It’s very common for a person to gain weight once they enter recovery from addiction. And just as common is men and women who have health concerns as a result of not taking good care of their body while they were addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. This article will discuss ways that a person might restore a healthy relationship with their body through mindful eating and other nutritional practices.
Addiction itself is an experience that is not kind to the body or the brain. Many essential nutrients are lost for the months or years that a person experiences addiction. And it’s not only the alcohol or drug that created harm to the body, but it’s also the eating patterns that a person might have gotten into. For instance, a person might not have eaten very much during their addiction. Or he or she might have been eating in ways that did not meet their nutritional needs. Typically, a person needs protein, vegetables, grains, and carbohydrates, as well as some form of dairy. Yet, it’s quite likely that someone who has been drinking or using drugs for a period of time was not eating well and likely not eating very often. On the other hand, it’s also possible that someone who was addicted to a substance might have been eating excessively. Either way, addiction is frequently accompanied by poor eating and nutritional habits.
For this reason, someone who is concerned about the health of their body, particularly after experiencing addiction or excessive drinking or drug use, might want to pay attention to the needs of their body. One way to do this is to eat mindfully and carefully. Mindful eating applies mindfulness to the experience of eating. Mindfulness is paying attention to the experiences within and around you as they occur in the moment. It means not dwelling on the past or fantasizing about the future. Mindfulness is resting attention in the present moment and giving your attention to what happens right now. When applied to eating, it means paying attention to the following:
- -Recognizing when you are full so that you don’t excessively eat
- -Really enjoy and taste your meal so that you feel satisfied with it versus yearning for more food
- -Recognizing the difference between fatigue, stress, and hunger.
- -Recognizing when you’re hungry and only eating in these moments
Mindful eating is simply the experience of becoming aware of your eating habits, eating at the appropriate times, and enjoying your meals.
It can be very common for those in early recovery from addiction to eat when they feel uncomfortable. Emotional eating, as it is called, can lead to weight gain, and in severe circumstances can contribute to a food addiction. There are some similarities between the illness of addiction and food disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa. Of course, mindful eating can not only support a person in restoring their physical health after an addiction, but it can also prevent against emotional eating during the first few months of recovery, which can be emotionally and psychologically challenging.
If you’re in recovery and you’re interested in mindful eating, contact a nutritionist in your neighborhood.
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