Can’t keep your hands off a whole bucket of ice cream? It’s no secret that food addiction is a real struggle, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you slip and do what you don’t want to do, then get right back on the horse! Don’t beat yourself up over it.
It happens to everyone at one point or another! The most important thing is that you recognize this as a problem and use that as a turning point to breaking food addiction.
The Law of Addiction
Human beings become addicted to substances through 3 stages:
The Law of Ease
When you use a substance or indulge in behavior, it creates an immediate chemical reaction in your body and brain. It’s part of the human condition that food tastes good, feels good, and makes you feel better about yourself. When there are no consequences, people will continue to pursue whatever it is that’s making them feel good.
The Prohibition Period
Once a behavior continues over time, your brain starts looking for the substance or experience often. At some point, it makes things easier to do this behavior. The brain actually deprioritizes other things to maintain its relationship with whatever it is that you’ve been doing. This is known as the Prohibition Period.
The Law of Addiction
This is where you begin to feel worse when you don’t do something than you did when you were doing it. While this might sound strange, but your brain wants whatever it is again because that’s what makes everything better! For example, take a person who smoked and stopped smoking for a long time but then started again now and then.
She might say that she had to smoke because it made her feel good, but the reality was that she felt terrible if she didn’t and wanted to do it so badly that all reason went out the window!
The biggest reason why everyone gets obese is that they are addicted to eating food. Almost every overweight, out-of-shape person has tried countless diets and weight loss programs without any real success. The problem with all diets is that they limit what you can eat when there’s nothing wrong with the foods themselves! Food addiction is a learned behavior.
It’s an addiction to specific foods that are prepared in a certain way or indulged regularly. This creates a mental association between the food and how it makes you feel. The more often you eat these foods, the stronger this link becomes.
Overcoming a Food Addiction
These are a few ways for beating food addiction:
1. As soon as you become aware that you’re going to have a problem with something, stop! This is similar to the warning on cigarettes, “Smoking causes lung cancer.” They put it on there to inform people so that they can make an informed decision about what they do or don’t want to do.
2. You need to be as clear-minded and as strong-willed as possible before you need to make a decision. For example, if you’re about to eat junk food or something that’s bad for you, then don’t do it! You need the mindset that I’m not going to do this because of X reason. You should also keep things like chips/candy in a place where you have to put in extra effort to get it.
3. Find an activity that’s as rewarding as the thing you’re trying to stop doing. If you want some Oreos after dinner but don’t want to eat them, then work out instead! You’ll have a great endorphin rush without feeling too guilty since exercise is good for your health anyway!
4. Try to make things as convenient for yourself. Make your body want the good thing more than the bad thing. For example, people had covered their table in fruit or had raw desserts on hand so they’d be able to eat something healthy first when they were about to do something bad.
5. When you’re craving something bad, go ahead and eat it in small amounts. A lot of people who are on diets where are supposed to only have one cookie or piece of cake, but instead, they’ll eat the whole box or bag because that’s what felt good when they wanted it! Then afterward, they feel even worse than before! If you want that cookie, then have the whole thing and get it over with. You’ll feel better and stop being as tempted to eat more because you had a taste of what you wanted.
6. Learn to recognize when your body is asking for something other than food. If you really describe what you’re craving or what emotions are driving you to do something, then you might realize that it’s not hunger, for example, Stress eating.
7. Don’t try to fix everything all at once. If you go on a diet, then that’s enough for now! Don’t try and make other changes at the same time, or else you’ll get overwhelmed and will want to give up before getting anything done. Maintain what you already did until it becomes part of your routine, then add something new later if need be. The goal is to not make it about losing weight or being healthy but to feel better in general.
8. You are not alone! Everyone has their weaknesses, but most people will understand more than you think. Find someone like me who can relate to your situation and follow my advice if it helps, then figure out what works best for you! The internet is a good resource. Online community groups are an excellent option to start with.
The best way to break a food addiction is to face it head-on and not dwell on all the ways things could have been better. Instead, try to learn from your mistakes and move forward better than before! Finally, if you feel so far gone that nothing will help, then look for professional help. Dr. Cali Estes provides one of the best food addiction treatments in New York. Contact us to know more.