If you find it difficult to bypass fast food restaurants or put away the bag of potato chips you just brought home from the grocery store, it may not be hunger enticing you to eat unhealthy foods, it may be a food addiction. Food addicts often have difficulty with knowing how to break food addiction when it involves foods containing high amounts of sugar, salt and fat. As the old Lays potato chip commercial used to say, “you can’t eat just one.”
While the idea of being addicted to something that is necessary for survival may seem silly, we don’t need to eat brownies, popcorn or pizza in order to live. However, the sugar, salt and fat in these foods make them taste wonderful and most of us would choose to eat them over plates of spinach, broccoli or apples.
All of us occasionally overindulge by eating foods that are deemed unhealthy, but food addicts feel compelled to eat them and, when they don’t, they can often feel stress and anxiety building within themselves. Researchers have found this is true in rats that they fed junk food to and watched. When the rats weren’t given junk food, they were visually agitated, but then calmed down as soon as they were given foods high in fat and sugar.
If you’ve ever experienced anxiety and an overwhelming need for fast foods or sweets, you may be addicted to food. There are other symptoms of food addiction that you may have experienced as you’ve tried unsuccessfully to curb your consumption of junk foods.
Becoming more tolerant to the increasing amount of bad foods you are eating is a key symptom of food addiction. Much like an alcoholic builds a tolerance to alcohol and needs more and more to get the buzz they’re craving, food addicts experience the same problem. They can eat a full bag of potato chips, whereas in the past it might have been half a bag.
If you’ve tried to change your diet, either to lose weight or to simply eat healthier, your attempts were probably unsuccessful. Food addicts often try dieting and fail because they assume it is a lack of self-discipline or willpower making them unsuccessful. Instead, it is likely a food addiction, which has most likely escaped their attention until now.
Despite knowing the consequences of indulging in junk foods or in overeating, most people ignore the fact they can get diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer and continue to eat foods that are bad for them, often in large quantities. Sometimes it isn’t that they don’t want to stop, sometimes they simply can’t stop.
How To Break Food Addiction: Several Suggestions
To find out how to break food addiction, these people will need to seek help from medical and/or mental health professionals to help them. There could easily be underlying emotional causes for many food addicts, but without seeking help, they may not be aware of how their depression or anger is leading them to binge on food.
While there are ways a person can help themselves, such as recognizing the foods that trigger them and getting rid of them from their home, group therapy or treatment in an in-patient facility may be necessary for some people in learning how help to break food addiction. It isn’t as simple as switching out good foods for bad, in the vast majority of cases, it is learning how to cope with addiction just as alcoholics and drug addicts do.
You can speak to your doctor or a therapist about getting help on how to break food addiction. They may be able to help you find a specialist in food addiction or eating disorders that can put you on the path to recovery. As with most addictions, it is the recognition of your addiction, as well as wanting help for it, that will help you the most.
As you resolve your food addiction, you may finally experience successful weight loss and an increase in your self-esteem. You don’t need to be afraid to get help in how to break food addiction. Many people suffer with it and you’re not alone. It can be a long road to recovery, but the outcome is a healthier life.