Food addiction is not something to be taken lightly. We have become one of the fattest nations on the face of the earth and that's not by accident. We love to eat. We will bury ourselves in debt as we use our credit cards so that we can hit the restaurants. We will drive out of our way to get a "snack" food that we know we love, just so that we can sit in front of the TV with it. We will wait on line or outside on park benches--sometimes for hours-- holding on to the beeper of our favorite eatery, as we lick our lips and hope to be called next. Some of us will actually hide our favorite foods where other family members can't find them. We will quite often be thinking of dessert, while still eating dinner. We will regularly eat more than we need, as we eat way past the point of being content and satisfied.
Does any of this sounds familiar? if so you may have a problem with food. First of all let me say from the outset that true success can't be found in a blog post. Just like any other addiction, you will need the support of others. You may also need professional help on a few levels so that you can be held accountable and make the right choices (e.g., licensed health/nutrition counselor, psychologist or therapist).
You may be experiencing a lot of pain and depression as you wrestle with this. It may seem as though you will never overcome the struggle. Don't believe it for a second. There is victory. Your victory begins with the desire to turn it all around and make the necessary changes. Initially, here are some steps you can take:
1. Detoxification- Our foods are riddled with chemicals, pesticides and processed elements. These things have a direct impact on our bodies and brains. Yes, you read that correctly, our brains are adversely affected. This is the reason why the addiction to sugar and carbs can be so powerful and toxic. The first step in overcoming food addiction is to allow your body the time it needs to rid itself of the toxins. I recommend eliminating all processed foods, sugars, alcohol and even to some degree excess sodium. For the first few days of a healthy detox eat only leafy green vegetables, drink plenty of water and keep overall calories on the lower end. Basically, you must give your body time away from the addictive foods.
2. Remove the Triggers- Remove all of the foods from your home that cause you to overeat or binge. Make sure you don't have access to them. If this means that others in your house must make the sacrifice, so be it. Don't keep "trigger" foods around--period. Find healthy alternatives, if need be. Also, sometimes a big trigger is not only the food but other things which can lead to more eating. Some people eat ONLY in front of the TV. So then, discipline yourself to stop eating while watching the boob tube. In other words, get rid of all of your addictive triggers.
3. Support- Ask someone you're close to for help. This must be an individual who undertstands your struggle and wants to help you. Believe it or not, sometimes the people who we are closest to are actually the ones feeding the unhealthy habits. Although they may not want to be causing us harm, they may very well be caught up in the same addiction. Get help and support from others who will be holding you accountable and taking it seriously. You must also be willing to submit to them, as well.
4. Exercise- Working out will not only relieve stress and kill certain addictive triggers, but it has also been known to eliminate food cravings, rid the body of toxins and help you with your mental outlook. Find the time to get in some exercise at least 3-4 times a week for about 30 minutes.
5. Plan your Meals- Food and sugar addicts don't normally have set times for meals. Stress and life situations can often dictate the timing of eating. Therefore, it's important to plan the timing of your meals and snacks. This will also have a positive impact on your metabolism and hormones.
I know this is only a start, but that's where all great things are born! If you need further help, please don't hesitate to contact me for resources.