I wouldn’t be here writing this if I hadn’t been down a certain road and now it is my job, my joy, to be in true service and guidance to others on the journey out of a dark space and into a life free from food addiction. Why? Because I know how important it is.
I had spent over 20 years struggling , self-sabotaging and playing Russian roulette with my own health but it wasn’t until 2008 – my “annus horribilis” – that I plummeted into burnout and my earth went pretty dark.
Up until that point I thought I could handle anything; face anything head on, beat it, overcome it. I was successful in my profession as a dental surgeon, a good mum, good wife, good friend, good daughter. Nothing prepared me for the chink in my armour – my addiction to alcohol.
Alcohol had once been my best friend and now junk food had replaced it
Mentally, physically and emotionally, I was exhausted and my life was falling apart all around me.Getting the help I needed to recover was a blessing but what took me by surprise, was my growing love of junk food. I couldn’t believe it! One addiction was replaced by another. Alcohol had once been my best friend and now junk food had replaced it. Then one morning I rolled out of bed feeling ill after a binge the night before and I realized this was an addiction. Same signs and symptoms and, in some ways, just as ferocious as the one I had with alcohol.
I behaved exactly the same way around certain foods as I did with alcohol. I was obsessive, compulsive, secretive. Carb hangovers, being sick, night sweats, feelings of guilt, shame, self-loathing, mood swings, depression – they all set in again. This was the true start of my own journey of discovery and recovery, finding out worked for me and what didn’t.
My absolute passion today is to help others who, like myself, really didn’t understand their addiction. They’d spent years thinking they were weak-willed, lazy, greedy, trying every diet or health and fitness programme to lose weight, then getting caught in the vicious cycle of feeling good, swearing to never binge again, then turning to addictive eating once again.
I truly believe it to be an addiction. If it quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it’s a duck. There is strong medical research and evidence to the fact that certain foods along with other factors can trigger food addiction.
Training to be an addictions coach was my first step, then going on to develop the Food Addiction Coach programme for health professionals. Today I am 13 years sober and 12 years free of the vicious cycle of food addiction and I am here to create a movement, an army of food addiction coaches, armed with facts, strategies and techniques to create transformation. We need a paradigm shift in the way we approach disordered eating and I am determined to help deliver it.