yourself what makes you feel resigned, cynical, powerless or judgmental. Use your journal to rewrite at least one disempowering story you tell yourself. At first, it will pretend to be REAL and refuse to be called just a “story.”

If you are stuck, it may be because some things that happen are real. If my friend said, “You look fat in those pants.” The fact that she said those words is real, but the story I make up about it later, like “She’s a jerk. She said that on purpose to make me feel bad” is not real. It’s just my story about what happened.

Distinguishing what happened from my story is key and not as easy as it sounds when emotions run high. What’s worse is that our friends and families agree with our stories and make them even more real. You might begin to notice when you do this for others and when they do it for you thinking loyalty in storytelling is a kindness. It’s actually a conspiracy and has nothing to do with reality. So, if we make up stories all day long, please make up stories that work for the life you want to create!