Recovering From Food Addiction: Why Food Is Not the Problem

In This Video:

Many of us have a complicated relationship with food, but when food obsession starts to sabotage our health and our lives, it may be a symptom of an underlying problem. Robin talks with expert Debbie Lichter about how food addiction often affects high achieving women, even when they have the right information and know how to eat healthy. She explains how this can result from an attempt to cope with discomfort, and looks at ways to uncover and address the underlying issues. Learn about the three different types of eaters and why common advice often mischaracterizes the problem, leaving women frustrated.

Questions I Answer

  • What is food addiction?
  • How do I know if I have a food addiction?
  • How can I find out what is causing my food addiction?


Next Steps


Resources & Links


Show Transcript +

* This transcript was generated using AI. It may contain typos, misspellings, or grammar mistakes.

like, stop. Oh, oh, oh, I knew what happened. We're alive. Are we? Okay, my UE BOOM ran out, I'll just claim here
so nice just arriving here. That's so funny. Technology has been a little bit of a thing today. So it's just wonderful to be here with you. And I have a very special guest, Debbie I, Debbie. Hi, Robin. Oh, it's so awesome. So I have to show you these really cool glasses. So we are prepping up for the 15 day hormone reset that starting on September 14. And I'm collecting these very sexy glasses. So this is my second pair. Right? I showed you the really cool heart shaped ones last week. So we're collecting glasses, because we're going to have a special cool glasses day, or we're going to have a special cool, big ring day. And then we're gonna do, we're gonna do like a unicorn headband. And I don't have mine yet. But I have someone who's helping me get like the prettiest one there is. And so we're just gonna have so much fun. So make sure that you mark your calendar for September 14, you do not want to miss this amazing program. Oh my gosh, it's so there's so incredible. And I just keep hearing more and more stories of the huge successes of the women in the program this this morning, I heard more. So it's unbelievable. So we've got to do this together sisters that 10 days, we can do anything for 15 days. Alright, so I am so excited to have this beautiful guest on Debbie, I'm going to share her with you right now. So she is a dear friend and colleague and just so incredible in helping women overcome their issues around food addiction, food obsession, which is a big deal. And you know, I never thought that that was a problem for me. But it turns out, yes, I mean, all the things that she talks about, were absolutely issues for me and still can be. And so I think it's really important for us to get a better understanding of what this actually is because it can be a huge sabotage for our health and, and our lives. And so Debbie is the founder of freedom embodied Academy, and she's helped women worldwide for the last decade, get free from food addictions and obsessions, so that they can stop holding back and have the confidence to authentically shine their light. As a food addiction and embodiment expert who worked for Cosmopolitan magazine internationally, Debbie navigated her own path to freedom from food and drug addiction, codependency severe anxiety and self doubt, and today combines 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry with her signature congruence code system to help women get free and stay free from all addictions, feel lighter, speak up confidently and be comfortable in their own skin. Welcome, Debbie.

Oh, so good to be here. And Robin, I just want to say that you are such a gift. And when you were sharing earlier with the sunglasses and the whole thing, I'm like women in this community are so lucky to have you. So I just just want you to know that it's an absolute honor. I've got so much tremendous respect for you. And it's an honor to be here and to be able to share with your community. So thank you for the opportunity.

Oh, you are so welcome. And Debbie is going to actually be part of the 15 day hormone reset the next one. Oh my gosh, I'm so we are so blessed to have you because it's all so integrated. You know, we can't have hormone balance if we if we can't get a handle on the food part or the it's really not even about food is it?

No, that's that's really that's really the big thing, Robin and you know, I feel like I mean, my background like you read I was a health and fitness expert and I thought that I had the answers. I thought I knew what being healthy was I was able to help you know 1000s of other people with their health and wellness goals. I was running a health club. I looked like the picture of health, but I felt felt so ashamed. I felt like such a fraud because I couldn't stop binging and obsessing about food. It was like this dirty little secret that I had. And I would try to be good during the day, you know, smiling, friendly, you know, like being helpful and giving everything to everyone else. And, and I would come home at night feeling depleted and exhausted and just totally deserving, deserving deep. But I wanted. And, you know, the thing that was really challenging was that I thought I knew what I needed to do. And I thought it was just about having better discipline, and cutting out the sugar and eating in moderation and having better control. And I was working so hard to try and figure out my food. And I had no idea that the very things that I was doing to try and fix my problem, were actually making my problem worse. Yeah.

Yeah. And I love how I love how you you talk about it, you know, it's, it's really, really happens to women who are smart, right, who have a lot going on in their lives who have big visions for themselves. It is it's not it's not a knock on your intelligence. And I'd like to talk about that for a minute. Because there's so much shame, and so much embarrassment and so much guilt around it. Yeah, Robin,
here's what I actually find is that women who struggle with food addiction and obsession tend to be smart, high achievers who have success in other areas of their life, and they have so much to be grateful for. And I think one of the things that makes it so frustrating for them is there's like almost this intolerance, like, why am I still dealing with this, you know, I have all this nutrition knowledge. I've done this, you know, this, this inner work are all this self work. And you know, they have so much to bring to the table. And then it's like, why am I still dealing with this. And this really spills into what I've discovered over the last decade of the most common mistake that so many smart women are making that's really keeping them stuck in that binging and obsessing and restricting cycle with food. And, frankly, I mean, it's really what I was doing too, so I really, really got it. And that is this, it's fixating on trying to fix our food. It's trying to focus on the food. You know, when women come to me, and they say, I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired, I'm so ready to have a new relationship with food. The first thing they want to do is tell me what they're eating, what they're staying away from what they're trying to be good with. And, you know, and, and all this stuff. And I'm like, I get it, I really, really get it because that's where I was too. But here's the thing that so many of us are missing is that the food the way that we're the things that we're you know, that we were eating or, you know, when we're obsessing about food, and what to eat all of that the obsession and the actual addiction and the binging. That's all a symptom. That's not the problem. And it's a symptom of an underlying issue. And that's really what I love to share with women. And if you if you mind, Robin, I'd love to just kind of just talk a little bit about what I mean by that.

Yeah, I'd love to. So so like, I'm not sure that I would have self identified with, you know, having food addiction problem or a food obsession problem unless you said, Well, what about all those cookies that you eat? Or, you know, so how does how does a woman know if she does obsess about food? Or if she does have a food addiction problem?

Great question. So, you know, I really think that there's like three types of eaters, there's the kind of person that can take food or leave it alone, they just sort of, you know, they lose this the person you're with, you know, at a restaurant, they sort of get into a conversation, they lose interest in the food, you know, it's just, it's not a big event for them. Sometimes this person says, Oh, I forgot to eat and you know, it's just food is not doesn't register as a big deal for them. Then there's a type of eater who might look like they have a real food addiction. They might bend with the best of them, they might get obsessive, they might do all kinds of things, but given sufficient reason, like they go to the doctor, and the doctor says, hey, you know what you really need to get, you know, you really need to get things together. Your health isn't looking that good. Or, you know, hey, I'm gonna have a baby and I really want to get in health for that, or, you know, I'm getting getting married, or I'm starting my life over or I'm just deciding, you know, I remember a couple years ago, there was a gentleman who I spoke with and he said, Yep, you know, in 2002 There was one day and I just decided I'm gonna stop eating sugar. And then he just stopped.

How do you do that? I mean, Oh my gosh, that's crazy. But I
know and I was like, Okay, you and I are not the same type of Eater is really what it is because that person given sufficient reason, they can just stop or moderate and change their ways. Then there's a third category. And this third category, like, given sufficient reason, they can't stop or moderate, they still go back to the, to the issue, you know, they might think to themselves, I got to stop eating the sugar, or I've got to, you know, I've just got, I've got to get things together, I've got to follow this plan over here. And they might do it for a few days or even a few weeks. But eventually, they go back to the pattern. Or it might be the same kind of thing of, well, I'm just gonna have a bike, I'm gonna have one cookie, like you said, robins gonna have one cookie here, I just, I just want something I just want to treat. But then as soon as you start eating, as soon as that bite hits your mouth, and you start eating, it tastes good. And you don't want to stop.

Me, I could definitely do that. And when you're talking about the three different types, it's like, it's like, who can sit down at a meal and not like, just be like, all in the food, like, I am all in the food. I like food is so important to me. I think that's why I went down the path they went down. It's like, okay, I have to understand food better. Right.
But let me just tell you, because I had, I had an ex used to go to our favorite restaurant, and we would sit down, and he would order his favorite steak out or do my favorite like 11 portion salad. This thing was so big. And and I remember the first time this happened, like halfway into his meal, he threw his napkin down on his plate, pushed a seat back, and I'm like, What are you doing? He's like, I'm full. I'm like, but you still have half your steak on your plate. It's like I'm full. I'm like, what is that has to do with it? Like, it's your favorite meal. Like you get that that's your that's on your plate, like how can you not want to eat all of that, but he just lost interest in it. And meanwhile, I'm sitting there with this 11 portion size salad feeling like this is on my plate. So I deserve all of this. And he would have to sit there while I finished my entire meal, even though I was well past full. But that was my thinking I just had a different relationship with food. And so this is what I find. And when you have this thing going on, when you can start eating something, and you can have every intention of just having one, but then when you start getting into it, and it's like oh no, I think you'd be able to have another one, you start making these justifications with yourself these rationalizations with yourself. And, and before you know it, you finished half of it or the whole thing. This is a different kind of thing going on. And and the problem that I see out there, Robin is that most of the information out there is really designed to help the first two categories have a healthier relationship with.

Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. And
so what happens is that third category is trying to is trying to you know, fit themselves into these other plans. And then it's not working, and then they're feeling all this shame about it. And it really comes down to their solution is not going to work for you. Because there's a different thing going on over here. And that's what I specialize in, because that's what I had going on. And I had to seek deeper than those kinds of surface strategies and you know, moderation and better willpower and all this kind of stuff.

Yeah, absolutely. Oh my gosh, so. So So tell us like, how do we do this?

Yeah, well, so I think that I think it really comes down to so it comes down to understanding what food addiction and obsession is. And so, you know, the way that I understand that this just comes from, you know, my own journey of getting free the last decade of working with countless people on their journey of getting free from from food addictions and obsessions. It's I've really come to understand that a food addiction or obsession is really anything that we do to distract or numb ourselves from an underlying discomfort, or dis ease. That when we try to stop doing we find that we can't. This is so so important. So food addiction, food obsession is anything that we do to distract or numb ourselves from that underlying discomfort and dis ease that when we try to stop or moderate or control, we find that we can't do it. And this Robin is so so important because again, if you're trying to fix your food, you're working at things on the surface level. If you're not addressing the underlying discomfort and dis ease that's driving you to the food in the first place. Then eventually no matter how well you're sticking to the plan or what goodwill Fowler, you are eventually at one point, that internal discomfort and dis ease is going to get so overpowering, that it's going to cause you to reach for an external source of ease and comfort, because that's really what food is. It's an external source of ease and comfort. And this is why, you know, if you're being good with your food, you might find Oh, but I'm binging on Netflix. Oh, but I'm binging on social media. Oh, I'm drinking too much wine. Oh, you know, I'm, I'm overdoing it with a shopping like that pattern of meeting an external source of ease and comfort will, will manifest in some way until we can address what that underlying thing is.

I liked that you brought up those other things, because it's not usually just about food. And you know, what I was reading your bio, you shared that, you know, you also had a drug addiction, right. And it often goes with other addictions. And I love also that you share that, you know, you're looking for an external thing to help with an internal problem. So, this may be too much for this talk. But how do we like start discovering what those internal issues are?
Yeah, great, great question. I mean, this is actually, I actually have an upcoming training where I'm gonna be talking more about this, because it really is it takes it takes a bit of a deeper dive to get into these things. But But ultimately, you know, to answer your question of what do we do, and where do we start? What I would say is, if you really, really want to get on your path of freedom, of lasting freedom, from food addiction, food obsession, instead of focusing on the food, and what to eat, and all that kind of stuff, my invitation to you is to set that aside, and focus on what it's going to take for you to cultivate that internal sense of ease and comfort. Because when you have an authentic internal sense of ease and comfort, it completely it makes reaching for an external source of ease and comfort, obsolete, it just the problems, the problem goes away. And so that's why when I'm supporting women, on their path of freedom on their path of lasting freedom, I'm guiding them through a process whereby they are regaining access to an internal sense of ease, and comfort. And, and that's what I've seen is what creates lasting freedom. And your work is
so incredible. Because it may not be a place where we've ever been before. You know, it's your not only like shifting habits and getting to know yourself better and getting to know kind of what your triggers are, and, and what's going on in your body. But you may have never felt this sense of ease and comfort. So so how do you help the women make a transition from this, this internal, what I want to say, kind of buzz that's going on to just a more I like to say in a place of peace and love more in presence more of the time, because I know like if I, in the past, if I were to go out to a meal with someone or family or go over to someone's house for dinner or whatever. I'm very, like, I noticed now of course, that I can get very anxious, right and, and it's not that I need to eat, it's that I need that activity of eating right, and then I need to get that done. And then I need the next thing. So one of the things that I have been working on for years is to just be right to just be in the place of listening and the present moment and and just being but that's like this huge shift right from this nervous underlying energy that's there for a lot of us.

Totally, totally, oh my gosh, I love this. This. I love this topic. And there's a lot that I could say right here and I want to speak into that, that that nervous that nervous energy. Because you're right. I mean, when I I've I've talked to so many women over the years and so many times when we're really getting to the to the core of what is freedom for you. It's the freedom to just be able to be knee and bok being. You know, it comes to these really simple but profound ways of being. And you know that that internal discomfort and dis ease creates so much internal noise because that internal discomfort and dis ease can control physically, you know, physical pain and all the stuff that you deal with Robin. I mean, I had chronic pain, adrenal burnout, I had lots and lots of physical issues showing markers for autoimmune disease. I had all that stuff going on. And then it can show up mentally, you know, where the anxiety and the overwhelm and the obsession and just, you know, kind of your like just that nervous energy and irritation that can show up at a spiritual level where you just have that inner angst, you don't feel connected, you feel separate, you feel alone, you're not okay, and you don't know why it can show up on lots of different levels. And you know, and so the solution for that really is a body mind spirit solution. And, but I would love to just speak into one thing that women can put their focus on, because you spoke about being able to walk into a social gathering and not have that default of I've got a, you know, for me, it was so interesting, when I saw I don't drink, I wasn't ever an alcoholic, but I don't drink anymore. It just felt like the right thing for me. And when I, when I stopped walking into a social gathering, and the first thing I did was go fix a drink, I have to be with the discomfort of that's not my thing anymore. And then I had to sit with oh, there was sort of an awkwardness, I didn't know what to do with myself. And people didn't know what to do with me, because they're too they want to offer me a drink. And I'm not drinking. And so you know, there were this kind of weird thing. And, and, and it can be the same way with food, you know, the first thing you do is you walk in and you go fix yourself a plate or something, it just becomes default to sort of mitigate that internal discomfort of not knowing how to be with yourself in this situation. So there's a couple of things that I would suggest for people. And there's a lot more to talk about as it relates to this stuff. But I want to start here. So the one is to be able to bring your awareness from your head down into your body to actually get grounded in your own body. One of my favorite techniques for that is, is literally bringing your awareness down to the soles of your feet. And so it mean, you can even do that right now just feeling the sensation of your feet in contact with the ground. What's so neat about that is that you can't be up in your head and worrying and projecting and you know, all this kind of stuff, when you're actually feeling the sensations of the soles of your feet on the ground. It's a way to just let yourself land in this moment. And it's a way to embody the experience of presence. Another great way to embody the experience of presence is to just focus on your breath. I mean, that's something that we hear about all the time. But I really love the idea of taking your awareness all the way down to the ground, to your feet, because there's a way that you just personally can land in the situation. Like, you know, when you're connected when you're connected there. And, and another thing that I love, there's so many, there's so many tools that are popping through my mind right now that I want to share. But another thing that I really love is just if you put your hands on your own body, like putting your hands on your, you know, the solar plexus on your belly, to just remind your energy to draw itself back in. Because sometimes we can we walk into a social environment, and we're immediately hooked into what does that person think about me? And do I look, you know, how do I look in these pants and what's going on. And we're so caught up in what I call the external feedback loop of everything that's going on around here. And we sort of lose ourselves in that process. And then that can create even more anxiety and discomfort. And so the sense of just placing my hands on my body breathing, and just bringing my energy back internally, is so powerful, you do that in combination with killing your feet on the ground, you'd be surprised as to how it just lets you just be over here. And let those people be over there. And just, you know, gather yourself super, super powerful.

I love that. I love that because it's so it's so easy to to get into the shortness of breath, right? You just mean all day long, we're just taking in these little sips of air and we don't even realize it, you know, just tenses up our whole body. I'm cleaner that and then, you know, once we just recognize it and take some deep breaths, our shoulders drop, you know, when you put your hands on your body anywhere. You know it just all of a sudden you realize how tense you been, you know, and I love just really visualizing, you know, all the way down to your feet where you can feel really grounded with the earth. That's so so powerful. So you have a lot more to share you have you have some incredible next steps for anyone in our beautiful group who thinks that or who knows that they have food obsession, food addiction issues, or who would like to get a handle on on some of their health issues and they know that food might be one of the drivers. Can you share a little bit about your incredible upcoming training that's coming up and Also, who might be a good fit for it?
Yes, love it. So we have actually starting this Monday, July 20, we have the end your food obsession, five day video training that is starting. And it's, it's totally free, actually. So Wow. So excited. Yeah, to offer this for free. And that is happening over in our well actually you can, you can register for that by by heading to end your food So, http, colon forward slash forward slash and your food Hopefully,
Becca is gonna post the link right now. So it's still just be right there for you. Perfect. Yeah,
so head to that link and, and go ahead and get registered. And really, what we're going to be talking about are the five keys to ending food obsession, this is really, for the woman who is wanting to go deeper, she's sick and tired of being sick and tired, when it comes to her relationship with food. She's sick and tired of the diets. And you know, all the quick fixes, and all the self help strategies and all this stuff that hasn't actually lasted. And she's really ready to go deeper and to address what is driving her to food in the first place. So that she can get free of that. And then ultimately, you know, stop the sabotage cycle with food for good. So, I mean, we're going to be talking about, you know, we're gonna be talking about how to end the, you know, what we talked about a little bit more a little bit deeper into what we talked about today around, you know, what's driving your food fixation, and how to end the obsession, we're going to talk about how to be more present, and eliminate anxiety and feel more comfortable in your skin. We're going to talk about how to listen to your body and really trust yourself internally to make healthy choices as it relates to food and just in every area of your life. We're going to also talk about the oh my gosh, the best insider strategy for having more mental space and capacity and energy, that women who live free from their food addictions do that you can learn to implement right away. And we're also going to be drumroll, I love this topic, talking about how to stop people pleasing, so that you can just authentically feel okay, inside no matter what. One of my favorite topics, so there's so much juiciness that we're going to be covering in this five day training. And yeah, I would say Robin, it's really for a woman who's ready to, to really get on the path of lasting freedom from food addiction and obsession, and she's not afraid to go deeper. You know, she's not afraid to kind of start to explore some things that might be getting in her way of really having the freedom that she wants.

What an incredible gift, this is going to be an incredible training, I absolutely love it. And I think one of the one of the keys that you're going to address is, you know, when we get a handle on, on, you know, the underlying drivers of the food addiction and obsession, and and start actually treating our bodies better through our food choices, which is what ends up happening. We get more energy, we feel so much better, you end up with some great mental clarity, your body starts to heal. And that energy is now like it really, when I was talking to one of my clients earlier today, it it kind of snowballs, like, one good thing happens after another. And as soon as you start to get that energy, you're so much more motivated to continue to make changes. It's incredible. And I really feel strongly that the work that Debbie does, is really foundational for helping us to get on a much better path and relationship with food and with ourselves. And as Debbie said earlier, it's not so much about food, we already know what to eat. Holy cow, like we are experts in that area. How many diets have we been on we know what foods work for us and what foods don't but as she was saying earlier, you know, I would bake cookies, and could I eat just one? No, never. Right? I would and then I would hoard them because I didn't want my brothers to get them because then there wouldn't be enough for me. So there are all these weird things going on that we've got to resolve or we just can't be well and, you know, authentically shine our light. So is there anything that you want to add to that? You want them to? So if this resonates with you like so, how does a woman know? I mean, I think for most of us, we're going to know yes, this is for us, but if she's not sure like what are some way she would know if this were for her or not?

Well, um, you can, you can definitely just join our private Facebook group where we've got lots of videos and tools and there's there's more information that's coming through there and so you can Just start to kind of listen in and see if this is sounding like what you want to do. And if you want to join us over there, then you can just head over to live your light dot today, live your life dot today and you can go ahead and join us in the in the group
I and then also the page that we posted that probably has more information on it.

Absolutely. Yeah, it'll it'll have more information the under food registration page, we'll have more information for sure. I really feel like though Robin, as a woman's listening to this right now she could probably self identify and it's sort of like Am I smart check? Am I you know, pretty high achieving or by you know, I have a tendency to be a perfectionist, I'm tendency to be a people pleaser. You know, do I have nutritional knowledge coming out of my ears? Have I done other types of inner work before? And and still I struggle Check, check, check check, then this is the training for you. Okay,
great. Awesome. Well, I hope that you will take advantage of this because Debbie does not do programs like this very often, in fact, not for probably close to a year a long time. And so this is an incredible gift. And she's offering it to our community. And we're one of the first to share it, especially with you know, we're we are women in this group who, who want to feel well, and we want to do it naturally. And so this is a wonderful opportunity to be able to do that and really get a handle on some of the emotional drivers, you know. So thank you so much for sharing with us today. We already have some incredible tools to use.

Thank you, Robin, this was absolutely amazing. And I really just want to say I feel like your work and my work really do go hand in hand so well, because you focus on a whole bunch of things that I don't really, you know, I don't really get into with people, but when they want support around, you know, their spiritual center and around really, really deeply connecting and connecting with themselves regaining access to their own inner guidance and coming home to their own bodies so that they can have that internal sense of ease and comfort and live free in the world. Like that's what I love to do. And I just love how our work really complements so again, thank you for the opportunity to be here.

Yeah, so happy to have you. Oh my gosh, all right. Let's send Debbie so much love Big kisses. All right, let me just put you on here. And thank you again so much and post all your comments here. I think Debbie is in the group and she'll be sure to answer anything that you have going on or any questions about her program or any questions about food addiction, food obsession, coming home to your own body, and sending you so much love. Bye everyone. Bye. All right.