Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weighty Challenge

An ongoing challenge with many of our managers and clients - after they’ve been with us a while - is weight gain. And I’m not talking about three or four pounds. Some gain as much as 75 or 100 pounds over a few years.

Part of it seems to be that - for the first time in a long time - they’re living a routine life and getting regular rest. But others gain excessive weight because food has become their new addiction.

A few have said that they’ve given up drugs, but that’s a far as they’re willing to go. They find pleasure in fast food, sugary sodas, and pastries.

Sometimes though, when they’re tired of dealing with the lack of energy and the health issues associated with their weight they ask for assistance in living healthier.

And when I tell them that I stay healthy at 74 by exercising and eating a mostly vegan diet – which means no animal products – they usually have two predictable responses.

One is: “What do you do for protein?”

But when I ask them to tell me more about protein requirements they bog down pretty fast because few people are educated about how much protein the body requires.

The second question is: “What do you eat?”

And my answer is always “I know what you eat and it’s usually one of four things; either beef, pork, chicken or fish.” Then I go on to explain that there are over 185 kinds of vegetables, grains, and fruits available for those who want to try a healthier diet.

The idea of living life to the fullest shouldn’t include our stomachs.