The role of nutrition in recovery is an understated one.
As we said in our last nutritional blog, addicts right off the bat are very regularly malnourished. Whether you’re choosing to spend your money on illicit drugs instead of food, or you’re avoiding eating to refrain from killing your buzz, addicts with poor nutritional habits are a dime a dozen. While this is the norm when dealing with someone with an active addiction, it’s destructive behavior that must be broken in the recovery process. We cannot nourish our minds without nourishing our bodies, and this is where the role of nutrition in recovery really comes into play.
Rob Cole, LHMC, RD, LRD is a licensed registered dietician and licensed mental health counselor here at Destination Hope. Rob provides individual and group therapy to clients suffering from substance abuse and dual diagnosis and he’s also able to work with our clients as a nutritionist. Rob has wonderful advice and techniques on how to do a better job of eating right and also has a great list of pitfalls that can lead to eating wrong. He was kind enough to offer us some common mistakes that recovering addicts will make when trying to learn to eat healthier.
Common Missteps When Trying to Improve Nutrition in Recovery
1. One-Food Wonders – There are a variety of wacky diets out there that promise that as long as you only eat one thing, whether it’s cabbage soup, grapefruits or cookies – to name a few, that you can eat as much as you want of it and you’ll lose 10 pounds a week. These types of diets are incredibly unhealthy, but also dangerous to recovering addicts. Extreme, short-term diets like this mean that it’s highly unlikely you’re getting all of the vitamins and nutrition you need in order to be healthy and energized. In addition, it’s setting you up to be very hungry and then binge, which is walking dangerously close to the behaviors of someone with an eating disorder, rather than someone who’s truly demonstrating healthy nutrition in recovery. While some of these may help you lose weight in the short term, there’s no possible way to maintain this weight loss in the long term.
2. Fat-Free Fallacy – We’re all exposed to a number of low-fat and fat-free items every time we walk into the grocery store. While reducing the amount of fat intake to someone with a high-fat diet is a good thing, cutting fat out altogether or in large percentages is actually not. Fat is a legitimate, beneficial and necessary part of our diets. Fat is a part of our body that plays an important role, like all components inside us do. For starters, fat is what helps us feel full and stay full. Fat also helps stabilize our blood sugar levels, which we learned in our last nutrition blog is an imperative focus of healthy nutrition in recovery. A healthy amount of fat in our diets ensures that we don’t constantly feel hungry.
3. Diet Martyrdom – We’ve all probably been guilty at some point in our lives of putting on a few pounds and going into extreme diet lockdown, denying ourselves all sweets, fats salts, etc – basically all of the foods that make us happy. This practice is setting you up for failure from the beginning. Completely cutting out all of your favorite, most satisfying foods increases your likelihood to binge. A keystone of nutrition in recovery is to find a healthy, sustainable balance that works for you. It doesn’t mean you can never eat a piece of candy, it just means you shouldn’t eat it every day. Moderation plays a big role in nutrition, and denying ourselves all of the foods that we love is not reasonable.
Destination Hope is a premier addiction treatment facility for men and women suffering from substance abuse and dual diagnosis in Florida. We understand the significance good nutrition plays in a successful recovery and can help you learn to achieve both. If you or a loved one could benefit from the focused care of Destination Hope, please don’t hesitate to call us today. Your tomorrow can start today.