It doesn't have to be a prison... 

"Food is a drug..."
Said my teacher in my elementary science class.  
"A drug is any substance ingested that has a physiological effect." 

 It certainly does.  This stuck with me and now it has much greater meaning 
We need it to sustain our lives, but what happens when a necessity becomes an obsession?  
Is it possible to just put it down?

Processed sugar has been compared to heroine because it affects the brain in a similar manner.  
It's addictive, provides a quick high, and can lead a person to become chemically dependent on it.  

You may not feel like you have an addiction, but if you have 
carried extra pounds, have tried every diet, are dissatisfied with the appearance of your body, 
find that you binge on certain foods, or have any unhealthy relationship with food, 
you may have just stumbled onto somethings that will change your life and bring your dream life to reality.

This is me.
I'm Jen Strickland and I'm a food addict, more specifically, a sugar addict.  
I finally found what I needed to become "sober" and I want others to know it's available too.  
It's a free program.  It taught me how to eat for nutrition at healthy portion sizes (no tiny plates and tiny spoons here).  
There are no shakes, expensive pills, crazy exercising, no monthly charges for education, none of that.  
There is a support community that is worldwide and I had never heard of it before until my mom joined.  
She has an amazing story.  Keep scrolling to find our testimony video.
Summer 2020

100 Day Celebration, 30 lbs lighter
I tried everything. In the first picture here in the summer of 2020, I had just completed a 14 day Master Cleanse, otherwise known as the Lemonade Diet.  It's an excellent cleanse and many, many people are successful, but the day after, I totally binged, swearing off maple syrup lemon juice forever.  

As a sugar addict, I simply couldn't get sweets off my mind.  Ever.  I couldn't focus while working.  I could never pass up a dessert without contriving ways to go ahead with it without totally shaming myself in front of others.  No one could leave their desserts in the refrigerator.  I only had so much willpower to avoid it for so long.  I was ashamed, embarrassed, and despised myself for being so weak.  

It's not about weakness.  It's about a biochemical disorder and it can be managed.

Would you like me to help you?
People have helped me.  I want to help you in whatever capacity you need through this program.
Along with this food plan, I do use nutritional supplements. There are 5 supplements I would never do without.
Let's talk and I'll help you to get started.

I Lost 200 lbs
Hi, I'm Jewel and I'm a food addict.

Finding this program was such a big win for me!  I was at the end of my rope, rock bottom, and I knew that if I didn't find some way to lose the weight, I would end up dying in my chair, where I was mostly confined to in my room.  I felt helpless, useless, and like I was a burden to my family.  I never attempted suicide, but the thought of no longer existing had gone through my mind many times.  I needed help.  Fast.

Spring 2010

After losing 200 lbs.
For as long as I could remember, I was hungry.  I thought my parents were starving us.  I would hide food, sneak it into my room at night... there was never enough.  When I married at 16, I remember thinking, "Now I can eat as much as I want."  

My negative self image came young.  I began dieting at 10 years old and as an adult, my weight became the battle of my life.  I felt worse and worse over the years.  Then, I found Food Addicts Anonymous.  I'm getting my life back.  It's no doubt, there's always going to be a battle, but I have a plan and a support community that makes all the difference in the world. 
4 Testimonies
Learn more about Jewel's and my stories.  
We also share two additional stories of friends we met in this program.

The Complete Story of My Friend
Growing up, I always felt different/separate. I focused on my body as early as first grade- I remember looking at my best friend's thighs and then looking at my own and thinking I wasn't pretty because my thighs were bigger. I didn't go on a diet until I was 12, but the majority of my childhood memories up until that point involved sugar.
 During the first decade of my life, I didn't eat to feel better but I noticed that when my friends and I would eat dessert, they might or might not eat all of it, but I was the only one who went back for seconds 30 minutes later. I remember thinking, "am I being a bad guest to go back for more?"
 I remember going to a classmates birthday party when I was 9. She wasn't very popular but she was rich. She had a movie party and there was this huge array of candy for the party. I remember thinking, "she must be so happy because she gets all this candy, ALL the time!"
 After my parents separated when I was 11, I was exposed to my father's alcoholism. In my eyes, my father went from successful businessman to falling down drunk daily. He would get so drunk and get into harmful situations. He fell down flights of stairs, had multiple seizures, spill scalding water on himself and suffer 3rd degree burns. I took on the role of taking care of him. I would get groceries, sit up until all hours of the night waiting for him to come back from the bar, making sure he didn't pee in the closet, etc. I withdrew from my friends because they couldn't understand the horrors and issues that I had to face on a daily basis. I was alone for long stretches at a time and I started eating to pass the time. I wouldn't get any meals when I was with my father so I started grazing on cookies/soda/cakes all day long. And food became my best friend. It would comfort me when I was scared and overwhelmed or entertain me when I was bored and lonely. I wasn't able to express my anger at my father, so I would "anger eat" crunchy foods. I learned that sugar, flour and eating huge volumes of food would numb the bad feelings and quiet the voices of self-hatred.
 Food was always there for me. It kept me company, made me feel better and never abandoned me. I thought I had found a really good solution until I started getting interested in boys at age 13. I always had a terrible body image- I would look in the mirror with disgust. I thought I looked like a boy, my teeth were too big for my face, I hated my Dorothy Hamill haircut, My clothes were all very old and worn and I was heavier than 80% of my classmates.
 I went on my first diet when I was 13. I couldn't afford to pay for a diet, but heard from the TV that I needed to reduce calories. I discovered pretty quickly that if I could only have 600 calories/day, I would be happiest when those calories came from sugar or flour. But I kept failing on diets, because I would get ravenous soon after I ate sugar and I would binge (the phenomenon of craving). I was angry all the time, at the world, my parents and most particularly, myself for getting so fat. I was about 30 lbs. overweight. My days seemed like Groundhog Day: I would wake up and promise myself that I would stay on my diet, I would get severe headaches around 1pm from not having eaten, I would daydream about how happy I would be when I got thin - not concentrating on the lesson given by the teacher. I would return home after school intending to eat a very small amount of food. Invariably, I would eat more than I wanted, or I would experience some emotions that I couldn't handle, and I would think "F-it" I messed up anyway. I would then binge until I was over-full. At night, I would be baffled about how I binged AGAIN. I would then try to change the "formula" of following day so that I could stay on plan, but the next day I would also end up binging. I never realized that the common thread was 1) continuing to eat addictive foods and 2) the learned behavior of using food to soothe me.
 My father got sober when I was 15 and introduced me to the 12 steps. He completely changed by working the 12 steps and became the father I had always wanted. At the end of the summer of my 16th year, I was dreading going back to school since my plan to become thin and beautiful over the summer had failed (again). I remember the self-loathing. I needed help. I finally told my father what I had been doing with food and he suggested that I go to rehab. I just wanted to get fixed. I was tired of living my life obsessed with food and body image every waking moment. It was torture. I would eat to regulate all of my emotions. If I was too excited, I would eat. Too sad or angry, I would eat. Soon there wasn't any emotion that I wanted to feel without numbing it with food.

 At rehab, I learned that sugar and flour were addictive and that all my diets were unsuccessful because I couldn't stop once I ingested sugar or flour. I learned that I wouldn't self-destruct if I felt a "bad" emotion and I could even sit with a "bad" emotion and, while uncomfortable, be ok. I started weighing and measuring 4 meals a day, and stopped eating all sugar, flour and wheat. I found that I needed to rely on something other than me. I had seen the tremendous things that trusting God did for my father and thought, "well, if it could work for him, than I might as well give it a try."

 When I got out of rehab, I started going to FAA meetings every day. I started living life rather than escaping from it. I started to actually like myself. I remained abstinent for 6 years and moved to North Carolina for law school where there were no meetings. I convinced myself that I could stay abstinent anyway since I knew all the facts about food addiction. 6 months later, I started rationalizing that I could have a little bit of sugar, since it was "healthier" to eat everything in moderation. I told myself that I was just being dramatic when I said I was a food addict.

 Unfortunately, when I picked up sugar, the obsession came back. I soon found that I was worse than when I had stopped. I resigned myself with the fact that I would always be fat. I thought about going back to FAA, but I thought that I could never get abstinent (I had tried on my own several times) and stop drinking diet soda. I was consuming 12 cans of diet soda daily. I thought it was keeping my weight from exploding. I didn't realize that it was actually keeping my cravings alive.

 On my 51st birthday, I felt like there was nowhere else to go. I had joined AA after I went to rehab, but I knew that Alcohol was just a way to temporarily fill the hole inside me. I did, however, pursue a spiritual path as I could feel that was the answer I had been seeking. I had developed a meditation practice but soon found that it was impossible to sit still after I had binged. I had been praying for an answer and one of my AA friends said that a sponsee was going to FAA and found success. I also learned that about 80% of women in AA also had an addiction of some sort to food. I looked on the FAA website and attended my first virtual meeting. I found a sponsor at that meeting and with her and my higher power's support I was able to get abstinent (one hour at a time). About a month into abstinence, my brain fog lifted and I was able to see clearly again. I heard from others that it is easier to stay abstinent than to get abstinent. I also heard that the best way to prevent relapse was working the steps with a sponsor, attending a lot of meetings, and developing a conscious contact with God.
 I am so much happier now that I'm abstinent. I can be present for my kids and my mood is no longer connected to my weight. Most importantly, the endless dialogue in my head stopped. Once I gave up sugar, flour and wheat, my cravings for those foods went away.
How to Get Started
Facing that possibility of food addiction is enough without trying to figure out how to get involved with this program alone.  Know that you are not alone.  I'm here and would love to hold your hand to help you to get started as others did for me.  Here's a video that'll help you to get familiar with how the program works and how to get started.

**Food Addicts Anonymous is not associated with Beyond Strickly Living or Young Living Essential Oils.  If you'd like to learn how to combine Young Living products with this program, please reach out to me.  

"Food Addicts Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who are willing to recover from the disease of food addiction. Sharing our experience, strength, and hope with others allows us to recover from this disease One Day at a Time. FAA is self-supporting through our own contributions. There are no dues or fees required for membership, but only a desire to stop eating addictive foods. We are not affiliated with any diet or weight loss programs, treatment facilities or religious organizations. We neither endorse nor oppose any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay abstinent and help other food addicts to achieve abstinence." Our Primary Purpose, Food Addicts Anonymous - The Steps to Recovery, p. 1.

Helpful Links:
PDF Downloads of Literature: 
Don't Wait Another Day to Get Your Life Back!
The solution is HERE. It's free. 
Begin to dream again. 
Just do it. You will not regret it!

Reach out to me.  I'm here to help.