What Is Food Addiction?

Many people who struggle with weight management have an underlying emotional connection to food. They diet time and again hoping for weight loss and feeling more hopeless.It isn’t simply a lack of willpower! There are many hidden emotional barriers to this dance in weight loss. If you have struggled with this over and over, you may want to ask yourself if there is something deeper. Are you a food addict? Food addiction is a term that has been thrown around quite a bit over the last few years. What exactly does that mean? Here are some signs it isn’t a simple case of emotional eating:

1) You obsess about food. Do you think about food all the time? Does it take priority over everything else in your life even when you aren’t hungry?

2) You hide your eating. Do you hide your eating habits from others?

3) You have trigger foods. No one struggles with binge eating when it comes to broccoli. Trigger foods tend to be high fat and/or high sugar. When you have these foods around, you can’t stop yourself from eating them. For many years, I couldn’t keep these foods in my house because they would be gone immediately.

4) Withdrawal symptoms. Do you feel anxiety and agitation when you don’t have access to certain foods?

5) Food consumption leads to shame and guilt. Do you beat yourself up when you eat?

6) Your relationship with food has caused problems in other areas of your life. Does your relationship with food cause problems with your functioning at work or in other relationships?

7) Tolerance. Do you find that you need larger quantities to have the same effect? When one cupcake won’t do it for you anymore, you reach for more.

8) It feels out of control. Do you feel like your eating is completely out of your control? Often people who struggle with binge eating or food addiction experience an “out of body experience” when eating. They don’t want to continue, but can’t stop themselves.

9) You continue to overeat despite consequences. Has the pattern continued despite warnings from your doctor about health issues? Have you suffered financial consequences?

When you struggle with food addiction, it feels like food is taking over your life. The good news is that there are resources to help! Treatment is available for binge eating, compulsive overeating and food addiction.

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.

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