Food that is high in certain substances such as salt and sugar can actually trigger the pleasure areas of our brains, so it’s no real surprise that people become addicted to certain types. It can lead addicts to continue eating a particular food when they are full because they are looking for that ‘drug’ high which many have said is similar to an experience with cocaine.
Not only can a food addiction lead to problems with mental health such as depression and lack of self-esteem, it can also cause physical issues including obesity, heart disease and conditions such diabetes. There are enough similarities between substance abuse and food addiction that an equitable approach to quitting these can be used.
Committing to Quitting
The first step to many addictions is admitting there is a problem in the first place. While your comfort food might seem harmless enough it could be doing serious damage to your body over the long term. Addicts need to face the realities of their problem and then put a plan in place to deal with it.
Keeping a food diary can help you get a clear handle on how much you are indulging your addiction. Working out the pros and cons of continuing with your current habits can also be useful in developing that mindset to quit, as can discussing the issue with a close friend.
Coming Up with a Plan
Most people tend to pander to their cravings at home and will often have cupboards full of their favourite treat. This is actually good news for food addicts as it’s quite easy to control. You may even find that if you don’t have temptation in your way it’s much easier to quit.
Changing your meal time habits gradually can also be an issue, particularly if you don’t want to go cold turkey. If certain habits like watching TV accompany your cravings, then switch to reading a book or listening to music instead. The key is to find what works for you and reduce your exposure to those triggers that get you thinking about your special food.
You may also need to change your eating habits and retrain your brain, particularly if your particular addiction is overeating. Choosing a smaller plate and cutting down your portion size can trick your brain but it’s important to do this gradually so that you don’t feel hard done by. Changing your diet can also reset your taste buds and educate your palate to new sensations. You might also like to introduce some exercise into your life – something that could release pleasurable endorphins which can reduce stress.
Getting the Right Support
Having a plan that works for you is important but so is getting the right support. Make sure that your friends and family are aware that you are trying to quit. They can help you out in those difficult moments but they’ll also be aware that this is a massive challenge for you. Many people also overeat or binge on particular foods because they have an emotional issue to deal with. You will need to address this if you are going to completely beat your food addiction. That may mean going to your local doctor to arrange counselling or it could involve talking to someone who has been through the same situation as you.
Dealing with and conquering a food addiction is no laughing matter. It has the same impact for a large number of people as a drug or alcohol abuse problem, with all the potential health and emotional problems that go with it. There will be times when you fail and give into your cravings but you shouldn’t feel guilty about this. Keep going and implementing your plan, with your support network around you, and you should hopefully finally succeed.