Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Being self-critical often goes along with many other symptoms of eating disorders, but it won’t help to motivate you or help you in recovery. Instead, being overly critical of yourself can increase feelings of shame and negative emotions you may experience, exacerbating an already difficult situation. Work to stay positive and use affirmation exercises to help combat self-critical thoughts.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Better
Artificial sweeteners, which are sugar-free and typically lower in calories than sugar, might seem like healthier options, but that idea is controversial. A 2012 scientific statement from the AHA concluded that using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame , saccharin , and sucralose can reduce the number of calories in your diet, thereby helping you lose weight.
However, there’s also evidence that eating these sweeteners, which are generally hundredsor even thousandsof times sweeter than sugar, can make you crave sweets even more. You undermine the benefit of using artificial sweeteners, for example, if you use a glass of diet soda to justify having a bowl of ice cream.
However, if artificial sweeteners can help you cut back on calories in a meaningful way, then they can be helpful in controlling weight and blood sugar. “For people who are trying to make small changes to their diet, artificial sweeteners are sometimes a good stepping stone, but they’re not a permanent fix,” Dr. Hauser says.
You may wonder which artificial sweetener is best. All of the sweeteners on the market are considered safe. There were reports during the 1970s linking saccharin to bladder cancer in rats that were fed extremely high doses of the sweetener. However, later studies didn’t find any evidence of the same effect in humans. Aspartame was also linked to cancer at one time, but that association has also been disproved.
Avoiding Replacement Addictive Behaviors
Some people find that when they quit or change an addictive behavior, another comes along to replace it. Heavy drinkers and smokers often find themselves overeating and putting on weight. People struggling with sex addiction might find themselves obsessed with exercise.
Addictive behaviors have similar neurological and psychological processes and create rewarding feelings and sensations. So replacement addictive behaviors are common among those trying to overcome an addiction.
The trick to avoiding replacement addictions is to find satisfaction in the experiences of normal life. These experiences may lack the intensity and high of addictive behaviors, but getting to know and like them can introduce a new level of calm you may have never experienced before.
Many people feel they are more in touch with reality and that relationships are more authentic than when they were constantly seeking pleasure.
The other important aspect of avoiding replacement addictions is to address any underlying mental health problems. Addictions can cover up past trauma, or underlying feelings of emptiness, sadness, or fear. Psychological therapies, as well as medications, can provide long-term relief for these problems, which addictions tend to worsen over time.
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Hiding Consumption Of Addictive Food
Even before noticeable weight gain or other negative effects have become obvious to observers, people with a food addiction might start to feel shameful about how often or how much of the addictive food theyre eating. Perhaps somewhere in the mind, we recognize when were overindulging even when we dont explicitly recognize it. Sneaking off to the ice cream truck every day or lying about how many times youve been to the new fast food restaurant can be signs of food addiction, although not necessarily on their own.
Facts To Empower You Right Now
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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
Break The Sugar Addiction
If you’re “hooked” on sugar, don’t try to eliminate all sugary foods at once. If you deny yourself even a single piece of candy or sliver of cake, you’ll only crave sweets more. Instead, eat a healthy diet made up of more satisfying foodswhole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and lean protein. “Steer yourself away from sugar and eat these foods, which are digested more slowly. They’ll help to even out your blood sugar and you won’t have spikes and crashes all the time,” Dr. Hauser says.
Here are a few suggestions to help you break the sugar habit:
Keep sugary foods away. Don’t tempt yourself by stocking candy, cookies, and other high-sugar foods in your cupboards and fridge. “As a substitute for these things, keep fruit around,” suggests Dr. Hauser.
Sweeten foods yourself. Start with unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, and unflavored oatmeal. Then add your own sweetener. No matter how much sweetener you add, you probably won’t put in as much as the manufacturer would have, according to Dr. Hauser.
Watch for hidden sugars in foods. Be wary of foods where sugar tends to hide, including reduced-fat products. “When companies take out the fat, they add back almost all the calories in sugar,” Dr. Hauser says. Read labels. Avoid products that list sugar as the first ingredient or that contain several different types of sugar it’s one way manufacturers avoid having sugar listed as the first ingredient.
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Where Do I Go From Here
Getting started with SMART Recovery is easy! If you would like to get started right away, you can join our online support group where you can read, share and learn from our worldwide community of members at any time of the day or night.
You can also find a local SMART Recovery meeting, or, if we dont have any meetings in your area yet, you can join us at one of our online meetings.If youd like to have printed study material, we suggest the SMART Recovery Handbook.
Tip : Learn To Accept And Love Yourself As You Are
When you base your self-worth on physical appearance alone, youre ignoring all the other qualities, accomplishments, and abilities that make you beautiful. Think about your friends and family members. Do they love you for the way you look or who you are? Chances are, your appearance ranks low on the list of what they love about youand you probably feel the same about them. So why does it top your own list?
Placing too much importance on how you look leads to low self-esteem and insecurity. But you can learn to see yourself in a positive, balanced way:
Make a list of your positive qualities. Think of all the things you like about yourself. Are you smart? Kind? Creative? Loyal? Funny? What would others say are your good qualities? Include your talents, skills, and achievements. Also, think about negative qualities you dont have.
Stop body checking. Pinching for fatness, continually weighing yourself, or trying on too-small clothes only magnifies a negative self-view and gives you a distorted image of what you really look like. We are all very bad at detecting visual changes in ourselves. Your goal right now is to learn to accept yourselfand that shouldnt depend on a number on the scale or a perceived flaw you think you see in the mirror.
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How To Help Someone With Binge Eating Disorder
Since binge eaters often try to hide their symptoms and eat in secret, it can make it tough for family and friends to spot the warning signs. And you cant always identify a binge eater by appearance, either. While some are overweight or obese, others manage to maintain a normal weight.
The warning signs that you can spot include finding piles of empty food packages and wrappers, cupboards and refrigerators that have been cleaned out, or hidden stashes of high-calorie or junk food. If you suspect that your loved one has binge eating disorder, bring up your concerns. It may seem daunting to start such a delicate conversation, and the person may deny bingeing or become angry and defensive. But theres a chance that he or she will welcome the opportunity to share the struggle.
If the person shuts you out at first, dont give up it may take some time before your loved one is willing to admit to having a problem. And remember: as difficult as it is to know that someone you love may be have an eating disorder, you cant force someone to change. The decision to seek recovery has to come from them. You can help by offering your compassion, encouragement, and support throughout the treatment process.
Dont Beat Yourself Up When You Binge Eat
Having a relapse and falling back into unhealthy habits can hurt.
When you are facing adversity like that, please dont make it worse by resisting and beating yourself up. Whatever you resist, persists.
Accept it whenever you are struggling to live your best ideals. Try your best again the day after.
Dont try to have it all perfect in one go changing deeply rooted habits takes time. Gradually, you will gain more experience and success in changing your dietary habits.
You will overcome your food addictions eventually, and I hope that you found my tips on how to overcome food addiction valuable. Let me know in the comments what you think! If you want more content that improves your help and happiness, sign up to our e-mail list below.
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The Science Of Food Addiction
Food addiction arises because eating lots of food makes us feel better.
But why does food make us feel better? And why does this cause addiction?
The answer is simple: foods rich in sugar, fat and salt stimulate the brains reward centre i.e. feel good hormones such as dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows us to feel good about ourselves.
Over time, the brain becomes more tolerant to dopamine. This means an ever greater quantity of food is needed in order to achieve this feel good factor.
Activities such as sex, exercising and eating all trigger dopamine. Each activity is essential for survival, so its essential we feel good when doing these activities.
Otherwise, we might not do them and die .
Reach Out For Support
Once youve decided to make a change, opening up about the problem is an important step on the road to recovery. It can feel scary or embarrassing to seek help for an eating disorder, so its important to choose someone who will be supportive and truly listen without judging you or rejecting you. This could be a close friend or family member or a youth leader, teacher, or school counselor you trust. Or you may be more comfortable confiding in a therapist or doctor.
Choose the right time and place. There are no hard and fast rules for telling someone about your eating disorder. But be mindful about choosing the right time and placeideally somewhere private where you wont be rushed or interrupted.
Starting the conversation. This can be the hardest part. One way to start is by simply saying, Ive got something important to tell you. Its difficult for me to talk about this, so it would mean a lot if youd be patient and hear me out. From there, you may want to talk about when your eating disorder started, the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors involved, and how the disorder has impacted you.
Be patient. Your friend or family member will have their own emotional reaction to learning about your eating disorder. They may feel shocked, helpless, confused, sad, or even angry. They may not know how to respond or help you. Give them time to digest what youre telling them. Its also important to educate them about your specific eating disorder.
Eating disorder support groups
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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.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Hopefully, you have a wonderful treatment team in place that you can call for help and support, no questions asked. But are you also including your family and friends and giving them a chance to support you in recovery? Asking for help can be a daily process and may require you to ask for specific things that they can help you with.
Monitor Your Eating Behavior
Keep a food journal to:
- Record your daily food intake
- Track any changes in behaviors associated with food intake
- Record thoughts/feelings while eating
Self-monitoring helps you identify triggers, disturbing thoughts about food intake, and harmful eating patterns. When you decide to self-monitor, be sure to:
- Be honest with yourself. Remember, cheating wont help you track your habits effectively
- Fill in the self-monitoring sheet immediately after eating or binge eating
- Avoid tracking calories
- Record physical activity and sleep quality/duration
Strategy : Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals is another factor that can exacerbate binge eating. Similar to restricting your calories through a diet, skipping meals can leave you wanting to eat more later and increase your likelihood to binge eat.
Incorporating a regular eating pattern into your routine has been shown to reduce the chances of binge eating later on in the day. If you start skipping meals, youll begin to crave more. By skipping daytime meals and restricting calories, many people find themselves binge eating late into the night.
Breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and provides you with energy for the rest of the day. Consider eating a high-protein meal in the morning so that youll be less likely to become hungry. Eggs, almonds, chicken breast, oats, and Greek yogurt are examples of high-protein foods.
Try to eat three meals a day, with snacks in between, about three to four hours apart.
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Stabilize Your Blood Sugar Levels
Eating white bread, cookies, candy, and other carbs with high glycemic indexes will likely cause blood sugar levels to spike, then fall quickly.
This rapid blood sugar fluctuation has been shown to promote hunger and can lead to overeating .
Choosing foods with lower glycemic indexes will help prevent blood sugar spikes and may reduce overeating. Beans, oats, and brown rice are all great options.
Summary Eat foods that help keep blood sugar levels constant. High-glycemic foods like candy and white bread can make blood sugar spike then drop, which may lead to overeating. Instead, choose foods like beans, oats, and brown rice.
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