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According to VA, “Although there is not an answer right now if food can be as addictive as alcohol or cocaine, some people are unable to control how much they eat.” Food addictions truly do plague many people, and it can be very difficult for them to stop eating, even when they want to.
There are support group programs like OA (Overeaters Anonymous) and other types of behavioral therapy that a person can attend in order to change the way they think about food. But there are also at-home habit changes you can make that will go a long way in helping you treat your food addiction.
Being Mindful About Your Eating Habits
One of the best changes you can make to your eating habits is to start being mindful of them. Many people snack and eat when they are not thinking about it; this also causes them to eat more than they would have if they had stopped and thought about their food intake. If you are not sure, ask yourself:
- Am I really hungry?
- Am I actually just bored, mad, or feeling some other emotion that I am coping with by eating?
- When is it that I eat too much the most? How can I make changes to that time in my day?
- What foods do I really enjoy? How can I implement the enjoyment I feel from that food into my day without eating too much of it?
Mindfulness really helps someone with a food addiction. It may be difficult at first, but place little reminders on the fridge and other places where you might be when you reach unconsciously for food. Bringing it into your conscious mind and asking yourself questions will help you cut down on your snacking and other bad food habits.
Change Your Food-Based Habits
Here are some changes you can make to your life where food is concerned.
- If you snack while you work, watch TV, or sit at the computer, make sure to tell yourself that food is off-limits during a certain time. Set a timer and grab a snack after the timer goes off in order to regulate your eating schedule.
- Buy more nutritious food. This does not mean, though, that you cannot have your favorite snack foods along with the other types, but buy less of them than the former. Having more nutritious foods than fun foods in the house will make you eat a little of both, as you won’t want to get stuck with no fun foods before grocery day.
- If you’re enjoying eating something but you aren’t hungry enough to finish it, wrap it up and put it in the fridge for later.
- Control your portions with smaller bowls and plates.
- If you go out to eat a lot, try to cook more of your own food which will allow you to see what goes into it and how to make it healthier.
As stated by the NIDA, “Addiction is a brain disease” so it will be difficult to change. Attending meetings may also benefit you if you feel addicted to food, but these habit changes won’t make you feel miserable and will allow you to still enjoy your favorite foods.