There is a growing body of compelling evidence that some food is now so refined, so calorie dense and highly flavoured it is no longer behaving like food in our bodies, it behaves more like a drug. Brain imaging seems to be confirming this, showing changes in the brains of people who are eating large amounts of sugar. We have known for a long time that MSG increases the amount of food we eat, but now we are unlocking just how compelling combinations of sugar, salt and fat can be. Some of us love sweet things, some savoury but nearly always these foods that we find so addicting, contain refined carbohydrates and fat.
If your brain is wired up this way, overeating can become worse over time and contribute to weight gain, or even ever more desperate attempts to deal with the extra calories like purging.
If you think that your desires for food overwhelm you and makes you keep eating even when you don’t want to then have a look at the Yale food scale, and see what you think. This questionnaire ideally should be done “blind”, that is, you shouldn’t know what it is looking for, so bear that in mind when you answer the questions, be really honest with yourself. If you feel compulsive eating is something that is affecting your health and peace of mind, then diets are not the solution for you. There are dozens of food addictions questionnaires on the market but most of them are really just sales tools and this is the only evidence-based and validated one. Use it as a way to think about your eating, not to judge yourself and not to attack.
I can help with the food side, helping you find ways to eat that will help you deal with your cravings, getting to know your patterns, and your “trigger” foods (the ones you can’t stop eating once you start). Even in the face of serious health challenges, it can be astoundingly hard to eat differently consistently enough to impact our health. Sometimes when the stakes get higher our eating can get worse! I understand.
Addiction does NOT mean you are helpless or a victim. Does adding addiction into a self-diagnosis means you can give up? No. It means you approach things differently. A more effective way for you to regain your health is to get help with the craving and compulsion around food, not to memorise calories and go on another diet. The food industry isn’t going to change (overnight anyway), so those temptations are not going to disappear and neither will your sedentary job or the other things affecting your health.
There is no cavalry so, you are going to have to mount your own horse and ride to your own rescue. Understanding a little about food addiction might help you ride in the right direction.
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