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Recognizing and Overcoming Food Addictions

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 5/17/2011

Do you struggle with eating when you are not even hungry or continuing to eat when you are already full? Well, you are not alone. This is a struggle that many people have and can possibly be a food addiction. Read these tips for recognizing food addictions.

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    Why Do People Struggle?

    The first step in overcoming a food addiction is to realize that you are one of the growing numbers of people who may use food to numb or comfort yourself in a self-medicating manner. This pattern may have become an addiction. Recognizg food addictions is the most important step one can take. Here are some questions you might consider asking yourself to determine whether you might have a food addiction:

    Are you an overeater? Do you constantly find yourself making rules for your eating and then not following through with them? Then do you wake up mad at yourself for not doing what you set out to do? Do you binge and then starve?

    We live in a culture today where food is constantly tantalizing us. You can't get away from it. Just watch a football game and the commercials will practically make you feel that you MUST have that juicy cheeseburger or those melt in your mouth, gooey, just out of the oven chocolate chip cookies right this minute.

    Do you eat the same in front of people as you do in private? Do you eat even when you are not hungry, but maybe anxious, depressed or stressed instead? Do you have a difficult time stopping when you are full even though you know you ought to?

    Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Simple enjoyment of food and overeating here and there are no reason for worry. But if you can answer yes to a lot of the above questions, you may be one of the ever increasing numbers of food addicts. Please do not let this information stress you out. There are things you can do to help yourself overcome these addictions and the first one is to simply see it for what it is. The second is to stop right now and forgive yourself. To worry excessively about it only causes more stress. Life is full of real problems, stresses and worries. Life today is very fast paced and can be chaotic and this causes stress for most people. Everyone just deals in different ways with their stress and overeating is your way of dealing with it. You can simply learn some healthier ways to handle anxiety, depression, stress and the very real problems that you may not understand how to deal with. It is important to begin trying to understand what the issues are that are causing you to want to eat more than you ought.

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    Establishing New Habits

    Exercise is a very healthy way to burn off stress, anxiety and extra calories! It is so healthy for you as well and will help balance your body and emotions.

    Finding your passion and allowing yourself some time to pursue it is a great way to distract your mind away from food.

    If you are home a lot, remove the tempting foods from your home. Replace them with healthy snacks and staples and then make sure you get out of the house often if you still struggle. Sometimes, just occupying yourself if you are bored can help a lot. If you do not have regular activities outside the home, you can find a myriad of volunteer opportunities in your community.

    When you do leave the house, make sure you bring food with you and set specific times that you will eat the food. Also bring lots of pure water as many times thirst is disguised as hunger.

    Learn what healthy foods to add to your diet and commit to eating those every day. Plan out your food for the day and eat all that you planned to eat. If you think you are hungry, offer yourself some salad. If you don't want it, chances are you are only bored, anxious, depressed, etc... so find something else to occupy yourself for the next hour or so and then try offering yourself a salad or an apple or some raw nuts. Ask yourself what you are feeling that makes you want to eat for comfort. What do you need comforting from and think of some solutions.

    Find healthy treats you can eat. Find foods that are similar to the ones that you enjoy eating, but that do not contain refined sugars, flours and are not processed. There is a great book to help you in this are called, The Raw Food Detox Diet, by Natilia Rose

    Begin to learn about natural health. Sometimes reading about why foods are bad for you will help you stay away from them. Coninually read about this and find support from other healthy eaters.

    Get counseling for learning how to deal with the challenges you face.

    Recognizing food addictions can seem humbling and embarrassing, but realizing you are not alone at all and dealing with the truth will set you free in the end. As Richard Bach said, "If you don't have problems, you will never be the one who overcame them." You can overcome this. Another very helpful book to read on the subject is Angela Stokes' book, Raw Emotions. She weighed 300lbs. and is now a very healthy, different person who once admitted that she was a food addict. Her whole life has been turned around and so can yours!!

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