A food addiction is just as serious as smoking, drug dependency and alcoholism. All damage your health and can wreck your life. And like with drugs and alcohol, a food addiction starts small with binges and grows into obesity. Everyone who has tried to lose weight knows it’s far easier to put it on than to get it off. So other than a growing waistline, what are the signs you have a food addiction?
1. You Lack Self-control
Lacking self-control is among the first signs you're addicted to food you should be aware of. Like conquering any other addiction, you'll have to regain self-control to beat food addictions. Limiting and tracking the number of calories you consume during the day and being choosier in what types of food you eat will help you regain control over your eating habits.
2. Stuffing Your Face
Instead of eating until you're pleasantly satisfied and feeling totally guiltless about your food intake, you are stuffing your face practically to bursting point, then are wrecked with guilt. With that comes depression over your weight issues and lack of self-respect. What's more satisfying in such circumstances than heading straight for the nearest hamburger joint or donut drive-in again? Before reaching the "full" capacity of your belly, STOP, shut mouth and walk away to have a social life.
3. Developing Cravings Right after Eating
You can tell yourself "you're eating for two" as much as you like, but without the valid excuse of an impending patter of tiny feet you shouldn't act on cravings for certain types of food. Eating should be an enjoyable way of providing your body with fuel, but this should be done in moderation and as part of an overall healthy lifestyle that balances food intake with exercise. Why are you craving food not long after a meal? Try and understand your triggers and then you can do something about them.
4. Hoarding like a Hamster
Unless war is being declared or your town's about to be engulfed by snow/water/mudslides, there's really no need to hoard food. Tomorrow's delivery will fill up supermarket shelves again! Do you have more food in the house than you could eat in a week? An impulse to hoard like a hamster suggests you have a serious food addiction. A food recovery program includes making food intake a reward, where addicts learn to eat when truly hungry, not when they need cheering up or start looking for distraction because they're bored.
5. All Your Plans Revolve around Eating
Instead of planning a life with friends and family, a life that revolves around social experiences, food addicts plan their day around breakfasts, mid-morning snacks, lunches, mid-afternoon snacks, late afternoon snacks, dinner and late night snacks in front of the TV. Busy people may skip a meal here and there, but it won't cause them any harm; it just means they're doing stuff way more important than eating. Eating healthily and regularly is, of course, important, but it should not take over somebody's life to the point where they do nothing but plan meals, even when it's hours yet before lunchtime or dinner. Eat to live, not the other way round!
6. Choosing Processed Foods for Another Sugar Rush
Because processed foods contain a lot of additional sugar and artificially enhanced ingredients, they are quite prone to cause food addictions. Many contain cheap ingredients and enriched flour, empty carbohydrates and sugars that will send your blood insulin sky high and provide you with an artificial, temporary rush. Addicts want to recreate this rush again and again. Bad skin, poor condition of hair and constant cravings for certain processed foods are just some of the symptoms of a food addiction that's getting out of hand.
7. Your Taste-buds Have Lost That Loving Feeling
Signs you have a food addiction also include for your taste-buds to lose the loving feeling for certain types of food. When you eat something for the first time or only occasionally, it tastes really good. Start consuming it all the time and in larger quantities than normal, and your taste-buds will tell you that you have developed a tolerance to the stuff. It no longer tastes quite so sensational. In fact, after a while your taste-buds will have been worn down to a level where most or even all foods are unsatisfying, tasteless and boring.
The best cure for a food addiction is obviously prevention – i.e. eat a healthy balanced diet with good tasty food. If, however, you’ve already developed (some of) these signs, it’s time to take stock and make a plan to deal.
Do you recognize any of these signs for you?