Food is an essential for survival and for healing from addiction or alcoholism. Drug and alcohol addiction weakens many parts of the body externally and internally, depending on the specific drug of choice. Generally, long term addiction can weaken the immune system, weaken the muscles, damage the organs, the heart, and more. Food is a medicine as much as it is a means for survival and a lifestyle. Adopting a healthy and balanced lifestyle of diet and nutrition aids in recovery of mind, body, and spirit fueling the journey of restoration and change.
Food is also a source of pleasure. Certain foods, like sugars, produce the same effects of dopamine production as drugs and alcohol. Poor eating habits can become as emotionally associated as the habit of turning to drugs and alcohol. Weight gain, weight loss, and other fluctuations in physical health are common in the early phases of recovery. Food can become an addiction and a coping mechanism to support a difficult emotional journey. Rather than use food as a positive source of fuel and energy, food becomes another source of toxic guilt and shame. Too often, this can create a web of other issues and emotional stress, which could eventually lead to relapse.
Applying the principles and practice of mindful awareness to eating can be helpful in navigating hunger, identifying cravings for eating, making healthy choices, and learning to be fully appreciative of food as a celebratory part of life and recovery.
Tune Into Hunger
The mind-body connection helps create a greater awareness between feeling hungry, thinking of hunger, or actually being hungry. Before grabbing a snack or reaching for another meal, tune into the hunger. When was the last time food was consumed? Has there been a sufficient amount of calories consumed for today so far? Are there uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, or stresses occurring? Is there boredom or an inability to sit still?
Waiting too long to eat typically results in overeating because there is a tendency to eat very quickly. Getting as much food in as possible leaves little time for the body to digest and send the proper signal for there being enough food. Eating slowly and paying attention to the eating process helps the stomach become more full with the right amount of food instead of stuffed with too much food. Digestion is better, which is proven to be connected to mental health.
Cypress Lakes Lodge provides each client with private care by a licensed dietician and nutritionist. Nutritional counseling and dietitian designed meal are customized for each client’s lifestyles and teaches them to nurture their bodies throughout recovery. For more information on our residential treatment programs providing excellence in addiction treatment, call us today at 877-938-1577.