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Food Addiction To Be Addressed At Women's Symposium

February 26th, 2013 – Posted by Betty Ford Center in Media
Tags: food addiction Shades of Hope Tennie McCarty Women's Symposium


Tennie McCarty, founder and CEO of Shades of Hope treatment center, is a featured speaker for the Betty Ford Center Women’s Symposium, scheduled March 21 at UCLA in Los Angeles.

Ms. McCarty entered the field of addiction treatment over 30 years ago and has dedicated her life to helping those with food and co-occurring addictions, as well as their families.  She has been featured on both ‘Addicted to Food’ on the Oprah Winfrey Network and ‘Ruby’ on the Style Network and has also made numerous visits to the ‘Dr. Oz’ program.

Her book “Shades of Hope…A Program to Stop Dieting and Start Living” was one of Amazon’s top selling self-help books in 2012.

We recently asked Ms. McCarty to answer a few questions about food addiction:

Q:  How can food addiction block a person’s connection with their spirituality?
A:  Food addiction, as other addictions, masks the pain – the pain of daily living, of core issues, of abuse, quilt, etc.  When we mask the pain, we cannot be honest with self or with the God of our understanding.  We push down the pain and guilt with the food.  Then there is the issue of asking God to help us, only to turn to the food again and again.  We feel we either aren’t worthy of God’s love or we simply aren’t strong enough; we feel guilty and we eat over it; we never can get off the perpetual wheel of addiction.

Q:  What progress is being made in addressing eating disorders as co-occurring disorders with many alcoholics and addicts?
A:  I have seen some changes over the years.  It seems to me that “food addiction” is being viewed more now by the mainstream as acceptable rather than as an issue of someone being fat with no self-control.  More therapists and facilities are recognizing food/eating disorders as an addiction.  Since the beginning, 25 years ago, Shades of Hope has looked at the entire spectrum of co-occurring addictions.  At Shades, it is believed the addictive behavior(s) are just a manifestation of the underlying turmoil.  Yes, you have to treat and identify the behaviors, but you have to dig/reach within.  AND not just stop at the primary behavior but to look at all aspects of the person. 

Q:  How has our Western Culture’s conditioning impacted the rise in eating disorders among adolescents and young adults or the general population?
A:  I think Western Culture has indeed impacted the rise of eating disorders. It is all about the theory that “one can be neither too thin nor too rich.”  The syndrome has evolved of having to look good with an emphasis on the body.  You can see it in very young people already dieting etc. (anorexic/bulimic.)  Then on the other end of the spectrum – the binge eater/compulsive overeater/food addict – there is the undying loathing of self to “get skinny.”  It’s all there.  It is about health, finding the healthy weight range for that person and feeling good about ones’ self internally and externally.

More information on Ms. McCarty is available on her website:

Registration for the Women’s Symposium is $150 on or before March 11, 2013 or $165 after March 11, 2013.

Related posts:

  1. Registration Now Open for Symposium for Women
  2. Eating Disorder Recognition Hits Home for Counselor
  3. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Experts Gather At Betty Ford Center Symposium Aimed At Treating Women
  4. Women’s Symposium will Feature Dr. Peter Levine
  5. Women’s Symposium Features Dr. Dan Siegel


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