How To Overcome Food Addiction — Tips, Ideas, and Expert Advice
It is widely known in the scientific community that certain foods have a very addictive effect on the brain. You find yourself sitting and wondering how to overcome food addiction and blaming yourself, when in fact it’s not entirely your fault.
Certain types of food addictions operate similarly to drug addictions on the brain.
This is why despite not wanting to, people may end up repeatedly finding themselves eating a lot of unhealthy foods — even though they know that it can do them more harm than good. This explains why some people can’t control themselves around certain foods — no matter how hard they try.
This article provides easy to follow tips and advice on how to overcome food addiction and takes a deeper look into what it is.
How Does Food Addiction Work?
Scientists say that certain sugary snacks have a similar effect to hard drugs, making them addictive foods. Here’s why some people are more prone to craving junk than others – and how to overcome addictive foods for healthier habits.
Don’t plunge deeper into self-loathing as you grab your fifth custard cream – your biscuit blowout might not actually be your fault. The treats that sabotage our weight loss attempts could be physically addictive. What’s more, food scientists working for fast food chains may deliberately create meals that are literally irresistible.
A study at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, USA, found lab rats became addicted to a bad diet, in the way that people become dependent on cocaine and heroin, and now studies are finding similar effects on humans with addictive foods.
“Scientists have found that fatty, sugary foods make the brain release dopamine just like drugs,” says diet expert and psychotherapist Marisa Peer, author of You Can Be Thin. “The dopamine gives you a slight high, but the dopamine receptors become less sensitive, so you need more and more to get the same feeling. So, although your body doesn’t want junk like doughnuts, it starts to demand it.”
It seems some of us find it harder than others to resist these cravings. “In our diabetes study, we found people with a particular gene have lower dopamine receptors than normal so that the brain doesn’t register the effects of dopamine as much as it should,” says clinical researcher Dr. Neal Barnard, author of Breaking The Food Seduction (St Martin’s Griffin). “
So they need to eat more to feel pleasure and are more likely to become overweight and develop type 2 diabetes.”
Harvard evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman author of a book The Story of the Human Body, noted that the sweetest food our pre-historic ancestors had access to was no sweeter than a carrot:
“We evolved to crave sweet foods. Everybody loves sweet foods. But if you try to eat foods that hunter-gatherers eat or chimpanzees eat, you’d be surprised at how unsweet they are. Most wild fruits are about as sweet as a carrot. So we love sweetness, but until recently, pretty much the only food that we got that was sweet was honey, and honey, of course, was a special treat — honey was pretty much the only form of dessert in the Paleolithic. But now we have access to abundant quantities of sugar and simple carbohydrates, which we evolved to love because they’re full of energy, but we don’t have the metabolism. We don’t have the bodies that are able to cope with those kinds of levels of sugar, and the result is that we get sick.”
What Is The Most Effective Way To Overcome Food Addiction
There are many things you can do to tackle unhealthy food addiction. But before you do that, let’s first put things into categories to know where to start.
All approaches on how to overcome food addiction can be categorized into two groups:
Practical (working with your conscious mind)
Building the right habits is all about noticing that you need to take care of some of your basic and surface behaviors that may be sacrificing your everyday health.
You’ll need to take into consideration to start developing the following habits:
You can control what you eat
Do whatever you need to do to avoid backsliding.
Controle your environment
If you know you can crave junk then you’ll need to clean your body and home from junk food. One method would be to rid yourself and your home from junk food for 90 days.
Remember: Any habit or a diet that relies on willpower never lasts
Adopting a mindful approach to eating
Next time you go eating a burger from a fast-food restaurant, try this:
- Pay close attention to how it feels, taste, and how you are feeling in that moment. Try to savor the moment as they say.
- After you swallow each bite, again take a moment and pay close attention to how you feel.
- Keep repeating this process throughout your meal until you go home for at least another hour.
By the time you leave the restaurant, you’ll notice that the fatty, sugary salt bomb of a burger you had is beginning to make you feel bad.
Just keep up this mindful process that helps you realize how you actually feel hours after eating junk food. Over time your mind will start craving junk food less and less simply because you paid attention.
Remember: Observation alone can be curative.
Inner (working with the subconscious)
Sometimes practical approaches to overcome food addition don’t seem to really stick in the long term. In this case, looking into your subconscious will allow you to dig deeper beyond the surface and into your suppressed emotions and memories.
You may have an underlying problem that you are not aware of. Getting to the bottom of why you are harming your body should be a priority.
Try one of these methods:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT enables you to become more self-aware of negative patterns of behavior and thinking ad change them.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
NLP focuses on behavioral strategies like thoughts, language, and patterns of behavior learned through experience to achieve specific outcomes. You learn how to apply them to your life in order to reach personal goals and break bad habits.
This a combination of ancient Chinese techniques and Modern-day Psychology. It works by physically altering your brain and your body’s energy system at the same time. That enables you to dig deep into the traumatic experiences you may have that led to your food addiction.
Also referred to as “guided hypnosis“, it is a form of psychotherapy that takes place while you are relaxed, in a heightened concentration and intense attention to achieve a heightened state of consciousness or mindfulness. In other words, it places the individual into a “trance” or altered state of awareness to be able to access the root causes of your issues stored in your subconscious.
Reprograming Your Mind To Curb Overeating
Many people who overeat do so because they don’t feel enough; they don’t feel good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or successful enough and they feel empty inside.
They try to curb that feeling by eating more so that they can feel full but it never lasts long. So how do you curb overeating?
- If you overeat, before every meal start by saying to yourself: “I am enough and I have enough I don’t need more.”
- Your stomach is the size of your fist and doesn’t need much food to feel satisfied, as long as you eat slowly and chew properly rather than bolting your food. Eating slowly allows your body to have a lot of digestive enzymes in saliva and take more nutrients from the food.
So slow your eating down. At every meal put your knife and fork down and take twice as long to eat as usual so that your stomach can register you have eaten and you can stop before you overeat.
Squeeze your hand into a fist just before and during eating and keep telling yourself “My stomach is the size of my fist and I feel full and satisfied halfway through eating.”
- Drink more water as dehydration is often interpreted as hunger when it’s actually just thirst. Hot drinks like tea and bouillon have a very comforting effect on the body when you feel stressed, which helps curb overeating.
All these tips can really help you to overcome pretty much any food addiction. All these tips have to do with your behaviors and habits, which all begin in the mind.
One of the most effective ways to reprogram your mind quickly and efficiently is through hypnotic sessions for weight control or taking control of food addiction.
Learn more about reprogramming your mind with Marisa Peers’s Hypnotic Weight Control program and see for yourself all the things you can do to reprogram your mind and take control of any bad habit.
Practical Tips And Advice On How To Overcome Food Addiction
Sometimes overcoming a food addiction all starts with your intention. If you want to get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to take certain habits and actions to rid yourself of this physical addiction.
You would be surprised to learn that in order to know how to overcome food addiction, practicing mindful eating is key. You have to be aware of what is good and what is not when you put food into your body.
Healthy alternatives to unhealthy foods
Highly refined, nutritionally bankrupt flour is in nearly 60% of the foods we eat in a standard diet and for many people, wheat-based foods make up 80% of their food intake.
Carbs make your insulin spike quickly it is also an indication to your body to go into a fat-storing mode, and when you eat protein you go into fat burning. So the simple trick for effective and permanent weight loss is to swap starchy carbs for a protein whenever you can.
- Ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth, farro, and millet are rich in fibers and amino acids and are a great substitute to pasta or other carbs.
- Looking for an alternative to potatoes? If it’s mashed or baked potatoes you crave, or the topping of a shepherd’s pie, swap starchy white potatoes with mashed cauliflower, swede, or sweet potatoes. Additionally, you can try roast Jerusalem artichokes taste almost like roast potatoes.
- If you crave salty crisps, salty crackers, and processed pretzels, remind yourself these things are not real food and full of carbs and calories you don’t need.
When you’re in the mood for something salty to nibble on, switch to olives, nuts, home-made popcorn with a little light soya sauce, or edamame. If you have time at home, bake your own kale crisps
- Lots of people crave something sweet in the afternoon. Instead of reaching for a biscuit, slice a sweet green or pink lady apple and spread natural peanut butter or almond butter on it.
This is a protein and fiber-filled snack full of really healthy oils that will fill you up better than chocolate or biscuits.
Breakfast go to’s to consider
- Fruit with almonds
- Soya yogurt with seeds, nuts, and fruit
- Fruit and vegetable smoothie
- Scrambled eggs with coriander
- Occasional oats with nuts or seeds made with non-dairy milk or water
- Any kind of fish
Lunch and Dinner ideas
For lunch it’s great to have protein, salad and vegetables or soup. For dinner, you can have protein, salad, and vegetables. You can eat potatoes, rice, and bread, but aim to not eat them daily and best not after lunch. Consider ancient grains mentioned above as carbs alternatives. You can add sweet potatoes to lunch and dinner.
Go to snacks
Eat a banana daily as a snack and you can snack on seeds, nuts, edamame, and drink smoothies and rice milk lattes. Your staple snack could be unsalted almonds – they are so good for us and so portable. In the winter you can make a lot more soups and in the summer snack much more on berries when they’re in season and therefore cheaper.
All these swaps are delicious, so much more healthy, have a much lower glycemic load and tons more vitamins and fiber.
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