Food Addiction & How to Break it – Simple system
Food addiction isn't all your fault
Does your food addiction start like this?
It’s been a hard day at work and you just want to relax. You get home put on Netflix and open that bag of crisps, chips or sweets. One bite turns into one hundred and you’re left with an empty packet on your lap with you trying to blame the dog.
Don’t worry, this happens to the best of us, and it isn’t actually that uncommon with certain foods. Processed foods are scientifically engineered to be irresistible and easy to gobble up in large quantities. If you can’t stop, the chips are doing their job. Some brands even have that as a catchphrase.
The big issue here is that we become addicted to the mouth feeling and the temporary feel good of eating these foods. A lot of us feel the regret after eating these and still go back to them later in the day or the next day.
So what can you do to control this?
1. GET CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR FOOD
For a food to be “easy to eat”, it has to be: broken down easily (less chewing), and low volume (doesn’t take up much physical space). The more we have to chew something, the longer it takes us to eat, giving our fullness signals a chance to catch up.
That feeling of “fullness” matters a lot too.
When you eat, your stomach expands. It’s partly through that sensation of pressure that your body knows you’ve had enough. Processed foods deliver a lot of calories without taking up much space, meaning you can eat a lot before you realize you’ve overdone it.
Count your chews.
Note: Don’t do this forever. That would be weird. Just try it.
First, eat a whole food — a vegetable, fruit, whole grain, lean protein, whatever — and count how many chews you take per mouthful.
How long does it take to eat an entire portion of that food?
How satisfied do you feel afterward?
Do you want to eat more?
Then, next time you eat junk food, count how many chews you take per mouthful.
How long does it take to eat that serving of crisps, chips, or cookies?
How satiated do you feel afterward? Do you want to eat more?
Make some comparisons and notice the differences. Contrast how long eating each of these foods takes you, how satiated you feel after eating each of them, and how much you want to keep eating.
How will you use that information to make food choices moving forward?
2. WHAT MESSAGES ARE YOU GETTING ABOUT THE FOOD YOU ARE EATING
Food manufacturers use marketing strategies to imply processed foods are healthy. And even if you know they’re not, they have other ways of getting you to buy them.
The good news? Simply being aware of this trick can help you bypass it.
Evaluate your pantry.
Examine the foods you have in your home and the messages you’ve been given about them by the manufacturer.
Note: Keep in mind that this is a mindful awareness activity. You’re not doing this to judge yourself or feel shame about the food choices you’ve made. Look at your pantry with curious and more informed eyes.
Step 1: Look for “health halo” foods. Do you have any? If so, why did you choose them? Was it the language used to describe it? Was it the packaging? A trendy “superfood” ingredient? Is it organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, Paleo, or something else?
Step 2: Read the nutritional information. Once you’ve identified the “health halo” foods, take a closer look. Is your “healthy” organic dark chocolate peanut butter cup all that nutritionally different from that mass-market peanut butter cup? Chances are, it’s just different packaging.
Step 3: Count how many varieties of junk foods you have. If you love ice cream — how many flavours do you have? If you peek into your cupboards, are there cookies, popcorn, candy, or crisps/ chips? Without judgment, count the total junk food variety currently in your
home. Generally, the more options you have, the easier it is to overeat.
You’ll be more aware of the particular types of marketing you’re susceptible to, which you can use to make more informed food choices.
You’ll also have a better idea of which treat foods you prefer, and by reducing the variety of them in your home, you’ll cut down on opportunities to overeat.
3. EATING PATTERNS TURN INTO HABITS
We often use food for reasons other than physical nourishment.
Hard day, let’s have a takeaway. Temporarily, we feel better because of the mouth pleasure.
The next time we have a hard day, we remember the temporary and we repeat the ritual. If we continue to repeat this cycle, we may find ourselves slipping every time we feel blue.
We’re not even thinking about it at this point; it’s just habit. It is this habit that becomes a food addiction.
Habits are powerful, for better or for worse. They can work for us or against us.
Luckily, we have control over this.
All it takes is a little time and an understanding of how habits get formed.
All animals learn habits in the following way –
Trigger (Something Happens) > Behaviour > Reward.
PUT HABITS TO WORK
Identify your triggers - they are what is driving your food addiction:
CHANGING YOUR HABITS TO AVOID FOOD ADDICTION
When you find yourself eating when you’re not physically hungry, increase your awareness of your triggers by asking yourself:
What am I feeling?
What time is it?
Who am I with?
Where am I?
What thoughts am I having?
Find a new behaviour every time you feel these triggers. These must be individual to you for them to be effective.
The road to a better lifestyle is takes more than just your nutrition. However, the skills and habits required to control your nutrition makes the rest of the journey far easier.
Give these a try and let us know how you get on and how you feel they can be improved.
Share your experiences below in the comments.
The really big problem with Food Addiction is that a a lot of the ingredients that the food manufacturers use cause Cancer. So in addition to becoming your drug pusher of choice they are making you sick. Eventually your addiction is likely to kill you unless you make the changes to your eating habits.
Become a member of our Destroy Disease group and take advantage of our Free 7 Day Health Kickstarter to help you break your Food Addiction and become a healthier you.
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