It’s no secret that Americans are in a fraught Battle of the Bulge with their waistlines. In fact, 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese, meaning that now, it is more common to be overweight than to be a healthy weight.
There are many reasons why people are much more overweight today than they were in previous generations. Sedentary lifestyles and cheap food packed with calories, grease and fat are only some of the factors that play into it.
But for some people, the cause is something a bit more complex: an eating addiction.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about what the root cause of an eating addiction is, and how you can free yourself from it.
Read on for more information.
Table of Contents
What is Eating Addiction?
An eating addiction may sound redundant or possibly even strange. We all have to eat to live, so how can one be addicted to food? That’s a valid question, however, food can serve as a substance someone abuses, similar to how people abuse drugs or alcohol.
But an eating addiction is a little bit different. It is when a person indulges in too much food too often.
We all overindulge here and there. Whether we’re at a party or celebrating the holidays, it can be natural to eat more than you’re supposed to. An eating addiction, however, is when someone does so often and feels that it is out of control.
Someone with an eating addiction may, for example, binge when they’re upset or want to forget about something. Or, they may binge because they’ve gotten into the habit of doing so, and are unable to break their cycle.
Often people with eating addictions eat far too much and then feel bad about themselves. They then try to correct the problem but find that they can’t on their own, so the cycle repeats itself.
People with an eating addiction may have tried several diets and most don’t work because they don’t address the core problems of an eating addiction.
Signs and Symptoms
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell the difference between an eating addiction and an individual who eats too much regularly. But there are fairly clear differences between the two.
An overweight or obese person who routinely eats too much food likely does so out of habit. They may think nothing of having fast food several times a week, or even more than once a day. They may have become accustomed to large portions, and therefore, often pack on the pounds.
But a person with a food addiction often knows they’re eating too much. They may even engage in unhealthy behavior like food restriction or compulsive exercise to try and control their overeating, but find that it doesn’t work.
A person with a food addiction will often feel intense shame after they’ve binged, as they often feel like a failure. This is especially the case if they’re attempting to correct it through diet and exercise.
People with a food addiction may hide their behavior or be ashamed of it. They may find it embarrassing to eat in front of other people, and may “hide the evidence” of a binge. They may also eat so much that they become physically ill. This is different from bulimia, where the individual binges and induces purging purposefully.
After a while, it will begin to color the person’s personal life, and they may have issues with friendships and with family members. They may also experience intense cravings and irritability.
What is the Root Cause of an Eating Addiction?
When someone eats food that tastes good, the brain naturally releases dopamine and serotonin, which makes them feel good. This is why fatty and greasy foods are so tasty, and why people have such trouble cutting down on them.
However, this isn’t the only reason why people develop eating addictions. The addiction can be caused by a variety of factors, and are often caused by many things at once.
Most people with food addiction also suffer from depression and anxiety, and binge eating helps them mask the symptoms.
Many people who abuse food were taught to do this at a young age. When a person with a food addiction reflects on their life, they may find patterns in their life where they used food to cope with stressful situations. They may also find that members of their family often do this as well, which may be where they learned some of the behaviors.
The root cause of an eating disorder, whether it be binge eating, anorexia or bulimia, is different for every person. Therefore, there is no one root cause. As such, if a person wishes to move forward without a food addiction, they’ll need to dig deep within themselves to find the root cause.
In addition to diet and exercise, most individuals with a food addiction will also need help to change their behavior. This can include behavior modification techniques in addition to seeing a counselor. They’ll also need to find healthy ways to deal with stress in their lives.
Losing Weight for Good
An eating addiction is a complex issue, and it takes more than a simple diet and exercise change to see results. As such, an individual who suffers from it will need lots of support to help them achieve both weight loss and freedom from the cycle.
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