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Diet Rehab is a science-based plan to stop cravings and break the pattern of food addiction.
It was created by Dr. Mike Dow, a psychotherapist who specialized in eating disorders and addictive behaviors.
The four-week program involves gradually reducing your consumption of bad “pitfall” foods. At the same time you increase the amount of good “booster” foods and behaviors.
Dr. Mike Dow explains that most people don’t realize the severity of food addiction because medicating with food is regarded as socially acceptable. However, the wrong foods have just as much potential to alter your brain chemistry and create physiological dependence as alcohol and drugs.
Diet Rehab Basics
When we eat junk food the brain gets a rush due to a surge of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. If you eat fatty and sugary foods on a regular basis your body eventually becomes addicted to them. So if you try to stop eating these foods cold-turkey you can actually experience quite strong withdrawal symptoms.
Identify Your Pitfall Foods
Different foods have different effects on our brain chemistry. Some people crave foods to sedate them while others choose things that are stimulating. These are called your “pitfall foods”.
Once you identify these foods you can learn to adjust your eating patterns to balance your brain chemistry and eliminate cravings.
These are usually foods like desserts, chips, cookies, fried foods, and processed snacks.
Brain Boosting Activities
You can also make changes in your lifestyle that will positively influence your brain chemistry. The best activities for you will depend on whether you are serotonin or dopamine deprived. Some people require more of both of these neurotransmitters so should undertake a combination of serotonin and dopamine boosters.
- Adopt a rescue animal
- Do some gardening
- Have a dance party with your kids
- Listen to a friend’s problems
- Take a yoga or Pilates class
- Do a fast walk with your dog
- Go wine tasting
- Learn how to salsa
- Read your horoscope
- Take a walk in the rain
The core of the program involves a gradual detox from your “pitfall foods”. This gives your brain time to adjust its chemistry so as to avoid discomfort related to cravings and fluctuating moods.
For each week of the four-week program you will incrementally reduce your intake of “pitfall foods”. At the same time you will start to increase your intake of the foods that help to balance your brain chemistry.
Additionally you will begin to incorporate booster activities into your lifestyle. In week one you will add one boosting activity a day. By the time you get to week four you will be completing four of these activities each day.
Eggs, low-fat Greek yogurt, skim milk, low-fat cottage cheese, turkey sausage, chicken breast, lean beef, tuna, wild salmon, hummus, oatmeal, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, spinach, mushrooms, tomato, romaine lettuce, salsa, berries banana, melon, almond butter, fresh herbs, xylitol, stevia.
A Possible Meal Plan
2 scrambled eggs
Black bean soup
4-5 whole wheat crackers
Veggie burger on a whole-wheat bun
Greek yogurt with frozen mixed berries and stevia
Exercise to Increase Serotonin and Dopamine
The right kind of moderate exercise will feed your brain chemistry, boosting your levels of both serotonin and dopamine.
If you need more dopamine you should choose stimulating activities such as rollerblading, belly dancing or competitive sports. To enhance serotonin select more calming pursuits such as horseback riding, tai chi or yoga.
Costs and Expenses
Diet Rehab: 28 Days To Finally Stop Craving the Foods That Make You Fat retails at $16.
- You can continue eating all of your favorite foods.
- Gradual changes in the diet make it easier to adjust to a new lifestyle.
- Addresses the psychological reasons for overeating.
- Does not involve calorie counting.
- Contains seven days of meals with simple recipes.
- Formatting of recipes makes them difficult to read.
- Weight loss may be slow, especially in the beginning.
- Will not appeal to dieters who don’t have food addictions.
- Some of the suggestions for booster activities are not necessarily in harmony with a healthy lifestyle.
Breaking Food Addictions is Beneficial
Diet Rehab is a plan to help you overcome food addictions by making gradual changes in your diet.
This program is designed to balance brain chemistry to address the root cause of overeating. This will allow you to lose weight naturally without the need to adhere to a strict diet or strenuous exercise regime.
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: February 16, 2019