Did you know that the same area of the brain that "lights up" when people abuse addictive drugs is also stoked when people eat junk food?
Food addiction has become a very real and very dangerous issue for many. When you abuse food your brain's biochemistry becomes hijacked in a sense and you essentially lose control over your urges. The junk food you are addicted to takes over and you experience cravings - a sign you are eating too much of these foods.
The part of the brain that rules addiction is the same for any addiction and, yes, it can be just as bad. The only difference is it probably won't get you landed in prison but it does have dangerous health and wellness ramifications.
Answer these 5 Questions and Find Out if You Have a Food Addiction
- Are you still craving food even when you've just eaten?
- Are you wracked with guilt after you eat certain things?
- Do you justify why you “have to” eat certain things?
- Have you failed miserably at setting certain limits on eating certain foods?
- Do you still eat certain foods even though you are aware that doing so is harmful?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering a food addiction; or at least you probably have a notable problem when it comes to certain foods.
Addiction - The Decree
Among the most important things I learned and that may help you understand what you are feeling and how to deal with it is: When you give an addict more of the thing they are craving -- it only reinforces the addiction. That's the decree. So you need to make sure you don't get a taste of the food or even a whiff because this will certainly activate the craving and the addiction again. It is no different than drinking or taking drugs.
When addicts are motivated to avoid their substance they can live without it. But, when they are no longer motivated they may go back to it and be even worse off than they were the first time around. When things are good, you're not depressed, you aren't nearly as tempted to drink or do drugs or snap up some of that comfort food you used to crave. But things are tough, that's when there's a danger you will go back to it.
There are certain supplements you can take to help reduce the craving you may feel for certain food. These kinds of supplements help increase hormone levels in the brain which reduce the chances of comfort eating. They also help stave off appetite.
What About "Everything in Moderation"?
This may work for those that are not addicted to food but for those who are, it's not the right mantra; would you tell a person addicted to drugs to do drugs in moderation?
Junk Food: Your Body Doesn't Need It
We don't need to eat junk food. Obviously, we have to eat to live, but junk food and processed and sugary foods were not around until recent generations. Believe me, none of us need this stuff. Abstinence is the only way to go. Toss all the junk out of the house. If you live with others explain the situation and see if you can't eliminate it from the kitchen as much as possible; have them put their junk food where it's not available to you. Abstinence is not as hard as you may think. Once you avoid these addictive substances -- whatever they are for you, you stop reinforcing that physiological feedback loop that underlies your craving. And in the case of food, you will naturally start to replace it with healthier foods.