Today’s blog is a rather controversial one. Some believe food addiction is nothing more than a lame excuse for overeating, others will testify food addiction runs their life. On the one hand we have those who, fortunately, have never had issues with food, consider yourself blessed. As a result, it is hard for those who have never experienced food addiction, to understand the complexities of those who do suffer from addiction. However, with an estimated 4 million adults suffering from food addiction, it’s very real.
Food addiction can be likened to any other addiction: pornography, gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, television, and more recently, internet, and Face Book. Yes, all of these are but a few of the addictions people suffer from, around the globe.
WHAT IS ADDICTION?
According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary:
Addiction is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control. Withdrawal has many meanings, one of which is A psychological and/or physical syndrome caused by the abrupt cessation of the use of a drug in an habituated person.
WHAT CAUSES FOOD ADDICTION?
It would be so nice to just list what causes food addiction, wouldn’t it? It’s just not that easy. Food addiction has been under a tremendous amount of study, and the list the of possible causes grows as more research is done. One thing scientists, psychologists, researchers, and doctors, and even patients agree on though, is it can stem from one to a number of various factors.
A common thread that runs through ALL food addictions, is coping with overwhelming emotions of shame and depression, suffer from low self-esteem, and have a constant need for love and validation.
TOP 10 CAUSES OF FOOD ADDICTION
1. Dealing with emotions, using food as a ‘band-aid’.
2. To gain weight, as a ‘protective’ measure. Particularly those of sexual abuse.
3. Yo-yo dieting, which throws the body out of homeostasis, creating a ‘cycle’.
4. Refined sugar, fat becomes outright habit forming, and becomes an addiction.
5. Low serotonin levels.
6. Biological abnormality of the hypothalamus not sending proper signals.
7. Researchers have recently found a genetic mutation that appears to cause food addiction.
8. Negative psychological influences at a young age. Critical comments, etc.
Keep in mind there are other causes which can be linked to food addiction, as well.
WHAT CAN I DO TO STOP FOOD ADDICTION?
There is no ‘one size fits all’ remedy. You may require several of the following to meet your needs and recover from addiction. One thing is for certain, you will need support, both at home, at work, wherever you may be. The more support you have, the more the people around you can be of help in a weak moment. A listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, someone to hold, and express your frustrations to, can make a world of difference.
STOP THE MADNESS
1. Get nutritional counseling.
2. Get medical counseling.
3. Look into both individual and group psychotherapy.
4. Read Self-help books.
5. Look into your spiritual self.
6. Learn to manage stress.
7. Learn to remain objective about yourself.
8. Get out in nature.
9. Develop new coping mechanisms when feeling the ‘urge’.
10. Be willing to listen and try new things from the resources listed above.
THIS IS EMBARRASING!
If you, or someone you love is suffering from food addiction, please, know you are not alone. Yes, many feel it is embarrassing. All addicts feel the same way, until they learn to accept the fact that they are indeed, an addict. Think about it, alcoholics try to hide the fact that they drink as much as they do, or they try to show that they can ‘handle their liquor’. Drug addicts do their deals where they cannot be seen, use where they cannot be seen, and often suffer in unseen places. Gamblers don’t want to admit how much money they’ve lost, the relationships lost along the way, jobs, etc. Porn viewers secretly log on and get their fill, it’s no different for a food addict. Money spent on food ‘addictions’, hiding food in secret places, eating the addictive food while alone, it’s all the same.
Some humans are more prone to addictions than others. Many people move from one addiction to another. Accept yourself for who you are. If you want to change, make the necessary arrangements, appointments, and be ready to allow your deepest secrets and hurts to be made manifest on a conscious level. This is a painful process, so be sure you have support.
WHAT’S THE COST and
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU PAID ALREADY?
The cost will be determined by the duration and type of help you need. Think about how much you have already paid. What have you paid by your health due to food addiction? How much money have you spent/wasted on your food addiction? How much have your relationships suffered from your addiction? Your career? Your ability to be a mother/father/ sister/brother, etc.? How much time has been wasted both in the pre-occupation with food, and the time spent shopping, storing, and consuming it? I’m sure the cost has been high.
WHY ARE FOOD ADDICTIONS SO HARD TO STOP?
Food addiction is different from many other addictions in the way it is a part of everyday life. An alcoholic may feel anxious when driving bar their favorite bar, a gambler when passing their favorite casino. Because food is food, and we are, fortunately, surrounded by it literally everywhere, it makes your challenge that much more difficult. You must eat to survive. Period. You must establish different views, and a new mindset to overcome. You must eliminate.
ARE WITHDRAWALS REAL?
Food addiction withdrawals ARE real. Your body has grown accustomed to the fats and sugars ingested, and will be screaming for more. Be extra careful not to purchase or partake of processed foods, as it is illegal for manufacturers to add addictive substances to them, but they do it anyway. Can’t eat just one? Hmmm… be suspicious.
FINDING HAPPINESS OUTSIDE OF FOOD
Reading, writing, playing sports, enjoying the outdoors, serving others, the list goes on and on. Honestly, you can find happiness outside of food. Truth is, the happiness has always been there, you have just been too pre-occupied to perceive it as such.
You’re life is too short to waste any of it pre-occupied with an addiction of any kind. You deserve to be ‘free’, truly free. You deserve to be happy, and healthy. May you have the courage to stand up to your addiction, deal with it, and move on to a fruitful, successful future. Begin living today.