The struggle with overcoming food addiction comes in many shapes and sizes. At its core, food addiction refers to a need to eat uncontrollably. This is almost always a response to an emotion, like stress, anger, or sadness.
But, the next time life gets difficult, you don’t have to succumb to old patterns. There are many ways to break free from food addiction, and it’s a choice you can make today.
Together, let’s get to the heart of food addiction. Then, we’ll begin a battle plan that can help you course-correct your life and start living today.
A Word About Food Addiction
People tend to associate food addiction with obesity. Surely, over-indulgence in food is a major component of food addiction. But, this struggle leads to a wealth of other eating disorders. Bulimia, obesity, and other binge eating disorders can all crop up when we have an unhealthy relationship with food.
Consuming food triggers various chemicals in the brain, including dopamine. Dopamine acts as a reward system, telling us, “This is good.” Of course, we know eating an entire cake isn’t good. So, overcoming food addiction is a combination of identifying the signs and redirecting our thoughts and actions.
1. Identify the Pressures That Lead to Overeating
Food addiction often rears its ugly head as a coping mechanism. We know this won’t come as a surprise to you, but there’s a reason you’re overeating.
Ask yourself what personal or social pressures are leading to your over-eating. Is it a particular person? Is it a particular set of circumstances? Is it some sort of unrealistic pressure that’s been placed upon you? Have you set that pressure or has someone else?
Many people struggle in environments full of judgment. Is that something you can step away from? Also, the more pressure we put on ourselves to look or feel a certain way, the more we struggle with food addiction. What can you do to go inside yourself and live a life free from judgment and comparison?
2. Examine the Things You’re Telling Yourself
“Trigger” is a good word. Examine the things you’re telling yourself right before you overindulge in a big splurge. Is it some sort of negative “I’m not good enough” comment? Is it some sort of comparative comment to another person’s life?
Likely, it’s some form of negative reinforcement. Consider why you’re feeling that way. Most often, our harsh personal judgments are completely unfounded and need to be eradicated. Know that we can change the way we think and talk to ourselves; it’s a choice.
3. Make a Plan for Action
Now that you’ve identified the external and internal detriments that are contributing to your food addiction, it’s time to make a plan of action. Sometimes, it can be difficult to put ourselves under a microscope.
Generally, we know where we’re going wrong, but we don’t know exactly how to course-correct. There’s absolutely zero shame in speaking to a counselor to get to the root of the food addiction.
They can help you identify your pressures and smooth out any negative self-talk. Counselors can also help you learn how to remove yourself from those environments, including how to stand up for yourself and start putting yourself first.
4. Protect Your Boundaries
One thing you’ll learn in counseling is that boundaries are essential. They’re a mode of protection and there’s no shame in that. Removing ourselves from harmful environments is not only wise, but it’s also absolutely necessary.
The more you believe in yourself and your sense of worth, the more you’ll drop the gauntlet on those boundaries. You’ll either remove yourself from the negative people in your life, or you’ll find a way to tell them to back off.
As for those uncomfortable situations that kick your food addiction into high gear, choose to avoid them. And don’t sit home and wonder “could’ve, should’ve would’ve” about the environment once you’ve removed yourself, either. Have a plan of action in place that will bring you peace in place of a former environment that only wreaked havoc.
5. Change Your Self-Talk
The truth of the matter is, no one can help us stop over-eating. No one can (or should) physically remove the food from our hand or supernaturally remove the negative self-talk from our minds. All this is a choice and, when we’re ready, we make these changes.
Be kind to yourself as you tackle this major life change. Don’t berate yourself if you have any setbacks or slip-ups after you’ve committed to changing your way of living.
Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can – and that’s certainly a whole lot more than what you were doing when you were deep in the throws of food addiction.
Tape little mantras and reminders to your bathroom mirror or coffee maker. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Remind yourself that you’re not only worth it, but you can also have a happy and fulfilling life.
Overcoming Food Addiction Today
This isn’t about achieving a certain size. Overcoming food addiction is about choosing ourselves. We’re choosing health. We’re choosing happiness. We’re choosing a wealth of joy that will continue to unfold throughout life, even when times get tough.
Here at UnCraveRx, we offer a medically assisted weight loss program focused on anti-craving. This isn’t some sort of fad diet that will help people get into a dress by some designated date in time.
Rather, it’s a tool to help anyone struggling with difficulties surrounding food to avoid overeating and replace negative behaviors with a nutrient-rich lifestyle that nourishes the bodies we’ve been given.