Understanding Food Addiction

You may have heard of the more common types of Eating Disorders such as Bulimia, Binge Eating, and Anorexia. There are various types out there, yet many include similar signs.

Common Signs of Food Addiction

Going out of your way in order to obtain food

Binge Eating and then ‘getting rid of the binge’ through vomiting, laxatives or overly excessive exercise

Feeling out of control with regards to eating.

Extreme dieting or rigid eating rules

Feeling guilty or anxious when eating or thinking about food

Looking forward to nothing but food during the day

Eating differently in private than when with other people

Eating to escape from problems and feelings

Causes Of Food Addiction

Food addiction is likely to stem from a culmination of several factors.  Uncontrollable eating habits might develop into an addiction as a result of biological, psychological, or social reasons.  Biological causes that may influence food addiction might include hormonal imbalances, side effects certain medications, or through hereditary gain.

A food addiction might also be the result of psychological factors such as emotional or sexual abuse, being a victim or survivor of a traumatic event, low-self esteem, or experiencing grief or loss.

Psychological factors such as these can influence an individual to use food as a coping mechanism to relieve the painful emotions that may have resulted.

Weight Problems and Food Addiction are NOT the Same

There is common a misconception that food addiction and weight issues are one and the same. This misconception often leads to treatments that aren’t fit for the food addict. Although food addiction might lead some to having severe weight issues (such as obesity over being too underweight), treatment of food addiction is not the same as healthy weight remedies. Some health care professionals might recommend ‘weight-loss’ or ‘weight gain’ regimens to a person with food addiction which oftentimes includes the very foods that might worsen the addict’s cravings.

At the same time, through a healthy food addiction program which focuses on whole unprocessed foods, a healthy weight can be achieved over time. Still, it is important to remember that weight issues are only a bi-product in SOME cases of food addiction. If weight gain or loss is the sole purpose for seeking help, a food addict might be setting themselves up for disappointment as the underlying cause of their issues would likely not be addressed.

What to do now?

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, this self assessment might help you to determine whether or not you have food addiction tendencies.

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