About the GPS System

The GPS System, developed by Zippi Livneh, RN and sugar addiction specialist, is based on the science of the brain, the latest research in food addiction, and proven methods that are being used around the world. The process is based on 3 stages that are a systematic and effective way to stop eating sugars, flours and other addictive foods for life and to free your mind from obsessive thinking about food.

GPS stands for the 3 stages: 1. Groundwork 2. The Four pillars and 3. Strategies and Actions.

  1. Groundwork – the base for living free from the food. At the beginning, those in my program gain expert knowledge about how sugars and other foods affect our minds and bodies and all about food addiction.
  2. The 4 Pillars – then we adopt the 4 basic rules or “four pillars” that are essential to live a life free of addictive eating. The four pillars are 4 basic rules on how to eat in a way that is suited biochemically to those who are more sensitive to the addictive properties of sugary, starchy and processed foods. The 4 rules are no sugars, no flours, no eating between meals and identifying and abstaining from personal triggers. Perhaps you are saying now “What?! Easier said than done!” My program can show you how these 4 rules can be applied to all situations in life and you will experience a freedom you may never have had before when it comes to food and eating behaviors.
  3. Strategies and Tools – lastly, my clients are given many tools and life strategies to adhere to these four essential rules easily and for the rest of their lives.

Yes, there is a food plan in this program and my clients lose weight if needed. I work closely with a clinical dietician who has trained in food addiction. The point is that this is a secondary outcome to the main purpose of the my program which is food freedom. My clients do not go hungry. The GPS System shows them a way to be satisfied and happy with lots of healthy and nutritious food. The best part is that my clients are able to get free from obsessive thinking about food, body image and eating.

I teach this system in group workshops, in private one on one counselling and I have a unique program for couples who would like to detox from sugar together in an intimate setting.  

I counsel in English and in Hebrew, online and in person. I have a lovely clinic in Mitzpeh Netofah and also can meet my clients close to their home in Israel.

About Zippi Livneh

Monthly blog by Zippi Livneh – Free Your Mind From Food

Blog #1 – January –  My Story

I believe I was born a sugar addict. As far back as I can remember I had an unhealthy relationship with sugar. I loved sugar and all sweet things and could never leave over for tomorrow no matter how much there was. Yet, sugar was also a huge source of frustration. I always wanted more and there was never enough.

A few years back, my Mom told me a story that really clinched it for me. I was brought up in a small community near Montreal where my father was the Rabbi of the orthodox synagogue. I attended the local nursery and since we kept strictly kosher, I was not allowed to eat from the cake and treats at the birthday parties. On the days there was a birthday, my mother would send me to nursery with a bag of kosher food to have during the party. One day, the teacher came to my Mom very upset and apologetic. She had found me hiding under the table and eating the sweets from the party. I have no memory of this. Just so you understand – I was a good girl and listened to my parents. I also firmly believed in G-d and the laws of the Jewish Bible (still do). Yet, from the time I was a little girl and well into adulthood, my parents’ strict forbiddance, and even the commandment of God was not enough to keep me away from the sugar. I would steal from my Mom’s wallet and go buy non-kosher candy at the store. It was always the tastiest! I would drive my bike many kilometers away, so that no-one would see “the Rabbi’s daughter” buying a McDonald’s milkshake.

For many years I thought my mother deprived us in our childhood because we never had junk food in the house, and that my twisted attitude towards sweets and junk food is a result of that deprivation.  Now that I understand the workings of food addiction I know that’s a bunch of crap. Both my parents have an unhealthy attitude towards food but that’s not why I am like I am. It’s just in my DNA, there’s no one to blame – including myself.  If there had been more junk I would have eaten more junk, and my attitude is twisted because I have a brain that is sensitive/addicted to sugar. By not keeping junk in the house my Mom saved me from the suffering of being a fat child. If we had had junk in the house I would have been fat. Today, I thank her from the bottom of my heart.

At the age of 17 I left home and went to live in Israel. Throughout the years I called myself “pleasantly plump” but inside I always felt fat and yearned to lose those 5kg (10 pounds) that would give me that nice figure and all would be right in the world. Another bunch of crap.

At the age of 20, I got married to the sweetest, gentlest and most accepting man. He never noticed or cared about what I ate or what I weighed. Can you guess what that meant to me? Yup, carte blanche to eat as much junk as I want whenever I want. I spent more and more money and time eating junk and I began bingeing on a regular basis. I gained weight and when I complained about leg pain a nurse suggested I try to lose weight. I decided that’s it. I began to count calories and for the first time in my life I managed to diet and lose 8kg. I looked and felt great.

This lasted about 3 years, including 9 months of travelling in the far east and Australia. For 9 dreamy months we had no pressure, just fun, and for the first (and last) time in my life, junk food was not at the center of my existence. I was able to take it or leave it.

 

My sugar addiction really took off after my first son was born and continued to progress to the age of 32. I am a registered nurse – I could have taught a dietician about good nutrition, yet I was completely incapable of applying to myself all those smart, wonderful tips on how to eat healthy. Occasional bingeing turned into 3-4 times a week and finally into this non-stop eating frenzy all day. I could eat incredible amounts of food including at mealtimes. I never felt hungry and never felt full. I just felt like I need to eat, all the time. Each year I gained more weight and by the age of 32, pleasantly plump had turned into unpleasantly fat.

I couldn’t understand what’s wrong with me. I was a successful woman in so many areas of my life – marriage, career, family, and yet in the one area that I wanted to succeed most I was an utter failure. I pretended it didn’t matter that I’m fat and managed to fool everyone except me.

One day a new doctor came to the clinic I was working at. She was quite heavy but told me she had lost 20 kg in group psychology therapy that treated overeating as an addiction. She said that some people are addicted to food like others are addicted to drugs. It was like a lightbulb went on in my head. Yes! That’s me. I really am a junk food junkie – there is such a thing! I went for therapy, lost 7 kg and after a year was pronounced “cured”. That helped until we a year later when we had a financial crisis and boom –  I was back in the food.

Here is where God / The Universe / fate/ whatever you want to call it intervened. I had no money to go back to that nice, well-meaning psychologist, so I went to a 12-step program. There they took a small sum and talked about being addicted to food. It took. I lost 22 kg in 4 years. I took a sponsor, did service, spoke and sponsored. Until today I live the spiritual program of the 12 steps to the best of my ability. I have had some relapses including a year when I went out – went back into the food, gained 10 kg of fat and tons of misery, came back to the 12 step rooms and got abstinent again 12 years ago. I lost 5kg of the weight I had regained and 5kg stayed on as a souvenir.

Some years ago, I cam across some OA literature that made me realize there are people and centers in the US that treat food addiction professionally. It was a kind of epiphany for me. There were no professional “rehab” services in Israel for food addicts that I knew of. I personally knew a number of food addicts who had died or were severely sick from their addiction and wondered if professional help could have made a difference for them.

I began to dream of bringing this about in Israel. First, I dreamt, then I read, then I researched, then I travelled to meet professional food addiction counselors and learn about their programs. All the while I was working full time in the pharmaceutical industry. For six years researched and studied but had no time to do anything about it.

In 12 step programs there is a saying that God can do for you what you cannot do for yourself. I could not leave the financial security of my job and just when things were going really well for me in my job, my boss left. I got a new manager and from the beginning it was clear she did not want me in her department. This had never happened to me before and one part of me screamed – WHAT?? How can this be happening? In parallel a voice inside of me said – “Maybe it’s time to go and realize your dream”. With some heavenly placed suggestions and advice, I did not fight it, I let it happen. Within two months I was fired. I had worked as an employee for 30 years and had never even come close, and within 2 months I was booted out the door. It was so hard!! It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

It gave me the opportunity to open my own business for food addiction counselling. Since then I have dedicated myself full time to helping other sugar/food addicts find release from the clutches of their addiction. I hope to help as many people as I can experience the freedom of recovery from sugar addiction. My mission is to help others be free of the obsession as I have been freed.

Is this possible? You bet! The most amazing part is that there are so many ways, that everyone can find the right path for him/herself. I’m here to take you by the hand and show you the way.

I am a registered nurse and have a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a Master of Business Administration from Haifa University. I am trained in 12 steps through “Haderech” rehabilitation center and the Israel Authority for Prevention of Violence, Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

I am a proud member of the board of directors of the “Food Addiction Institute” (link https://foodaddictioninstitute.org/), an international organization dedicated to educating professionals and the public about food addiction and the available treatments.

I have over 20 years of experience working with food addicts and compulsive overeaters helping them recover. Seven years ago, I began training and researching this field professionally. I travelled around the world to meet and learn with the pioneer and leading food addiction counselors and many of my methods are based on their programs and vast experience.

In January 2018, I decided to dedicate my life to my passion and work full time in helping people get off the sugar for good and free their mind from obsessive thinking about food.

I developed the “GPS System” which is a clear and systematic approach to detox and abstain from sugars, flours and other addictive foods. I give group workshops in English and Hebrew, counsel individuals and have a unique program for those who would like to do this process as a couple. My programs are in person and online as well.

I give lectures and workshops to general audiences and medical professionals about sugar addiction and the need to change the way we think about the obesity problem and weight loss.

My clinic and my home are in Mitzpe Netofa in the beautiful Lower Galilee of Israel. I’m married to Yonah Livneh, a professional running coach who has run 14 marathons (and counting!). I am blessed with 4 children, a daughter in law and 2 wonderful grandchildren.

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