(This is an continuation of yesterdays blog on Food Addiction)
Food addition, 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 weight. The entire subject of food is a misery to them, they count calories compulsively, eating without enjoyment.
What about “recovery” - 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. (www.allaboutlifechallenges.org)
The physiological and psychological dependency of food can be very very hard to understand and deal with. You have it within you to change, but to understand things on a deeper level can be beneficial in moving forward with your continued weight loss attempts. Godspeed to you today.