Build A Healthier Relationship With Food At Delamere
Eating disorders are often referred to as being psycho-physical, meaning treatment must look at both the mind and body together.
In order to create a programme that meets your specific needs, our doctors will do a complete physical assessment to identify any serious risks or dangers and to understand exactly what is needed from a physical standpoint.
Our therapists will then carry out a personal assessment in order to build a tailored therapy programme to give you the best chance of saying goodbye to these destructive habits once and for all.
We offer personalised residential rehab programmes to help you press the pause button on your life in a comfortable, safe space free from all distractions.
We understand that eating disorders are medical conditions and our team of clinicians, therapists, analysts, psychotherapists and facilitators are dedicated to helping you make a sustainable change in your life.
Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at the underlying factors that drive your behaviour and adopt a more holistic approach to recovery, with things like somatic healing, one-to-one therapy and creative arts as part of our programmes.
Identifying If You Suffer From A Food Addiction
Food addiction carries a number of tell-tale signs. These signs are commonly known as symptoms.
Below I list these symptoms:
- You eat food in order to cope with negative emotions such as stress
- Your mind is constantly preoccupied with food to the point of obsession
- You eat food even though you are aware of the negative health consequences of doing so
- You eat so much food that you suffer from nausea or to the point where you vomit
- You do not possess any self-control when it comes to your appetite
- You lie about how much food you eat
- You feel a sense of self-disgust about your appearance and you eat to drown your sorrows
- You wake up in the middle of the night to eat food
- Eating is more about pleasure than satisfying your appetite
- You hide food around the house/office
- You hide food away from your loved-one
- You feel depressed/regret/guilt after binge eating
- You eat long after you are full
- Binge eating episodes last for around two hours, but sometimes lasts an entire day
- You get very angry when food is not available/denied to you
Although an addiction to food may begin at any age, most sufferers will develop the addiction in their adolescence or early adulthood.
What Is Food Obsession
Sometimes its hard to know whats normal when it comes to thinking about food. I mean, we NEED it, right? So we kinda need to think about it. True. But there is a line that can be crossed from general thinking about food because our bodies need fuel to becoming straight up obsessed with food. Here are a few signs you might be struggling, or are on your way to struggling with, food obsession:
- Not being able to fully concentrate on other tasks between meals because youre planning the next time youll eat
- Becoming stressed, anxious or angry if your planned meal/snack changes
- Constantly tallying calories, points, macros, amount of veggies/fruits eaten, etc.
- Avoiding social situations that may involve food in order to stay in control
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Tip #: Make Peace With Your Body
One of the big reasons food rules develop is because we want to manipulate the size/shape/weight of our bodies. In order to make peace with food you have got to learn to make peace with your body. This is SO important that we devote an entire stage to it in The SociEATy.
And if youâre like âColleenâ¦ Okay so thatâs all great but I want to be HEALTHY!â I gotchu. Weight and body size are NOT great indicators of health. I want you to be healthy, gorgeous. I mean, as a Registered Dietitian thatâs kinda my job, right?
You truly can be healthy at any size . Kinda like we all have different shoe sizes or the way a Chihuahua looks different from a German Shepard, we all have unique body shapes and sizes.
I teach how to implement gentle nutrition to honor your health AND make peace with food. I have an entire blog post on what gentle nutrition is and also one of my fave tools for implementing it, the food and mood journal.
The Relationship Between Alcohol & Processed Foods
A 2015 paper from the American College of Nutrition explains this relationship between addictions to alcohol and processed foods:
When processed food addiction is compared to substance-based addictions such as alcoholism and smoking, a clear, consistent disease concept emerges. The similarities between alcohol addiction and processed food addiction include neuro-dysfunction of cravings and suppression of cognitive function, genetics, impulsive and irritable behavior, mood disorders, conformance to addiction diagnostic criteria, family patterns, young age of onset, a fetal syndrome, serious consequences, disrupted careers and relationships, and food industry business practices of advertising, pricing, marketing to children and easy availability. Abstinence has also shown to be effective in treatment.
I find that to be so profound. According to this research paper, alcohol addiction in the 18th century and processed food addiction today are based on the same 5-A Equation. This includes five words that begin with the letter A that are necessary for creating highly addictive substances. Here are the 5 As:
Availability: Make the substance available everywhere 24/7
Affordability: Produce the product for as cheap as possible & make it seem like an irresistible value
Addictive properties in the product: Add components that keep people hooked and coming back for more
Advertising: Spend millions of dollars on marketing to create a new norm in society
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Sugar Addiction And Anxiety
Anxiety and sugar craving have a direct relationship. Eating disorders like binge eating or anorexia occur for underlying reasons. Often times, the person suffering from such disorders is struggling for psychological and emotional reasons. Stress eating is common example of the relationship between eating disorders and anxiety, and sugar consumption is commonly associated with stress eating.
Anxiety causes the stress hormone cortisol to be released in the body, which can suppress appetite in some. On the other hand, the stress may encourage people who already like sugar into more cravings. When sugar addiction co-occurs with eating to soothe anxiety, the end result is typically weight gain. Despite sugar initially boosting serotonin levels in the brain, sugar can worsen anxiety as sugar lows create feelings of fatigue and depression.
Do You Have A Food Addiction
All addictions share similar behavioural symptoms. It is not a lack of willpower that keeps people using their drug of choice no one wants to be an alcoholic or drug addict, nor does anyone want to be obese and addicted to food.
The following questions can help you determine if you have a problematic relationship with food:
If you answer a resounding yes to more than half of these questions you probably struggle with an addiction to food.
Not surprisingly, those in addiction recovery are more susceptible to becoming addicted to food. Replacing one addiction with another is not uncommon, and those formerly suffering from drug addiction may find they begin to use foods addictively.
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Sugar Addiction And Emotional Eating
People may find sugars ability to provide instant energy, combined with the good taste of sugary foods, enticing. Sugar provides some with a quick fix during a long and stressful day. People who are enduring breakups or other emotionally stressful situations often turn to chocolate or pints of ice cream to comfort themselves during the difficult time. However, those who turn to sugar to deal with emotional issues are more likely to become addicted. Other indications of sugar addiction for emotional relief are weight gain and difficulty focusing on daily responsibilities. These side effects can damage self-esteem, cause feelings of helplessness, and lower self-worth this in turn leads to more sugar consumption and a more severe addiction.
Critics Of Food Addiction
Food addiction is not as widely endorsed as the literature suggests.
Some of the main criticisms of the food addiction concept are10Fletcher PC, Kenny PJ. Food addiction: a valid concept? Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018:1.:
- The addictive substances within foods are unclear: This a major problem because the food addiction model assumes that some foods directly affect the brain, hijacking its reward systems. Critics argue that it is difficult to accept claims that food can be addictive if we are yet to pinpoint what the addictive properties are.
- Food addiction = binge-eating disorder: There is a lot of overlap between food addiction and binge-eating disorder, both at the diagnostic level and the symptom level. Given the substantial overlap, critics are wondering whether food addiction is just another fancy term for binge-eating disorder.
- The neurobiological evidence is poor: Critics argue that there is no convincing human evidence showing that neurobiological changes do indeed underlie food addicted behaviours. Also, the same areas of the brain that light up in response to food and drugs may also light up to other pleasurable stimuli.
- Too much reliance on animal models: Although rats show evidence of compulsive eating and a range of other characteristics associated with addiction when given intermittent availability of high-sugar foods, whether these findings can be generalized to humans has been questioned.
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Practical Ways To Decrease Screen Time & Increase God/family Time
Designate time with God. The goal is to keep God at the forefront of your mind always , but when you’re making new habits, keep your goals small. Start with a small amount of time, such as praying as soon as you wake up and/or right before bed, then build as you are ready. After a while, you may even crave more time with God. Set an alarm, get up, grab your Bible, and enjoy God’s presence, attention, and wisdom.
Make your time with God screen-free. No phones, tablets, computers, or TVs! Yes, there are Bible apps and video sermons, but if you’re trying to put God before screens, I wouldn’t suggest using those. Too much temptation to check feeds, notifications, or fall down a YouTube rabbit hole. Get a good old-fashioned printed Bible. If you’re so inclined, use highlighters, gel pens, etc. to mark passages, make notes, draw pictures, doodleâanything that helps. Make it a special time with God.
Make your family time screen-free. Put your phone and other devices away. You can encourage the whole family to support efforts to decrease screen time by making dinner and doing family activities phone-free. Connecting with your family is an investment that’s easy to make while you’re living at home. Take advantage!
Talk your friends into screen-free activities. The stuff you do doesn’t always have to involve movies, shows, video games, or snapping each other. You can go outside, create things, serve others, try new things… You may start a revolution!
What Causes Food Addiction
Consuming highly palatable foods, or foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat, salt, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, triggers the pleasure centers of the brain and releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. These foods affect the same area of the brain as drugs, alcohol, and behaviors such as shopping or gambling.
Highly palatable foods often contain unnatural substances or higher-than-normal levels of natural substances that your body and brain can’t process. This results in your body being flooded with feel-good chemicals.
To help you hang on to or recreate those good feelings, your body and brain will begin to crave highly palatable foods. And, because your brain will adjust its receptors to compensate for the rush of chemicals, you’ll eventually need to consume increasing quantities of highly palatable foods to get the same feel-good reaction.
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Based on my experience, observation, and study, I’ve become convinced that patience and persistence, as well as good, conscious choices, are key to moving beyond food addiction.
Since they are both within yourself, you have the power to improve your situation, but only over time. Though not a quick fix, hope lies in the choices you can and will make. The challenge is how to become ready to take the first small steps.
To make progress toward overcoming your food addiction, start where you know you have the most influence in your life with yourself:
Causes Of Food Addiction
Food addiction is likely the culmination of several factors that interplay in the overall cause of this disorder. A man or woman may develop an addiction as a result of biological, psychological, or social reasons. Biological causes that may influence the progression of this eating disorder might include hormonal imbalances, abnormalities in various brain structures, side effects from the use of certain medications, or having family members with this type of addiction issues.
It also might also be the result of psychological factors. Factors included in this category might include emotional or sexual abuse, being a victim or survivor of a traumatic event, having an inability to healthily cope with negative situations, chronic low-self esteem, or experiencing grief or loss.
Psychological factors such as these can influence an individual to use food as a coping mechanism to relieve the painful emotions that may have resulted. Lastly, there are social implications that may be involved with food addiction, including factors such as disturbances in family function, pressure from peers or society, social isolation, child abuse, lack of social support, and stressful life events.
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Sugar Addiction And Binge Eating
A particularly worrisome aspect of sugar addiction is binge eating. Binge eating is eating too much and too rapidly followed by feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust. This can include a focus on sweets for the same mood-regulating and self-medicating effects of binge eating non-sugary foods. It is critical to remember that food, especially sugar, is a short-term fix for emotional conditions. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression and using food as a crutch, consider therapy or rehab.
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Food Addiction Treatment Programs
Food addiction is a serious medical condition. Similar to drug addiction, the symptoms of food addiction can include difficulty controlling behavior, cravings, tolerance, dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and relapse.
Unfortunately, many people who suffer from food addiction may hesitate to get help because the condition is often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem.
This article answers the following questions about food addiction treatment:
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How To Get Help For Addictive Eating
Willpower alone is rarely a strong enough defense against food addiction and the vicious cycle of cravings, overindulging and guilt it creates. In fact, trying to fight your cravings can even intensify them.
Dr. Albers recommends working with a psychiatrist or psychologist who can help you address both the physical symptoms and the underlying emotional factors that might be contributing to your food addiction. You might also find support groups like Overeaters Anonymous that host free in-person or virtual meetings in your area.
Learning what triggers your addictive behaviors will be an important first step. For some people, its stress or despair that leads them to turn to food for comfort. If you can learn your triggers for overeating and break that cycle, that can be important because we cant always control whether those addictive foods are going to be around us, Dr. Albers says.
The more youre aware of the forces at play in your cravings and what strategies can help combat them, the better your chances of breaking free of them and healing.
S To Take Control Of Food Addiction
Addiction does not always have to involve an addictive substance or drug. It can involve excessive behavior such as compulsive eating too. While scientific studies in the area of food addiction is still in the beginning stages, many experts believe that addiction to food really isnt about the food.
To elaborate further, foods do not have addictive properties that make someone depend on them, unlike chemical substances. Food addiction has more to do with how a person behaves around food, what they think about food, and the way habits are formed with food. The habits are the real source of the addiction.
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How I Overcame Sexual Addiction
My name is Jordan, and Im a sex addict.
As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt like a total impostor.
The men and women seated around me, legs crossed and arms folded, draped over orange plastic chairs, would see right through me any second now. Even though I was staring down at the floor, I could feel their eyes burning in to me.
These people had real addictions my problems felt so entry-level by comparison. They had serious problems, not me.
I mean, sure, Id slept with countless women who I felt no emotional connection to.
Sure, Ive felt a deeply permeating sense of shame at the core of my being after compulsively acting out sexually.
And, if Im being honest with myself, Ive probably cumulatively spent weeks of my life watching porn, scanning sex ads, and frequenting massage parlours and sex workers in multiple countries.
Fuck. Who am I kidding?
The more I listened to the stories of the people around me, the more I realized that I was in the right place.