Can People Really Be Addicted to Food and Eating?

44SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/19/2011 6:00 AM   :  322 comments   :  103,857 Views

Do you ever feel like you just can't stop yourself from overeating? Are there some foods that are extremely hard for you to resist even when you aren't hungry? Is it very hard to stop eating once you've started, even though your intention is to have just a small amount?

If so, you're definitely not alone. But what's going on here? Is it possible you might be addicted to food?

Not long ago, most experts would have said "no." The prevailing wisdom was that people with the right biological susceptibility might get addicted to drugs or alcohol, but food was just not an addictive substance in the same league with, say, alcohol, crack cocaine or meth. After all, people don’t get addicted to broccoli, oatmeal, or chicken breasts. Even though eating certain foods (usually refined sugars and/or fatty, salty foods) is known to increase appetite in some people and/or turn off the satiety signals that normally would tell them when to stop eating, and even though certain psychological problems can lead some people to become compulsive eaters, these problems were not seen as the same kind of thing as a true substance addiction.

More recently, though, the evidence has been painting a different picture…

Studies like the one reported in this N.Y.Times article have shown that people with a family history of alcoholism also may have a substantially higher risk of being obese than people without such a family history. More significantly, recent animal studies have made it clear that rats (our close relatives when it comes to the neurobiology of eating behaviors) can indeed become addicted to certain types of foods, exhibiting the same kinds of behaviors observed in humans with late-stage addiction to drugs.

And most telling of all are new insights stemming from advances in brain imaging technology, which make it possible to "see" inside the human brain and witness what’s going on when people eat certain foods and/or get caught up in compulsive overeating. It turns out that this brain activity looks very much the same, regardless of whether the individual is a drug addict taking a drug or a habitual overeater eating a double cheeseburger with fries.

Thanks to these developments, the definition of "addiction" has been changing a lot recently. It now includes addiction to behaviors that don’t involve use of any substance at all. Many health professionals and researchers now consider it possible for people to become addicted to gambling, sexual activity, shopping, online gaming/internet use, and other such behaviors. The common denominator in all addictive behavior, according to this new perspective, is that in people with a neurobiological susceptibility to addiction, any behavior that triggers a strong response in the primitive pleasure/reward centers of the brain can be heavily reinforced by this pleasure response. Over time, this potent reinforcement can overwhelm the individual's "normal" judgment and self-control processes, and make the behavior very difficult to control. In effect, it's not the external substance or behavior we get addicted to, it's the chemical reaction in our own brains. As this article suggests, we may need to rethink the whole concept of emotional eating, which may not be just about using eating to deal with uncomfortable feelings.

It's possible, I think, to make too much of all this information and jump to conclusions that go too far. There's no reason, for example, to think that all or most people who struggle with overeating, emotional eating, or obesity are struggling with a "food addiction." Nor does having the "addiction gene" mean an individual is automatically doomed to a lifetime of compulsive overeating--it takes the combination of many factors operating over an extended period of time to produce that kind of uncontrollable behavior. And even long-term addicts can and do recover, with the right kind of help and effort.

At this stage, maybe the most important implication of all this research is that eating the kinds of food found in fast food joints and the junk food sections of your local grocery may be a major risk factor for developing problems with compulsive or addictive eating. In his book The End of Overeating, Dr. David Kessler describes how "hyperpalatable" foods high in refined sugar, fat, and/or salt can alter brain chemistry, triggering the brain’s reward systems and generating a neurobiological response that stimulates people to crave more of those foods, even when they are not hungry and don’t need the energy. If you also happen to have a predisposition towards addiction, a diet high in these foods could easily lead to a full-blown food addiction over time. According to this research, even looking at pictures of highly pleasurable foods can trigger an intense urge to eat—a fact that hasn’t escaped food advertisers.

This new science should also tell us, I think, that blaming overeating problems on lack of willpower or some personal character flaw is neither accurate nor helpful. To avoid or recover from out-of-control eating we need to put our energy into identifying the foods and/or situations that trigger problems for us, and coming up with good strategies for helping ourselves control what and how much we eat. That starts with recognizing that we do, in fact, have this capacity.

For some of us at least, what we eat may play a big role in how much trouble we have sticking to a healthy diet and achieving or maintaining a healthy weight. It's not just a matter of how many calories there are in these "hyperpalatable" foods, but also the effects they have on our ability to stop eating when we want and/or moderate the amount of particular trigger foods we include in our diet. This could mean that susceptible people may need to avoid certain trigger foods completely, rather than trying to moderate their intake--just like an alcoholic has to avoid all alcohol.

I don’t consider myself a full-blown food addict, but I do know that I can't easily control how much of certain trigger foods I'll eat once I've started eating. If it's there, chances are very high I'll keep eating until it's gone. I either need to avoid these foods entirely (no more Italian sausages for me), or make sure I don't have them around the house in large enough quantities to cause trouble—no more kidding myself that I can make a big pot and get several meals out of it. I stay away from fast food places and restaurants that serve huge portions of things I like a lot.

What do you think? Does the idea of "food addiction" make sense to you? Are we living in a food environment that makes it harder than it should be for many people to actually be fully responsible for their own choices? Do you have to avoid trigger foods completely, or can you moderate your use of them?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Take the Challenge!

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 322
    This just about sums me up. Addictions of all sorts run in my family. My father was bulimic and for years I tried everything to control my food intake but the more I controlled it, the less in control I became. You can overcome it, but DIETING will not help, only make it worse, in fact dieting will trigger it. Treating food addiction like the mental illness that it is can help you regain control of your eating. There isn't a diet in the world that will cure mental illness. People who have the need to feel morally superior to others who are struggling will be naysayers but for those of us struggling with this debilitating disorder know that self-control is not the answer to overcoming it. - 12/4/2014   10:12:56 PM
  • DORIANSMAMA
    321
    I have ocd. That said, I used to think about food 24/7, even dream about it. My addiction was to fat. I was fooled, like the majority of Americans, into thinking I should concentrate on consuming as much protein as possible. I was fooled into thinking that foods like bread, rice, and potatoes were "bad" foods. No longer. I became a starchivore on January 20th of 2014 and never looked back, and my fat cravings have all but disappeared. My body was telling me for years that it needed real, whole food, plant based nutrition and I kept feeding it garbage in the form of processed junk, cheese, oil, and vitamin and calcium pills. Now I eat a whole food plant based diet that's centered on starches, with plenty of fresh vegetables and limited fruits; no added fats whatsoever and no animal products whatsoever.
    I don't fight my diet. My diet is a wonderful lifelong sustainable diet, that's rich in nutrients, and I don't crave junk because my body is getting exactly what it needs to help me continue to live and function. I'm training for a marathon right now, and weight loss is slow but body reshaping is amazing, and I don't miss all that protein I never needed, and certainly I don't miss that fat!!
    Long live starches!! It's the answer to food addictions! - 4/13/2014   2:30:54 PM
  • NOREENB2
    320
    I'm sure I am addicted to foods. I don't think people understand and food is all over the place. I lost 30 lbs and was doing so well and over the past month slowly I am stuffing myself and overeating every day. I realized after staying away from certain foods, mostly breads and sweets, that I cannot control myself. I cannot have foods in the house and be able to have a little bit every day. It feels like a sickness. I want others to understand and reading the article brought my feelings and thoughts about food addiction out in the open. - 12/26/2013   9:11:20 PM
  • 319
    I've always known I have an "addictive personality". I've had problems with alcohol and other substances as well as food. It makes total sense to me that we can get addicted to the endorphins our bodies produce. - 12/2/2013   10:33:48 AM
  • 318
    There is a reason it is called comfort food. I am addicted to sugar. If I eat a little I won't stop until I have eaten all that I have. It makes me feel good while I'm eating it. This article is very informative. - 10/23/2013   3:36:35 PM
  • IMPATIENS2
    317
    This is very helpful. For me, an over-eating session typically starts when I am tired but can't take a rest (or don't even think of a rest as a possibility). I'll eat something to "perk myself up." But then I eat something else, and then something else. Although the initial snack might be something quite healthful (e.g. an apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter), in no time at all I am eating peanut butter by the spoonful, seeking out chocolate bars or ice cream, etc. The trigger isn't just the food -- it's the situation. Which I think can be the same for other addictions. Once the downhill slide starts, whatever sets it off, it's really hard to stop mid-course. I'm not happy about having to organize my life around not starting down that slope. But I know that if the trigger that set off my addiction was going into bars or cocktail parties, I would need to organize my life to avoid those situations, at least for a while. I think I need to do the same for myself now -- to avoid getting over-tired, because that's like the trigger for an avalanche of food. - 10/23/2013   1:27:11 PM
  • 316
    I am a pretty healthy eater but I find that there are certain foods that I just can't quit eating once I start. I can eat one potato chip, but I can't eat one brownie...it will be the whole pan if they are available. Even though my head tells me that it is not good for me and in the long run I am going to regret it, my immediate desire and craving overrule...so I just don't have those certain foods in the house. If I am out somewhere and can get just one serving of said food (brownies for example), I will on occasion treat myself. - 8/30/2013   1:00:33 PM
  • 315
    Food addiction is very real. We are, with fast foods and foods packaged with all sorts off (as Kessler says in his eye-opening book) "hyperpalatable" ingredients, where the cigarette industry was 40 years ago. Working harder and harder to advertise and sell all kinds of harmful food combinations to a public who chooses to be blissfully unaware of the dangers. But beyond that, for every person on SP, who is here (or at least dieting) for the umpteenth time, and the fact that there has long existed a savvy 12 step group devoted to compulsive eating, food addiction is far from hypothetical. It is all too real. We have to do more to expose the ways the food industry exploits this! Excellent blog! - 7/30/2013   8:25:44 AM
  • XCLOSED
    314
    I wonder how much longer the government and food companies can stick their head in the sand and outright deny that the foods/policies are hurting the people, and that susceptible people become addicted, perhaps many more than estimated as addiction is progressive. They are finding that the younger a person is addicted, the tougher the addiction. The more younger people overeat the junk provided at inexpensive subsidized prices, the earlier and sicker and in greater numbers than ever before.

    I think the problem is entwined with long time habits and beliefs towards celebrating & socializing with food. Only the foods changed. The knowledge wasn't there, the information is emerging through research, and the answer will likely require adjustment and change in many aspects of food; the way it is marketed, prepared for school children, subsidizing whole natural real foods instead of processed crap. A change in the medical culture, what is taught in schools to help educate the people, a change in insurance to help people heal from their addictions and medical conditions, just as we would drug or alcohol addicts.

    I am discouraged because of the denial and pushback from the food companies, the sheer lack of politicians who are willing to do the right thing (what is truly good for the Country and the people, instead of what is good for the politicians and big business.)

    It will take time and good people demanding change in foods/policies, and while we're at it, demanding an end to fatitudes & discrimination that somehow fat people are stupid with no will power and should just shut their mouths.

    We've shut our mouths and put up with that nonsense far too long...

    i'll stop for now, but I won't shut up about this, ever... - 7/1/2013   9:06:34 PM
  • 313
    Food addiction makes sense to me. When I first tried to lose weight, right after high school, I gave up soda, and it was as bad as giving up smoking. Now I don't like the taste of soda, and don't drink it anymore. I still have an addiction to sugar that I am trying to get over, and sometimes when I want something sweet the craving is so bad it physically hurts. If that is not a sign of an addiction, not sure what is! - 6/22/2013   3:37:44 AM
  • SHARONCAPPS
    312
    I have certain foods that I can't stop when I start eating them. It is a matter of mind over matter and that is sometimes hard to do. - 6/20/2013   8:47:15 AM
  • EMPRESSAMQ
    311
    While I believe in trigger foods and addictive-like foods and that some foods are problematical, I don't believe eating behavior raises to the level of true addiction. - 6/20/2013   8:33:18 AM
  • DELLMEL
    310
    Thanks for the info. I believe that food is an addiction. My nephew lived with me fir eight years and I kept him on track he been with his mother next week will ne a year. He left me was 128 and now he weigh about 270. Because he love to eat. He's only 12. - 6/3/2013   4:09:53 PM
  • 309
    it is way to easy to be addicted to food...i found myself eating all the time !!!!! - 6/3/2013   9:51:15 AM
  • 308
    Food addiction is an absolute real thing. I have lived it. It was not until I treated my eating habits like an addiction that I was able to successfully deal with it. I had to remove all bad foods, all bad food places, and forbid any bad things from coming back into my house before I could control my eating. To describe my struggle to my husband I asked him if I were a alcoholic, would he keep alcohol in the house. Of course his answer was no. So I asked him to help me by not brining junk food into the house. After that conversation he understood, and I have lost 45 lbs. - 4/5/2013   8:54:05 AM
  • REDROSE49
    307
    Many,many years ago I read that children who like to eat white sugar have a much greater tendency to alcoholism later on. The body, at least they thought then, metabolizes sugar and alcohol the same way. I know in my own family background, the proclivity towards alcohol, sugar and white flour baked goods all strongly co-exist. I believe I am addicted to food. At least I have developed a dependency to it, over so many years of being exposed to it, and having it used as a feel better, or treat thing, since babyhood. - 3/24/2013   7:41:11 AM
  • PAL2010
    306
    I believe it's very possible for people to become addicted to certain foods. After all the manufacturers spend a lot of money on their research to make foods taste appealing enough to keep people coming back for more. - 3/13/2013   12:22:19 PM
  • 305
    WHOA !!!! What insight to a serious problem!!! - 3/8/2013   11:39:14 AM
  • 304
    I don't think that I am a food addict. When I do overeat, it's usually for comfort from stressful emotions; I can typically control myself if certain trigger foods are around. I do believe in the concept of food addiction though. It definitely makes sense for some people - 3/1/2013   1:50:43 PM
  • 303
    Good article. I've been addicted to food most of my life! - 3/1/2013   3:23:02 AM
  • 302
    Looking at triggers foods, and the all you can eat through in the fattitude, I am making strides. I agree that I am an addict, but now, what do I do with that information. NO carbs, lots of veggies and fiber and one day, one meal, one decision at a time. - 2/18/2013   4:58:59 PM
  • MIZINA730
    301
    I have to stay away from cake and cookies. I can't stop at one. I can't take one bite or I'm at risk of going on. But I'm learning to overcome it with the attention to eating habits since starting Spark People. - 9/5/2012   8:49:36 AM
  • 300
    I drove out in the middle of the night to get my food fix. Ordered 5 entries from a restaurant and tried to eat everything in one sitting. Had thoughts of food 24/7. Every fast food commercial was a trigger for me to eat compulsively.

    Food addiction is very real. - 7/10/2012   5:53:08 AM
  • MISS_CURVES24
    299
    I know for a fact that I ma addicted to sugar, especially in my sweet tea that I make. I drink it when I am bored and can go days to a week w/o drinking anything else. Doing this causes me several problems but going w/o is a worse thought to me. If I try to cut back or go w/o I get headaches, chills, itchy crawly skin, and sometimes if I try to cut it cold turkey I vomit. I am glad I found this article because it explains what I have been thinking all along: That I am addicted to the sugar in the tea. - 1/6/2012   2:48:10 PM
  • 298
    Absolutely!! People can become addicted to eating 'cushion' and toilet paper, so why can't people become addicted to junk food? - 12/19/2011   11:22:20 PM
  • 297
    I believe I am addicted to sugar but I'm not sure I was born that way. By that I mean, I think I started overeating and binging as response to feeling bad, but It became a physical response/need at some point. I can feel the sugar rush and it makes me feel good. I think that I have to avoid sugary foods all together. Weird thing is, I'm afraid of fruit. It has sugar, too.

    I think realizing sugar is an addiction helps you deal with it. When I have cravings, I don't have to beat myself up. It is a physical response and knowing that helps me deal with it. - 12/7/2011   6:57:42 PM
  • 296
    This article, along with all your comments are VERY helpful for me. I am going thru a realy tough moment as for autocontrol. I will fight hard for a mindset RIGHT NOW! - 12/6/2011   4:00:19 AM
  • JEAN_W_1960
    295
    Food addiction makes sense to me, but it doesn't cause all my binging. For instance, I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to chocolate, so I only buy a serving at a time and don't keep candy or other chocolate treats in the house. The same applies to sugary treats. But often I'm tempted to binge on any food, not just carbs, simply because I'm tired. Being tired is a major overeating trigger for me. The article mentions a study which showed "people with a family history of alcoholism also may have a substantially higher risk of being obese than people without such a family history". I made that connection a long time ago. My Mom's family tend to be addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, or obese, or sometimes both. But usually the alcoholics are very slender! I think it's related to depression, since bipolar disorder also runs in Mom's family. Some self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol, others with food. As for the question: "Are we living in a food environment that makes it harder than it should be for many people to actually be fully responsible for their own choices?" I don't think so. Looking at family photos, I see I come from a long line of obese persons. They weren't subject to the temptations we are now, they didn't even have televisions. - 12/5/2011   6:05:37 PM
  • 294
    A WARNING ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF ADDICTION: I'm a person who has struggle with food "addiction" on and off, so I know what I'm talking about. I'm having much more power overcoming it since I began to look at it differently...yes, just looking at something differently can make a big difference!

    But before I go into it, I do want to give this article the credit it is due. It DID give me insight into the idea that maybe I do actually need to avoid certain "trigger foods" rather than try to moderate them. Those "small portions" of cake or pie, for me, could spell trouble, so maybe I need to always eat an orange or apple for dessert instead of a portioned slice of cake or pie? I think there may be truth to this.

    And I do appreciate how the author let us in on his own struggle with trigger foods. He made it real!

    However, one of the worst periods in my life was when I went to Overeaters Anonymous! Looking on my overeating as an addiction made me get worse---a lot worse! I would binge and say, "Oh this disease I have is terrible! I just can't help myself sometimes!" The 12 steps begin with "I am powerless..." and I really did become powerless! (So yes, how one looks at things can really make a difference.)

    Later, thankfully, I found a book called "Taming the Feast Beast" by Jack and Lois Trimpey. This book helped me understand that addiction is merely "the pursuit of pleasure" and it is something within our control. The book even speaks of the "primitive pleasure centers" that this article mentions--and how we CAN control them. To ever allow ourselves to say "we are powerless...we have an addiction" is to give up our power to something else---don't do that!!!!

    Also, since the medical scans reveal that the same areas of the brain "light up" with food cravers just like it does with drug and alcohol cravers....doesn't that just mean that the strong pleasure centers of the brain are lighting up? I believe so. Yes, for some of us it lights up more than most folks because the food indulgence gives us so MUCH pleasure...but it's still just pleasure, and we can control that if we try really hard!

    Always know that you have within yourself the power to overcome anything! Never doubt your ability to make a decision and stick to it. (But also maybe be wise enough to know that there are those foods that trigger you to overeat, and maybe be wise enough to outright avoid them! This is something I'm doing right now.)

    May we all realize our power to make choices and may we never give up our power to an "idea". The way we think about something makes all the difference!

    ---Terry - 5/4/2011   9:02:34 AM
  • 293
    Wintertexan comment 277, you are sooooo right. I love pastry, and if its available I can forget all sense of portion control, diet, and reason!
    Pies, savouries etc, I can devour copious quantities, and really love, and not be aware of what I have done until later!! At the time of consuming I am in seventh heaven!!!! - 2/21/2011   8:42:24 PM
  • 292
    It feels to me that emotional eating and food addiction are two very separate and very *real* entities.
    I can remember myself eating for emotional reasons at age 5; what I think of as my 'food-addictive' behaviours came much later in my life, certainly in adulthood.
    Don't get me wrong - I *do* believe in *my* personal responsibility, but it seems to come with a twist.
    It helps me immensely to know that there's something about my brain wiring that makes me susceptible to eating too much of unhealthy foods, and that this tendency will *never* go away, and that I have to live with it one day at a time. I don't have to *fight* it every single day, but I need to ackwnoledge it and respect it.
    I just need to keep certain foods out of the house and/or out of my reach, and that's that! I can have willpower in other settings, but certainly not where eating is concerned. - 2/19/2011   12:31:33 AM
  • SJPAPMOM
    291
    i believe food addiction is related to your individual body chemistry. my mother-in-law, husband and daughter all love sweets. also metabolism is different in families since my brother and i have thyroid issues and slow metabolism. know thyself and be tested for allergies and be aware of what is genetic and hereditary in the family. it took me many years to realize that if i had fruit or carbs in the morning or early afternoon, it would trigger cravings for carbs and sweets all day. i now have these after 3 pm and don't have that problem now. make the effort to find a solution and you will be happier. also being a vegetarian helps since meat and dairy have more harmfull additives. keeping busy and not being near food helps. - 2/12/2011   8:32:44 PM
  • 290
    I know I am addicted to food and there are certain foods that I have to stay away from completely. So yes, I believe there is such a thing as food addiction. - 2/12/2011   11:38:59 AM
  • THEBARONK
    289
    Food Glorious Food!!!! I have been and always will be addicted to food. Some of my fondest memories always include the food that was eaten. Is it a way to capture those memories or is it a chemical trigger in the brain, I don't care. Food Glorious Food!! - 2/7/2011   2:54:10 PM
  • 288
    thanks for the article- althought I don't think we should use food addiction as an excuse it helps to know why you want that chocolate! - 2/5/2011   6:45:17 PM
  • HOTCURLS1
    287
    I think yes. Certain foods make you feel good just like a drug would make you feel good. It probably would be differnt for everyone and some wouldnt be addicted to any just like drugs and alcohol. I could drink and not care if i ever did it again, i smoked on and off for years and quit without any problem when i didnt want to do it any more, and even when i tried drugs i really didnt see the big deal was and didnt bother me to never do them again. i didnt get half the happy feeling i get off certain foods. I think it has more to do with what triggers that response in your brain, that feeling you want to repeat. I do feel you can overcome this the same way you over come the others. recognize it, own it and change you life to overcome it. - 2/5/2011   2:51:52 PM
  • 286
    I enjoyed this article, I think we do get addicted to things that bring us some relief. My family has an alcoholic history and when I look at that and compare it to my episodes of eatting high sugar and high fat content items until they are gone - it looks exactly the same to me. - 2/5/2011   12:04:53 PM
  • 285
    I feel like I am highly addicted to certain foods. It is so readily available plus the more you eat the cheaper it is. Also many occasions call for endless bowls of food such as family reunions, Church dinners and lets not forget Scouting occasions and other organizations. Birthdays alwas have the obigatory cake and ice cream. It is a never ending situation. - 2/4/2011   12:41:37 PM
  • 284
    I did NOT love this article. Yes, I am addicted to BLueBeLL Chocolate Ice Cream, but other days I am very addicted to everything that doesn't have added sugar in it. I go on Fuji Apple binges and lately, I've been craving salads with Avocados. And there was not a history of alcoholism in my family. - 2/3/2011   8:55:06 PM
  • 283
    I loved this article. Most informative!! I firmly feel that food is addictive - probably one of the MOST ADDICTIVE substances known to Americans. It is cheap, legal and readily available. If we Americans do not take control of our health and our lives - WE ARE DOOMED!!! I am a recovering drug user - and I promise you - this artlcle could NOT be more accurate.

    @JSKOVGARD1
    My hat off to you dear - I wish I was as strong. However, your post gave me new hope and I am again logging onto SparkPeople and starting to take back control. Thank you. - 2/2/2011   11:36:03 AM
  • MRWOMEY1
    282
    It could be that food addiction is an end result, (with all of its effects on the dopimine and seratonin drug centers of the brain) but this is really much larger than that. Many world societies have centered virtually every event around food (most of it unhealthy) and drink (often alcoholic) which over time are a deadly combination to the human body. Culture (especially in so many parts of the world) is a difficult thing to change. Once you're convinced that food is a normal part of EVERY activity, (if you're raised that way) it's all you know. It's really up to each individual to keep themselves healthy and, in the end, if someone doesn't care enough about themselves (addiction or not) to right themselves, then they have done no one a disservice but themselves and the ones that they love. . . and isn't that a horrible pointless waste. If you're really addicted, get help for it if you really care about yourself and your loved ones. - 2/1/2011   10:09:59 PM
  • 281
    As some posters have indicated, the food response may start out as an emotional response, but what happens is what happens with other addictions, the substance, rather than the hoped for outcome, becomes the addiction; which is why we continue to eat, drink, etc., long after the desired outcome of relief is achieved. - 2/1/2011   12:08:34 PM
  • JSKOVGARD1
    280
    This aritical justifies what I have believed and lived for years. I am a food addict. It does not have to be hyper-anything and I will eat it and lots of it. If I am in the wrong frame of mind, which seems to happen often (ie stress, boredom, and well almost any mood), this will trigger my wanting to eat. Ten, twelve thousand calories a day of almost anything. When I do go off, I do tend to go for high calorie carbs and fats. I have lost 60lbs, put it back on, lost 45 put most of it back on. As this behavior went on yr after yr, I ended up with the start of problems related to obesity, high B/P, insulin resistance, GERD, PVD.... Over a yr ago I gave up most carbs, except veggies and limit my fruits. I have lost 70 lbs and have been able to KEEP IT OFF. I still need to loose 30 lbs and I still binge just not as much and not on carbs. Now having said that, I just went on a binge like I used to binge. I have managed to get myself back on but am looking for ways to take and keep control. I know that when I say that I am out of control that I am really allowing my self to be out of control, but wow the work and feelings of deprivation are extreme, a true body pain. I am going to look into the allergies route but my eating habits are very restricted and have been since I gave up the carbs. I know this will be a life long fight but I am absolutely committed to fighting it. Any other ideas? - 1/31/2011   11:02:32 PM
  • BIJOUX9
    279
    When I eat fatty or sweet foods , I'm lost for the day. I don't know if it's emotional as much as additive. I find it hard to get back on track for the rest of the day and feel badly about myself for having eaten it. I want to think I can have just a little and walk away but I don't think I can. - 1/31/2011   1:20:19 AM
  • 278
    I do believe there is a food addiction. I'm sure most of have it to some extent. With so many fast food places and restaurants with large portions, it does make it hard to control the eating habits. It also doesn't help in these hard financial times that it is cheaper to eat fast food than to eat healthy foods.

    I do have food triggers, certain cookies and donuts. There have been times when I'm at the grocery store and I walk by them and pass them up. I tell myself no, and before you know it, I'm in the checkout line and there they are in the basket. I get home and ask myself why I picked them up. And of course, there is absolutely no reason. Once they are in the house, I have a tough time putting them away. Some people can buy a package of cookies and only eat one or two and put them away for days. I can't seem to do it.

    I find I am doing better, once in awhile when I want something sweet, I will go to the bakery and buy just 1 or 2 cookies. It costs more, but at least when it's gone it's gone.
    - 1/30/2011   6:04:53 PM
  • 277
    Yes, I believe in food addiction and think it is one of the main reasons why so many people gain weight back after having lost significant amounts. It has happened to me many times and I have kicked myself for not having enough "will power" to control my eating. It's as if you can't stop once you get started and I think this kind of information may be much, much more helpful than struggling to find what my hidden problems are that cause me to eat. I know what it is...I LIKE it, and too much so!!! - 1/29/2011   12:40:40 PM
  • NSTEWARD
    276
    I believe in it. I truely love to eat. I will go out my way and spend decent money on good food. When I was younger, I was able to control my weight just though excerise. But now, I have to totally retrain my way of thinking when it comes to food. And trust me, it's definitely a work in progress. - 1/29/2011   12:37:33 PM
  • 275
    Definitely agree that there's food addiction, particularly when food provides the satisfying, seemingly stress-relieving effect. The hardest part I find is how to consume one portion and not overeat, which is always difficult! - 1/29/2011   9:34:17 AM
  • TABRENNAN
    274
    I read that book that they are referring to THE END OF OVEREATING, I definitely thought (just like this article) what they are saying makes sense. - 1/28/2011   6:23:53 PM
  • 273
    I think we are living in times where many people welcome the idea that they are not in control of their choices--it's more comfortable to be an addict than to overcome the behavior. Maybe brain chemistry plays a role, and maybe it doesn't, but I know when I stand next to the snack table at a party and embarrass myself pigging out on delectable chip dip that I have the option to just walk away. If that isn't the case for some people, then I'm sad for them. Nevertheless, information like this can have an unfortunate effect on people who simply won't take responsibility for their actions. Now it's 'I'm addicted and I can't stop'. My daughter said the same thing about cigarettes, but when her incentive to stop became larger than her inclination to blame it on addiction, she stopped. Sorry, I know this won't be a popular opinion, but I don't buy this. - 1/28/2011   6:06:59 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 31! Get a FREE Personalized Plan