Identifying If You Suffer From A Food Addiction
Food addiction carries a number of tell-tale signs. These signs are commonly known as 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.
Make Healthier Choices At Restaurants
Nowadays many restaurants have their menus enlisted online with nutrient contents for each dish. If you have a plan to visit a restaurant then you can check the menu for a healthier option.
Most restaurants are individual flexible. You can ask there for your chicken to be grilled instead of fried one or you can also have a salad to be served with dressing on the side.
Overcoming Addictive Urges Towards Food: A Five Step Plan
It may not always be easy to tell if what you are feeling is an addictive urge, or simply hunger. Hunger is a physiological function of the bodyâs real need for food, often occurring once you havenât eaten for some hours. Your body may try to inform you it is lacking in energy supply with signals from your stomach such as growls, pangs, or hollow feelings. Alternatively, your brain may send signals including fatigue, fogginess, or lack of concentration. Hunger doesnât tend to subside if ignored for a small period of time.
Instead, a craving or addictive urge is more psychological. It may occur after a nutritious meal, or consistently be targeted towards a certain food . Addictive urges towards food may also be responding to trigger events or emotions, and involve a process of continuous eating. Cravings, unlike hunger, if managed appropriately, can subside. Ultimately, observing yourself, your emotions, and your physical cravings can help you develop a better awareness of when you are actually hungry and when youâre just having a craving.
There is no single way to tackle addictions, however below we present a 5-step technique created by Dr Gabor MatÃ©âs, a renowned addiction expert. It puts compassionate curiosity and self-understanding at the core of overcoming addiction. When youâre feeling an addictive urge to eat a specific food, give these five steps a try.
Step 1: Reframe the addictive urge into a dysfunctional thought
Step 3: Re-focus your urges
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The Science Behind Food Addiction
Food addiction, as mentioned earlier, is thought to be similar to drug addiction. What is the science behind this? It was found that the neurotransmitters in the brain of persons with a substance abuse disorder are the same neurotransmitters that affect people with food addiction.
Processed foods have negative effects on the reward centers of the brain. These effects are the responsibility of the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Food addiction is a combination of lacking the willpower to control oneself to eat junk foods and the dopamine process in the brain.
What Causes Food Addiction And What Are The Signs
People with food addiction struggle every day with a loss of control or inability to stop eating foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat, salt, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. They also suffer from painful feelings of shame and embarrassment when it comes to their food behaviors.
Food addiction is a relatively new topic. But, its a complex condition that has similarities to other types of addiction, such as drugs, alcohol, shopping, or gambling. However, help is available.Understanding the causes and signs of food addiction can help you lower your risk and change potentially problematic behaviors.
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Help For Food Addiction
Science is still working to understand and find treatments for food addiction.
Some argue that recovery from food addiction may be more complicated than recovery from other kinds of addictions. Alcoholics, for example, can ultimately abstain from drinking alcohol. But people who are addicted to food still need to eat.
A nutritionist, psychologist, or doctor who is educated about food addiction may be able to help you break the cycle of compulsive overeating.
There are also a growing number of programs that help people who are addicted to food. Some, like Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, are based on the 12-step program that has helped many people addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling.
Others, like Food Addicts Anonymous, use the principles of the 12-step program along with strict diets that advise people to abstain from problem ingredients, like sugar, refined flour, and wheat.Ã
The Psychology Of Food Addiction
Your psychological relationship with food is based on how you think about and behave around food. When you have a food addiction, you lose control over the types and amounts of food you eat. You become dependent on the feel-good effect that certain foods have on you, even though the good feelings dont last.
Heres what it doesnt mean to be a food addict: It doesnt mean you have an eating disorder. Food addiction has never been classified as a true eating disorder, like anorexia or bulimia. But while food addicts may not have a diagnosed eating disorder, they certainly show signs of having an unhealthy relationship with food.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Additionally, dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations in a pathological state in which an individual pursues reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. The terms food addiction and food addict were coined because the behavior of a food addict resembles that of an alcoholic, drug abuser, or gambler, all recognized addictions.
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Psychiatrists And Drug Therapy
While the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs for the treatment of food addiction, medication is another option to consider.
That said, medications are not guaranteed to work for feeding and eating disorders and tend to have side effects.
One drug to consider is approved by the FDA to aid weight loss and contains bupropion and naltrexone. Its marketed under the brand name Contrave in the United States and Mysimba in Europe.
This drug directly targets some of the brain pathways involved in the addictive nature of food. Studies suggest that it may be effective, especially when combined with healthy lifestyle changes (
How Many People Have Food Addiction
A recent systematic review examined the total prevalence of food addiction in people all over the world8Pursey K, Stanwell P, Gearhardt A, et al. The prevalence of food addiction as assessed by the Yale Food Addiction Scale: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2014 6:4552-4590.. Some interesting findings from this review emerged:
- The global prevalence of food addiction is 19.9%.
- Females had higher rates of food addiction than males .
- Overweight/obese people had higher rates of food addiction than normal weight people .
- People with an eating disorder had much higher rates of food addiction than people without an eating disorder .
Some people think that food addiction is just another term for binge-eating disorder.
The evidence does not support this, because more than 40% of people with binge-eating disorder do not receive a diagnosis of food addiction9Linardon J, Messer M. Assessment of food addiction using the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0 in individuals with binge-eating disorder symptomatology: Factor structure, psychometric properties, and clinical significance. Psychiatry Research. 2019..
This suggests that the food addiction construct is not entirely overlapping binge-eating disorder.
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Food Obsession Vs Healthy Interest
Say you are genuinely interested in food and nutrition. Is this a problem?
Not necessarily, but maybe.
First remember that restriction can trigger obsession. If you are restricting your food, it is impossible to tell if your interest in food and nutrition is genuine or driven by restriction.
If your interest remains when you are eating adequately, that is a sign that it could be a healthy interest.
Some other factors to consider:
- Can you be flexible with your eating?
- Are you able to focus on work or school performance?
- Does your eating cause anxiety?
- Does eating interfere with your social activities?
- Are you able to eat a variety of food without guilt?
While these questions arent all-inclusive, they are a good start. If your interest in food causes any sort of anxiety or distress, it is a strong indicator that you could use some support.
Rose Skeeters Ma Lpc Pn2
Rose Skeeters is the CVO of Thrive: Mind/Body, LLC, an innovative mindset coaching & online counseling practice aimed at empowering motivated individuals to master every area of their life. Rose also provides consulting and clinical supervision to like-minded and driven clinicians. Are you interested in working with Rose? Schedule a consult with her hereor contact her today at
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Ways To Break Your Food Delivery Addiction
Lets face it, ordering takeout can be expensive. Its okay to do every now and then, but the cost adds up. Whats even more expensive is ordering food to be delivered to your home. Sometimes its not easy to do, but there are ways to break your food delivery addiction
Growing up, my parents would sometimes order a pizza on the weekend and get it delivered to the house. Pizza nights were fun but they were few and only came around every once in a while.
Nowadays, you can order any type of food you want and have it delivered to your home. Sites like DoorDash, GrubHub and Uber Eats contribute to a $34 billion industry that is steadily growing. While these companies are lining their pockets, you have to determine whether the convenience of food delivery is worth it to you.
For most of us, its not given our current goals. Using food deliver sites almost always doubles your purchase order. If youre looking to save money but still enjoy tasty meals, here are some things you can do to break your food addiction.
Allow Yourself Some Planned Take Out/dining Out Days
You dont have to stop eating at restaurants completely in order to break your food addiction. Allow yourself some planned days to indulge and dine at or order from your favorite restaurants.
Establish a monthly restaurants budget that you can use when you need it. Aim to either dine in with friends or family so you can enjoy the social aspect or pick up your own take out.
Youll still get to enjoy the restaurant food but youll be saving money by avoiding food delivery apps. Sites like DoorDash charge a delivery fee of around $3.99. You still have to pay taxes and a tip in addition. This can easily make a $7 burrito bowl at Chipolte cost twice as much when you could just pick it up yourself.
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Mental Hack #: Become Your Own Coach
Anyone with a chronic health problem has quickly learned that they need to become their own expert.
Beyond just learning everything on the subject, you need to understand your own vulnerabilities, and start experimenting.
Its almost impossible to really come up with a perfect diet for every person, or a perfect system for every person which is why experimentation is so important.
For example, if you know that certain foods make you over eat every time you know you have a personal kryptonite and you should stay away from them.
So how specifically do you experiment and become your own expert?
Use something that I call definitive documents.
Ive unfortunately had a number of various health problems in my life that were chronic and very difficult to solve by western doctors. Usually there were many pieces to the puzzle, and I was left experimenting on my own.
For many of you this will be the same case. Over the years, I found myself creating these word documents called definitive documents where I could document every piece of the puzzle I was trying to solve:
Sample definitive document when I had sleep issues
What do you write in them? Everything you know.
For emotional eaters and people that are addicted to food, keep track of the following things:
We all need to become our own expert, particularly if we have a long-standing chronic problem often there are many, many interconnected pieces that one person cannot give you.
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How To Prevent Or Overcome Food Addiction
Food addiction is difficult to prevent because its impossible to avoid food. However, one of the best strategies is to avoid overexposure to palatable foods by eating a healthy, balanced diet thats rich in natural, unprocessed foods. Eating a balanced diet and understanding the warning signs of food addiction will help you to act quickly if you suspect a problem.
Overcoming food addiction typically involves following the same model thats used to treat other types of addictionsand youll need a solid plan and plenty of support.
- First, youll need to detoxify your body by avoiding trigger foods, such as fast food or foods with processed sugar. During this time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to severe.
- After you detoxify your body, youll need to work on changing your eating behaviors. You may need to avoid certain people, places , situations and foods that intensify cravings or make you more likely to consume the problem food. You also may need to break associations between food and routines or events, such as eating ice cream before bed or having buttery popcorn at the movie theater.
- Other strategies that can help include tracking your food consumption, preplanning your meals and eating mindfully.
If you need professional support to help you lose weight, talk to your primary care physician to see what options may be right for you.
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Getting To Be A Habit
When words like “food addiction” are bandied about, there are plenty of skeptics who hesitate to put foods like cheese and chocolate into the same category as widely acknowledged addictions such as cocaine or alcohol. But Barnard asks, “What other term would you use for a woman who gets into her car at 11:30 at night and drives six miles to the 7-Eleven to get a chocolate bar, and does it every night? She’s gaining weight, she feels profoundly guilty afterward, and though she resolves to stop this behavior, she does it every night, night after night? That’s a food addiction.”
The proponents of this food addiction theory point to possible differences between the sexes in their compulsions. Women may be more susceptible to chocolate, particularly in the premenstrual period. While some men may have a sweet tooth, many more say that the one food they’re least likely to give up is steak. Barnard points to an April 2000 survey of 1,244 adults, which concluded that one in four Americans wouldn’t give up meat for a week even if they were paid a thousand dollars to do so. “It sounds an awful lot like an addiction to me,” he says.
Tip 2 Eat This Not That
I love donuts, cake, double stuff Oreos, chocolate, Chex Mix, pretty much anything that is salty, crunchy, chocolately, and yummy! What would you say if I told you that because I am aware that eating these foods cause me to overindulge, I just dont eat them?
Yes folks, thats right. In order to overcome a food addiction, we must first be willing to accept the fact that food can be addictive. What foods are you sensitive to? Is it a huge pile of broccoli or a bowl of fresh berries? Or is it potato chips, pizza, cheese, and ice cream? If you can have just one cookie, but cant let go of the whole pint of Cherry Garcia, stay away from the ice cream. You can also try an elimination diet to identify any food allergies. We often crave the very foods that we are allergic to. This causes inflammation in the body on top of weight gain, changes in our hormonal profiles, and changes in our mood. Remember this: Binge eating stems from physical cravings. If you are trying to lose weight and overcome a food addiction, you have to stay away from the foods that make you feel way too good completely this includes artificial sweeteners as they too have been proven to elicit a similar neurotransmitter response.
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The Downsides Of Thinking In Terms Of Food Addiction
The problem with thinking of food as addictive is that we can become disempowered.
Food becomes bad and something to be avoided, something to feel guilty about rather than celebrated and enjoyed to nourish us and enable us to live our best life.
Food addiction constitutes a medicalisation of common eating behaviours, taking on the properties of disease. The use of this medical language has implications for the way in which society views overeating and obesity.
If we medicalise our behaviour, we are more likely to adopt a victim mentality and take less responsibility for our choices. While people feel they are addicted to sugar, the research doesnt tend to support sugar as being addictive.
We find little evidence to support sugar addiction in humans, and findings from the animal literature suggest that addiction-like behaviours, such as bingeing, occur only in the context of intermittent access to sugar. These behaviours likely arise from intermittent access to sweet tasting or highly palatable foods, not the neurochemical effects of sugar. .
Whole foods that naturally contain sugar dont necessarily drive overeating. The sugar content in our food system trended closely with obesity until 1999 when artificial sweeteners were introduced. We no longer require as much added sugar to produce a hyperpalatable sweet taste. Since then, food manufacturers have continued to find more effective ways to create products that drive us to eat more, even without sugar.