Lisette Cifaldi, MSW, LMSW,
Owner Eating Sanity, LLC
Obesity = Unplugging:
Lisette Cifaldi at TEDxHiltonHead
As a recovering food addict, I have maintained a 60-pound weight loss for ten years. I say that with tremendous gratitude because for more than twenty years prior to my recovery I suffered the immense frustration of perpetual dieting and an escalation of self-loathing. My high self-esteem, firmly fostered by my parents, was slowly eroding. Eventually, the way I felt about my body was the way I felt about myself, and suffice it to say, those feelings weren’t positive.
I would have to say that I had the good fortune to know and love other addicts. In doing so, I began to understand my own suffering better. I was convinced that my inability to maintain a healthy weight, or a sane relationship with food, was because of some tragic character flaw. Although I was successful in many areas of my life, in my mind, there was something deeply wrong with me because of my failure to stop compulsively eating. It wasn’t until I started to work with, know, and love others battling addiction that I came to realize that I was fighting with a disease – the disease of food addiction. My problem wasn’t some terminal lack of self-restraint, it was a process in my brain that high-jacked my willpower.
You see, I don’t think anyone ever makes the decision to become an addict of any kind. I can tell you for certain that I did not check a box somewhere that automatically signed me up for twenty years of diet madness, incessant food thoughts, and a never-ending obsession with my weight. Now that I understand more about the science of food addiction however, I have immense compassion for myself and others who battle with the disease.
My own journey to recovery involved some hard work. I had to find a willingness to limit or remove foods from my diet that triggered the addiction. I had to set boundaries around the way I eat. I had to learn to plug into the eating process with greater intention. I had to improve my ability to process emotions. I altered my environment. I began a journey of spiritual development, and I asked for help. In the end, I learned to manage my food addiction and maintain a healthy weight. The resulting joy, gratitude, and serenity this process produced has me living a life beyond my wildest dreams.
Food addiction recovery has become my passion. I have spent years educating myself in the science of addiction and the science of how food affects the brain. As a psychotherapist and behavioral health specialist, I counseled individuals struggling with compulsive eating behaviors and facilitated educational classes in overcoming emotional and stress eating, improving body image, listening to the inner food dialogue and improving spiritual development. In addition, I developed a comprehensive, week-long workshop on food addiction recovery that consistently won praise by its participants and other food addiction specialists.
As a continuing education provider for registered dieticians, social workers and psychologists, I am committed to raising awareness about food addiction and advocating for more research and recovery programs.
Utilizing my BA in Psychology, Masters in Social Work from the University of South Carolina and training at the Harvard Mind/Body Medical Institute, my approach to food addiction recovery uses a holistic viewpoint. Believing that weight is a symptom and not the problem, my treatment model involves a systems perspective that focuses beyond weight. Clients coaching with me can expect to address issues with nutrition, exercise, cognitive restructuring, emotional processing, spiritual nurturance and social connection. We work on the full package, and the weight surrenders.
Eating Sanity was born from a personal struggle that has led the way to a passion for helping other, still suffering food addicts.
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