Last updated: 11/14/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
You don’t have to look very far to find the link between food addictions and rising obesity rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, as much as 35.7 percent of Americans were diagnosed as obese in 2006. With the increasing amount of preservatives and additives used in food processing plants, more and more people are finding it hard to say “no” to extra helpings when they know they should.
Weight-wise, once a person reaches the point where enough is enough, the process of overcoming food addiction begins. Tips for overcoming food addiction include identifying destructive eating patterns, making healthy food choices and learning how to deal with food cravings.
Making Good Food Choices
For some people, sweets and salty food may seem especially tasty. For others, it’s the tasty, high-calorie foods that hold an appeal. While taste definitely plays a pivotal role in whether someone likes or craves a certain type of food, other factors may also be driving an addiction.
The after-effects from a big, heavy Thanksgiving dinner offers a prime example of how food can affect a person’s body by triggering cravings and effecting chemical changes. After such a meal, some people become sleepy or sluggish. Others may start to feel irritable or depressed. These types of effects only happen when chemical changes in the brain take place.
More oftentimes than not, it’s the high-calorie, low nutrient foods that trigger an addiction response and make a person want more. So, overcoming food addiction starts with learning to make good food choices. By making good food choices on a daily basis, over time, the body can flush out the “bad food” residues. Like leftover drugs residues in the body, bad food residues can trigger cravings for more of the same. Once the body is cleaned-out, the source of the cravings is gone.
Identify Trigger Foods
Knowing the types of foods that trigger cravings can help you develop strategies for avoiding these foods and overcoming food addiction. As food remains a daily living requirement and always accessible, going cold turkey on trigger foods may be more than a person can handle when going it alone. The potential for overwhelming cravings can make relapse that much easier, leaving a person feeling depressed and eating even larger portions than before.
By gradually reducing trigger foods and replacing them with healthy food choices like fruits and veggies, the process of overcoming food addiction becomes less stressful, both physically and psychologically. Over time, the body will come to expect smaller and smaller portions of the trigger foods, which is the overall goal when overcoming food addiction.
Countering Food Cravings
In order to counter food cravings, it helps to have a record of the actual craving patterns that develop from day-to-day. By keeping a food diary, you can keep track the times of day cravings occur and the types of foods craved. In this way, overcoming food addiction becomes a matter of having substitute (healthy) foods ready when the vulnerable times of day hit.