Change Your Eating Habits
This is a no-brainer, but what are you supposed to eat if you cant eat the high-fat, high-sugar addictive food your brain chemistry has become attuned to? The simple answer is real food. That doesnt mean all the things at the supermarket that scream low-fat or sugar-free. Often these foods have sweeteners that can create the same effects as real sugar.
Real food means food that is sold to you pretty much the same way it looks when it grows. Fresh fruits and vegetables and lean grass-fed meat are the way to go. Addictive substances like fructose have no place in your shopping cart anymore. Look for unprocessed foods that wont play pinball with your blood sugar levels instead.
Mental Hack #: Cognitive Control
Cognitive control revolves all around how you view food, and I divide it into two broad categories:
Theres often a lot of self-talk going on when we try to fight foods . And what usually ends up happening is that the more time we try to talk ourselves out of something, the stronger it becomes and the more it steals our attention.
Ever tried jumping off a high rock? The longer you wait and talk yourself up, the less chance you will actually jump.
One of the easiest things you can do in regard to your mind is change the mental chatter.
Rather than looking at cookies and ice cream and saying to yourself, Oh man those look good, tell yourself the truth, I know I cant just have one bite Im going to eat 20, and even remind yourself of your goals, tomorrow Im going to feel like crap and totally regret this.
Jon Grant, at the university of Minnesota, asks patients with a history of shoplifting to write out a shopping list before they go to the grocery store and just put two items on the list: handcuffs, to remind them of their previous history, and a bologna sandwich, to remind them of what they were eating in jail.
Basically this just jogs their memory and reminds them of the consequences of their behavior, and similar to saying Ill feel terrible after eating cookies, it instills a sense of guilt beforehand. .
Setting rules for your food is another way to beat using willpower.
Why Is Sexual Addiction So Difficult To Overcome
Sexual addiction is one of the most challenging addictions to overcome.
With substance addictions, like alcoholism or drug addiction, it is possible to simply discontinue the use of the substance entirely. But with process addictions like sexual addiction and eating disorders, its impossible to just give up food or sex for life. They are interwoven into the fabric of our being and so the goal is to integrate them into our lives in a healthier way.
But because sexual addiction and compulsive sexual behaviour is just the mechanism that numbs out the difficult emotions that addicts are unwilling to face and heal their way through, the most sustainable way that a sex addict can overcome their addiction is to work through their underlying emotional turmoil that keeps them stuck.
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Motivation: Activating Your Desire To Quit
The simplest answer to the question When do people change? is When they want to. No amount of science, therapy, and brain scans is ever going to change this truth.
3.1. The Role of Motivation in Change
AA considers willpower to be utterly ineffective. The idea that people have the commitment and power to be able to change on their own is anathema to the group. Yet what is it, if not willpower or motivation, that makes some people join, stay with, and succeed in AA?
Wanting, seeking, and believing that you can change do not necessarily translate into immediate success. The fact that Uncle Ozzie could do it in one shot does not mean that you will do it that way. It is much more common for people to make several attempts before successfully quitting their addictions. Indeed, this persistence is a sign that you really want to quit.
It is true that repeated failures are demoralizing and may signify that you need to try something new. It can also mean that you have simply not been in the right place in your life to change, and that you need to do more groundwork. The Life Process Program can help you begin to lay that groundwork.
3.2. Stages of Change
Stages of Change
Do You Need To Quit Cold Turkey
Most people dont manage to quit anything cold turkey without relapsing. Rather than adopting a meal plan for a short time that youre unlikely to stick with, we recommend you progressively incorporate new foods and meals that align with your goals and phase out the old foods and meals as you lose your cravings for them.
We think most people need about 30 foods and 30 meals that they enjoy eating regularly align with their goals. We call this YOUR OPTIMAL 30/30. This concept is the foundation of our Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass that helps you find YOUR OPTIMAL 30/30.
Dont worry. Nutritional Optimisation does not involve the elimination of all pleasurable and tasty dopamine-producing foods. These tools will help you to incrementally and progressively refine your diet just enough to keep you moving and get the results you need.
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Values: Building On Your Values Foundation
Values play a critical role in addictionand your values are likely to be the key to beat addiction. This is a matter of both considering what your values are and sometimes refocusing on dormant values or even developing new ones.
When you can truly experience how a habit is damaging what is most important to you, the stepping-stones away from your destructive habit often fall readily into place.
2.1. What Are Values? Do they really matter?
Your values are your beliefs that some things are right and good and others wrong and bad, that some things are more important than others, and that one way of doing things is better than another. Values are usually deeply heldthey come from your earliest learning and background. Values reflect what your parents taught you, what you learned in school and religious institutions, and what the social and cultural groups you belong to hold to be true and right.
Many people find that alcohol is tremendously relaxing, sexually exhilarating, or provides some other powerful, welcome feelingbut they do not become alcoholics. They simply refuse to go there. Have you ever heard someone say, I know that when I have more than one drink, I throw all caution to the wind? Most people who react so violently to alcohol say, Thats why I limit myself to a single drink or Thats why I dont drink. But those addicted to alcohol regularly override this realization about their reactions to alcohol and continue to drink.
2.3. Returning to my Uncle Ozzie
Whats The Solution To Overcome Food Addiction
Similar to the way that food manufacturers optimise the products to target the bliss point and maximise the dopamine hit, we have used the data from Optimisers to reverse engineer satiety to identify food and meals that will help you take back control of your appetite while getting all the nutrients that you need to thrive and manage your cravings.
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Risks For Food Addiction
Because everyone must eat to survive, anyone can develop food addiction. Overexposure to highly palatable foods can increase your risk of developing a food addictionand people who are overexposed at a young age are at an even higher risk. People who use food to cope with stress or change their mood are also at a higher risk.
Studies also show that there are genes that put people at a higher-than-average risk of developing any type of addiction. The more addictive genes a person has, the more likely they are to struggle with addiction to food, another substance or a behavior.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Many times, food cravings are actually just the body in need of water. If you consistently have a food craving for something sweet, you might just be dehydrated. Once you start drinking enough water, it gets easier to continue. Depending on the size of your body, you might need between 3 and 4 liters of water per day. Athletes and more active people likely need more. Water supports the proper function of everything in your body and it will curve cravings and reduce the likelihood that you turn to junk food when its time to eat.
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Tip #: Invest In Your Knowledge Of Healthy Eating
This is my #1 tip for losing weight and eating more healthy.
Clever tricks to cut down on the amount of food you eat is not as effective as learning about low carb, low calories and high nutrient eating.
Ive just waded through my personal collection of books on healthy eating and Ive included links below where you can purchase these books:
- Grains and Mains by Laura Wilson. This book is my absolute favourite. It includes many recipes for ancient grains such as millet, buckwheat, faro and pear barley
- 100 Best Gluten Free Foods by Love Food Editors
If youre looking for addiction recovery books, check out our guide on the best books on addiction recovery »
Eat A Well Balanced Diet
Fad dieting, severe restriction and skipping meals will predispose you to binge eating and overconsumption at your next meal time. Dont do it. Follow a healthy, well-balanced meal plan with protein, high fibre carbohydrate, healthy fats and lots of fruit and vegetables.
The most important thing to remember is to not give up. You want to change your eating habits and lifestyle forever, so give yourself a break if you have a relapse into old habits and try again tomorrow. The great thing about life is that its never too late.
Here at The Healthy Eating Hub we are keen to help you kick your food addiction.
If youd like further help with your nutrition please click below:
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Quitting An Addictive Behavior
Quitting is a different experience for everyone. Some find the process liberating and empowering, and feel they can achieve anything. Others find it painful, difficult, and frustrating, sometimes needing many failed attempts before achieving their goal. Still others discover new sides to themselves during the quitting process .
There is no “right” way to feel while you are quitting. But if you are feeling depressed or find yourself constantly wanting to return to the addictive behavior, you should seek support and treatment.
Changes In Relationships And Friendships
Your relationships and friendships are likely to change as you overcome your addiction. It may take time to appreciate a new normal.
You may also be touched by the loyalty and simplicity of those who live life without chasing a high. You may find that friends and family whom you could not get along with while you were embroiled in your addiction welcome you back into their lives.
However, it can also take time and effort for trust to be re-established if you have hurt friends or family while you were actively involved in your addiction.
You may also find that you have less in common with the friends you spent the most time with during your addiction than you realized, and you might find they are intolerant to your new lifestyle.
Remember, you are a great role model and doing these friends a great service by showing them that change is possible. That said, don’t let them pull you back into the life you left behind.
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How To Neutralize Your Addiction
When I was a teenager, I smoked.
I did it to be cool, like many smokers originally do. But as you would expect, it soon turned into an addiction. Fortunately, my addiction never got out of hand and I managed to quit successfully.
That was more than a decade ago, and I still get the occasional craving to this day. If someone lights up in front of me, I still get the temptation. Fortunately, for the past several years, I have avoided acting on my temptations.
My point is this: an addiction may never go away. If youre addicted to something now, you may always be addicted.
With that in mind, your aim should not be to defeat your addiction, but to neutralize it. While you may find after time that you cannot stand the sight or smell of something you once craved, lets take the process one step at a time.
Im not going to say that you can never have your favorite food again. Like I said, were not dealing with a physiological dependence here, so going cold turkey isnt necessary. Life is too short to give up the foods you love. What we need to do is break your existing habit and address the underlying issues that fuel your addiction. In my experience, there are three factors to consider.
Beat Your Cravings: 8 Effective Techniques
Don’t let a sweet tooth or carb craving prevent you from reaching your goals. Keep cravings in check with these practical methods.
The foods you crave are likely to be high in sugar, fats and carbohydrates such as pizza, chocolate, cake, chips and ice cream. Cravings can derail your efforts at weight control and may lead to binge eating, but you can learn how to manage them and stay on course with these tips.
- Enjoy a small portion. Don’t give up these foods. In your overall healthy diet, include a small portion of the less healthy foods you crave. Better to enjoy a square of chocolate than to avoid it altogether.
- Eat something healthy first. It’s often easier to eat less of the food you’re craving if you’re not ravenously hungry.
Experiment to see which strategies work best for you so that you can control your cravings not the other way around.
How To Overcome An Addiction
This article was co-authored by Tiffany Douglass, MA. Tiffany Douglass is the Founder of Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, a JCAHO accredited drug and alcohol treatment program based in San Jose, California. She is also the Executive Director for Midland Tennessee at JourneyPure. She has over ten years of experience in substance abuse treatment and was appointed a Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2019 for her efforts in residential addiction treatment. Tiffany earned a BA in Psychology from Emory University in 2004 and an MA in Psychology with an emphasis on Organization Behavior and Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University in 2006.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 25 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,122,411 times.
Theres a myth out there that addiction is inescapable or something thats locked in for life, but thats definitely not the case. In fact, more people succeed at overcoming their addiction than fail.XResearch source Acknowledging that youre addicted to something and wanting to change are the first steps, so youre on the right track! This article will show you how to come up with a plan for overcoming your addiction and stick with it, even when things get tough.
Seeking Help For Your Food Addiction
If you suffer from three or more of the above symptoms, then you may suffer from a food addiction.
If so, then I urge you to consider seeking professional help.
Often you will feel stigmatised because of your addiction to food. This is perfectly normal. People addicted to drugs and alcohol often do not seek out help because they are concerned they will damage their good image.
Unfortunately, this negative belief also applies to food addiction.
However, we urge you to get over these emotions and instead seek out professional help.
Therapy is known to effectively treat food addiction. Therapy helps food addicts discover their triggers of addiction.
For instance, cognitive-behavioural therapy may be used to identify dysfunctional emotions and through patterns that enable food addiction.
CBT then seeks to challenge and re-write these beliefs to healthier, more rational alternatives.
Furthermore, therapy typically includes an element of nutritional education.
If you attend a residential or outclient food addiction centre, you will typically attend group and individual therapy sessions.
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Track The Cost Of Your Addiction And Incentivize Moderation
Food addictions can be expensive. You could be spending hundreds of dollars per month without even realizing it.
So lets address that from now on you should make a note of the cost of your purchased treats. Knowing exactly how much of your hard-earned money youre spending on unnecessary treats can be a powerful discourager.
But thats not all why not incentivize a reduction of your treats? Its simple: just a set a weekly anticipated cost of fueling your addiction based upon ongoing costs. Any money you save below that amount should be put to one side and used to treat yourself to something nice .
Why Do We Feel Like We Are Addicted To Food
Before you give up on optimal health and abdicate responsibility due to your food addiction, its useful to think about why some foods seem to drive an uncontrollable gorge instinct.
Is the problem with you or the food?
I find it useful to think in terms of circannualchrononutrition . Once we understand how particular foods provided by nature in autumn would have driven us to eat more to survive, we can reverse engineer the problem and create an effective solution.
To borrow from Robb Wolf, we are very much Wired to Eat. A large amount of our biology and the technology that we have developed revolves around getting enough food.
There were special times of the year when the stars aligned and nature provided us with a bounty of comfort foods that, like Beadnose the bear , we needed to get fat to survive the coming winter. But those foods werent available for long. If we didnt gorge when we had the opportunity, we might not have been able to survive the winter.
In the past, the ability to get fat for winter was a massive survival advantage! But after winter comes spring and a food environment that enabled us to shed our winter fat and start the cycle over again.
Check out the following articles for more background on circannual nutrition:
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