Actual Food Addiction

The term "food addiction" is thrown around all the time like it's a great excuse to why some people are fat. But what if I told you it's absolutely not an excuse...

Ladies and Gents, I'm a food addict.

That's why I'm fat. I have a complete love of high fat high sugar food. It gives me a rush of happiness I can't explain and it makes me feel "settled" somehow... It's almost like I'm at "base camp" or emotional "ground zero" when I'm eating high fat high sugar food, it's zen.

With that addiction comes a whole host of other symptoms:

Stashing food

Secret eating

Not eating in front of people

Eating until uncomfortable

Eating when not hungry


The whole shebang.

People don't recognise food addiction and I think that's because of the phrase itself. you here: "how can you be addicted to food, you need food to live"... and I agree, I'm not addicted to all food. I'm addicted to anything (and I mean anything) with high fat, high sugar contents. This is not a new thing, food addiction has always been around.. we've just called it "cravings" for a very long time and that word doesnt even begin to cut it...

This is a typical "craving" for me: So I know there's Pringles in the cupboard before we have friends over.. I will take the Pringles and hide them upstairs so they don't get eaten by anyone else, then after everyone leaves my hands will literally ache until I go and get the Pringles and eat them in the bathroom so my partner/ parents etc don't see me. I'll then throw the can in the outside bin inside a carrier bag so no one sees it.

The perfect crime.

Does that sound like just a "craving" to you?

That my friends is addiction, and it's about time we started admitting it.

This is also why when people say to me "oh just have 1 bit of cake, it wont hurt" I reply with "Would you offer a cig to someone quitting smoking?"... there seems to be a complete lack of understanding that there's no such thing as 1 piece of cake. Not ever.

I, like most food addicts, don't have a diagnosis or any professional help to quit, we have to go it alone because getting a GP to understand is almost impossible. They put you on diet plans and appetite suppressants that work for a few months, but as soon I relax I go straight back to old ways. It just doesn't deal with the heart of the problem. Want to know why this country is fat? Because there's about 15 causes of obesity and our current system in the NHS deals with about 2 of them.

We go on diets and our relationship with food becomes ever more unhealthy. We start to see food as the enemy, crash diet and as soon as we reintroduce that high fat high sugar food we go back to old habits. This constant rocking backwards demoralises, then makes you think "well this is just the way I am, I'll be fat forever".

Sound familiar?

It certainly rings true for me.

The ONLY way forward for food addicts like me is dealing with addiction cold turkey. No "trigger foods" at all. Ever.

For this reason, I will never again eat Pringles, never again eat chocolate digestives, chicken bbq pizza and chips, hobnobs, sensations or anything else on the long long list of foods that got me to this point.

That doesn't mean i can never have a takeaway again. I could have a grilled chicken kebab, I could have biscuits too just not the varieties I know I binge on because the MINUTE I go back to those foods it throws me completely off and I can't stop myself eating them. My hands and feet physically HURT with the resistance.

How can anyone expect to battle that kind of addiction alone with a diet plan for company??


That's why this whole health kick is not about losing weight for me. It's about kicking the addiction for good. I don't know how to do that, there's no information online or help groups to be a part of that deal with food addiction so I don't know what will happen. All i know is I'm staying strong and absolutely never giving in to a "craving" again.

Not Ever.

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24 Replies

  • Wow - that's powerful stuff and a brilliant read for someone who doesn't have a food addiction (well, nothing in your league anyway). I wish there were more people like you out there who would say this loudly to the people who are supposed to want to help.

    Anyway, you have set yourself an incredibly hard task, and I wish you all the very best with it.

    I have had other issues through my life which have not been addressed by conventional medicine and I was unable to get any help from the mental health team in my locality, so, at very great expense, I got myself some hypnotherapy. It was a ridiculous amount of money - £80 per session and I needed 11 sessions - yikes! but it made a huge difference to the issues I was struggling with. I didn't go into a trance or do anything weird, just super-relaxed talking therapy with things coming out of the back of my head I didn't even know were there. And it was worth every single penny. I'm not brilliant, but I am a bloody sight better than I was before, and I know now which demons to stamp on when they try to raise their ugly heads every now and then.

    Just a thought.

    Good luck, and please please keep posting. I would love to be part of the team that helped you through this.


  • Well done.

    Both for coming to the decision and for posting so bravely about it.

    It is odd how attitudes towards addiction vary depending on the 'substance' of the addiction. If you replaced 'Pringles' in the above post with 'Bottle of Wine' no-one would question it as beng alcoholism.

    The flipside of that though, is addictions can all be broken with honesty, determination and support. You clearly have plenty of the first two of those and this is a great place for the latter.

  • That's got that out of the way now to do something about it. You can but you have to want to. You have to want to more than anything else

    I packed up booze

    and fags

    and bad food

    I can't have one drink or one fag or one takeway. I can't. So, I have none of it.

    After runs I don't eat bad stuff. I eat good stuff. You just can't let things slide. It's tough but not as tough as the alternative

    You are on the wrong side at the minute but you can make the transition, come out the other side and reach safety. The journey is often stormy, and there will be times when you want to turn back, times when you think you might sink, times when you can barely keep your head above water. You can make it though but you can't cave in to people trying to indulge you. I have my WW Leader and class mates to turn to when it gets hard so I'd urge you to join such a group. We have an official monthly weigh in but I often go every week just to keep myself in check.

    I hated it at first and railed against it for a bit as I thought calorie counting, pointing stuff up blah blah was stupid, but as I failed to shift the weight "my way" I just bit the bullet and did it. Resistance was futile sorta thing. Once I buckled down and got serious then that was it. I began to see a regular weight loss.

    Don't put it off. Just do it. Good luck x

  • Yep, that's exactly where I am at the moment. Doing something about it. I'm 4 weeks clean so far :)

  • Your post is bravely honest and I admire your openness and commitment. You're clearly very determined and want to change and I wish you every success.

  • That's a really powerful post, and I'm full of admiration for you. Good luck with it, and if we can give encouragement, I'm sure we will.

  • I have just been in Las Vegas for the past few days and I have never seen so many HUGE people in one place before. And it was plainly obvious why they are so big - most of them seemed to me to be drinking sugary drinks of one kind or another all the time. They were even selling very large drinking containers with very long straws that people were carrying around with them all along the strip. Plus the fast food sold everywhere - burgers, pizzas, etc -- it was obviously the standard fare. Plus smoking!

    Do they all have a death wish. Are their lives either so good or so bad that they all want to die young?? Have they ever seen somebody slowly die with lung cancer or lose their limbs through diabetes?? It is very ugly!!

  • I recognise some of your experience and I know some of what you are up against. Problem is that you can live without fags or booze but you need food and giving up (nice) food is a.) impossible if you want to live and b.) not what life is for. I have found running really helpful to readjust my head and my relationship with food. But there are times when I have a relapse with good..., just like a bad run. I have established a good routine of running and eating good food and use the Apple health app to monitor my calorie intake. Some days I have more than I should; so I eat less the next day to ensure over a week an average of ideally 1500 a day ; at the moment it's 1700 but I count everything I eat ( even if that means I log 3,500 for a day which I have at least once in the last three months). I have lost several kilos so if I can anyone can. Good luck.

  • I have a family member who would argue that smoking (or having the choice to smoke) is "living life to the full" and that life isnt worth living without fags. Do we really need high fat high sugar foods to enjoy ourselves? really when you look at it?

  • wow, I've never read anything that sums up the feelings that we go through quite so eloquently nor accurately.

    I am exactly the same. I also will go out and buy snacks for when the friends arrive, but there will only be 1 packet out of 5 that will be shared - the rest will be hidden under my bed and then the evidence removed Sunday nights when the bins are being taken out the next morning so that no one will know.

    I completely get the anxiety (the only word I can think of) of someone or other people eating what snacks are available when I want/feel like I need to eat them - I also hide them, or eat them before they can.

    And I get the ache, I get it all over my body if I know there is something sweet or fatty or convenient in the house and when I'm depressed or bored, the ache comes again knowing that the shop is only 5 minutes away.

    Its not only my waste line that suffers - my bank account, my relationships with the people around me and the trust they have in me and my addiction.

    Thank you for sharing this, I don't feel completely crazy any more.

  • The point of this post was for people like you, I have no shame or embarrassment sharing this stuff because I can whole heartedly identify it in myself as a weakness. It's liberating :)

  • Thankyou so much for such an honest account...I had no idea and I have to fess up and say that I do get angry when I see friends so overweight that will probably die before 70 from related health problems when all it takes is for them to eat less. That has really helped me understand ( especially the Pringles episode), a bit like alcoholism... We are all here right behind you to support you through. Thankyou so much for that bit of education, I will certainly see and try to understand a little better.... x

  • I'm so glad! I genuinely think people like you are conditioned by the media to think fat people are making a concious choice to shorten their lives. We're not conditioned to sympathise with fat people the same way we're conditioned to sympathise with alcoholics and drug addicts because food addiction just isnt talked about in the same way. If me talking about my experiences is helping to educate I've got TONS more to share. It's worth a conversation with your fat friends, direct them my way if you think they have the same issue :)

  • I've only read a book of theirs, Beyond Overeating, which was a good reminder that fundamentally I have an OK relationship with food and my body and should be very grateful for that, but the Beyond Chocolate people seem to have some good ideas which might help.

    What I am not clear about and which might be getting in the way of you accessing appropriate support is how the 'food addiction' as you describe it is different from an 'eating disorder'.... except in where you locate the problem perhaps. Food addiction as a term may locate the problem in the substance rather than in you... which is not at all to imply that avoiding certain foods may not be absolutely necessary for you but on its own may not be a) achievable or b) the whole answer. (Hence the merits of the empowerment that comes with things like C25K)

    [I have a dear friend with an eating disorder with similar symptoms (different trigger foods)]

  • Food addiction is an eating disorder, just like alcoholism and drug addictions are substance disorders. The problem IS in the substance in either instance. High fat high sugar foods create a stronger chemical response in the pleasure centres of the brain than crack cocaine... just let that sink in a sec. People like me crave that pleasure response from places we know we can get it, ie: food. I have an addictive personality. If I had been introduced to fags or cocaine as a kid I'd probably be addicted to those too, however thankfully (ish) my issue is just food. At this stage, avoiding the foods is my only (and I mean ONLY) defence against over eating, and the only way to maintain willpower :) I'm hoping by the time I've lost a bit of weight my GP might actually listen to me.. here's hoping!

  • What a brave and honest post. Well done for putting it all out there openly and honestly. That has got to be the first step in any addiction cure. I admire you for your honesty, and hope you can find your way through this.

  • I so admire this post. I get really annoyed when people assume that all fat people are purely greedy. I remember literally yelling at the radio one day at the Jeremy Vine programme when he just wasn't listening to someone who genuinely had a thyroid issue that caused weight gain.

    Now don't get me wrong, I am a greedy mare, I like foods that are "bad" for you - ok I like food generally and I have in the past been guilty of the secret eating bit (stuffing the sweeties down your throat in the car on the way home and convincing yourself that it's just a treat) but I don't think I have an addiction, I know what to do to lose weight, but at times I just can't be a**ed with the effort. But oh boy yes I can so relate to everything you've said and I do agree that food addiction has to be one of the most difficult to manage as you just can't avoid it.

    But, the key thing is, you've made a great start and between us all, we'll support you through your journey.

    Good luck and thank you again for your honesty. x

  • See this is why treating 'fat people' almost like a race is a really dangerous thing. You can't discriminate against all fat people just for being fat because there's so many different causes. i might be fat for medical reasons while a person my size sitting next to me might have a psychological reason. No matter how many reasons there are, one of the more perpetuated reasons certainly doesn't exist, that is: I'm fat because I choose to be. That's not a thing and it's about time the world recognised that and stopped treating fat people like a drain on society :(

  • This gals blog was my saving grace to my "cravings" (Binge eating)! binging ruled my life for years (15+)!! I knew from the word go that I was binging, I felt so alone and out of control at the same time! Your all or nothing approach sounds great right after a binge. But then what? You and I both know the reality of never eating "trigger" foods again are unrealistic! Trust me, I've been there! Just like a smoker, it's easy to say "no more", right after smoking a cigarette! That is until the craving hits again, and it will! Just like food cravings will! I was referred to this gals blog at my all time low! She posted a technique within her blog that she used personally, to quit binging. I used it and haven't binged since. This is huge, if you know me because I was a champ at binging! NEVER once did I look at binging in the perspective she puts it in, makes complete sense! LOVE her blog, as many times as I've googled binging, her blog never once came up. Only sites that wanted my credit card, which was extremely discouraging for me because I would just leave the site and continue on my destructive path. Best part is her blog and technique, everything for that matter is totally free, I've been following her for awhile now and have never been asked for payment of any kind. Anyways, this has been what has helped me, based on your story which I can totally relate too except it wasn't one can of Pringles for me, it was whole candy bars, cookies, ice cream, peanut butter get the picture:(

    Hope this helps you, I wish you all the best!

  • Thanks for the link! Her story is totally different to mine though, she's a binge eater, And buleamic, I'm neither! Also would you tell an alcoholic it's totally impossible to avoid drinking alcohol ever again? The notion that it's impossible to avoid trigger foods is wrong, I don't need to eat those things to live so it's completely possible to avoid them just like an alcoholic can avoid alcohol :) I know from personal experience that eating those foods triggers a spiral for me, so my choice is to avoid the food and avoid the trigger in the first place :) it's hard when I walk past my favourite takeaway or the Pringles aisle in the supermarket, but then it's hard for alcoholics at parties too. I've just got to get a grip! 1 month clean so far :)

  • I wish you all the best!

  • Well done on your success so far. I am sure it won't be easy going forward but hopefully the benefits of what you are doing will become a reinforcing incentive to keep going. All the best.

  • wow this is a really interesting post for me as I have only very recently began to acknowledge my own emotional relationship with food. For as long as I can remember I have been an all or nothing type of gal, I can control myself when with others but will finish the lot if on my own and particularly low in mood. There is a physical satisfaction after eating certain foods to excess but for me there is a massive psychological issue also. After a binge I feel terrible and worthless which leads me to eat further, particularly if on a diet, as once I've blown it there's no going back.

    I started running this January to improve my fitness and then joined slimming world a few weeks later. The first six weeks or so we're easy as I avoided all bad foods and didn't miss them as I was still eating large amounts of other healthy foods. Focusing on c25k has also been very positive. Sometimes I have worried about the amount of fruit I am eating as although it is healthy I can feel the effects of the spikes in blood sugar, it just makes me want to eat more and more. I suppose it is better to clear the fruit bowl rather than a packet of biscuits but there is still an underlying issue with control.

    I reached my target weight a couple of weeks ago and then had a crazy week of bingeing. It completely took me by surprise as I was starting to feel like I was in control of my eating habits, which added another layer of guilt. I secretly ate more junk in a few days than I had in the last 4 months. For a short while the satisfaction was great but as I was eating 100g bar of chocolate at 0730 am I knew I would regret it as the day would spiral into madness. Somehow slimming world has given me a focus and today I am back on track. I will make myself go and get weighed tomorrow to re motivate myself. Losing two stones was easier than I thought it would be, but I am expecting maintaining to be difficult. I hope I can improve my relationship with food as I want to be able to have the occasional chocolate without going mad.

    I am sorry for rambling but this post has allowed me to express some of the internal conflicts I have with myself periodically. I just want to wish anyone who is struggling with any kind of addiction the best of luck. However you choose to tackle it don't beat yourself up if you relapse into old habits at some stage. I'm expecting bad days but hopefully will have more good. Surely if I can run 10k I can do anything!

  • I admire your post. I feel encouraged to bring things out to the forefront.

    I am a food addict too. I can't put my finger on exactly when the point was, but there was definitely a point where I was over eating, then I seemed to stop caring about what was going into me, that I ate everything. Must have been 2010 when I got my own place and living on my own. I got back from work, I cooked dinner, met a friend in town and then had dinner out again and when I got back I had biscuits of whatever before bed. I was being tempted with food colleagues were bringing in at work, bacon butty mornings, jacket potatoes lunches. We had a full usable kitchen in the staff room. Lunch was always full on. (no breakfast).

    Now taking note of calories and recording everything, is making me think much more about what is a healthy relationship with food? What does that exactly look like? Is it restrictive as I imagine, or not? Can I do this? I feel like I am and need to re-educate myself upon food and nutrition.

    When you were saying, you don't give a ciggy to a person who is giving up. My mother in law, in week 1 or 2 of my weight loss, of course she and my partner do not know that I am doing the NHS choice weight loss programme. As I don't want my husband calling the shots and then having emotional roller coaster that goes with it. That will lead me down the wrong path.

    My mother in law put a selection of cakes on the table, way more than what would feed five of us. She was also doing around of bacon butties. There is me thinking, 'oh god, I don't know what these calories add up too, I'll have to look it up on NHS site later tonight', 'I won't be able to eat returning home' and 'how do I stop myself having more than 1 piece of cake'?

    Fortunately we were moving around, I wasn't facing the table the whole time we were there. I said to her that 'I am trying to be good' twice, as when she took the cakes away she offered them to all of us again. So unknowingly to them I had eaten 3 pieces of cake on top of the bacon butty. I have limited self control! I ate nothing the rest of that evening. I hope she got the hint without me having to off load my thoughts. Maybe I should just ask her for an apple next time, she puts the cakes down on the table, that might surprise them enough. Oh sorry rant over....

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