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Now THIS clarifies food addiction!



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I finally found an article about food addiction written in a way that is easily understood by all. Below you will find the normal behavior versus the addictive behavior. Here's an excerpt from that section:



  • Dependence on food will be habitual, while addiction to food will be somewhat unpredictable (e.g., a morning cup of coffee versus the sudden, inexplicable drive to eat four servings of cheesecake)
  • Dependence on food will have few, if any, emotional causes, but addiction to food is provoked by emotions and circumstances that cause feelings of powerlessness (e.g., a treat to get through a trying day at work versus a binge to avoid focusing on painful thoughts
  • Dependence on food will have few, if any, emotional effects, whereas addiction to food will cause great anxiety if not properly attended to
    (e.g., being cranky due to caffeine deprivation versus feeling panicked because a planned binge is interrupted)
  • Dependence on food will cause minimal interference in other areas of a person’s life, but addiction to food will disturb every aspect
    (e.g., a love for red wine with dinner versus preferring to eat alone for the sake of overeating)
  • Dependence on food can be controlled at will, but food addiction appears as an unstoppable force in the person’s life
    (e.g., giving up pizza after noticing slight weight gain versus trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but derailing constantly; having a divided mind that seems to want opposite things)
  • Dependence on food is pleasurable, but food addiction is a torment
    (e.g., traditional Christmas Cookies versus the horror one has that one has eaten the whole box of cookies, coupled with the knowledge that one isn’t done yet)
  • Dependence on food is casual, whereas food addiction appears to the addicted person to be closely tied to his or her identity
    (e.g., the guilty pleasure of Cheetos versus the shame and feelings of inadequacy that often accompany a binge)

Perhaps one of the most important paragraphs is below: (helpful to read the entire article)

What happened in this scenario demonstrates what, for many people, is the central issue of food addiction. Bingeing allows the food-addicted person to avoid dealing with threatening emotions (such as his or her perceived failure, powerlessness, or inferiority) by replacing them with guilt and shame, which are also threatening, but in a familiar, almost comfortable way. In the mind of the food-addicted person, the pivotal issue is lack of willpower. But in truth, they are using food to defend themselves against the pain in their life. By facilitating this transfer and avoidance of emotions, food has become a drug, and it is at this point that the food-addicted person needs to seek help.

Bingeing has a different meaning for most people. When I was obese I thought it meant that you ate in the closet in the dark with a whole package of Oreos and a gallon of milk. Of course I didn't do that so I didn't think it applied to my behavior. (umm...denial) Finally I realized that my weekend routine of buying a huge Bucket 'O chicken and locking myself in my apartment from Friday evening until going to work on Monday morning was certainly a form of bingeing. The same thing applied to my Quarter Pounder with cheese obsession. I'm sure the Dallas quarterly earnings dropped significantly around the time I woke up to my dependence on this junk food.

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Most importantly please, please, please....do not walk the path of shame. From that same paragraph the very important part of the article... "In the mind of the food-addicted person, the pivotal issue is lack of willpower. But in truth, they are using food to defend themselves against the pain in their life." How sad it is that we are just trying to avoid the pain of life by using food. The problem is that it never works without paying a great price. Ask for help, educate yourself, and know that freedom from this disease is truly possible.

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Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for sharing this! I wish getting lap band cured food addiction ... sigh.

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Awareness of addiction is a huge step. Geneen Roth has written a number of books about addictive eating that I have found helpful. Mindfulness and DBT training can also be helpful in overcoming compulsive over-eating and replacing negative thought processes. Some people find 12 step programs helpful. For many, the answer really is eliminating the trigger foods such as white flour or sugar. It's important to realize though that an over-dependence on sugar substitute never quiets the longing and desire for sugar though.

I don't think there is any "one size fits all" answer. I know that I come from a family with compulsive and addictive behaviors. I have never picked up cigarettes, drugs or alcohol but have definitely relied on food. For the first 25+ years it wasn't much of an issue because I could eat what I wanted and stayed close to a healthy weight (maybe 10 lbs heavy). By the time I finally got a handle on my compulsive over-eating, between my Hashimoto's which is difficult to control even with Synthroid, my metabolic syndrome and the pain that makes working out difficult, I know WLS is the only way to help me attain a healthy weight. If I hadn't wrapped my head around the food issue though, having the surgery wouldn't really help in the long run. I had my first WLS appointment Jan 2 and have lost 15 lbs since then. Such a struggle since my metabolism is so messed up.

Do I still have an occasional candy bar and Coke pre-surgery? Yes. But I can't remember the last time I had a 16 oz bag of fun size Snickers bar and devoured them in an evening. If you are already post-op and still obsessing about food, please find a program, therapist, behavioral lifestyle class - something to help set you free.

Best wishes,

Chrystine

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OMG..... I forgot all about how, in my twenties, I would buy my stockpile of junk food on Friday afternoons (including the big ole bucket of chicken) and not resurface to the world until Monday mornings.... I just broke down and had a good cry..... ...... ...... ......

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Thanks for sharing this! I wish getting lap band cured food addiction ... sigh.

Yep...I wish that my surgery cured food addiction too but....I way rather work on it now than at my highest weight. There's an excellent comment that was made by another member. I'd encourage you to educate yourself as much as possible because you can retrain your brain in numerous ways to help you fight it effectively. I know I'll fight it forever but I get better at it the more I practice! :)

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Awareness of addiction is a huge step. Geneen Roth has written a number of books about addictive eating that I have found helpful. Mindfulness and DBT training can also be helpful in overcoming compulsive over-eating and replacing negative thought processes. Some people find 12 step programs helpful. For many, the answer really is eliminating the trigger foods such as white flour or sugar. It's important to realize though that an over-dependence on sugar substitute never quiets the longing and desire for sugar though.

I don't think there is any "one size fits all" answer. I know that I come from a family with compulsive and addictive behaviors. I have never picked up cigarettes, drugs or alcohol but have definitely relied on food. For the first 25+ years it wasn't much of an issue because I could eat what I wanted and stayed close to a healthy weight (maybe 10 lbs heavy). By the time I finally got a handle on my compulsive over-eating, between my Hashimoto's which is difficult to control even with Synthroid, my metabolic syndrome and the pain that makes working out difficult, I know WLS is the only way to help me attain a healthy weight. If I hadn't wrapped my head around the food issue though, having the surgery wouldn't really help in the long run. I had my first WLS appointment Jan 2 and have lost 15 lbs since then. Such a struggle since my metabolism is so messed up.

Do I still have an occasional candy bar and Coke pre-surgery? Yes. But I can't remember the last time I had a 16 oz bag of fun size Snickers bar and devoured them in an evening. If you are already post-op and still obsessing about food, please find a program, therapist, behavioral lifestyle class - something to help set you free.

Best wishes,

Chrystine

What an excellent comment!! I remember when a very intelligent bariatric surgeon told me that sugar was one of the most addictive substances in existence. I haven't had over 8 grams of processed sugar in anything since I had surgery. I think it's wonderful what you've done...you know it's all about progress, not perfection. I'm truly sorry you are having to fight Hashimoto's at the same time. I can't believe the progress you've made already!

We came from similar backgrounds. My brother was probably the worst drug addict I've ever known and it took me a long time to see that addiction is addiction. The hardest part for me is that many of the bariatric professionals don't believe in food addiction. I'm going to post another article about cross addiction. I'm very passionate about the psychological aspect of WLS. I totally agree with you that one size doesn't fit all but what I generally ask people to do is to give some things a try if what they are doing isn't working. Perhaps the most important one you mentioned is about replacing negative thought processes. I have also written at length about shame and how incredibly toxic it is. Just today one of my favorite speakers (Dr. Brene Brown) said this on Super Soul Sunday (Oprah channel).

"Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, eating disorders, violence, bullying, and aggression. Guilt is inversely correlated with those. People who can change their self-talk and believe it, have far better outcomes." She also continued to say "Everyone just wants to be seen and heard. They want to know if they matter and does what they say mean anything to you."

I fight stinkin' thinkin' on an hourly basis. That critical voice in my head screams at me all day and tells me I'm worthless. It has taken me a long time to understand that those voices don't necessarily tell the truth. I very much believe that we are what we believe so we've got to kick out the blame/shame/judgment/guilt and stop letting that stuff rent space in our heads.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your comment. You sound like you've so got it going on and you are pre-op! I had no one to learn from 13 years ago so that's why I try to start conversations about the important things. Thank you Chrystine.

Hugs, Y

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OMG..... I forgot all about how, in my twenties, I would buy my stockpile of junk food on Friday afternoons (including the big ole bucket of chicken) and not resurface to the world until Monday mornings.... I just broke down and had a good cry..... ...... ...... ......

Wow...I think you're the first person to share with me that you indulged in the big ole bucket of chicken over the weekend. Yep I was missing in action from Friday after work until Monday morning. I so often think about who is living that way now and how I wish they could find their way out too! Thank you so much for sharing!

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