Saturday, 23 June 2012

Food Addiction

Food Addiction is a subject quite close to my heart. There are many of us that have a negative relationship with food but never really understand that it's a problem.
I am addicted to Chocolate! I always joke about it but to be honest it's not been a joke for a few years now. I have gradually come to understand just how much of a control it has on my day to day living.
I think about it the minute I get up and would gladly substitute a proper meal for a slab of chocolate regardless of the nauseous feeling I am left with afterwards due to being unable to control how much I eat.
I also have a generally negative attitude toward food. I have made improvements over the last year or so but there are times when I still find myself unable to refuse the junk food and shovel it down like it's my last meal ever. Of course the guilty disgusted feeling soon follows and the food addiction cycle comes full circle.

Today, something changed. I ate a huge slab of chocolate, felt nauseous as usual but instead of shoving that thought aside I confronted it.
I suprisingly found myself reluctantly admitting that I didn't even enjoy the chocolate - I mean how could I, I shovel it down so quick  I hardly even get a taste of it. I shovel it down so fast so that I can manage to eat the entire bar before feeling full and I want to eat the entire bar because I'm afraid someone else will pinch it if I don't. The thing is no one has ever taken my chocolate so I don't know where that fear stems from.
I'm also faced with the reality of the health repercussions of chocolate. As an addict of chocolate I can ignore the blocked arteries because I can't actually see them and I can avoid having a cholesterol check too but when your heart starts pounding and racing after eating it, well THAT is a little harder to ignore.
Today is the day I admit - seriously admit - that I am addicted to Chocolate, that I cannot control it and that it is having a negative impact on my life.
Today is the day I quit Chocolate.

It's going to be hard, very hard. Like any addiction I am going to crave it and possibly reach for it without realising I'm doing it. I have to learn to recognise what triggers a craving and learn to change those habits.
Can I do it?   You bet I can.
But what makes this time different?  As stupid as it may sound, Insanity makes it different! I have tried so many workout routines and have always got bored or lost motivation within the first week. Insanity has motivated me in a way I never thought possible. It has pushed me to my limits, it's made me cry, made me angry, left me in a heap on the floor and yet it's had an amazing positive impact on me too. Every morning I get up early and press play. Even on the days when I really want to stay under the covers and cower from the Black Dog, I get up, I get dressed and hit play and at the end of the workout I feel amazing. Amazing because I pushed further than I thought I could, I motivated myself more than I ever thought possible and I have picked myself up from the floor and given one more push more times than I care to remember.
1 month ago I would never have believed it possible. Thank you Insanity & Shawn T.

Do you have a healthy relationship with food? Check this out

Food Addiction – Are You a Food Addict?
Food addiction is a contemporary term used to describe a pathological disorder; the compulsive, excessive craving for and consumption of food. This condition is not only manifested by the abnormal intake of food, but the intake and craving for foods that are, in themselves, harmful to the individual. While society and the medical profession have readily understood alcoholism and drug abuse, it is only in recent years that there is an equal acceptance of the fact that persons may be addicted to food in the same way. When any substance is taken into the body regardless of its potential for harm or in excess of need, that substance is said to be abused. Individuals who abuse substances in such a way are addicts; these persons become physiologically and mentally dependent upon certain substances, in this case food.

One need only ask themselves a few key questions to determine his or her addiction:

  • Do you eat when you are not hungry or when you feel low or depressed? YES
  • Do you eat in secret or eat differently in front of others than when you’re alone?YES
  • Do you consume inordinate amounts of food and then purge later with vomiting or laxatives to get rid of the excess?NO
  • Are there foods that are harmful to you, but you eat them anyway?YES
  • Do you feel guilty after eating?YES
If you can answer yes to any of these questions than you are likely addicted to food. Food Addiction – Causes and Manifestations
Food addiction, as with any other addiction, is a loss of control. The individual understands that their way of eating is harmful, but continues the destructive behavior. The phenomenon of food addiction is both physiological and psychological.

Many individuals have what may be termed “food allergies.” These are trigger foods which when ingested cause negative symptoms and changes in the body but at the same time provoke cravings. The individual, for instance, the diabetic, may be made “sick” by the intake of sugar, but will still continue to crave it and eat it in excess, with adverse effects. Studies are also continuing regarding certain proteins in milk and wheat which when ingested produce narcotic-like effects. These chemicals mimic the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, and have thus been termed “exorphins.” Individuals may be suffering from depression, low self-esteem or loneliness; they will find a high when ingesting large quantities of food or certain foods such as salt or chocolate. The immediate high gives way to a sick feeling or guilt, leading to more depression. Because the addict is out of control, he or she will turn once again to the same eating patterns in a conscious or unconscious effort to feel better.

Food addicts come equally from all age, race, and gender groups. They are overweight, underweight, and some of normal weight. They are linked by their obsession with food. The obese individual suffers humiliation due to excess weight; they may be lethargic and sedentary unable to move around freely. The underweight person may be bulimic; though they eat obsessively, they are so afraid of becoming overweight that they will induce vomiting, take laxatives, or exercise compulsively to prevent weight gain. They may also alternate with periods of anorexia, refraining from food to control their weight. The person of normal weight while appearing normal may be obsessed with food, constantly thinking about what to eat or how much they weigh. The entire subject of food is a misery to them; they count calories compulsively, eating without enjoyment.
Food Addiction – Is There Any Hope for Recovery?
Food addiction is a serious condition with many adverse health consequences. Obesity, psychological disorders, diabetes, and gastric anomalies are just a few.

The first step to recovery is, of course, the realization and acceptance of the problem. Medically, individuals must identify which foods -- the trigger foods -- cause allergic symptoms and cravings.

There is no easy way to combat food addiction; it will require intense discipline in modifying eating patterns and lifestyle. A manageable exercise program should be embraced along with dietary changes that may be maintained. Ambitious attempts to change eating patterns abruptly or to lose weight quickly rarely have long-term success.

The physiological and psychological dependency of food can best be broken when the individual recognizes that they are powerless to combat it alone. They must look to God, who alone is able to provide help and healing in this and all areas of human helplessness. “For I am the LORD who heals you" (Exodus 15:26b). God is as much concerned with our physical well being as He is with our spiritual relationship to Him. As an individual seeks Him, he will find health and healing and recovery. “Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is” (3 John 2). 


  1. I answered yes to all the same questions you did! :( But I already knew I was a food addict.

    1. It's an awful realisation isn't it.
      For years I never really saw my eating habits as any kind of addiction or problem. I used to say "I'll get a handle on it when I want to" - obviously that never happened. I once read a book called 'overcoming overeating' and that was what ade me first realise I had a problem. It's been an ongoing battle since then.
      I have a phobia about being sick, hence why I could never be sick after eating. I'll eat to the point of feeling extremely nauseous and then I panic. lol.

  2. I am really glad you wrote about food addiction. I do not speak for everyone but I do think that a lot of people critisize those who are overweight not understanding that much like smoking, drugs, alcohol, etc. , that food can be an addiction. Just as hard if not harder to quit than the above mentioned things. Obviously, I too have a food addiction, hence my current journey. It took me a really long time to realize this myself. All those times that I ate because I was happy, sad, mad, bored, etc. I never realized that food was running and ruining my life. Food was a friend, one who never went away and one I could always count on. Little did I know that my little friend would do such dammage, not only to my physical body but my mental self as well. I am happy to say today that this particular addiction no longer has control over me, I have control over it. It is empowering, and I pray every day that I will continue to have this power over my addiction. I think that it is so wonderful that you are taking control over your chocolate cravings, how empowered you must feel. I know that you will succeed. Thank you again for this post!

    Learning To Live Again – My Weight Loss Journey

    1. There are so many of us in the same boat aren't there! The sad thing is we go through life not actually realising that and feel isolated.
      Food starts off as a friend but soon becomes an enemy that has a vice like hold on the way we live our lives.
      I am so glad to hear that you have control of your eating habits, you must just feel amazing every day having that control back?
      What have you done to change those habits that make you crave?
      I'm still controlling the chocolate - yay! I won't touch it again ever! I like it obviously but I can't ration it and so it has no room in my life anymore.

      Good luck with your continued weight loss journey.

    2. You have amazing self control and deserve a pat on the back! When I started this journey it was a lot about re-directing myself and knowing what my "trigger foods" were. These are the foods that I know I can not have because I will either not want to stop eating it or will make me want something else. For instance I stay away from fast foods like McDonald's because I know that it will have me craving more. I stay away from potato chips because I can never have just a few, and they make me crave soda pop. So overall I would say staying away from triggers. OH... also eating in front of the television, I try not to eat much in front of the tv because the two seem to go hand in hand.

    3. OMG Brandie you are so right. The TV has to be the biggest trigger for me also - why I can't watch a tv programme without snacking I'll never know!
      I'm lucky that the nearest MCDonalds is 2 hours drive away otherwise I'd be after a BigMac & shake every day. Like you I have foods I cannot control - chocolate was the main one though I've managed to not have a single bit of it since I gave up (suprisingly now I've made that decision I don't even want any :)
      Chips are a biggie for me also (you call them french fries) and I had an addicition to Cola once too. It kind of made me ill though so my 8 cans a day went to nil and now I only have the odd diet coke now and again - too gassy!

      It's so much of a relief to hear that others such as yourself completely understand how we can be addicited to food. So many people just think we're greedy!

      You're doing amazingly well with your weightloss journey too and reading blogs such as yours are actually what help me to get through my own journey.
      In fact I read this message of yours just as I was trying to talk myself out of my Insanity workout lol. I'm going to leave it here though cos I'm off to do that workout - thank you.