11 January 2013

Interview With Rita M. Hancock, M.D. by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Rita Malvaso Hancock
Rita M. Hancock, M.D.
Dr. Rita M. Hancock is a board-certified pain management specialist physician and is the author of Radical Well-being: A Biblical Guide to Overcoming Pain, Illness, and Addictions (Siloam, January 2013) and The Eden Diet: How To Eat Treats, Enjoy Your Food, and Lose Weight (Zondervan, 2008). 

Rita, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.  Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? (transparency appreciated!)

By far, my most challenging struggle in life has been in the area of body weight and body image. Born into food-centered Italian-American family, I grew up worshipping food more than I worshipped God. I ate gigantic portions when I wasn’t even hungry, just because the food was “there” and it tasted good. It’s no surprise that I weighed 207 pounds by the time I was 17 years old! Thankfully, before I left for college, I lost 75 of those extra pounds. But, then, I went on to develop a compulsive eating disorder while in my pre-med studies at Cornell. It only makes sense that I would fall into either overeating or starving under the pressure of the rigorous pre-med curriculum. Up to that point in life, all I had ever known was either overeating when stressed or drastically under-eating to try to feel “in control.” I never knew “normal” eating--i.e. eating in response to physical (not emotional) hunger. Thankfully, my story has a happy ending. By the time I finished college, I discovered how to eat according to physical hunger. Fast-forward another fifteen years and things got even better when I realized that God Himself programmed us with those hunger pangs for a reason--so we’d actually FEEL them every now and then! I discuss more about my personal weight loss testimony and how God helped my overcome my weight problem in my book, The Eden Diet.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Matthew 19:26 “...but with God all things are possible.” As you know, I’m a pain management specialist. I have this Bible verse on the wall in one of my exam rooms, and, I believe that Scripture changes the atmosphere not only of that room, but of my whole office. It gives my patients and me hope and is a springboard for healing.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  
I am 99% sure that my book on emotional healing, Radical Well-being, will be in audio and large print versions.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
I want readers to become healthy in mind, body, and spirit! My first book, The Eden Diet, was about losing weight by using hunger pangs as a compass for when and how much to eat. My second book, Radical Well-being, takes your healing to the next level and practically hands emotional and spiritual healing to you on a silver platter. Not only does emotional peace facilitate weight loss by reducing your urges to stress-eat, it also reduces the severity of your physical pain problems and stress-induced illnesses like fibromyalgia, migraines, spinal pain, IBS, TMJ pain, pelvic pain, depression, anxiety, and others.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
My patients’ real life stories are more horrendous than anything I could research or make up. Many of my patients were neglected by their alcoholic or otherwise mentally ill parents or they were abandoned, or abused physically, verbally, or sexually, as children. Others suffered horrendous traumas, like losing their parents or other family members or close friends in natural disasters like tornadoes or house fires or the Oklahoma City bombing (I live and practice medicine in OKC). One of my patients even saw her own dad shoot himself in the head when she was only five years old. He was bipolar and actually told her it was her fault. Can you imagine how that little girl felt when that happened?

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
I believe very strongly in telling stories that other people can relate to and identify with. When I talk about my patients’ stories and how they found biblical truth to replace the lies they internalized as children, I believe it’s a springboard for my readers to find healing in their own lives.

websites: 
www.TheEdenDiet.com 
www.RadicalWell-being.com. 


In social media:
https://www.facebook.com/RadicalWellBeing
https://www.facebook.com/TheEdenDietChristianWeightLossProgram
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Doctor-Ritas-Author-Page/185333998237079
Twitter @RitaHancockMD

Blogs to which Dr. Rita contributes: 
The Wordserve Watercooler (writer's blog)
The Christian Post (health blogger)
Free online diet forum and blog: The Eden Diet blog 

Giveaway:  Dr. Hancock is generously giving away a copy of one of her books.  Leave a comment to be entered! Answer this question -- what do you wish a medical expert could tell you about healthy living?

25 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for being with us this week, Dr. Rita! This sounds like a wonderful book and one that most of us probably need.

    I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and we talk about issues that cause us to overeat, but Weight Watchers say you can eat ANYTHING within limits. I lost 50 lbs that way, but in in your book do you discuss foods that are a "no no" for menopausal women, anxiety, fibro, etc? I just don't like that aspect of so many food programs (although WWs is one the best), that allow you to eat anything w/in limits...even sweets. What is your take on this?

    Again thank you so much for being our guest this week -- we are honored to have you.

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    1. Diana, I plan to order this on Kindle. I'd heard a lot about The Eden Diet, too. I would like to hear the answers to Diana's questions, too, Rita!

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    2. CARRIE, I've heard alot about the Eden Diet as well.

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    3. Hi Diana,

      I totally agree with the "no food is off-limits" philosophy. There's no way I would have kept the weight off all this time if I had to give up chocolate and other sweet treats. Rather, The Eden Diet talks about WHEN to eat (i.e. how to differentiate true, physical hunger from those emotional urges to eat).

      WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ THE EDEN DIET FOR FREE? Guess what! It's totally free through tomorrow evening 1/12/13 at midnight pacific time on Kindle! Just go to the Kindle store and search "The Eden Diet." Share this on Facebook and anywhere else you wish. It's a New Year's gift from me!

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    4. Thank you so much, Dr, Rita! We are all downloading it!

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  2. A most inspiring post! Yes, with God all things are, indeed, possible! Glory to His Holy Name for what He has done and continues to do through your life, Dr. Hancock. And thank you, Carrie, for this wonderful interview.

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    1. Thanks, MaryAnn! You are such a delight in the MidAtlantic Zone and I wish you every success with your own new release, too!!!

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    2. MaryAnn, you are our first winner of Dr. Hancock's new release! CONGRATS!!!

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  3. Thank you Dr. Hancock for sharing with us on OWG. I have a sister that has RA and she is in constant pain. I hope to get your book for her. Thank you for sharing God's word with your patients, it is so encouraging to find a Doctor that glorifies God. After all He is the Great Physician.

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    1. Teresa, I'd be lost without God in my life, personally, and in my medical practice, too. He makes me a much better doctor than I otherwise might be.

      Re: your sister.....in patients with RA (or other systemic illness), there's obviously a big physical component. But why not remove any emotional or spiritual component that's aggravating the physical problem? It can't hurt. I'm glad you see it this way, too. I know you do b/c you thought about getting her Radical Well-being.

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  4. This is an easy one - I wish a medical person could tell me how to deal with my Fibromyalgia on a daily basis combined with the other medical issues I have. I'd love to read your book. I read the interview! Thanks for the offer!
    Susan in NC
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. We have a lot of followers who have fibromyalgia. We all have various inflammatory conditions so I am curious how Dr. Hancock will respond.

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    2. Hi Susan,
      I believe if there are emotional or spiritual issues that you are suppressing, you'll probably be less bothered by your fibromyalgia pain once you dig those problems out and expose them to God's truth. I lay that out step-by-step in the last part of my book. I pray it blesses you!

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  5. Dr. Rita your interview was an encouragement and inspiring. Matthew 19:26 is one of my favorite Bible verses also. Thank you for having this verse in one of your patients rooms for every one to see. God bless you

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    1. Yes! Amen to that. Another favorite is Proverbs 51:6....about God giving us wisdom in our inmost places. I believe He sheds the light of truth on the lies we believe about ourselves....if only we ASK Him.

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  6. For years I struggled with intense emotional reactions and didn't know why. I thought it might be related to food. I couldn't find a doctor that helped with this. I finally found a doctor that did extensive testing and found out some really strange food allergies. One of my reactions to food is extreme irritability. Now that I've stayed on a very strict diet for 6 months, I've not only lost over 30 pounds, I feel great and am emotionally stable!

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    1. That's great news, Kimberly! There's no doubt there's a strong physiological component that's very important in terms of our health. That's why it's important for each of us to learn the nuances of how our bodies react to different foods, medicines, etc., in addition to seeking emotional and spiritual peace. Thanks for your comment.

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    2. Wow, Kim, they think my food allergies are causing me issues, too, including possibly my arthritis. Will have to chat with you! So glad you feel well now!

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    3. Carrie, I actually blogged more about it today. Feel free to send me an email to chat! I love sharing easy things to do to help others feel better and find health.

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  7. Thank you for sharing this post. I so believe Biblically informed relationship with Jesus puts life in order.
    Bless you both.

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    1. We are really glad to have Rita share about herself and her books, Johnese!

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  8. Thank you CARRIE and RITA for that insightful interview. It's shocking to hear the enormity of what some people go through, and I can fully understand how it would affect some physically. God bless!

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    1. Yes, Noela, you're absolutely right. So many people are burdened with emotional and spiritual stressors on top of their physical issues. I'm trying to do what I can to help. Thanks for participating!

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  9. Thank you for the wonderful interview. My husband has Neuropathy in his feet that he had long before he became a Diabetic. It started about a year after he was diagnosed with M.S. which wasn't until his 50's. I'm of the thought that a lot of the problems with the Neuropathy has to do with things that he is eating and he agrees to a point but many times it happens when he hasn't had sweets. I'm thinking that it might be food allergy or a problem with gluten. Do you think that allergy testing would be worthwhile.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    azladijo(at)aol(dot)com

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  10. I enjoyed the interview with Dr. Hancock. I would love to win a copy of her book, Radical Well Being. Maybe I can get some long over do answers I have been seeking.

    I wish a medical expert would tell me how I can stop stress eating. Very ashamed of myself right now. I let life get in the way of my weight loss and now several pounds have crept back on. I also would like to have a medical expert tell me how to deal with my fibromyalgia without medication. Medication DOES NOT fix the problem...it just dopes you up to where you can't function. As I sit here and type I have burning in my body from the fibro. I also would like some medical expert to tell me what I need to do to get to the root of my migraines without medication. I hate all the side effects and guess what?...I still get migraines! I know, I am a mess but without God I would be a worse mess! He gets me through all my physical ailments and I praise Him for that.

    Blessings!
    Judy
    sweetpea.judy(at)yahoo(dot)com

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