In the last issue of Amazing Wellness, readers met Courtney Woodruff of Evansville, Ind. (“The Freedom Diaries Part I,” Fall, 2014). Woodruff, 34, had conquered drug and alcohol addiction long ago, but a new addiction—food—had taken over, affecting her sleep, work, relationships, and peace of mind. Healing from this new addiction began when she attended my Total Transformation program at a retreat held in Rhinebeck, NY this past May. Read about it at amazingwellnessmag.com.
By focusing on her health (not the scale), taking key supplements, and adopting a low-carb, sugar-free food regimen rich in good fats, Courtney began to experience significant improvements in her sleep and night-bingeing episodes. Her glimmers of hope have since given way to a totally transformed Courtney.
The New Courtney: A Day in the Life of True Freedom
Today, Courtney no longer wakes up in a sleep-deprived hangover surrounded by food wrappers. She no longer has to race to the grocery store before her family gets up to replace the food that she devoured in the middle of the night. She no longer shops six times a week with the same kind of fear of running out of food that she once had of running out of drugs or alcohol.
She no longer obsesses over a scale or fitting into a size two. She no longer relies on prescription drugs to elevate her mood or to sleep at night. She falls asleep naturally, and rarely experiences dark moods. She is no longer visited by the “bingeing demon” in the middle of the night.
At her restaurant job, she no longer forages for leftover food off of customers’ plates. She no longer thinks of food all day and instead thinks about her family’s future and aspirations. She no longer runs from conversations or feels like she lives outside of the fish bowl looking in. Today, she participates fully in her life.
How did these miracles happen? One of my recommendations to Courtney was to turn to an approved list of foods that would not spike her blood sugar and perpetuate further cravings if she felt the need to binge (for a list of these approved foods, see Part I at amazingwellnessmag.com). During the first two weeks of the plan, Courtney had a couple of slip-ups and binged on unapproved foods. But other than those exceptions, when she did binge, it was still on the new high-fat, low- or no-carb foods. Changing her binge foods proved a successful first step by reducing the “pendulum” of rebound cravings
and blood sugar swings. I recommended taking blood sugar-stabilizing supplements such as chromium, benfotiamine, and alpha-lipoic acid to help this process go even faster.
Binge Triggers and Busters
During the next two months, we found that skipping or delaying meals sometimes prompted binges, as did rough sleep nights, stressing about not having clothes that fit (she felt much better when she bought some), and craving “flavor.”
Zinc deficiency has been linked with decreased smell and taste in some eating disorders. Along with taking zinc supplements, I suggested Courtney use flavorings and spices in her cooking; some spices like cayenne pepper can increase satiety from a meal.
A good night’s sleep corresponded directly with less anxiety and cravings the next day and during
the night. Courtney found that a supple-ment helped. “The formula I picked up with vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium,
L-theanine, valerian root, GABA, melatonin, and alpha-lipoic acid really helped with sleep,” she says. “Soon after I started taking it, I woke up to go to the bathroom and never even thought about going to the kitchen. That was a first!”
Courtney’s relationships are improving, too. “Until very recently I could not even understand the connection my little girl shared with her father,” she says. “I would
watch them play outside through the kitchen window while I binged. My cravings were so strong that I could not even participate. Recently, I played volleyball outside with my daughter Ellie until sunset without thinking about food. A simple pleasure to others, but a miracle to me. I’m finally participating in life rather than observing it.”
Courtney found that certain supplements like L-tyrosine and free-form amino acids reduced her cravings and Relora helped relieve her anxiety which could trigger binges. (See Part I online for my full list of recommended supplements to support cravings, sleep, and brain and digestive healing). Although buying this full list of supplements was at first cost-prohibitive for Courtney, she applied the gas and grocery money saved from the elimination of the night binges (and resulting extra grocery trips) to her supplement budget. “I only shop once a week now, unless I forget something. My food intake has dramatically decreased.”
The Weighting Game
Although Courtney’s night bingeing was no longer an issue, her afternoon binges
(on the new binge foods) continued, and she put on some weight. I told her that temporary weight gain could be expected as a consequence until her cravings diminished enough to go binge-free for three or four days in a row. That is generally long enough to change our biochemistry and regain our satiety signal. Her appetite would then drop and the weight with it. Courtney put on about 15 pounds at her highest, and got down about it at times, but kept the faith because of how her life had changed already. “I have decided that even if I stay at this weight, I wouldn’t trade not bingeing at night and being able
to sleep for anything,” says Courtney. “I have reached a point that I would rather just be healthy. My complexion has cleared. Everyone has noticed. It didn’t really occur to me that I could look better even with the weight on me, but I’m getting used to that idea, too.”
New Confidence Emerging
As of this writing, Courtney has gone 44 days binge-free. The first absence of any craving was accompanied by a new sense of fullness half-way through her meals. A sudden loosening of her clothes the next morning and soaring energy followed. Fully expecting to have to exercise willpower and restraint to get through her afternoon cravings indefinitely, Courtney was floored by their sudden disappearance. In fact she could no longer even finish her usual portions at breakfast and dinner. “That first morning that my pants were loose and I got full on about half of my usual three-egg breakfast was amazing,” she says. “Then no seconds with no willpower at lunch, which was also a first. It might have been the first normal day of my adult life.”
“Scary” New Energy
“I truly am at a loss for what to do with the energy I now have. It’s actually unnerving to find myself so suddenly present and well, rather than hidden in my familiar black cloud (or my kitchen). I find myself in real conversations with people rather than preoccupied or self-conscious. The anxiety is no longer an issue, and if I feel down at times, it passes. I am able to experience life—even the painful parts—without turning to food.”
Health expert and award-winning author of The Truth About Beauty, Kat James transformed her body and health beyond recognition after a 12-year eating disorder, and liver and autoimmune diseases, nearly took her life. To learn more about Kat James’ transformation story, bestselling book, or Total Transformation Programs and TelePrograms, visit informedBeauty.com or call 877-54-TOTAL.