Step plan

Connect with the community

Here are some great resources for connecting with other people with food addictions.

Get Started Now

10/40/50 Rule

Preparing for your successful new way of eating

10% food/biochemistry
40% behaviour change and actions
50% group support

In the early days of recovery, you will be very vulnerable to cravings and temp- tation. Be prepared by doing everything you can to maximise your chances of getting at least two weeks of sugar-, flour- and grain-free eating under your belt. By that stage the majority of people will be noticing the upsides of giving up these foods. Brighter mood, more energy, better sleep and so on. Noticing these benefits will help you to keep going and get you back on track if you sway.

  1. Set a date to start. Choose a time without too many big commitments, socialising or disruption but not a two-week holiday as its actually good to keep your mind busy.
  2. Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer in advance and get rid of all your ‘drug’ foods. From now on you are eating for health, not for amusement. Give stuff away, donate to the food bank or bin it. The bin is where that stuff belongs, not in you. You are not a dustbin. I do get that people hate food waste though, so give it away if you can’t bin it.
  3. Re-stock your fridge, freezer and cupboards with recovery foods from the green list. Some tins and jars are fine but ALWAYS read the label to check for SUGAR. Its everywhere. Find local sources of quality fresh vegetables, meat and fish. You will be saving the planet as well as yourself by not eating food flown around the planet and it works out cheaper. Consider shopping online for bulk items so you don’t need to be tempted at the supermarket.
  4. Have your own cupboard, fridge shelf and freezer section if other people in the house are not going to follow the same nutrition plan as you. The idea is to look as little as possible at trigger foods in the first few weeks. I can now happily go to buffets and walk straight past the chips, sandwiches, cakes and deserts. In the early days I would have been unable to do that.
  5. Discuss with house mates and family what you are doing and why. It will depend on your circumstances whether you will be cooking for yourself or still catering for others. I used to make the main meal e.g., chicken curry and green beans then add microwave rice for my son who was still having carbs at that point. Keep it simple.
  6. Plan your eating, particularly at first. Make sure you have plenty of tasty and nutritious real food so as not to be hungry. Fat is allowed and necessary for recovery. This is not a DIET. It’s a way of life.
  7. Start with three good meals a day based on protein, veg/salad and good fats. Have breakfast when you get hungry, if you never ate it, no need to start now, just have two good meals a day. Don’t eat after 6pm. This is much better for your metabolism.
  8. Try not to snack, but if you need to, choose something high in protein/fat.
  9. Some people who cut back hard on carbs get a thing called ‘keto-flu’ for a few days. This may include; headaches, mild nausea, poor concentration and muscle cramps. It is due to the body changing over to
    fat burning as described earlier. It helps to stay hydrated, avoid strenuous exercise, and increase dietary salt (the lower insulin levels cause you to wee out a lot of salt).
  10. If you are on prescribed medication particularly for diabetes your plan will need checking with the doctor or nurse responsible in case doses need to change.


How do we get our daily dopamine in natural, healthy ways?

You can’t think, read or talk yourself out of addiction.

  1. Dopamine is made from tyrosine or phenylalanine which is in protein rich foods like beef, pork, fish, chicken, cheese and seeds. So, make sure you stick to the green foods list in Chapter 3 and base your meals on good quality protein.
  2. After nutrition, regular exercise is just about the brain’s best medicine. It increases new brain cells, helping you to re-wire your brain, slows down brain aging and increases dopamine. Find anything you enjoy that is active and notice how you feel before and after. David and I often joke that we never feel worse for exercise, no matter how little we wanted to do it in the first place. Make some new habits around physical activity being a daily priority. Walking, jogging, dancing, gardening, badminton, golf, yoga
    it doesn’t matter, just get moving! Prolonged sitting will lower dopamine. Eating and weight gain has often robbed us of the motivation to move around. Don’t think of exercise for weight loss or as punishment for eating but as the ultimate mood booster.
  3. Pay attention to stress levels. Easier said than done sometimes but worth always keeping in mind and learning how to keep stress at the right level for you. Meditation, massage and yoga have all been shown to increase dopamine. Learn not to take on too much. Be good to yourself.
  4. Make good sleep a priority. Go to bed and get up at regular times allowing for enough sleep. Turn screens off well before bedtime or invest in some blue light blocking glasses. Even one night’s poor sleep can down regulate dopamine receptors. Research also shows that we are much more likely to over eat after a bad night. Talking of screens, beware social media and games on your phone. They too can get you trapped in a bad cycle. I had to delete a well-known game off my phone as I was spending way too much time on it.
  5. Listening to music seems to increase our dopamine levels. Get listening to your favourite music, or maybe playing!
  6. Pick hobbies that provide new discoveries or challenges. This can be sporting, such as playing with a team, or trying to beat your personal best or it could be something like birdwatching or gardening where there are always new discoveries to be made. This mimics the survival role dopamine had for our ancestors in finding food sources and shelter. Try and develop a new skill or return to something you loved as a younger person. I’m a big knitter, which gives me something constructive and enjoyable to do in the evenings other than eating!
  7. Celebrate small wins every day. Make a list of stuff to do and enjoy ticking things off. Savour small victories.

Get a Professional Assessment

Beating Sugar Addiction

Help is at hand!

Follow this link to find an up to date list of professionals around the world.

(Thank you to Bitten Jonsson for this resource)