Many people do not realize food can be an addiction just as alcohol, drugs or even shopping. Food addicts experience many of the same symptoms of withdrawal like irritability, moodiness, anger, and sadness just as someone withdrawing from alcohol or drugs. Of course we need food to fuel our bodies, but many people become addicted to overeating to feel a sensation of pleasure. They use food as a coping mechanism to feel better just as an alcoholic or drug addict uses their addiction. If you feel your eating is out of control then here are some ways to help overcome a food addiction.
Keep a food journal –
Write don everything you eat and how much of it you eat. When you keep track of everything you eat it is easier to see just how much you are consuming. Also write down how you felt when you were eating. For instance if you were happy, excited, felt better. if you notice you eat when you are not physically hungry, try to see why you wanted to eat. Keeping all this in a journal gives you a chance to see a pattern in your eating habits so you can break them. For instance if you were sad, lonely, depressed, write down the emotion you felt prior to eating, then how you felt during and after.
Eat slowly –
Food addicts tend to eat fast and it takes their brains longer to realize they had eaten. So eat slowly to help your brain register you are eating and it can help you eat less. Also try not to eat while watching TV or reading since it can be become a regular routine and you may eat even more.
Use smaller plates –
Research has proven that the larger the plate we use, the more we tend to eat. Use a plate that is no larger than six inches across to help avoid putting too much food on your plate. We often feel we have to finish the food on our plate even when we are full. So using a smaller plate means less food on it, which leads to use eating less?
Weigh yourself daily –
I know this is a hard one! No one really wants to see the weight that they are everyday. However you are better of knowing then not knowing! Doing this will help you control what you eat as you see the weight gained or loss on a regular basis.
Have supportive people around you –
If you have friends or family who truly support you that is great. However if your friends or family members seem to be more unsupported then find people who have your best interest at heart. Your local Weight Watchers is a great place to turn to. There is also a Over eaters Anonymous group you can join which only takes donations so you can give just what you want. There are many online sites you can join for support as well.
Talk to you food –
It may sound silly, but if you tell that doughnut, chips, or other junk food, that your body does not need it out loud, it really can help. You will start to realize yourself just how bad it is for you and it can help you to think about it before you put it into your mouth. Many food addicts eat so fast and just shove it in their mouth without even giving it a second thought.
Most importantly DON’T GIVE UP! Each person reacts to different strategies differently. You need to try a few different strategies until you find the one that works best for you. You may even want to try one on one therapy if the group therapy does not work for you. It is important to learn to use food to fuel your body and not as a coping mechanism to deal with life’s difficulties.