RANT: Food Addiction

I totally ‘get’ addiction. I can fully relate to patients who struggle with substance abuse.  There are desserts I’ve tasted that I would knowingly steal and sell my mother’s jewelry just to taste again. There are days when I ‘need’ chocolate, and will rummage through cabinets and drawers with the same tenacity as a junkie searching for ‘smack’.  If under extreme duress, a plate of warm, fresh-baked, chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream atop could tempt me to devious sexual acts…I’m just sayin….

But narcotic use and alcohol consumption by addicts is called abuse.  And usually results in a rapid decline in health, morals and finances.  ‘Using’ is considered taboo, irresponsible, even sad; and is illegal. With food addiction, you aren’t ostracized and you won’t die a fast death.  In fact, you are encouraged by every commercial, every relative, every waitress and social occasion to over-indulge (or abuse food).  So you unknowingly experience a slow decline in health, physical fitness, and esteem.  A slow, unhealthy death.

If I approached abdominal sculpting or telethoning with the same gusto I approach ingesting delicious food, lets just say I’d be one washboard-ab-having-fundraising fool! (and much thinner). But there is something deep in the brain, perhaps my satiety center, that lights up like Disneyland on the 4th of July when deliciousness meets my mouth.

I now know, that same chemical reaction in the brain I experience with sugar, is what happens when a person uses cocaine or heroin.  Sugar is like a drug to our brains and I can’t seem to get enough.

Until I do. More than enough.

Then I’m sick. And full. And I say “remember this feeling, and don’t do it again”, but I do it again. Just as the heroin addict finds another needle.

But no one is going to feel sorry for a food addict like they do a drug addict.  Yet there are millions of us out there abusing food.  Where and how do we get help?  Help is Here

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Madeleine Vanstory attended Duke University and began her post-graduate journey at The Elaine Clark Center working with special needs children. She went on to work as a Clinical Research Scientist running clinical trials for the CDC and developing medical devices for Welsh Allen, Abbot Labs, Roche and Johnson & Jonhson Her work included non-invansive cervical cancer detection, continuous diabetic glucose monitoring, non-harmful infant bilirubin level detection and studying Vitamin C's anti-aging effects on the skin. Madeleine attended Medical school at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and completed a residency in Family Medicine at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro NC. Dr. Madeleine Vanstory is a board certified Family Physician who has practiced all over the world. She has lead medical missions in Kenya and Honduras. She has participated with Operation Smile in Russia, she has patients in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and New Zealand. Dr. Vanstory has worked the medical tents in the Marine Corps marathon in Washington DC and at the Kona Ironman World Championships. And Dr. Vanstory has marched with the Surgeon General promoting "Exercise is Medicine" at the World Congress Sports Medicine Conference. Disillusioned by the current health care system and armed with the realization that culture, nutrition and emotional well-being have a profound impact on health, Dr. Vanstory now motivates clients and patients to discover the healthiest versions of themselves through humor, counseling in her "Upgrade Your Health" Wellness Program.

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