How can you help your teenage daughter if you think she’s a food addict?

In this week’s vlog, I provide some advice to a viewer struggling to help her children develop a healthy relationship with food.


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    Every weekend i used to visit this site, because i want enjoyment, since this
    this site conations genuinely pleasant funny material too.

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  2. Donovan

    So full of grace, ease and simple brilliance! Leave a copy of Susan’s book in a spot that would imply you aren’t actively reading it. It just might get picked up some day. You aren’t supposed to lead a witness in a trial, but you can get crafty as a parent of a teen!

    I love how you just oozed compassion on this one Susan AND you still got real. The inverse relationship of “good” suggestions from parents to kid push back is pure gold! I like the suggestion to temper the enthusiasm if there is ever buy-in. Well done Mama Susan.

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  3. Kim

    Great response. Full of wisdom and compassion. “Keep your eyes on your own plate” EXCELLENT! Also, the girls really might be starving at their dad’s. They need some proteins and healthy fats, especially for their female hormones. Does mom have any healthier treats they can maybe use to help them make better choices? Just a thought? You can mix nut butter, yacon syrup, coconut flour and dark chocolate and make some little treat bites.

    Also, because mom had an eating addiction, came out of it and is not doing better and right by her body–that must be the truest and the BEST example.

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  4. Judith

    Susan, Thank you for your sage advise and timely vlog. My daughter is now 20 and her addiction started at the age of 14 with the onset of OCD. I was aware when it was happening and even then could do nothing to stop it. She turned to food as a way to ease the severe anxiety and fear she felt from the OCD. Plus, she was genetically inclined. My weight has fluctuated since my teenage years but never thought of myself as an addict until I entered OA to help my daughter, and inadvertently helped myself. My daughter has been through many treatment programs both for the OCD and Compulsive Eating over the years, by her own desire, but as of yet still struggles with the food addiction. I am so grateful to share that she is a successful Sophomore in college (majoring in psychology, no less) and I couldn’t be more proud of her for all the hard work she’s done. After much consideration, I did pass along this vlog to allow her to believe there is a path forward to get free of the addiction, a doubt she shared as recently as Christmas break. However my primary concern was that she might be turned off by your motto of “thin, happy, free”. Her salient point at her young age was that her weight needn’t define her…that she could still live a meaningful life and be happy without being “thin”. She heard the the “thin” message to mean her life would be put on hold until she could loss all the weight. Instead, she kept up a 4.0 gpa, got accepted at a great University, has made many friends (most do not have weight issues) and participates in leadership roles doing the things she loves…singing, performing, tennis, tutoring, mentoring…all while being “overweight”. She of course hates the grip food has on her, wants to be “free” of it and would be “happier” without all the baggage and limitations that comes with the being overweight. A motto that I know would resonate in a more positive way for her would be “fitter, happier and free (at last)”. Thank you for letting me share this insight and for your devotion to helping others find their pure self. And for the comfort I got from your empathy.

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  5. Lynne

    Wonderful Blog!!! I especially liked the reminder that the path we are on is one of self-discovery and what a glorious path it is! It is not easy but so worth the work. Not being co-dependent with my husband and son who love eating sugar and carbs has been my biggest challenge and i’m not always successful when it comes to my husband. With my son, I keep reminding myself it’s the attraction of my program and results that he might notice someday. Thanks, Susan!

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  6. Mona

    Susan : Very well said. We can’t do it for our kids. We need to show by example . Keep our eyes on our plates. Work this program by being calm, cheerful and positive, good role model . Good Vlog! We can’t do it for them but we can catch them when they are ready.

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  7. Sylvia

    thank you again , your compassion is so great,you are the best

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  8. Emma Williams

    I look forward to watching your vlogs every week Susan – I could watch you talking for hours, you’re such a kind and lovely person , who also knows what she’s talking about, please keep up the good work 🙂 xx

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  9. Teresa James-Nitti

    Susan you are awesome. Enjoy listening to your advice no end. You are educational, motivational and a extremely inspiring human being.
    Thank you.
    Teresa James-Nitti

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  10. Denise

    Throughout the vlog, I kept hearing in my head, “Lead by example”. I think that’s where Susan was going with this and I applaud Laura for wanting so badly for her daughters not to be addicts. All I want to say is, Thank you, Susan! and Hang in there, Laura! I have a 30-something son who would benefit from BLE, but, like you, I have to let him walk his own path.

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  11. Kathy

    Can´t help but notice so many references to cars in your vlogs Susan – last week you mentioned even sometimes hiring a car when you travel in order to do your grocery shopping. This week you mention that the 14-year old can´t have a car and you assume that the mother does and that the car is used in doing the shopping. It makes healthy eating seem a lot less healthy if you need to use a car to get your food! How about walking? Cycling? Backpacks? I know, fruits and veggies are heavy – but hey you get yourself exercise as you shop instead of pumping CO2 into the air!

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  12. Susan Bell

    Thank You, Susan.
    You’re so amazing. What excellent advice. I’m forwarding this vlog to my family and friends. You know exactly what to say. Big hugs 🤗
    Susan Bell from Canada 🇨🇦

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  13. Meri Fatin

    Thanks Susan and Laura for the great question. I’m going to watch this a couple of times to get the full message. Its actually not what I thought you would say Susan and its a relief to hear your advice.

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  14. Emily in MT

    The topic and your guidance hit home! Thank you, again, for your insightful compassionate response.

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  15. Lisa

    Thank you for this Vlog. This helps me put things into perspective with my husband’s food addiction. I need to mind my own plate and keep on trekking with BLE.

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  16. Rachael

    I have similar worries about my husband and kids and their food addictions. I naturally like to micromanage and the reminder to keep my eyes on my own plate is so important for me. I have already seen the benefits of BLE and my example with my family. I’m only on day 8! Because I’m hungry I make sure to have dinner ready on time and my kids aren’t eating everything under the sun to satisfy their hunger. Now when I teach them to make healthy food choices I don’t feel like such a hypocrite. Thanks for addressing this issue!

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  17. Cheryl Wright

    I love, love, love, this topic, and how you pointed out to ME that this is one of the best possible condition to have in motivating me towards personal development! just WOW! Thank you so much for this new perspective! I’m so grateful! Sending love and hope to all who are working on this same thing.

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    Love this VLOG Susan. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. God Bless you, Laura, and the whole team.

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  19. Lisa Stanley

    Thank you so very much to the person and her family for submitting the question! My love to her and her family….I had serious food issues as a teenager….it took me decades to move to a “recovered” place. Trust them trust the path trust the flow of life, many of us need the solution of food – until we don’t. Blessings for all of us – food issues are rough…but it is just the symptom.

    Thank you Susan! Your voice and your energy and your love is so beautiful. I have had a winding and difficult road to food sobriety and your guidance has been part of my foundation.

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  20. Eudora A Fleischman

    Beautiful, beautiful advice. I just make the food for my teenagers and all of that good food I make is available for them, but it’s their choice. I learned that lesson from my own experience. It does have to be their choice for them, that they have to make the choice and commitment to be healthy. They know I am there for them when they choose to make better choices for themselves.

    They will get it in their own time.

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  21. Teresa Frank

    Susan, I am a long-ago teen with an addicted mother (alcohol) who was angry, resentful, sullen, etc. My mom got sober when I was age 17 and jumped right into living a life of recovery using all tools available to her. I became angrier, more resentful, more sullen. Until that day 5 years later when I found myself hiding under the bed, sobbing, hoping no one would find me. It was then that I realized that my mom used to feel exactly the same way, but she didn’t any longer. She had blossomed into the woman I’d always hoped she would be, with the help of her program, meetings, sponsors and friends. So I reached out to her, hoping she could teach me how to change as well. But instead she referred me to a professional, who helped me begin my own journey, based on my own efforts and my mom stayed in the background with love, support, and example. I am so grateful that she received the same message you shared with us today, which led me on my own journey and eventually to BLE. I’m slowly finding the life I’ve always wanted for myself.

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  22. Sherri Healey

    Thank you so much Susan. I have been feeling really guilty lately for the same thing and wishing I had done a better job when my kiddos were young. But thanks to you I am again reminded that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time and all I need to do is keep my eyes on my own plate. I also love the idea of thinking of my addiction as a gift… brilliant!! All this time I’ve cursed it and whined about why me but I will now view it as a gift that set me on the spiritual path I now travel. Thank you for reminding me that we all suffer or have suffered in some way and that that is where our strengths come from and without them who would we be? What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right??!! And my personal favorite – you can’t deny anyone their own pain.

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  23. Kimberly

    Another big thank you to Laura for submitting this vlog topic. She is definitely not alone. This topic his home and I really loved the advice and encouragement from Susan. I cannot thank you both enough. 🙂

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  24. Oria

    This vlog is so kind , compassionate and understanding.
    I personally find it helpful in dealing with my husband who,as you put it- needs it but doesn’t want it…Thank you!oria

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  25. Susana Alonso

    THANK YOU SUSAN!!!!! Going through the exact problem with my oldest son! Thank you for addressing this and THANK YOU Laura for submitting the question!
    Big Hug!!

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  26. Nancy W. Goss

    The wisdom Susan is sharing in this vlog is profound. I hope the mother is able to follow Susan’s advice. The caring Susan showed to the mother and the journey she has been on is also profound. Thanks for this vlog!

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  27. Amy

    Great vlog!

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  28. Carrie

    Thank you to Laura for sending that in!!! I have a 16 year old daughter who goes back and forth from my house to her dad’s and it is difficult to “keep tabs” on what happens over there. This made me cry! I really needed this message today, thank you Dr. Susan!! I see my girl struggle with body image AND FOOD. She is in “I don’t care” mode and the baggier the clothes, the better.
    I am thankful I have the key, it is here when she’s ready. XOXOXO

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  29. Val

    Thank you Susan
    This is a very important topic. My daughter who has always been thin came to me in tears the other day. She is 19 and almost 200lbs. I was so so careful not to pass on my addictions to her when she was a child, and she really had no issues with food, she ate what she wanted and stopped when she was full. but a year and a half of college and she is experiencing her first bouts of addiction. I’m grateful that I said nothing to her as I watched her weight going up and up, and I’m grateful that she came to me.

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  30. Patricia Reichgott O'Connor

    Brilliant vlog,. Susan. So well said!!

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  31. Taren B.

    Beautifully stated and reminders! I want to listen to this one every day!

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  32. Lesley K

    Thank you! Such a poignant reminder, and sometimes so hard to follow. Keep my eyes on my own plate. I agree, our growth does come from our toughest stuff. Thank you for sharing your love, compassion , and understanding with this community every week.

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  33. Judith

    I just friggin’ adore you Susan!!!

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  34. Silvia

    This message about “keep your eyes on your own plate” is a good advice not only about food, but also about other values. I have realized that I won´t spread my values (respect for the environment, feminism, pacifism…) by speech, but with my own acts. Only if my kids (and friends, relatives, workmates…) see me treating everyone with respect, avoinding the use of plastic, eating right, etc. and being happy like this, they could start thinking about doing the same.

    That said, I also remember that some of the “a-ha” moments in my life have come from that book a friend recommended me and that I read without interest in the beginning, or that film I was pushed to watch… So, I will continue buying SPT´s books copies for my loved ones who I think that need BLE, just in case eventually they start to want it. Don´t keep your eyes sooo much in your own plate that you forget to spread the message… 😉

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  35. 'Rèse

    Thank you soooo much. This vlog was spot-on for what I needed. I’m spiraling my way up from food addiction well my 40 year old daughter is dealing with alcohol. I could have written this letter.. the guilt, the shame, the fracured family etc etc etc.
    Here’s what I take away and jus wrote on my mirror. . . ” keep my eye on my own plate”.
    Thank you Susan for forgiving me, for allowing me and for encouraging me to do exactly that and to get support for the journey. Sigh

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  36. Carolan Black

    Susan, you vlog today was FANTASTIC. i agreed 100% with your reply to the question. I will watch it again and again, and share it with friends who have children if they are in need of the information.

    Your compassion, wisdom, and experience shine bright.

    Bless you for your service to all of us and to the Universe.

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  37. Ann Holley

    Thank you so much Susan, this spoke to me in so many ways. You are so positive and helpful. Good things will come from this vlog for so many of us.

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  38. Heather

    Thanks Susan really inspiring!

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  39. Kylie


    This was an interesting vlog with mostly very good content, however I have to firmly disagree with your comment that the mum is ‘complicit’ in her daughters’ food struggles and ‘an enabler’ for sending protein bars with them to their father’s house.

    That is an outrageous presumptuous comment and most likely also factually incorrect.

    People need a balanced diet with protein and if they are being forced to exist on a calorie restricted diet that is only fruit and vegetables, that could well make them sick without protein supplementation. We don’t know what type of protein bars she sent them. There are plenty of sugar free gluten free protein bars on the market. I agree that dates are a dreadful ingredient in processed bars (I completely avoid any processed food with dates in it), however you don’t know what brand she chose and what the ingredients were.

    I have hypoglycemia as does 5% of the population and when I am forced to have a vegetarian diet (for example at spiritual retreats) I become very ill and I have to supplement my diet with protein sources such as protein bars. I obviously consume no sugar so I choose the sugar free varieties.

    I understood where the mum was coming from in her letter and why she felt she had to supplement their diet with protein bars if they are eating a vegetarian and restrictive diet without any other protein sources. As anyone with any understanding of nutrition knows, protein is satiating and necessary for health so I assume she was giving them the food for that purpose, and not to give in to their food addictions or to enable them in any way. I think your comments were way off the mark and belittling. While the rest of the vlog was really supportive and awesome, I thought those comments were quite unnecessary and wrong.

    If the mum is reading, I understand that it is not your intention to enable or be complicit with the girls. I assume you’re doing it for their well-being and health and to stabilise their blood sugar levels (which protein does) while they’re forced to have a restrictive diet.

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    1. Silvia

      I totally agree with you, Kylie. Loved the blog, but disagree with that part. Poor mum, it must be hard to leave your kids in that kind of father´s hands. She´s doing what she can.

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    2. Rita

      Aren’t you also being presumptuous Kylie? You seem to presume the children aren’t getting protein at their dad’s house, so the mum is right to provide this in the form of protein bars? What if they are getting protein through healthy produce, though? Giving them ‘extra’ by way of bars (regardless if sugar and glutton-free) isn’t going to help them. Lots of bars taste sweet so could lead to bingeing. Also, many glutton-free and sugar-free products are still unhealthy because they are ‘processed’ and the ingredients are questionable. So, while you may find them suitable to supplement your diet because of your health needs, that doesn’t mean they would suit the girls. You also seem to assume that the mum will be hurt by Susan saying she’s being ‘complicit’ and ‘enabling’. What if, instead, the mum feels empowered by the realisation that she may indeed be an enabler? While it can sometimes be difficult to hear that we can be complicit and enabling, Susan, as always, speaks her truth directly and from the heart. Some of us didn’t like to be classed as food addicts either, but once we realised we were, it was a relief because then we could apply the solution. If the girls’ food is restricted and portion sizes are limited, and they are really hungry, then perhaps extra fruit may be a better solution. None of us knows for sure until we hear from Laura, herself. Until then, I’ll trust Susan’s wisdom and advice.

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      1. Kylie

        Hi Rita, no I am not being presumptuous. I based my comment on what food she said the girls were consuming at their father’s house in the vlog which was a fresh produce-based diet. Perhaps you didn’t listen to the vlog correctly and you missed that part? She specifically says in the letter to Susan that their father is feeding them a fresh produce based diet (as a means to force them to lose weight) and so she sends protein bars with them. I define fresh produce to be fruit and vegetables and I know from personal experience, years of treatment by a medical doctor who specialises in hypoglycaemia, and also from the bright line eating food plan, that protein sources are necessary for good health and cannot be found in ‘fresh produce’. People who are quite ignorant about nutrition may think that it is a good ‘diet’ to put someone on to lose weight (fruit and veg) but it isn’t. Protein controls blood sugar levels and food cravings so I heard from the letter that the mother is sending the girls with protein bars to supplement the restrictive produce based diet their father is feeding them on. Perhaps you heard something different.
        Fruit is never a good solution if you’re genuinely hungry as it creates a spike in your blood sugar levels and then a subsequent drop which contributes to hunger and food cravings. In fact people with insulin problems (which is all hypoglycaemic people and often overweight people eating the wrong foods also fall into this category) often avoid fruit altogether.
        That’s great that you agree with Susan’s wisdom and advice. Just because I agree with someone 90% of the time, doesn’t mean they are right 100% of the time and I found her comments to be mean and degrading towards the mother. And as I said, I thought they were incorrect anyway.

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  40. K Hall

    Thank you for the insightful and compassionate response. Well done!

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  41. D

    Oh my goodness….I love this vlog. Such a good reminder for all of us. We all have people we want to help but we most want to help ourselves and you provided the focus – help yourself first and always and everyone will get to have their own journey. I also loved the reminder that addictions are gifts to help us grow and transform. Thank you.

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  42. peggy

    great topic that bears repeating if you are short on topics.

    great wisdom from you on how it works:

    work your own program. no one can do it for anyone else

    it’s about attraction not promotion

    it’s not for people who need it but for people who want it and are willing to go to any lengths to get it

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    1. D

      Thanks for reiterating, Peggy! These are great reminders.

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  43. Annette

    Awesome vlog, Susan! Thank you so much!

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  44. Sherryl

    I wonder if some sort of intervention type program for teens could work? I have a teenage son, similar situation …. it is breaking my heart to watch him start his adult life overweight … and I of course blame myself .. I am his mother.. .. I should have prevented this . I mean if they (the teen), were taken out of his normal life for a bit, and educated by knowledgeable people who care… not people from their family where there are old wounds …. maybe it would be possible to change the direction they are headed?

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  45. Susan in California

    Very important post which is validated by my life experience. My parents were like Laura’s ex-husband and my three daughters (39, 32 and 29) are all large, emotional eaters. After getting a handle on my health through eating changes and exercise – over the past 22 years, including two bouts of breast cancer – I have lost 50 pounds and will occasionally share information with my girls. But there is nothing I can DO for them except be a positive model. It’s like the old saw: You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think. (Apologies to any who find that offensive rather than funny). It would be so very simple if we could do it FOR them but Susan is right: these are the challenges God puts in our lives to mold us and help us grow. I’m still waiting for my girls to ‘get it right,,’ but have emotionally divorced myself from the issue at this point. Nothing I can do but love them.

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  46. Susan Engle

    I’m new to the BLE way of life and am beginning to rely on your weekly vlogs. Thank you so much for providing them. Your spirit is strong and jumps right out of my computer. Much love and appreciation coming your way.

    Another Susan

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  47. Joseph

    Truly one of your best vlogs Susan! Thank you.

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  48. Ronna

    You hit the nail on the head with this blog! Verrry helpful in more ways than you covered as a strategy for dealing with others and life in general! Greatly appreciate your wisdom here!

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  49. Lavina

    Awesome! Thanks Suan!

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  50. Noelle

    I loved this not only because of the compassion and kindness, but also because it spoke to codependency which I can most definitely relate to and am actively working on. I “get it” when it comes to wanting to help someone so much that you lose sight of yourself. I love the message about worrying only about you and what’s on your plate. It’s true and super sound guidance. Thank you for sharing Susan!

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  51. Traci

    This was sooooooooo prevalent and helpful!!!! I have a fourteen year old son who loves carbs and sweets and definitely inherited being high on the susceptibility scale like his mama. We have healthy meals at home, but lately he mostly just uses his allowance to to by crap at the corner convenience store after school. We find wrappers hidden in his room, which KILLS me. I have been trying to not make a big deal of it, but it is so hard, as I see him getting more uncomfortable in his body, and then eating more to soothe his discomfort. He used to be such a balanced eater, but I feel he hasn’t had a vegetable in months. Still, we don’t bring attention to it (thank goodness my husband understands and trusts me since I’ve had food issues since childhood) but my question is this….
    If we’re out after dinner or another meal, he’ll want to stop for fast food, or ice cream or some kind of treat. I’ll say, “if you fell hungry OK” but you have to use your own money, as we just spent money for the meal at home. I’ll say I’m happy to buy him a healthy snack but not something that’s so unhealthy for him.
    Love you and love bright lines!!!
    Aka Blue

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  52. Michelle

    Really nice job Susan. Unexpected, honestly, but really nice job. Full of compassion and a wealth of great information on the topic. Thank you for your pure heart and sharing your authentic self. The only reason I say unexpected was because it was such a rich answer. You acknowledged many, many issues within the writers question. Was really, one of my favorites. Thank you

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  53. Elizabeth

    That was really helpful in dealing with the subject of living with a husband who eats a lot of sugar and carb. I have been wanting him to join me on my journey but he has resisted. Now I see that I just need to back off and do my own journey and see what happens. Thank you.

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  54. Pradipo

    Very clear and helpful. Thank you very much

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  55. Sreedhara

    Thank you very much.This is useful to all mothers like me.

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  56. Joy Darrah, M.D.

    Thanks Susan,
    I appreciate your work and share it with others as well.

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  57. Kathy Hildebrand

    What if the sugar addiction is causing real emotional problems and health issues…like adrenal fatigue?

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  58. Mariah Perkins

    One of the great great vlogs in a long line of stellar, compassionate, insightful and informative vlogs. My hope is that all the tribe will listen in. This pertains SOMEHOW to all of us.

    Reply ·
  59. Ronda S

    Brilliant. Thank you.

    Reply ·
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