raeindigoyoga-slider-002
raeindigoyoga-slider-002
raeindigoyoga-slider-003
raeindigoyoga-slider-003
raeindigoyoga-slider-004
raeindigoyoga-slider-004

Are You Addicted to Food – Think Again

18 November 2012

The silent epidemic of food addiction has become a worldwide problem, and if you answered the title question “yes” and are indeed addicted to food, (as most of us are, or were at one time), the blame does not rest entirely on your shoulders but there is still much you can do about it.

A little research shows that food addiction is similar to drug and alcohol addiction.  Very often for a food addict, processed foods, refined sugars, factory farmed meats and saturated/trans fats become what alcohol is to the alcoholic, or cocaine to the cocaine addict.

When eating food in these groups, the addict sets the phenomenon of “craving” into motion.  Like the drug addict, the food addict experiences withdrawal when attempting to cut down on the foods that trigger cravings.  They can experience both physical and emotional withdrawal such as tremors, cramps, depression, teary periods and even self-hatred.

Food manufacturers have done an exquisite job of recognizing and tapping into our cravings, using persuasive ads and alluring packaging to keep their products tumbling into our shopping carts. These foods contain chemical compounds that stimulate the brain’s secretion of opiate-like, “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which drive our cravings for them.

One way to end the dependence on these trigger foods is to complete a good Detox Program. Once the addictive substances are out of the body, the physical cravings leave and the struggle isn’t as bad as it once was. These physical cravings do subside and you will have a second chance; and a choice whether to reintroduce the foods that caused the problems in the first place back into your diet. The emotional and mental cravings will still be lurking in the background, but with the establishment of a healthy diet and a lifestyle committed to changing old habits they will eventually be overcome.

Food addiction is hard to break, and in addition to the lack of cooperation from the commercial food industry and our elected officials we have other issues to deal with. For one, food is socially acceptable and people reward themselves for almost every imaginable occasion by indulging. We are encouraged (at least here in the US) to show how much we appreciate a meal by the amount we eat. We are taught to “clean up our plates” at every meal. Fast foods are all too convenient in this busy world, but even if we go to a decent sit down restaurant, we can almost guarantee we will be over served; with the average main course totaling  1000 calories or more; and that does not count drinks, salad, appetizers or desert.

Just watch the movie “Woodstock” or any of the music videos from the early 70’s and it’s amazing, – you can’t find any obese people in the audiences; check out the average concert audience today! This is what is happening to America. Let’s get ourselves right, keep ourselves right and then help others to get a grip!

In conclusion: Habitual eating patterns are hard to break and like almost all addictions they’re based on some sort of association and this is often below the radar of our conscious attention. Food frequently reinforces our comfort zones and makes us feel good, so when we want to relax or break free of stress we often grab a bite to eat.

One of the best practices to break this trend is the Buddhist practice of “Mindfullness” or conscious attention. Bringing “Mindfulness” into play before we put anything in our mouths helps us to learn to attune to our bodies and distinguish between real physical hunger (where your stomach is rumbling and you physically need to eat) and psychological hunger (where cues such as emotions, settings, social occasions and sights and smells of food encourage you to eat). Physical hunger is a useful and appropriate cue to eat – psychological hunger is not.

“Mindfulness” also enables us to eat much slower, actually savoring and thoroughly enjoying each bite of food. Eating in this manner gives our brain time to register the sense of fullness. It is a proven fact that it takes about 20 – 30 minutes for our brains to register this sense of fullness, no matter how much we put in our stomachs during that time. People who eat slowly and mindfully are much less likely to overeat.

Latest Blog Posts


Popular Blog Tags


Tags