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By Admin | In Exercise and Nutrition Tips and Advice | on June 16, 2015

Addiction does not always have to involve an addictive substance or drug, as the term can be used to describe an excessive behaviour such as compulsive eating.

While there are different schools of thought and the scientific literature in this area is still in the beginning phases, many experts believe that addiction to food is really about the food.

Having said that, many of the behaviours and neurochemical changes that are characteristic of drug abuse are also apparent in people that ‘binge’ on sugar based foods.

However, food addiction has more to do with how a person behaves around food, what they think about food, and the way habits are formed with food.  The habits are the real source of the addiction.  How many of you have to ‘have a biscuit’ when you have a cup of tea or coffee, or ‘have to have a glass of wine after a stressful day’ or ‘have to have a coffee and cake’ when you meet with your friends at 11am?  I could go on but I hope you get my point.

Food can become a way to cope with emotional matters, and the repetition of this coping mechanism can breed an addiction.  By using food as a way to deal with anxiety, stress, grief, etc, the body becomes conditioned to crave that same process the next time you need relief.

People also often associate pleasure with food (I know I certainly do, I love food, it is not just a means of living for me, but a real pleasure).  However, some people associate this pleasure with foods that are high in fats, sugars and salts.  As innocent as it may seem this starts at a young age when ice creams and sweets are given as treats or rewards for good behaviour, good school reports, or celebrating a birthday.

Below are some warning signs and common traits among people that may be addicted:

  • Changes in mood
  • Restrictive dieting
  • Eating in secret or sneaking food
  • Feeling out of control with food
  • Rewarding/treating yourself with food
  • Thinking about food all the time
  • Feeling unsatisfied even after meal times
  • Weight fluctuations and/or difficulty or managing weight
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Feeling disgusted, guilty or upset after eating
  • Feeling stressed or tension that is only relieved by eating

So how can we try to over come this addiction:

It is certainly a process, and possibly a long-term process but one that is worth taking to find freedom from food.

1. Sugar based foods are the main culprit here and just like other addiction based recovery models. addicts are challenged to remain abstinent for healing.  Therefore, it is highly recommended to try and abstain from sugar for at least 30 days to cut the addictive like state you may be in right now.

2. Set boundaries with certain foods.  Eliminate temptations until you have learnt to be in control of the food item.  For example, if you know you will binge on ice cream after a stressful day, make sure you do not keep ice cream in the house until you have separated yourself from the addiction.

3. Follow a structured plan.  This will help to set the boundaries, to have a clear focus on what you are working towards and feel satisfied that you are eating a well devised nutritious plan.  It will help you be structured with your day and with eating times which in turn will cut cravings.

4. Learn healthy coping strategies.  Address your reasons for turning to food to cope with certain emotions/situations.  Identify healthier coping mechanisms and strategies, such as meditation, exercise, reading, listening to classical music,  15 minute walk etc.

Beating a food addiction is a process and does not happen overnight however it is achievable.  If you wish to make better decisions and stop your ‘food addiction’ I have created a 30 Day Sugar Free Plan that is very easy to follow and provides a structure for you to work from.  It only costs you £1.99 and you get over 30 pages of recipes with it too, plus support from myself.  Just click below:



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