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For many people who struggle with weight loss, the problem is at least partly genetic or related to a medical condition. But for many of us, we are simply addicted to food. Yes, food addiction is a real thing, and its link to obesity makes it just as dangerous as a drug or alcohol addiction.
How do you know if you have a food addiction?
Do you find it difficult or impossible to say no to temptation?
Do you eat when you aren’t really hungry? Perhaps for emotional reasons or you’re bored?
Do you feel like you can’t control yourself around food?
Do you find yourself thinking about your next meal or snack very often?
Do you often keep eating even after you feel full?
Do you eat in secret or lie about your eating habits?
Do you often feel guilty after eating?
Do you struggle with your weight loss plan?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you could have a food addiction. Follow these five steps to get your behavior under control.
1. Redefine your relationship with food. With other addictions, you would be urged to “go cold turkey” and give up cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, and so on. But you need to eat, so you can’t simply give up food. With this type of addiction, you must receive nutritional counseling to help you better understand the true purpose of food in your life – to nourish and sustain your body, not provide emotional comfort.
2. Identify trigger foods. For many food addicts, certain foods can trigger binges. If you find that you always finish a carton of ice cream in one sitting, or tend to eat an entire pizza, don’t keep your trigger foods in the house while you learn control over your eating habits.
3. Structure your meal plan. Follow a prescribed eating plan, so that you don’t feel deprived and become tempted to binge eat. This plan will also help to establish clear limits; you eat what is on the plan, but you don’t eat things that are not on the plan.
4. Learn better ways to cope with your emotions. It would be wise to seek professional counseling, and develop coping strategies to help you healthfully deal with emotions such as boredom, loneliness, depression, and so on.
5. Visit a weight loss physician. A weight loss physician can help you establish a healthy eating plan. He or she can also check for underlying health problems that can fuel the cycle of depression and comfort eating.