How Did We Get Here
Many organizations including the United Nations, World Health Organization, and National Institutes of Health are struggling to solve this big fat problem. Obesity-related issues account for 80 percent of U.S. healthcare costs and will create a global price tag of $47 trillion during the next 20 years. The NIH alone spends $800 million annually trying to find the cause of obesity. Yet despite all this attention, we are still failing.
The food industry would have us believe obesity is the result of personal choices. Their implication: People are fat not because their biology has been masterfully tricked into craving the food that the industry produces, but because people are lazy and gluttonous. If we all just took more personal responsibility, the industrys paid experts assert, we could solve this problem. There are no good or bad foods, they claim its all about moderation. And, of course, we should all just exercise a bit more.
The food industry would have us believe obesity is the result of personal choices. Their implication: People are fat not because their biology has been masterfully tricked into craving the food that the industry produces, but because people are lazy and gluttonous.
Cravings Can Sometimes Turn Into Binges
When acting on cravings, the brain gets a reward a feeling of pleasure associated with the release of dopamine. The reward is what cravings and food addiction are all about.
People with food addiction get their fix by eating a particular food until their brain has received all of the dopamine it was missing.
The more often this cycle of craving and rewarding is repeated, the stronger it becomes and the greater the quantity of food thats needed each time .
While four scoops of ice cream were enough 3 years ago, today it may take eight scoops to experience the same level of reward.
It can be almost impossible to eat in moderation when satisfying an addiction-driven craving.
Thats why its often impossible for people to just have a small slice of cake or a few M& Ms. Its like telling a smoker to only smoke one-fourth of a cigarette to cut back. It simply does not work.
How Food Addiction Works
People tend to get cravings when the brain starts calling for certain foods often processed foods that arent considered healthy or nutritious.
Even though the conscious mind knows theyre unhealthy, some other part of the brain seems to disagree.
Some people dont experience this and can easily control the types of foods they eat, while others cant.
This isnt due to a lack of willpower its a much more complex situation.
The fact is junk food stimulates the reward system in the brain in the same way as addictive drugs, such as cocaine.
For susceptible people, eating junk food can lead to full-blown addiction, which shares the same biological basis as drug addiction (
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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.
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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Are You Addicted To Food
My friend and colleague Kelly Brownell, PhD, formerly from Yales Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, has created a validated food questionnaire to help you determine if you are a food addict. Here are some clues that you may be addicted to sugar, flour, and processed food. The more intensely or more frequently you experience these feelings and behaviors, the more addicted you are:
- You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
- You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
- You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
- You have health or social problems because of food issues and yet you keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
- You have spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods instead of spending time in important activities such as time with family, friends, work, or recreation.
- You have had withdrawal symptoms, such as agitation and anxiety, when you cut down on certain foods .
- Your behavior with respect to food and eating causes you significant distress.
- Issues related to food and eating decrease your availability to function effectively .
- You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or to reduce negative emotions.
If any of these statements apply to you, dont worryyoure far from alone. Millions of people in every corner of the world have fallen into the food addiction trap. There is a way out!
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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The Concept Of Moderation Is Absurd
We can tell that most people misunderstand food addiction by the way family, friends, and coworkers believe that everything in moderation applies to food. Addiction, by definition, is a condition in which a person is habitually incapable of moderation. Besides, what really is moderation? Its such an ill-defined term that means one thing to one person and something else to another.
In This Post We Address The Issue Of Food Addiction
Many of us overeat from time to time, but some will go on to develop an addiction to food.The very idea of a food addiction was laughable all but a few short years ago. And many people still erroneously believe that addiction is solely about drugs and alcohol.
But things have changed.
The official term for food addiction is compulsive overeating.Many people refer to the disorder as binge eating.The condition is principally characterised by the sufferer consuming vast quantities of food while feeling powerless to stop.
Like other addictions, the person is not in control of their behaviour. This means the food addict is feels very guilty and depressed following an episode of binge eating.
Sufferers even report feeling a sense of self-disgust .But just what is food addiction? And how can you identify if you suffer from it?Well, the answer is simple. But before I give you the answer, I want to tell you about .
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Cravings Are A Key Feature Of Addiction
A craving is an emotional state characterized by a desire to consume a certain food. It should not be confused with simple hunger, which is different.
Cravings sometimes seem to appear out of thin air.
A person might be doing mundane things like watching a favorite TV show, walking the dog, or reading. Then suddenly a craving for something like ice cream appears.
Even though the cravings sometimes seem to come out of nowhere, they can be turned on by certain triggers, which are known as cues.
These cues can be as simple as walking past an ice cream parlor or smelling a pizza.
However, they can also be induced by certain emotional states, such as feeling depressed or lonely, a behavior known as emotional eating.
A true craving is about satisfying the brains need for dopamine. It has nothing to with the bodys need for energy or nourishment.
When a craving occurs, it can start to dominate a persons attention.
A craving makes it hard to think of something else. It also makes it hard to consider the health impacts of eating junk food.
While it isnt unusual to get cravings , repeatedly giving in to cravings and eating junk food, despite having made a decision not to, is cause for concern.
For those with food addiction, these cravings can be so powerful that they cause people to break rules they set for themselves, such as only eating unhealthy food on Saturdays.
They may repeatedly overeat, despite knowing that its causing physical harm.
Indulge In The Good Stuff
Instead, go for healthy full fats, like nuts and avocado. Nuts are a great alternative to unhealthy snacks and keep you fuller for longer. Avocado is an excellent additive to any meal it is full of all the healthy fats your body needs to stay full all day and burn the calories you take in.
Plus, what doesnt go with guacamole? Literally nothing. Guacamole is perfect, and we are telling you its ok to grab a bowl full of this delicious green stuff.
You also need to ensure that youre getting adequate amounts of proteins. This can come from meats and fish, but it can also come from beans as well as nuts and vegetables. Ensuring you have enough protein in your diet not only keeps you full throughout the day but it gives you a healthy stream of energy to keep you feeling great all day.
We cant stress enough that fruits have enough sweetness and natural sugar in them to replace any candy craving you might have. Prepping fresh strawberries for the week will satisfy those sugar cravings you have after dinner without sacrificing your health.
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Mental Hack #: Leveraging Social
Your social networks can fuel your food addiction and contribute to being overweight.
A study done in the New England Journal of Medicine found that social networks can promote obesity people with friends, siblings and spouses who are obese are much more likely to be obese themselves.
Now, although this wasnt in reference to online social networks , there is evidence that shows that youre many times more likely to share the same interests as your friends.
This is just the long way of saying that people have a huge influence over your success or failure, and youre likely to end up like the people around you in more than one way.
You can leverage the internet social spheres in your favor too. There are a couple innovative sites to help you integrate a positive social environment with your own personal goals.
Fitocracy in a nutshell: Its health and fitness, gamified. You earn points for doing quests , and then you can level up and reach new levels.
It integrates with a social feed like facebook, and lets others motivate and help each other out.
Stickk in a nutshell: Stickk is another way to socially integrate betting with attaining your own goals.
Its based on the whole carrot and stick theory of motivation that to motivate people, you can offer them incentives , or punish them.
The key is to pick a charity you hate so much that youd rather die than see your money go there
Social betting gone digital.
Are You Addicted To Certain Foods
My friend and colleague Kelly Brownell, PhD, formerly from Yales Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, has created a questionnaire to help you determine if you are a food addict. Here are some clues that you may be addicted to sugar, flour, and other types of processed food. If you see yourself in these clues, dont worry youre far from alone. Millions of people in every corner of the world have fallen into the food-addiction trap. The good news is that you can detox to break the cycle of addiction.
The more intensely or more frequently you experience these feelings and behaviors, the more addicted you are.
1.You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
4. You have health or social problems because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
5. You have spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods, instead of spending time in important activities such as time with family, friends, work, or recreation.
6. You have had withdrawal symptoms such as agitation and anxiety when you cut down on certain foods .
7. Your behavior with respect to food and eating causes you significant distress.
8. Issues related to food and eating decrease your ability to function effectively in your daily routine, job, or school, and social or family activities.
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Its A Serious Problem
Though the term addiction is often thrown around lightly, having a true addiction is a serious condition that typically requires treatment to overcome.
The symptoms and thought processes associated with food addiction are similar to those of drug abuse. Its just a different substance, and the social consequences may be less severe.
Food addiction can cause physical harm and lead to chronic health conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes .
In addition, it may negatively impact a persons self-esteem and self-image, making them unhappy with their body.
As with other addictions, food addiction may take an emotional toll and increase a persons risk of premature death.
Food addiction increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Excessive weight may also affect a persons self-esteem.
Completely avoiding junk foods may seem impossible. Theyre everywhere and a major part of modern culture.
However, in some cases, entirely abstaining from certain trigger foods can become necessary.
Once the firm decision to never eat these foods again is made, avoiding them may become easier, as the need to justify eating or not eating them is eliminated. Cravings may also disappear or decrease significantly.
Consider writing a list of pros and cons to think through the decision.
Write everything down no matter how peculiar or vain it may seem. Then compare the two lists and ask if its worth it.
If the answer is a resounding yes, be assured that its the right decision.
How Do I Get Better Self Control
Here are five ways to help improve self-control and build good habits:
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Avoid Alcoholic Drinks And Caffeine
As much as you can, avoid alcoholic drinks and caffeinated beverages . Evidence shows that drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages triggers poor eating choices.
Coffee can cause the body to crave sugary drinks or sweet foods. In addition, too much caffeine can cause anxiety, and an anxious person may end up resorting to binge eating comfort foods to feel better.
Drinking alcohol may also cause you to become hungry. For sure you have experienced this. After a night of drinking or bar-hopping with friends, eating whatever you see on the fridge, even junk food seems like a good idea. Because alcohol causes poor judgment in many people, so this can break your recovery.
Also, avoid soda because it has addictive substances and has high sugar contents. Dont make it a part of your every day life to consume sugar because this can trigger addiction to your brain.