Food Addiction Recovery

Food addiction is one of those tough things to diagnose and tough things to describe. We all need to eat, so it's not like you can quit your food addiction by deciding to stop eating altogether. Food addiction is a matter of learning to eat healthfully and in moderation while learning to take pleasure in things other than eating so that you can lessen your dependence on the pleasure and comfort of overeating.

It takes much to overcome food addiction; in some cases, it is overcome when a person finally realizes how much the addiction is hurting him or her or when the demands of others become more important than the solace of eating. For example, a mother may be compelled to play with her son at the park and realize she is too heavy and out of shape to play with her son. This realization, compounded with love for her son and enjoyment in her son's company, may provide the catalyst for overcoming her addiction.

Eating becomes an addiction when you begin eating in an unhealthy manner that affects your health, your job performance, your relationships and your ability to engage in normal social behavior. Many food addicts are binge-and-purge addicts, also known as bulimics. Others are simply comfort eaters, eating constantly because they need that comfort or pleasure that comes from eating.

Food addicts may need several things to overcome their addictions.

  • Motivation to eat healthfully: Food addicts need some sort of motivator-whether it be the desire to look better or lose weight or be more physically fit or be able to enjoy eating socially without guilt-to help them move from excessive dependence on food to healthy portions and healthful food choices. In most cases, the addict will respond best to self-motivation. While you may be tempted to try to provide motivation through nagging, interventions or criticism, most food addicts need to experience several "aha" moments when they realize they need to take their eating habits seriously.
  • Help from a specialist: Food addicts may benefit from prescribed appetite suppressants, therapy, support groups or in extreme cases, gastric bypass surgery, which will physically limit how much a person can eat at a time. Hypnosis and acupuncture have also been cited as being extremely helpful therapies as they can cut down on cravings.
  • A new focus: The food addict has been relying excessively on food for a reason. When you discover what that reason is-need for pleasure, comfort, something to do to relieve boredom-you can replace the food with a healthy activity that meets that same need. Sometimes involvement in a new job, relationship or activity can help jar a food addict into a new lifestyle, eliminating the problem.


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