8 Symptoms of Food Addiction

There’s a lot of information and help out there for people addicted to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, even gambling, but how much have you heard about food addiction?  Usually when we hear about food related problems it’s bulimia or anorexia, and, of course, obesity.  Here are some things that you need to know about food addictions that cause serious problems every day.

Cravings When You Are Full

Having cravings after a full, balanced meal is actually not uncommon.  The real problem is not being able to control those cravings.  Being hungry and having a craving for a food are not the same, so a bit of willpower will normally be enough to ignore a craving until it goes away, but someone with a true food addiction will find it much harder, or impossible, to ignore them.  This is really because our brains crave dopamine, a hormone that gives us a pleasurable feeling.

Eating More Than You Mean To

Some people can feel satisfied with eating an actual serving size.  Serving sizes are actually quite small in most people’s minds, but most are able to stick with just a set amount, even if it is more than a serving size.  People with true food addictions cannot do this.  For these people, eating in moderation just isn’t possible because they have an internal drive that makes them keep going, even when they know it will make them feel terrible about not being able to stop.

Stuffing Yourself

Cravings can make us eat things that we shouldn’t, but food addiction makes some eat and eat until they are uncomfortably overfull.  Stuffing yourself might be pretty normal for Thanksgiving dinner, but if you find yourself eating until you are stuffed more and more often, you will want to find a way to put an end to it for good.

Doing it Again When it Makes You Feel Guilty

Eating foods that make us feel guilty is a common problem.  The bigger problem is giving in over, and over, and over again when cravings strike.  Feeling guilty is no fun because it can make people feel very sad, or angry.  However it is good because it shows that we care about ourselves, our personal rules, and our values.

Coming Up With Excuses

Sometimes we set rules for ourselves, say to avoid certain foods or only have them on special occasions.  If you vow to only have cake and ice cream at birthday parties or chips and dip at family picnics, but you make excuses to yourself about why you should eat these types of foods, you might be addicted to food.  The decision making part of the brain makes important, logical decisions about your habits, while your cravings cause you to make excuses that break down your willpower.

Trouble Sticking With Your Own Rules

We can set rules for ourselves, but our cravings will not go away.  Eventually you might just decide to eat a food no matter what your personal rules are or eat more than the limit you set for yourself.  These rules almost always end up causing stress because they are so often broken.  People with food addiction just can’t say no.

Hiding Your Eating Habits

For a person who has family that nag or try to be supportive of rules by using gentle reminders, eating when no one is looking may become a big problem.  Hiding a food addiction, just like hiding a drug addiction, can cause problems to progress mentally that push you to eat more when you are hiding, or to hide food around the house to sneak around with when no one is looking.

Inability to Stop When Serious Physical Problems Exist

If you are facing a serious illness like diabetes or obesity and still cannot stop eating junk food, then you really need to speak with a doctor.  There may be a local support group you can attend, or the doctor might be able to refer you to a nutritionist to help you make significant changes to your eating habits.

Do You Have a Food Addiction?

If you have a serious problem with any of these symptoms of food addictions, then it is very possible that you are addicted to food.  There is help out there, though not as obvious as those who help with other types of addictions.  Seek help if you are in danger of making yourself sick or if you are not able to change your habits alone.

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