Swann, KenBy Ken Swann (March 7, 2015)


Although my personal eating habits have improved greatly in the last 5-years it was not always like this for me. Actually for most of my life as I remember it my eating habits were terrible and I survived for years on eating all the wrong things and in quantities greater than any of my friends or family members.

I have always loved candy, cake, pie, and chips, and on many occasions these are the things I substituted formy regular meals. I got away with it for years because I had always been pretty skinny as a kid and it didn’treally seem to have much of an effect on me until I started to get older and decided to quit smoking. Ididn’t know what to do with myself; I was dying for a cigarette but instead kept running back and forth tothe fridge eating one thing after another all night long. I was out of control and quickly gained a lot ofweight around my stomach. After a few short months I had gained almost 30 pounds and my pants werebent forward in the front where my belly stuck out, I was in trouble and I knew that if I didn’t make changessoon that my situation was only going to get worse.

This month I have chosen to do a book review on “Food Junkies” by Dr. Vera Tarman and Philip Werdell whose purpose is to present a fact-based examination of food addiction and offer vital information to the many individuals who struggle with unwanted eating behaviors.

Let’s start off by taking a look at the outside of the book first. The front cover presents the title “Food Junkies” in large print and underneath has an illustration of a pile of donuts covered in syrup possibly as an example of what junk food is or could be, it also has the name of the author and consultant at the bottom below the illustration. The back cover has a brief description of the book presented by the author and below that gives a short bio on both the author and consultant as well.

Looking inside the book we find that it is 242 pages long, has a preface and gives an opening introduction about the book. Continuing inside we find that there are 15 chapters which includes many stories from individuals as well as various information which has been compiled by the author and consultant. At the end of the book there is an epilogue and a closing statement, acknowledgements, notes, a bibliography and index. The printing of the book is fairly large which allows for easy reading while each paragraph is approximately 7 or 8 lines in length.

What makes this book stand out for me is the fact that it not only talks about the men and women suffering from food compulsions and addictions but also about the people who have found effective solutions for themselves. Whether its Mary or Ellen, Laura or Lawrence, Ruthann or Martha, you will be introduced to people who are struggling with this disease and hear their stories.

What caught my attention while going through the book was that these people suffering from food addiction weren’t like other people, like the normal people, no they were more like addicts and alcoholics with little or no control to stop once they got started.

Having had my own problems with drug addiction I thought that it was only drugs that I reacted to so addictively, but it wasn’t. I discovered that it didn’t matter what the substance or food, I always wanted more and more. My substance of choice may have been drugs but I could just as easily sit down and eat fifty cookies, and did many times. I seem to suffer from the disease of always wanting more and maybe the people in this book did as well?

This book offers a solution and their message is simple, if you see yourself as a food addict you must treat your trigger foods as a drug. They believe that by applying the principles of addiction to these destructive eating patterns could be the missing piece of the puzzle. It goes on to say that the most successful treatment for any drug addiction from alcohol to drugs to food is abstinence from the trigger substance.

Our addicted brain is wired to crave more as soon as even the smallest amount has entered our system. At the end of the book Dr. Tarman reveals that her intention is to instill hope based on her personal and clinical experience. She states that addiction of any kind has no cure, there is only a daily reprieve from its course, our job is to avoid the first bite, food sobriety can become food serenity.

So how did I solve my own problem of eating junk food instead of regular meals? For me it was the same solution this book talks about, complete abstinence. I got rid of every bit of junk food in the house, changed my diet and started working out a few times a week. For me the answer was simple, if it wasn’t there then I wasn’t going to eat it. This is something that I need to implement for the rest of my life.