A former dentist who struggled with emotional eating for years says her “food addiction” is now ‘water under the bridge’ as, like chart-topping singer Adele, she has discovered the healing power of crystals.
Conscious of her constantly fluctuating weight, Dr Bunmi Aboaba, 57, realised she was compulsively eating junk like pizza and sweets when she was stressed, rather than hungry, after “a burn-out” forced her to take time off work.
Once she realised her eating habits were because of an addiction like any other, Bunmi, who lives in Crystal Palace, south east London, with her two teenage children, was able to boost her usual scientific solutions with some more holistic methods.
She said: “I poo pooed spiritual treatments at first, because I’m quite a scientific person
“But once the penny dropped and I realised I had an addictive attitude to food and ate as a reaction to anxiety, completely different solutions became available to me.”
Discovering reiki – a Japanese form of energy healing – after reading about the psychology of addiction, in 2009 she saw a healer who practised the technique using crystals and soon saw a positive change.
Bunmi, who does not want to name her family members, said: “She used reiki crystals, meditation and breathwork and I found it really changed how I felt.
“Crystals vibrate at certain frequencies that can become a perfect blueprint for wellness.”
While 5ft 10in Bunmi now maintains a stable weight of around 11 stone, she has fluctuated by up to 2.5 stone over the years.
Relationships - What is your relationship with food? When did your food cravings start to affect your life? How does your food make you feel? What are the foods that set off your cravings?
Reframe - increase your self-awareness, look at yourself in the mirror, try to find a positive body image. Transform the negativity into a high standard of self-worth.
Resilience - Build control by creating strong techniques and a support system to stop the craving. This may both involve using crystals and breathing exercises alongside a 'buddy system,' by trusting a friend or family member to keep tabs on your eating - a similar technique as that used with other addictions such as drugs or alcohol.
Recovery - Agree on a strong sustainable healthy food plan, commit to it and trust the plan to help you feel well again with support from your daily coping strategies.
Now realising that her unhealthy relationship with food was directly related to how she was feeling, she said: “I’d had burn-out.
“My high stress job made me feel tired and drained and I ended up having to take a few months off in 2008 to spend more time with my kids.
“I was lacking energy and just started eating lots of sugary things because they made me feel better.”
“I call it compulsive non-hunger eating, I had no will power and my weight was yo-yoing. I would lose a stone only to put it on again straight away.
“When I asked myself, ‘What did I eat today?’ I felt like a failure, but I also couldn’t understand why I was doing it,” said Bunmi.
But, after her epiphany, when she realised her compulsive eating had become an addictive habit, she opened her mind to holistic treatments.
She said: “I had food cravings, followed by a binge, followed by a withdrawal and a sense of anxiety – exactly the same as I believe it is with drug or alcohol addiction.
“I wanted to thrive and understand what I was suffering from and that’s when I knew this was an addiction, like any other.”
When she discovered healing crystals everything changed – and she also found herself in esteemed company.
Grammy award-winner Adele has described a transformative moment when her singing teacher handed her some crystals when she was doing vocal exercises in New York, saying they “felt amazing.”
And she says her comeback show was one of her “best shows ever” – adding that she had crystals in her hand.
Fellow singer Katy Perry favours amethyst crystals, said to promote clarity of thought.
Victoria Beckham carries a black obsidian skull crystal in her bag.
And supermodel Naomi Campbell carries a black tourmaline and a rose quartz crystal in hers.
Bunmi said: “A friend suggested I went to see a holistic therapist in 2009. I was sceptical, but the healing crystals really worked. The crystals made me feel as though everything was going to be okay.”
She continued: “I felt protected and I felt a sense of joy even though I was still recovering.”
A complete convert to holistic therapies, Bunmi qualified as a recovery coach in 2017 and is now a leading expert in holistic methods of beating food addiction, helping her clients to stop self-sabotaging their weight loss goals with compulsive eating.
She has written a book about her own methods that combine holistic wellness and crystals with traditional addiction recovery techniques, used by people with drug and alcohol problems.
She said: “Dealing with food addiction is very similar to dealing with substance or alcohol addictions,” she said.
“The main difference is that you can’t take food completely out of your life, as you would aim to do with alcohol or drugs.
“Rather, you have to identify the trigger foods and create a safe home where they are not around you.”
She continued: “I jumped for joy when I read that Adele used crystals, too, and in a similar way to me.
“I use them for a sense of clarity, for a sense of purpose, for meditation and healing.”
“And I’d far rather use crystals than take Prozac any day.
“Having my burnout and getting control of my eating were the best things that ever happened to me, I got my life back more than tenfold.”
Bunmi’s top four crystals and how to use them
1. Rose Quartz – “My favourite crystal of all is rose quartz. Its warm energy encourages self-care and self-love – it’s like a hug in crystal form. For best results lie it on your chest or clasp it in your hands like you are praying and think of pink energies. I put mine down my bra, so it’s close to my heart all day!”
2. Carnelian – “Carnelian gives you a joyful boost of energy. It helps you find a creative way to nourish your body. I lie it on my belly below my navel or put it in my trouser pocket if I’m out and about.”
3. Amethyst – “This is the first crystal I picked up. It is the best crystal for tackling addiction. It tackles stress and helps you fight food cravings. Place it on your forehead for a few minutes and visualise your joyful weight loss journey.”
4. Sunstone – “This stone is great for boosting your metabolism and willpower. Just place it above your belly button and visualise a warm energy.”
Bunmi’s new book, Craving Freedom, is released on December 1. To find out more about her courses to help those with food addictions see https://www.thefoodaddictioncourse.co.uk/the-craving-freedom-course/