Mar 18, 2014

Food Addictions



Food addictions may be preventing you from reaching your weight loss goals and all you have to do is figure out how to overcome it!  Have you ever tried to lose weight only to find you could not avoid your favorite foods?  The ones that you or other people might consider ‘bad’.  You have probably heard people say it is only a matter of will power or maybe you have even thought that. 

Sometimes it IS a matter of will power but sometimes will power is non-existent.  Have you ever wondered why some people have such tremendous will power and you have little or none?  Some individuals are extremely strong willed but it could be that they do not have the same intense desire to eat food… or binge food like some food addicts do.  

I discovered that I have an addiction to food but the strange thing is I have not had it my whole life.  It just started a few years ago and I did not even realize it was happening but some of my symptoms were ridiculous, over-the-top cravings.  Meaning I could not stop obsessing over food and what I would eat next.  The problem for me is that I do not keep junk food in my house-this way I cannot eat it 'at will' So I would just eat whatever was there.  I had a Costco bag of trail mix and ate a couple handfuls then a couple more and continued to do that until most of the bag was gone within a short period of time.  I responded to this by throwing away the remainder of the bag.  Now what?  I still had cravings that were not going away.  A friend of mine had made toast with cinnamon and sugar so I had some of the sugar at my house.  I commenced to eating it by the spoonful.  Talk about embarrassing.  These are just a couple stories of how food was taking over my life.

I thought I would ‘control’ my cravings by picking up something to satisfy the craving and I would tell myself that I would consume it in moderation.  I bet you already know I would eat the entire thing in one sitting, sometimes right in the parking lot of the store.

You have probably heard that eating chocolate releases endorphins in the brain and many times, people with food addictions will eat to achieve a feeling of euphoria.  People eat when they are upset, angry, sad, bored or stressed and it does not even matter if they are hungry.  This has been referred to as ‘emotional eating’ which is kind of a generic label.  It could definitely be emotional eating for some but for others, it is more than that.  It is something than cannot be stopped.  Cannot be contained.  The intensity of the desire to eat more and more just consumes the individual and there is no overcoming it.  This is an indicator of a food addiction.

Cravings are deemed to be uncontrollable and food intake is high, especially junk or high sugar foods.  Closet eating or eating smaller amounts in front of others are some behaviors of a food addict.  Take a look at the Food Addict’s Anonymous website which indicates that obsessing over food comes first over all other things like developing friendships or other relationships.  View their site here:  http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/are-you-food-addict.  

So how would someone overcome food addictions?  Good question. 

I Googled “overcoming food addictions” and many books popped up as well as websites for facilities that help treat this disorder.  I found a facility with a program that treats food addictions, anorexia and bulimia.  The next one I found was: http://addictionsolutions.leads.com/ which also treats alcohol and drug addictions as well as sex addictions.  It is amazing to me that food addictions are not more widely recognized because there is definitely an epidemic of obesity trending.  This does not mean that all obese individuals fall in the category of having a food addiction but it certainly means that there may be more to compulsive overeating than what we realize.
 
This article is to bring awareness to what your own behaviors are.  I noticed that the more preoccupied (with things like in this blog) I was with tasks that were absolutely necessary, the less time and chance I had to eat…. or binge eat.  I thought about when the food addiction began and it was when I had more free time so I scheduled many activities into my life so that I had to be out of the house.  I surrounded myself with others – because I did not want to eat a lot in front of people so this eliminated binging sessions.

The greatest feat was identifying the issue.  Next was developing a plan to overcome it by keeping myself busy and learning how to cope with issues in more productive and beneficial ways than eating.  Figuring out what you are going to do with your time when you are alone or when the kids are asleep is a great step forward.  This time can be used to plan meals or even prepare healthy ones so that it reduces the intake of crap.  I am not gonna lie, considering therapy is a good idea if everything you try doesn’t work.
 
Food addictions may be the reason you have not been successful with your weight loss journey.  If you yo-yo and have no self-control you should look into what it really means to be a food addict and how to overcome it.  
 
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Do you have food addictions?  Are you doing something about it?  If yes, what?

2 comments:

  1. I may get some flack for this one...but I think a food addiction is terrible to try to overcome. An alcoholic can avoid bars and situations where his/her vice is present. As a food addict, I have to confront my 'drug' of choice over and over and over again EVERY day!

    That said, I don'g think it's a thing of overcoming but rather learning to live with it!

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    1. What a great point! I use the same examples any time I refer to food addictions. Drug addicts and alcoholics can do just that: avoid. However, food addicts have no choice but to continuously eat.... we gotta live, right?

      I think everyone is different in reference to how they can deal with food addictions. True addicts, in any sense of the word, will always be an addict in some way. (from what I have learned and experienced but some may disagree with that) I mentioned having an addictive personality in a blog or 2 and I have changed my addictions (unintentionally) and I am not suggesting everyone can do that but what I am saying is that I have had some good addictions and some bad ones (I will probably write on those some day) and for me, I still have an addiction but it is no longer food. Now, it is blogging, marketing, fitness and working out.

      Sort of. I still have to battle food addictions but I have found that keeping myself occupied helps. Thanks for sharing, I know this is a touchy subject.

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