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Obesity is on the rise and so is the diagnosis of diabetes, heart disease and other weight related illnesses. People are overeating and in some cases they don’t even know why. Food addiction is as serious as other additions and can be just as negative on our health. So why is food addiction treated differently? Why are people told that they have no will power if they over eat, yet you wouldn’t say that to someone who is addicted to drugs.
Food addictions should be treated the same as drug and alcohol addictions. Doctors or specialists would never treat a patient with a drug or alcohol addiction by telling their patient that it’s ok to take drugs one day a week or to have a drink on the weekend. When treating drug and alcohol addictions, patients are told to cut out the drugs or alcohol completely. When it comes to food addictions the same treatment should be followed. This especially true for people who need to lose weight for health reasons.
For serious food addictions or when serious health problems are present a Doctor or Therapist should assist in the treatment. However, if it’s a food addiction that you want to combat to lose a few pounds or to gain better health than there are a few things you can do to help break the habit.
If you allow yourself to indulge in unhealthy food like sweet treats or fast food you may be creating bad and addictive food habits. Even if you only have bad food once a week you’ll soon start craving them and could start eating them more regularly. Cutting the unhealthy food out of your diet will also cut out the cravings because you won’t have the withdrawal symptoms that occur when you eat junk food sporadically. Another benefit with cutting out unhealthy food altogether is that the longer you go without the bad food the more likely you are to develop an intolerance to the unhealthy food. If you’ve ever cut out sugar from your diet for a while you may have noticed that when you added it back into your diet you had headaches, stomach aches, digestive problems and even skin conditions similar to acne. You become so accustomed to the positive changes to your health that you don’t remember the negative affects the bad food had on your health until you start eating it again.
Sometimes it’s more than just food choices and will power. When it comes to addictive eating you must also consider the cues and triggers. Some people overeat when they are depressed or stressed. Women often overeat during certain times of their cycle. Knowing when you have a tendency to overeat is a step towards controlling your eating. If the reasons for your overeating or food addictions are more than just a bad day at work or a fight with your partner than it’s important to speak with your Doctor to find the cause of your stress, depression or anxiety and the best course of action for treatment. In cases like this the treatment may not be for food addiction but if the addiction is a symptom of what you’re battling it will also be cured.
Food addiction can also be caused by emotional attachments to food. Eating apple pie because it reminds you of you Grandma is emotional eating. You may not even want the apple pie but you’re craving that connection to your past. This is another cue that you should be aware of so you know what’s causing your food cravings. Other unhealthy eating habits which can cause additions is to have food routines. Pizza Fridays, Chips and Dip with a movie on Saturday, Take Out Tuesday, etc. Having a routine like this can cause habits that are hard to break. You may try to change it by Friday will come around and you’re going to crave Pizza.
Once you discover what causes you to overeat try to dissect the problem so it’s easier for you to combat it. If you think you need extra help breaking the habits speak with your Doctor or a Nutritionist. They will be able to teach you ways to curb the cravings or to swap unhealthy choices for healthy choices that are just as palatable.