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Could You Be Addicted to Food? How to Find Out

Could You Be Addicted to Food? How to Find Out

Do you think about food all the time? Are you having difficulty controlling what you eat? If you are caving into cravings and have no willpower or discipline when it comes to certain foods, you may be addicted to food in the same way alcoholics or drug addicts are addicted to their substance of choice.

What is food addiction?

Scientists believe that certain highly palatable foods such as sugar, salt and fat trigger the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. Chocolate, cake, pastries, sweets, ice cream and junk foods trigger feel good chemicals in the brain such as dopamine.

When you eat certain foods that release dopamine signals to the brain, you experience “happy feelings” and quickly have the urge to eat again. These reward signals are so intense and dominant that even if your tummy is full and satisfied, you may will continue eating even though you aren’t really hungry. 

As a result, being addicted to food can lead to unhealthy eating habits, overeating, binge eating and obesity. People with this problem often end up feeling bad about themselves, leading to depression – which makes the problem worse!

In order to beat food addiction, it is important to understand the causes and then adopt an action plan that will help.

Before we start, let’s first look at some of the symptoms of food addiction.

Symptoms of food addiction

Here are a few points to consider  to find out whether you may be  addicted to food:

1. You keep eating certain foods even though you have eaten and are full
2. Once you start eating a food you’ve been craving, you eat much more than you intended to
3. When you eat foods you were craving, you stuff yourself – sometimes to the point that you actually feel ill
4. Despite feeling guilty after eating certain foods, you will find yourself wanting to eat them soon afterwards
5. You frequently try to quit eating “bad foods” and make promises that you’ll stop but your efforts are always unsuccessful
6. You have difficulty controlling your need to eat unhealthy foods even though you know that make you put on weight
7. You won’t admit to others that you are eating unhealthy foods or you eat junk in the sly
8. You focus so much on eating certain foods that you spend less time with family and friends or engaging in other activities
9. Even though your eating habits are negatively affecting your health, self esteem, relationships or even your career, you still remain unable to make the necessary changes.
10. You constantly tell yourself that you will start a new eating regime ‘tomorrow’ or ‘Monday’ – and this day never comes!  

How to beat your food addiction

1. Admit that you have a food addiction

As with any addiction like drugs or gambling, the first step is to admit that you have a problem. Once you can be completely honest with yourself and are ready to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you will be well on your way to recovery.

2. Identify your triggers

Keep a food diary and write down everything that you eat, when and why you ate it, and what you felt like before and after eating. After about two weeks, review your food diary to check your eating patterns.

Diarising your eating habits will help you to understand what situations or emotions trigger your need to eat. Here you can also jot down what foods are your weaknesses and how you can make positive changes to your diet.

3. Start making small changes slowly

Lots of people make the mistake of cutting out all the bad foods at once. It’s important to start eliminating those foods that you are always craving slowly. Wean yourself off the food culprits gradually in the same way you would if you decide to quit smoking – you have to prepare your body and mind for this huge change that will be taking place. 

Now is also a good time to take natural remedies such as MindSoothe and PureCalm from the Feelgood Health range. 
MindSoothe is a herbal formula which helps to prepare you psychologically for withdrawal symptoms you may experience. It also helps you to handle depression and mood swings more easily, thereby keeping brain chemicals balanced and preventing ‘relapse’. PureCalm is a wonderfully soothing remedy to anxiety, nerves and stress especially when you are feeling overwhelmed and edgy. 

Feelgood Tip: If for instance, you are used to having takeaways for lunch every day, limit yourself to initially having takeaways two or three times weekly, and then to once per week. Eventually, you won’t be having any takeaways at all!

4. Making healthier choices

Try not to see foods as ‘bad’ or good’ and instead identify the foods you should be eating more of – and then reduce those that are less good for your health. Try to see it as striking a balance, rather than depriving yourself.

The way to do this is to always eat the nutritious foods first, as these are more important for your health. Instead of forbidding yourself the ‘bad’ foods, rather postpone them and first eat something healthy – you will find that in many cases, once you have done this, your craving will diminish.

After you have done this, if you still crave something sweet, eat fruit which has natural sugar, raw honey, organic nut butters or dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can eat as much fresh fruit and veggies without feeling guilty and also include fish, chicken and lean meat to your diet.

Choose to grill or steam foods rather than fry – it’s a much healthier option.

Cut out fizzy and alcoholic beverages which are the biggest culprits of weight gain. Replace with water, lemon and mint or rooibos or green tea. 

5. Handle cravings

You are going to have cravings but you don’t have to give in to them. When you feel the urge to have a chocolate, think about why you want it, what is triggering this sudden urge and ask yourself if you are actually hungry? 

Take a moment for yourself before you decide to give in to your urge and remember your goal and the commitment you’ve made. In moments like these, call a friend or go for a walk – but be strong! If you are finding it difficult, use our tip above – give yourself something to eat, but choose something from the ‘healthy foods’ category so that you are not completely depriving yourself. If you do this often enough, you will soon start to adjust to it and it will become a habit.

As added support to help you fight your food addiction, use EcoSlim and Detox Drops to lose weight. EcoSlim contains the ever popular ingredient, Garcina Cambogia which acts as a natural appetite suppressant. This remedy helps to boost your metabolism, encourage the natural break down of fats in the body and prevents cravings and comfort eating. 
Detox Drops is a herbal detox treatment which eliminates toxins from the body, increases energy levels and strengthens the immune system.

6. Distract yourself

In most cases, the main cause of food addiction stems from not being able to lose weight. Perhaps you’ve tried many times and you still haven’t managed to achieve your goal weight, and now feel tired of trying – so, you eat to console yourself! Don’t fall prey to negative thinking!

Results won’t happen overnight but make the effort. Keep yourself distracted from eating by joining a gym, walking, running, dancing or joining a support group to help you on your weight loss journey.

Exercise is a very important and effective way of beating any addiction. The reason for this is that exercise helps to release the very same ‘feel good’ brain chemicals that we are subconsciously aiming for when addicts use their drug of choice – whether this is food, cigarettes or any other substance.

Regular exercise, apart from the obvious health and figure benefits, will also help to boost the feel good brain chemicals, leaving you less likely to turn to food for the comfort you crave.

By following these few tips, you can beat overcome your need for a food fix, lose weight and live a healthier, happier lifestyle.

If you have any health-related questions, please contact us or leave a comment below for FREE advice. We always love hearing from you!

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