Food Addiction? Ten Tips to Stop

Do you take a scoop of ice cream and end up finishing the container? Do the chips in the pantry keep calling your name? Do you keep eating and eating and never seem to get full? Chances are you’re a food addict.

Overeating and food addiction are two separate things. When you’ve overeaten you’ve eaten too much. A food addict can eat too much, or eat normally, but they’re not simply eating. Food is replacing other emotional needs. Eating could be providing an escape from a stressful day at work, the pressure of family life, being lonely, angry — any number of emotions. Eating, numbs their feelings. We can avoid alcohol, drugs and gambling, but to survive, we have to eat.

Having a food addiction makes you feel powerless, but you can overcome it. The first step is to acknowledge and accept that you’re a food addict. Rejecting this fact causes frustration, which fuel the addiction. Acceptance provides you with peace of mind.

These 10 Tips will help you get off the roller-coaster of food addiction.

1. Trigger foods. Know what foods trigger you to overeat. Some of us prefer sweets, others salty — always carbs. No one seems to have a craving for cucumbers. Know your trigger foods and beware! When they’re around it’s often best not to eat them — or eat them occasionally — with caution.

2. Feelings. The next time you overeat, ask yourself what’s really going on. Are you lonely? Depressed? Procrastinating? Maybe you’re bored. Get in touch with what you’re feeling, and take action. Ex. if you’re bored call a friend, play video games, do something to avoid boredom — but don’t eat. Get in touch with your emotions.

3. Red Flag.Know when you’re vulnerable to over eat. For some, it’s the evenings — not much to do. For others, it’s making bad choices at lunch — which carries on for the rest of the day.

4. Move On. If you’ve over-eaten the day before, don’t starve yourself the next day. What’s done is done — move forward. Don’t look at how ‘bad’ you were. Today is a new day.

5. Be assertive. If you want to eat healthy food and the gang’s going out for ‘happy meals’. Speak up. You can come to a compromise, but only if you let people know how you feel.

6. Snacking. If you know you’ll be hungry, bring healthy snacks from home. Bring water, veggies, fruits etc. Don’t allow the the vending machines to get the better of you.

7. Beware of ‘diet foods’ Much like an alcoholic who drinks non-alcohol beer, ‘diet’ cookies, and treats are just a stepping stones to the real thing — and 2 cookies may only be 50 calories — but what are the chances that an emotional eater will only eat two?

8. Perfectionism. Know your limitations and don’t try to be perfect — no one can stay on a ‘perfect diet’ indefinitely. Learn what foods make you feel well and what doesn’t — nurture yourself with them.

9. Eat. This sounds like conflicting advice, but food addicts have a love/hate relationship with food. If they’ve eaten too much, they’ll punish themselves by eating very little the next day. This leads to disaster because when you’re famished, you’ll eat anything and everything. As you know, food is the fuel that gives you energy, so don’t avoid it — eat healthy meals and healthy snacks — but eat.

10. No Guilt. If you’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’ get back on track. Don’t feel guilty about what you’ve done. Guilt serves no purpose. You’re an emotional eater — it won’t change over-night.

When you have a food addiction, you feel powerless.- -you’re not. Accept the problem, beware of the red flags, know your triggers and reflect on your emotional needs. Now you’re taking power. When you’ve take power, you have the opportunity to change.