Ironically, the same substance that nourishes our bodies every day can morph into the object of a destructive obsession. Food addiction is a real condition that leaves those affected by it feeling physically and emotionally out of control. Learn the warning signs and coping techniques to break the addiction and create a healthy relationship with food.
Everyone overeats from time to time, but when food cravings turn into an obsession, it could be a sign of addiction. The warning signs below are indicative of a food addiction.
- You hide food in your car, home or office. When food becomes a secret, there is shame associated – a cornerstone of addiction.
- You think about food more than 1 hour a day. Food addicts use food as a diversion. They turn to eating instead of dealing with their emotions in a healthy way.
- You eat after arguing with your spouse or a friend. Again, in this situation, food becomes a drug used to become numb to painful emotions.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you are not eating. Addicts experience visceral symptoms such as shaking, dizziness and sweating.
- You can’t stop eating even when you’re not hungry.
If you recognize 3 or more of these signs in your life, you may have a food addiction. Follow the action plan steps below to take back control.
- Use the acronym FLAB: Frustrated, Lonely, Anxious, Bored. When you’re struggling, think of why you are reaching for food. If the answer lies in one of these emotions, the food will not take those feelings away. Find a positive way to deal with your emotions and break the association. Click here for a printable card to keep in your wallet. You can pull it out and refer to it when you’re having a hard time.
- Journal your emotions about food. Journaling will help you understand the association between emotion and food. Write down what you’re eating and how you’re feeling. Over time, you will see patterns emerge and can institute coping strategies.
- Use a food log. A food log will tell you not only what you ate and when you ate it, but how you were feeling when you ate it. This will help you identify the triggers for making bad food choices and allow you to break those patterns. Click here for Dr. Oz's food log.