George The Grizzly Bear: I Think Im Addicted To Junk Food How Can I Stop Raiding Peoples Bins
George, you are not alone! So many animals and birds are writing to me with the same problem. As our habitats have been reduced and we live closer and closer to humans, their bad food habits are affecting us all.
While some animals will say you just need to improve your willpower, I dont think willpower alone is very effective. Its also super hard work, especially when the food tastes so good!
Its much easier to seek to physically put some distance between you and fast food. So go up into the mountains away from people so you cant be tempted by anything in their bins in the first place. The longer you have away from temptation the easier it will be to change your habits.
As for regaining your love of salmon, spend some time in meditation each day, and remember the best salmon you ever caught, really focus on the emotions you associate with it so that your mouth starts watering.
Then get in the river and catch some! And when you do, be sure to roar loudly with joy the release of bearendorphins will create a positive association in your mind between salmon and joy, helping you break the fast food cravings and regain your love of fish.
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.
Why Is Fast Food So Addictive
If your town is anything like mine youll see the myriad takeaway wrappers strewn along the subway and carpeting the skate park most mornings. Its worse at the weekends and the McDonalds logo always figures highly. The population is hooked on this stuff but why is fast food so addictive? Well, turns out its chemistry
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Fast Food Can Be As Addictive As This Illegal Drug Expert Says
You probably already know that fast food isn’t one of the healthiest food options, considering it’s usually processed, high in calories, and often fried . Despite knowing its unhealthy aspects, it may feel nearly impossible to turn down your favorite fast-food spot as you’re driving by and that’s not entirely your fault.
Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, reveals in his book Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions that fast-food can be just as addictive as heroin. If you’re wondering how this is possible, Moss breaks it down: While heroin relies on morphine to draw out the addictive nature of the drug, fast-food turns to simpler elements like fat, salt, and sugar, all of which have the same impact on us once we take a bite. 6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
The reason for this is that these componentsfat, sugar, and salt trigger that same dopamine release in our brains that morphine does. As the New York Post reports, Moss notes in his book that, ” is a tool for our survival. We need to eat in order to live, and dopamine is there to motivate us to eat.” So, this is what might make it so difficult for your brain to turn away the fast food you know and love.
And so begins the endless cycle of searching for food that has the same impact on the body. This is why you may begin to crave those same unhealthy fast-food meals over and overyou may truly be addicted to the effect the food has on you.
Tips To Beat Food Addiction
Are you are self confessed chocoholic? Are you addicted to sweet foods? Its a pretty common assumption that sugar is addictive, just like substance or alcohol abuse, but is this actually the case?
Ive definitely had moments when Ive craved chocolate or needed something sweet after dinner so I can relate to the notion of needing a fix.
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How Do Fast Food Addictions Develop
Human emotions operate based on a reward system. When we do something good or something that brings us pleasure , the brain receives a reward in the form of dopamine release. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain responsible for feelings of joy and pleasure. This reward system operates for various reasons, including primal behaviors such as eating. In some cases, such as addictive behaviors, the actions of the behavior trick the brain into activating the reward system. This is how disorders related to addictive behaviors developed. In the case of fast food addictions, the brain knows that were eating, and eating is essential to ongoing survival. As we eat, the brain releases dopamine, otherwise known as feel good chemicals, into the bodys reward system, telling us that we have done something good for ourselves even if the food we are eating is not healthy.
As we continue to eat food that we enjoy, the brain interprets the presence of more dopamine as pleasure. Humans are hardwired to seek out joy. Unfortunately, joy can come in different forms end in some cases, those forms are not necessarily things that are good for us.
Restraint Theory And The Theory Of Planned Behaviour
In this study, Restraint Theory is employed as a theoretical underpinning as it considers the psycho-social aspects of human behaviour. The RT model asserts that âa reliance on cognitive control over eating, rather than physiological cues, leaves dieters vulnerable to uncontrolled eating when these cognitive processes are disruptedâ . Earlier studies selected the Theory of Planned Behaviour model to explain purchase behaviour within a range of inorganic food contexts . The fundamental proposition of this current study is that one’s beliefs about health concerns regarding fast-food may influence one’s consumption behaviour.
H1.A positive relationship exists between personal factors and FFA.
H2.A positive relationship exists between socio-cultural factors and FFA.
H3.Advertising practices and FFA are positively associated.
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Fast Food Addiction: A Major Public Health Issue
Abdul Kader Mohiuddin*
Abdul Kader Mohiuddin, Nasirullah Memorial Trust,Tejgaon, Dhaka 1215, Bangladesh.
Received Date:December 30, 2019 January 23, 2020
Fast food/Junk food is designed to be tasty, comforting and convenient. Unfortunately, whilst these foods contain lots of calories, they oftenhave far lower levels of fiber, water and minerals as compared to natural foods. Packaged food and snacks are also created specifically so that we getenough texture and taste from each bite to tantalize our taste buds but not enough to make us feel full. Its evident that fast food feels good to eat andtempts us in many different situations. Fast food first popularized in the 1970s in the United States, which has today the largest fast food industryin the world. As taste, time considerations, convenience, and cost are major factors that contribute to an adolescents or young adults food choices,fast food restaurants serve as popular sites for their meals eaten outside the home. Current approaches suggest that fast food restaurants should berequired to clarify nutrition information such as energy and fat content on their menu boards and on product packaging. This is important to help theconsumer to make better food choices before purchasing. An adequate, nutritious, and balanced diet is essential to maintain health for ones lifetime.To achieve this healthy diet, fast food consumption should be limited.
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.
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Repeated Failures At Setting Rules
When people are struggling with self-control, they often try to set rules for themselves.
Examples include only sleeping in on the weekends, always doing homework right after school, never drinking coffee after a certain time in the afternoon. For most people, these rules almost always fail, and rules around eating are no exception.
Examples include having one cheat meal or cheat day per week and only eating junk food at parties, birthdays, or holidays.
How Real Families Break The Fast Food Addiction
By The Busy Budgeter | | This post may contain affiliate links
How does this scenario happen? Youre running late and you forgot about dinneragain. Oops. Or maybe youve even purchased all kinds of yummy food at the grocery store. Your fridge is full and yethere you are, veering off your plan. Either way, youre back at it: feeding your familys fast food addiction. Youre in line at McDonalds again.
Now, dont get me wrong. I love me some fast food as much as the next girl. Chick-fil-A? Sign me up! Waffle fries? Yes, please!
But, fast food isnt great for every day. Sure, the drive-thru is convenient, but there are often other fast food alternatives that are just as convenient AND less costly. And hey, there are plenty of other reasons to quit the fast food addiction. Like, its not super healthy and fast food doesnt make you feel like youre adulting very well, either .
Theres hope! If you and your family are addicted to eating out, you can get over your fast food addiction. Im going to help you break the cycle.
So why do you do it? Why do you go to the drive-thru when you dont feel great about going there? Why does it seem like dinner is never, ever, EVER planned ahead? OR why do you end up at Wendys, Burger King or Carls Jr., when theres a fridge full of food at home? Why come up with elaborate meal plans and feel guilty when you dont achieve them?
Well, you could argue fast foods delicious, and yes, it SO IS.
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The Science Behind The Bliss Point
So whats going on when we consume foods engineered like this? Why cant we get enough?
Our bodies respond to foods that hit the bliss point by triggering reward pathways in our brain and encouraging dopamine signalling. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is involved with feelings of euphoria, bliss, motivation, and pleasure.
The result of this is a feeling of pleasure, that acts like a high, and we keep on coming back for more. This leads to a perpetual cycle of cravings, eating more junk, weight gain, and more cravings!
In a TED talk on the topic, psychiatrist Judson Brewer points out that this cycle is built upon context-dependent memory. Our brain remembers what actions make us feel good, such as eating chocolate. Then when we feel bad for whatever reason, our brain says eating chocolate might help, and we are driven to eat chocolate. After we repeat this process enough, it becomes an automatic habit.
Of course, food brings pleasure in many other ways for example, by producing feelings of nostalgia or enjoying food socially with family and friends. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but there is a difference between enjoying food and building unhealthy habits by overeating foods that hit our bliss point.
Fat Salt Sugar & Chicken Lots Of Chicken
You know things have gone a bit too far when people felt they had to call the police after KFC ran out of chicken a few years back.
Yes this is actually true!
Back in 2018 the UK police had to issue a press release to ask the public not to call them about the chicken crisis at KFC. I mean, its simultaneously hilarious and very troubling!
According to the Animal Kill Clock we will slaughter over 1 billion chickens this year in the UK alone. By far the greatest number by animal type, excluding sea creatures.
Its hard to imagine how that is even possible. But we do it because the nation is addicted to takeaway chicken. Particularly chicken encased in the Colonels special recipe!
Recent political events have proven the general populace are easy to manipulate and when it comes to fast food, the attack is multi-pronged, with subconscious and more blatant efforts made to sell you as much of this junk as possible.
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Conclusion Limitations And Future Research
Overall, our research demonstrates that health concerns are an intervening force among fast-food consumers, which then leads to the anti-consumption of fast-food. Thus, our research contributes to both RT and anti-consumption literature.
However, our study utilises a cross-sectional research design, thus, other methods such as a time-lagged study would provide additional insights. The role of demographic factors is not measured and they have been treated as control variables. A cross-cultural design across various countries would also be insightful. Future studies could examine other food groups, categories, and brands. Finally, our study required natural settings so an experimental design was not possible, this is another limitation that future research could address.
S To Normalize Snack Foods
If youve read through the reasons above and identified an area where you might be able to help support your child, I want you to know youre not alone! Youre doing the best you can to navigate feeding children in a diet culture that makes food chaotic and confusing.
You dont have to stay stuck in this cycle anymore, and you and your family deserve to enjoy freedom with food as a family.
The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take if youre ready to help normalize snack foods in your home to end the obsession around food. It starts with the willingness to try something new and bravely learn to build a trusting feeding relationship with your children.
Before I share some of these steps with you, I want to be sure to clarify an important point.
You see, when people hear this idea of normalizing snack foods and sweets, its easy to misconstrue this to mean something that its not.
When I talk about allowing access to sweets and increasing the quantities of your childs favorite snack foods to help them feel satisfied, Im not saying that you should just let them eat whatever they want, whenever they want it. These things are not the same, and this is not the approach Im endorsing in this post.
Remember, children need and thrive from a supportive environment around food.
So as you learn about these strategies, keep this point in mind.
Here are some tips to help you toward this as you navigate snack foods and sweets in your own home:
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How To Break Fast Food Addiction
This stuff is so very addictive that in some cases, when you try to quit, it can be like coming off a street drug.
In fact cocaine, for example, and fast food both act upon a common set of neural systems and we know cocaine is highly addictive.
So it stands to reason that fast food addiction is completely possible and actually, highly likely in susceptible individuals.
The only effective way to come off cocaine is to go managed cold turkey and fast food addiction is similar. Ideally, you just need to stop eating it and deal with the fallout by ensuring you remain nourished and satiated.
Its probably not quite as bad as cocaine in that the odd transgression is not going to throw you wildly off course but you will need to break that action / reward cycle.
This means limiting your fast food binges to no more than once a week, ideally less.