For those in the throes of a food addiction, overcoming it may be overwhelming. Your brain constantly creates cravings for the foods it wants. If you have tried overcoming the addiction on your own, only to have admitted defeat, it may be worth considering getting help.
The stats here are stacked against you - the more times you try and fail, the less likely it becomes that the next effort will be successful. I battled on my own and after several failed tries finally admitted that I needed help with my own food addiction.
Luckily, there is help at hand - there are a number of places out there that will help you to develop the tools you need in order to win this fight. Here we discuss some of the most popular alternatives.
A Twelve Stage Program
The ideal answer is to find a 12 stage program that you can enroll in. These are free to join and there are many chapters globally. Of course, the first step, before you can even start to look into programs is to admit you are addicted to food.
These programs run along the same lines as your Alcoholics Anonymous programs do - it is really only the "drug" of choice that is different. It is pretty simple to adhere to - you go to meetings regularly in order to get support from people in a similar situation. You will be partnered up with a sponsor. This person will help talk you off the ledge if you are looking to binge and will help you make healthy eating choices.
You should never underestimate how important it is to have support socially if you are trying to overcome an addiction to food. You will normally find that the others in the group will try to help wherever they can and many will have had a lot of experience when it comes to overcoming this addiction.
You can choose from a number of options:
Overeaters Anonymous: Overeaters Anonymous is the biggest group and there are chapters all over the world. Check them out at OA.org.
Greysheeters Anonymous: This runs on similar principles, but you are also given a healthy eating plan that is strict in terms of portion sizes. Personally, this is the one I recommend as this is what helped me to get my life back on track. The downside is that they don't have the same reach as Overeaters Anonymous so you might not find a group nearby. If this is a problem, they do offer Skype or meet-ups by phone as well. Check them out at Greysheet.org.
A few additional options include Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous as well as Food Addicts Anonymous.
The first step tends to be the hardest - just showing up at the group for the first time is often difficult for people. Don't stress about it though, just go see what it is all about, you don't have to participate until you feel comfortable doing so.
In my experience, no one has a bad group experience and the benefits are awesome. Contrary to what you might think, the group meetings can turn out to be a lot of fun. Best of all, you will quickly find out that you are not alone in this.
Seeing a Psychologist For Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a newer form of therapy that seems to be doing a lot of good for people who suffer with food disorders. It can help you to recover from bulimia and binge eating - these are very similar in nature to addiction to food. Have a look for a psychologist in your area but try to find one that has expertise when it comes to treating an addiction to food.
The Chemical Solution
From a pharmaceutical point of view, there are several medications that could help by adjusting the levels of brain chemicals to prevent overeating. This should be a method of last resort - they are expensive, not really all that effective and may have nasty side effects. (After all, you aren't learning new behaviors to help you in future - what happens when you stop taking the drug?)
Contrave is one of the newer drugs, receiving FDA approval at the end of 2014. It works by targeting the actual pathways in the brain that are affected by an addiction to food.
Depression is something that a great number of addicts battle with. It might pay for you to try anti-depressants in the short term in order to give you that boost needed to overcome addiction. Anti-depressants are not a cure, but could help in giving you the strength to abstain from overeating.
If you believe that food addiction is at the heart of your problems, have a chat with your healthcare professional and see what they suggest. The sad thing is that many doctors are inadequately trained in this field and some may even doubt it is a real issue.
Global Plans For A Fee
Many additional programs exist in the US and around the world. Check out one or more of the following:
- ACORN - Primarily an American-based offering, offering a number of alternatives when it comes to treatment.
- Milestones in Recovery - This is a Florida-based program and offers a longer-term approach.
- COR Retreat - This Minnesota-based program runs for five days.
- The Turning Point - This Tampa-based program caters for people with various types of eating disorders.
- Shades of Hope - Situated in the Lone Star State, you can choose between programs that run for one or six weeks.
- The MFM Center - Located in Iceland.
- PROMIS - This UK-based program caters for people with different types of eating disorders.
- Bittens Addiction - This Swedish-based program will help you overcome food addiction.
Still not having luck finding someone? Why not Google your town's name coupled with "addiction to food"?
Take Action Vs. Your Food Addiction
While it may be misunderstood, addiction to food is a real issue and should be taken seriously. It has been shown that the foods (predominantly sugar-based or fast foods) act on the brain centers in exactly the same manner that addictive drugs do. Thus this is a physical and psychological addiction. There are some nutritional supplements that can help remedy this. Look for a supplement with natural ingredients based on clinical studies for the safest and most effective aid.
Food addiction is the same as being addicted to any other drug. It is not weak to ask for help - the grip of this addiction is hardly ever overcome without assistance and the symptoms will only get worse with time.
You are not just damaging your future health but also how you feel today - it takes a terrible toll on your feeling of well-being.
The good news is that you have started on the road to recovery just by reading through this article - this means that you realize that there is a problem and that you feel that you would like to get help. Keep the momentum going and find a group or treatment option. Act today for a better tomorrow.