During addiction, you may have ignored your body’s nutritional needs and developed poor eating habits. Some people overeat, while some people don’t eat enough. For many women who begin the recovery process, the fear of weight gain discourages them from eating enough to help their bodies heal. However, it is crucial to your health to learn to eat again in recovery.
What Nutritional Needs Does Your Body Have in Recovery?
Drugs and alcohol do plenty of harm to your body. If you ignore eating in favor of using substances, you are at risk of malnutrition. If you drink a lot of alcohol, it will numb your body’s desire to eat. No matter your body size, weight, or type, malnutrition is a prevalent side effect of using substances.
When your body has been denied certain foods or is underweight or even malnourished, it needs sustenance. Indeed, eating balanced meals, balanced portions, and making particular food choices are the ideals for healing.
Justine Lichtenstern, a certified nutritionist who works for The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women, emphasizes that all food is good in recovery. The most important thing is to eat, to get food of any kind in your body. All food has some nutritional value, and your body will likely crave the things it has been denied even fatty or sugary foods. That’s okay, she says, you just need to eat.
Will You Gain Weight in Recovery?
One of the biggest fears women have in recovery is gaining weight. If you have been using cocaine for a long time, you will almost undoubtedly come into treatment underweight. In that case, you will undoubtedly gain some much-needed weight. You must consume calories to function, and your body, in most cases, needs to regain some lost weight to be healthy again.
Even with other addictions, yes, you will likely gain weight in recovery initially. Remember that your body needs fuel, and you have likely denied it the nutrition it needs during active addiction—thus, it is perfectly fine to gain some weight in recovery. Your focus needs to be on giving your body what it needs, not whether or not you fit in your skinny jeans or look like everyone else on social media. Your body just needs nutrition from food.
Can You Be Addicted to Food?
One myth that Justine debunks, based on scientific evidence, is that you cannot be addicted to sugar or food. Food is a necessity of life; you need it for survival. The idea that you might replace your drug or alcohol addiction with food addiction is false. You may eat more than your body needs because you have restricted yourself for a long time. You might have food cravings, even for fatty or sugary foods. Again, these things are expected and result from having denied yourself those foods for some time.
What Does Finding Homeostasis With Food Mean?
As you allow yourself to eat again, you may find yourself consuming a plethora of sugary options. This is to be expected, especially if you drank a lot of alcohol, which also has many sugars. As you stop drinking, the body still wants a high sugar intake—at first. Eventually, your body will reach homeostasis, where all of the cravings even out, and you will primarily desire a balanced diet with healthy proportions.
What Should You Eat?
Until your body reaches homeostasis, you should just simply eat. Your body needs the calories and nutrition from the food. You should eat whatever you can tolerate. Your digestive system might be so damaged by food restriction and substance use that you may not be able to digest the so-called “healthy foods” such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains. In fact, many people need to eat heavily processed foods at first because their bodies cannot handle the healthy variety. This is okay. Your body just needs some nutrition, and all food contains some. It will be best if you eat what your body can process.
How Much Should You Eat?
It would help if you ate three meals and three snacks per day. You should be eating every three to four hours outside of sleeping time at least. This suggestion is valid for everyone but is particularly important to those in recovery. Your body needs nutrition to heal. All food has some nutritional value. So, just eat. Learning to eat in recovery means simply eating what your body tells you, and eventually, it will ask for balanced foods and portions.
Learning to eat again in recovery can bring challenges. Based on our society’s obsession with weight and diets and the judgments we place on what is or is not healthy, we may have unhealthy eating habits. The most important thing to remember about eating is to do it. Just eat what your body wants. Eventually, it will crave balanced portions and meals. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women understands that many women experience malnutrition or disordered eating along with their addiction. Our goal is to help you regain health. At our Costa Mesa, California facility, we allow you to eat what your body wants while making balanced meals and portions available as well. We want you to heal mentally, physically, and spiritually, and learning to eat again is an integral part of that. Please call us today at (714) 581-3974 to begin your recovery process. We will help you learn to eat again.