8 Symptoms of Food Addiction

After I posted about my own experiences of food addiction, there was a lot of people reaching out and expressing they felt they might be addicts too. Food addiction isn't talked about or often diagnosed in this country, so I thought I'd post the 8 diagnsis points for food addiction and share some of my own experiences of each...

1. Cravings Despite Being Full

Cravings after eating is nothing to write home about, most people do it. However, if you're craving so hard you can't resist after eating a nutritious meal until your full on a regular basis (more than 4 times a week), then this could be a sign of food addiction.

Important to remember, this craving is not about your need for energy or nutrients, it is your brain calling for something that releases dopamine in the reward system of the brain.

My Experience: I eat a huge Sunday dinner and want cake afterwards. I eat a decent plate of food of anything and I spend the 20 minutes after it craving crisps, chocolate etc even if I'm full to bursting. I'd say realistically I do this most nights.

2. Eating More than Intended - The "All Or Nothing" Response

For some people, there is NO such thing as a bite of chocolate or a single piece of cake. One bite turns into 20 and one slice of cake turns into half a cake. This is an “all or nothing” phenomenon that is common with addicts of all sorts. There is no such thing as “moderation” – it simply does not work. Telling a food addict to eat junk food in moderation is kind of like telling an alcoholic to drink beer in moderation… it’s just not possible.

Important to remember: Most food addicts have a trigger food they find they have a very strong all or nothing response to, these foods must be avoided to avoid relapse.

My Experience: Eating 2 whole cans of Pringles in 1 sitting because I have no "stop" button. Ordering a chicken bbq pizza, chips and garlic mayonnaise, polishing that off and then calling the takeaway back for more chips. The day I identified my trigger foods was the day I got my willpower :)

3. Eat Until Feeling Excessively “Stuffed”

If you give into a craving (see symptom 1) and decide to indulge, you then go on to eat more and more until you feel so completely stuffed you're uncomfortable or even in pain. This is also a symptom common in alcoholics who drink so much it causes them physical pain yet they continue regardless.

Important to Remember: This is not talking about a bit of a tight belly, it's referencing nausea, bloat and tightness that's painful.

My Experience: Sitting in a Frankie & Bennies a year ago unable to get out of the seat I was in because I felt so sick and bloated. I'd eaten a sharing starter pretty much to myself, plus a calzone with chips etc and then, even though I was already in pain, a sharing sundae... to myself.

4. Feel Guilty Afterwards, But do it Again Soon

"A guilty Conscience" around food isn't too uncommon even among none addicted consumers. The difference is a food addict will feel guilt, maybe even self loathing for over indulging but then will do it again very soon afterwards.

Important to remember: Repeatedly eating foods you feel guilty about creates a destructive cyclical relationship with food that can result in food phobias and eating disorders... yes, you can be fat and anorexic.

My Experience: There's not really 1 event to pin point here, I've eaten many things and felt guilty many many times!

5. Making up Excuses in Your Head

When you have decided to abstain from junk food on a particular day but a craving shows up anyway, you can imagine two forces being at play in your mind. One of them is the logical, rational decision you had made to abstain from junk food. Perhaps you decided to only "cheat" on Saturdays. But the other force is the craving… today is a Wednesday and you feel like having something sweet in the afternoon. A none food addict might hold out, a food addict will have a thought process something like this:

"If I eat today I can be good on Saturday instead"

"It's Wednesday which is half way through the week, at half way I deserve a treat"

"It's only one slip up, I'll get back on the wagon soon"

And it goes on.

Important to Remember: For alcoholics this is called "rationalisation" and it's a pretty common symptom throughout all addictions.

My Experience: PETROL STATIONS. "When I go to the petrol station I can have a treat only when I'm filling the car up"... then a week later I'm pulling onto the petrol station with a full tank just to get chocolate with the rationale "I'll stick a bit of fuel in now and it's longer then until I need to fill up"

6. Repeated Failures at Setting Rules For Yourself

When people are struggling with self-control in one way or another, they often try to set rules for themselves. For example… only sleep in on the weekends, always do homework right after school, never drink coffee after 2 pm. Sound familiar? There are few things that are as hopeless as setting rules about eating, especially for those who have problems with cravings. One cheat meal per week… two cheat meals per week… one cheat day, Saturday, where all bets are off… only eat junk food at parties, birthdays and holidays...

Important to Remember: Addicts view the payoff of the indulgence as higher than the pay off of resisting.

My Experience: Junk food once a month... takeaway only once a fortnight... no caffeine... no eating after 6pm.... no eating inbetween meals.... no eating (meal replacement shakes)... and on and on....

7. Hiding Your Consumption From Others

Secret eating is one of my massive issues. This is when you hide wrappers or foods from family and friends. For food addicts it can manifest as not eating in front of others, eating only outside the home, "stashing" food etc.

Important to remember: Drug addicts and alcoholics do this too, hiding your consumption is a universal trait for addicts.

My Experience! HAA! Where to start... I eat Pringles in the bathroom at home, I throw the wrappers (and now most other things) in the outside bin in a carrier bag so you cant see it when you open the bin lid. I eat junk food in my car on the way home and throw wrappers away before I get home. I used to LOOK FORWARD to my boyfriend working in the evening so I could have a takeaway....

8. Unable to Quit Despite Physical Problems

Here we are at the deal breaker. You are killing yourself with food, but you continue to eat. You are aware that having high fat high sugar food puts a strain on your body but you do it anyway because you physically can't stop.

Important to Remember: Dug addicts and alcoholics kill themselves with their substances all the time, so do we.

My Experience: I was 19st at 24 years old. I couldn't walk up stairs without getting out of breath. I felt tired and ill all the time because of my weight.... and I kept on eating.

Finally, just so you know I'm not making this up, I want to point you to the source for this information. For any study on food addiction we have to go to the USA. Yale university developed a "food addiction scale" which is available in PDF here: midss.org/content/yale-food...

Answer the questions and use the second PDF to see where you score.

Apologies for the lengthy post guys!


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60 Replies

  • omg, this sounds as if you are describing my life!

    Now, what's the best way to tackle this? I love life, and know it's more enjoyable when I'm not overweight.

  • Abstinence from trigger foods is the only way if you think you're truly addicted. The first step is writing a list of the trigger foods you crave regularly.

    A trigger food is:

    1. A food you think about eating even when you are full

    2. A food you fantasize about all day

    3. A food you will acquire at some inconvenience

    4. A food that makes you salivate when you think about it even when you are full

    5. A food you actively consume even though it makes you feel guilty.

    Really REALLY think about your list and take about an hour to write them all down. My list is only 15 long but there's a lady in America I spoke to who has nearly 200 foods on hers. I also have ALL high fat, high sugar foods on my list for the time being.

    Once you've identified the foods, just don't eat them and go about your diet as normal in other respects. If you find yourself binging on ANYTHING, add it to the list.

    I've been clean for 5 weeks now. The biggest thing is you MUST treat this as an addiction and recognise the behaviours as a result of addiction, not hunger.

    It gets easier the further away from your last relapse you get. In week 3 I had a major struggle but now at week 5 i'm not really craving too badly which is a phenomenal change for me!

  • Ahhh webMD, the source of so much misinformation lol. Good article but it's about compulsive over eating, not food addiction. Food addiction is specific to certain foods, compulsive over eating is all foods. Compulsive over eating is also often the result of emotional trauma, food addiction is not, there's often no trigger or reason for the consumption other than the food itself. BED (binge eating disorder) is also a completely separate disorder with a completely different set of triggers. I've researched this extensively and actually you're post highlights just how little people actually know about why obesity occurs :) It also highlights my point perfectly that there's about 15 different reasons for over consumption, only 2 of which are diagnosed regularly in the UK.

  • I'll also address the point it makes about food addiction: It mentions the rat experiment with high fat high sugar foods but it doesnt reference the human trials. They did MRI scans of over 4,000 obese people and fed them high fat high sugar food that the participant identified as desirable. Yale found that in 40% of cases, the dopamine response in the brain was stronger than that of a similar trial conducted with users of crack cocaine. They also ran the same trial on moderate fat, moderate sugar foods with the same participants and saw no increase in dopamine response. This conclusively evidenced that the addiction people identify is due to the sugar and fat content in foods, not food in general. The conclusion and practical application that Yale developed was a scale to identify food addiction and a treatment program. The term "food addiction" does not reference all food as, quite rightly pointed out by the article, food is not an addictive substance. Neither is cigarette paper or tobacco, it's the nicotine in the tobacco that's addictive just like it's the sugar and fat in the food that's addictive n 40% of obese people. The treatment program I mentioned earlier involves a complete abstinance from the high fat, high sugar food that a participant identifies as desirable, otherwise known as a "trigger food". Food addiction is now often being referred to in the USA as HFHS addiction (high fat high sugar), as this is a more accurate term. Food addiction is a controversial diagnosis, but so was alcoholism at one point...

  • Here here! I am in full agreement of what you have said - it's nice to be in a safe forum as this and explicit our thoughts and feelings.

  • Hi, I wouldn't say all of those apply to me but many do. During the day I don't think about food much but the evenings are very hard. I would say it has taken me about 3 months to break the desire to eat way more than I should in the evenings. But even then last night I found myself thinking about food again - it was interesting because I could identify what was happening as it happens so much less now, thankfully. I have used a mixture of low cal snacks and sheer will power to get past it but it hasn't always been easy.

    The issue with food of course is that we need it to survive so you can't just simply (!) give it up like smoking or alcohol. It is a matter of changing your attitude and learning to control your cravings - easier said than done, but it can be done :)

  • There are just as many Drs who dont believe in food addiction as believe in it. If your mind is saying you are addicted thats you telling you to avoid foods. If this works for you then thats fine. Sugar is addictive as is salt. You can learn to reduce both. Since cutting out all pre processed foods I dont want anything sweet or salty. I dont add sugar or salt to anything. If I was addicted to either why was it so easy to give both up without any withdrawals. Addiction is just another excuse to say Im bad but I know why Im bad. I am fat because I eat too much whether its a bowl of salad or a plate of vegetables or anything else. I got to 20 stone because I was lazy and didnt do anything about it. No food ever was eaten just because it was there and I craved it. I never feel full and I never feel hungry so I over eat. Now I am actually monitoring the calories Im losing weight because I have controlled my portions. If you are addicted to sugar and/or fat do you find yourself going to the shops in the middle of the night to eat those "food addictions" you say you have? Or do you eat when you see the food you have forbidden? There is a difference one is you can not survive without eating the food you have forbidden the other is you had made it a bad food so you have to eat it.

  • Great that you're making progress but please bear in mind that other people's experiences are different to yours. Saying food addiction is 'just an excuse' is probably short sighted in this respect. You gave those things up easily because you're not a food addict, clearly. At no point has it been inferred that all fat people have a food addiction, that's not the case but some of us do, so please respect and be mindful of that. If you don't identify with anything I've said what was the point in commenting? If the post doesn't apply to you just keep on scrolling, don't be disrespectful and write someone else's experience off as 'just an excuse', that's hurtful, disrespectful and rude. Learn compassion and stop dismissing things you clearly don't understand.

  • I am a very compassionate person that is why I am querying why you say its an addiction when clearly it isnt. You are not compulsed to go out and specifically eat it because you crave it and would die without it (an addiction), you eat it because you enjoy eating it and then feel bad.

  • Ask a smoker if they feel they will 'die' without a cigarette. Again, thank you for your opinion, in this case you are wrong and have no professional or personal experience that would suggest you're able to prove otherwise. Please don't comment on my posts again, we quite clearly disagree and I find you quite abrasive. You may want to address that when offering support in the future.

  • My boyfriend does want to die if he doesnt have a cigarette so Im not sure of your point.

  • Then he should probably seek professional help for his addiction. That's an incredibly strong response to have. I do experience physical symptoms of addiction though, aching fingers, griping, grinding teeth etc. this is common for food addicts. Can I please ask you why you joined this site?

  • I joined to understand my relationship with food. How can I diagnoise food addiction if I dont believe in it and no one could get me to understand it

  • Exactly, how can you? And how can you therefore comment on my addiction? How are your comments here helping you understand your relationship with food, Kate? You're just hurting someone else's efforts which is an awful, awful thing to do. Please concentrate on yourself, the last thing I need in my life right now if your blatant negativity.

  • To understand my relationship with food how do I know if I have a food addiction if you can not explain it clearly. I am not hurting you I am querying what you say and you are determined to say Im attacking you when its you attacking you.

  • Ok Kate, writing my addiction off as 'not real' and 'an excuse' is not hurtful. What ever you say. Please stop commenting, you and I don't agree, move on.

  • I had already moved on but you are determined to keep telling me lies and excuses as to why you dont challenge your point of view.

  • Ok Kate, have a wonderful day.

  • You also just said 'I don't believe in food addiction' and 'I gave it up easily' when talking about fat and salt, so you probably don't have a food addiction, you're just fat because you eat too much like you said previously. I outlined all 8 symptoms of food addiction. If it was written in a way you didn't understand then I apologise, I'll try rhyming couplets next time.

  • It was my statement of fact. I didnt believe in food addiction because no one explained it properly. Which is why I kept asking.

  • Ok, as I've said have a wonderful day, bye now :)

  • You too. I do hope you write more about why people do not see it as food addiction because that is the only way to change peoples view on the subject.

  • Thanks, the book will be published as a mini e-series late next year :) I hope you start posting about your own experiences, it would be nice to see where you're coming from

  • Im still in early days but Im concentrating on mental disorder route as to why we can not say no.

  • BTW you meantioned pringles as one of the food addictions. You do know they add an ingredient that has an addiction quality to them dont you?

  • Haha yep, God knows how they are even legal! Pringles are definitely a high one on the list, there's 15 in total! :O

  • Its one of the reasons as to why I stopped eatting all pre processed food. Its the food they feed us that is killing us. I prepare my own meals from fresh ingrediants and am much healthier for it.

  • I bet! It's a much better way to live :) I do the same thing but because all high fat, high sugar foods are on my list at the moment and it's scary how much sugar they put in processed food! Even supermarket soups can have 4 teaspoons!! Much safer to cook from scratch!

  • It's a very good place to start, checkout BEDS and compulsive eating disorder if you think you for those better than food addiction, all have very similar symptoms but BEDS particularly has an emotional trigger, I've heard you mention you think that might be your trigger in a previous post. I don't know if you've gone down the GP route yet but if not, if your GP is awesome they can refer you to a dietician and then to a bariatric specialist who can offer CBT as a treatment. If that's too much of a long winded process though, sometimes just identifying the problem in yourself can help a hell of a lot, give the demon a name! It also makes you aware of your triggers so when they roll around you're ready for them and you don't turn to food! Best of luck and I hope you work it out :)

  • Like I said I over eat but I dont have the Im empty or full feelings. Nothing to do with food triggers. I just over eat.

  • I've never heard or experienced that personally so I can't be much help, but surely that's to do with the release of a hormone to tell you to stop eating? It's called leptin, your fat cells release it when you've had enough to eat but there has been studies done that suggest some people don't produce it in good quantities, maybe something to look at as a starting point?

  • Thanks Ill look into it. The thing with me is I tend not to eat. My first meal of the day is often 3pm even though Im awake at 6am and doing stuff. I just dont feel hungry. When I start eating thats when I over eat and the cycle continues.

  • Oh right I see, it sounds daft and really simple but have you tried forcing yourself to eat breakfast? I never used to eat breakfast but when I started I found I ate much less at lunch and dinner time. If your blood sugar suddenly spikes at 3pm you're likely to over indulge, keeping blood sugar even and stable throughout the day is key for some people. If you can't eat 3 meals a day, have 5 small meals spread evenly and see if that helps?

  • Thats exactly what Im doing. I put my oatmeal in my dish and hour ago but still havent eaten it yet lol. Im trying to understand why I do it but I just dont know. I have started using myfitnesspal to monitor what I eat and am trying to watch the carb and fat levels as well as salt and fibre. I find it easy to do but understand not everyone can count calories. Im not in favour of the current LCHF where the F stands for fats. I do Low calories High Fibre. It is interesting experiment. Some people swear by the high fats but as I am reading about leptin Im worried that some people will go down that route and end up with more problems. I suspect my diabetes is causing some of the blocks on the leptin and giving me more resistance to the full feeling. Hopefully the changes to the carbs and fats with the changes to eatting atleast 3 times a day will kick in a habit of over eatting. Time will tell.

  • Oooooh glad you're looking into leptin :) my fitness pal is an awesome app, I use it too and it helps me see my progress really well :) I started using it the day I gave up trigger foods so it also tracks how many days clean I am :) best of luck!

  • You too

  • Im also sorry you felt down by anything I said. I tend to disbelieve everything until someone can explain it to me. I have a bad habit of interogation if I feel Im not getting answers. Too many people just believe in what "specialists" say. There is too much evidence out there that contradicts everyone else. Things I have learnt about being fat and unfit is its not one problem and has many many solutions. The best solution is to take control back and stop seeing food as either good or bad or a reward. Food is food. Calories in and calories out make those calories work for their eatting (essential vitamins and minerals over sugar and fat).

  • Perfect way to look at things :) I figured you probably didn't mean to be rude and I overreacted, just a break down in communication I think :) water under the bridge :) I think we're actually quite similar lol

  • I'll put my cards on the table just to show some credentials: I've been researching food addiction and eating disorders on and off for 3 years for a book I'm in the process of writing. This has involved conversations with doctors, bariatric specialists, FAA (food addicts anonymous, an organisation in the USA) and also other people who identify/ have been diagnosed with food addictions. While you're correct that many doctors still struggle to diagnose food addiction, I'll point out that only 20% of all eating disorders are diagnosed correctly. Only 0.07% of overeating disorders are thought to ever be diagnosed world wide. Some doctors still don't 'recognise' bulimia either. As I've previously pointed out and with respect, you've entered into a battle of wits on this issue and come woefully unarmed. I see you're yet to post on here about your own experiences of obesity, perhaps doing so could help you? Maybe sharing your experiences might help you find some like minded folk and then you wouldn't feel the need to hurt other people? I hope you find the support you need :)

  • I intention is not to hurt you but to understand you. What you are saying is totally alien to me and I see it as a mental disorder based on what I have read that you are trying to "fit" into something you can believe in. If you are writing a book about it, I would question why other people dont believe in food addicts and why people mis diagnoise food addiction if they even do misdiagnoise it. It is not meant to be rude to you but if you can not put your views forward well enough to say why you think its an addiction other than you are saying it is then how will you convince other people of your point of view. Alcohol and cigarettes are proven addiction that we can see withdrawal effects with. To put food in the same category isnt right.

  • My intention isn't to convince anyone of anything, it's to share my experience which (as evidenced by other responses) is also the experience of many other people. Do you have experience of addiction? If so you'll know that the 8 symptoms I outline are almost identical to the symptoms of alcoholism. these are not my points by the way, they are lifted almost word for word from the study done by Yale University. Food addiction is misdiagnosed (according to FAA) because family doctors (we call them GP's here) are not educated on the root causes of obesity. This is a worldwide issue which is thankfully changing thanks to better awareness and education. Compulsive overeating disorder and BED (binge eating disorder) is also vastly misdiagnosed often as depression or in children as autism. Your intention may not have been to cause upset, but your tone and complete lack of empathy certainly did cause upset. As I mentioned, this is something you may wish to address when offering your opinions in future. I'll ask politely again that you don't reply to my posts in future, they clearly don't apply to you and you have nothing helpful or supportive to add.

  • I think that people are often seen as jumping on the latest band wagon - the current ones seem to be addictions to sugar and wheat intolerances. Because every other people seems to be suffering from one or the other their is a tendency to think it is nonsense.

    The dictionary defines addiction as - the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. There is also reference to obsession.

    I know that I have in the past been obsessed with food but I wouldn't go so far as to say I had an addiction, but it was far from normal or just a consequence of laziness and greediness. My obsessions only happened in the evenings and have taken 3 months to overcome.

    I used to work with a woman who I would say was addicted to food - I have literally never seen anyone eat like it. She was constantly yo-yo dieting putting on a losing 4 stone on a regular basis. Even when dieting she ate pretty much all day - mostly fruit and sugar free sweets to the point she made herself ill.

    So many people have unhealthy attitudes to food for whatever reason, I think it is fair to say food addiction is real.

  • I agree it becomes a trend. I personally have suffered and identified as a food addict for 5 years now and it's no picnic. I know my trigger foods now and it's time to do something about it :) I was quite upset last night because I thought this forum was a safe place, clearly with attitudes like Kate's it's not as safe as I thought and that's really sad :(

  • This is a difficult subject to bring up, good luck with writing a book. This is one article on food addiction which may be of interest, if you haven't come across it before.


  • @Penel This makes much more sense. Thank you

    Its interesting reading. I see HanPanStrawberryJam in the The Other Side of The Story – Restrictive Dieting and Eating Disorders group because of the way the food is hidden and seen as bad. Food addicts who can not stop themselve from eating certain foods because of their cravings might need to look at their vitamins and minerals as well as banning foods. I know I stopped cravings by increasing my Vitamin B complex

  • ? It's exactly the same as everything I've said....

  • No its not. Maybe you need to look at why I said this.

  • Where 'you see me' is totally irrelevant. Please focus on your own journey and stop trying to de-rail mine.

  • Hi Penel yes it's a wonderful article, very well researched and referenced and I often refer to it for sources on where to go next :) thanks for the luck! The book has been a work in progress for a while, should hopefully be published a a mini e-series late next year :)

  • Perhaps the difficulty is that this is the NHS weight loss forum, set up to go with the NHS weight loss plan and it does tend to get 'hijacked' (not in a malicious way but certainly in a very intense way) by other things and people who are on the forum primarily to pursue other goals.

    The point is being well made that food addiction and eating disorders cannot be addressed simply by normal weight loss or activity increasing measures.

  • Wow! You have really done your homework. Are you managing to turn things around now? Good luck!

  • Haha thanks! And yes I am :) 5 weeks clean and 11lbs down so far :)

  • I've just read your post and most of the replies. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, I found it very interesting and I could identify with so much of what you've said...eating cake after a full roast dinner, eating chocolate bars in the bathroom and hiding the wrapper, buying bags of sweets before I got on the train home from work and making sure all the sweets were eaten before I got off the train so nobody at home would know about it. When I started the NHS 12 week plan 11 weeks ago my aim was to change my attitude to eating and my relationship with food, very surprisingly I have found the last 11 weeks easy, I haven't eaten any cake, biscuits, sweets etc. & no food cravings at all, I've had just 1 small blip when I ate some peanuts and a couple of slices of bread and jam (no sweets or chocolate in the house), I've managed to lose over 1 and 1/2 stone and want to lose another stone. My big concern is how do I start eating normally, I've become obsessed with calorie counting and reading food labels, I'm almost afraid to eat a biscuit or slice of cake in case I

    re-awaken my love of sugar and start the whole ugly cycle all over again. Anyway, that's for another day. Thank you so much for such an interesting and thought provoking post.

  • I would try something small. If you like biscuits and chocolate and you feel as though you are going to eat a whole packet if you start eating them, buy something like a twix. Just one packet. Eat one finger, if you then have to eat the other straight away, then this is a food you should avoid in the future. Its the ability to say no one is enough that will stop the crazy path of binge eating everything. If you can not say no to just one then dont eat it.

  • Wow. What a lot of comments and arguments!

    Personally I can identify with all 8 symptoms you posted HanPanStrawberryJam. However, I try to avoid diagnostic labels and work on my individual symptoms. For example, I know I can do well during the day (mostly) but then binge at night, so I am trying to reduce the amount of 'rubbish' food I have in the house, trying to find other tasks to do to keep me busy and trying to go to bed earlier.

    I agree that cutting out trigger foods is the only way forward. I previously have followed a Paleo diet which for me made loads of sense, based on the evolution of our digestive systems. Once I had done this for about a week, I lost all cravings for anything else and then really started to no longer enjoy those foods at all. It really is a slippery slope though as re-introducing foods that I wasn't meant to include in the Paleo diet resulted in me becoming addicted/obsessed all over again.

    This time I have re-found my enjoyment of exercise. I used to swim a lot but stopped when I was 13. I've been twice this week already before work and really enjoyed the activity, which is SO much more motivating than doing it because I have to! I am hoping that focusing on the positives of enjoying something will overpower the difficulties of amending my food intake. It is also true that the more exercise I do the less I want 'rubbish food' as my body will do it's own cleanse and I need to start listening to that!

    I wish you all well on your weight loss journeys. Whatever diagnosis/label/reason you give yourself it's a hard journey and requires commitment and determination. Neither of those things are easy to maintain over prolonged periods so we should all commend those that are trying so hard to be healthier. :)

  • Panhanstrawberryjam, you need to watch this video as to why I was saying it is bad to say to you that you will never have x food.

    healthunlocked.com/nhsweigh.... 6.40 is her explanation as to why you need to say its no for today.


  • Reading this it really hits home with me, thank you for sharing your own personal experiences. If you don't mind me asking how did you make changes and what did you do when you first realised that you may have an addiction? xx

  • Ok, so the first thing is to identify which specific foods cause you to crave and binge. If there isn't a particular food, it's not a food addiction and it's more likely to be BED (binge eating disorder). Write the foods down and label them as your trigger foods. next thing to do is when you find yourself craving a food on the list, think: this is not hunger, this is my addiction speaking. Do not cave and do not eat your trigger food, you'll find over time the cravings get much lighter. Keep a record of how many days 'clean' you are too, that helps.

    My own personal experience with food addiction started when my GP and a nutritionist couldn't tell me why I was craving so strongly, both just sent me home with an eating plan. This was frustrating because I've always known my own relationship with food is unhealthy and I know that's psychological not physical. The NHS clearly couldn't help me, so I decided to research BED, food addiction and a ton of other eating disorders and look at how to self diagnose and ultimately treat. Food addiction fit me perfectly so I researched it more and more, so much so that 2 years ago I started collating my research into a book :) I've spoken to a number of organisations that deal with food addiction, the most useful of these was FAA (food addicts anonymous) who are a group in the USA. Currently food addiction isn't widely recognised in the UK, but I did find a couple of private nutritionists in the UK who were very helpful. There's also a double blind, peer reviewed study on food addiction conducted by Yale university which is awesome, the result was a questionnaire you can do online that diagnoses the 8 clinical markers for food addiction.

    Personally, the thing that helped me most was getting confident enough to talk about it, never using it as an excuse to eat and always questioning WHY I'm eating.

    The most important thing is if you feel that you do fit the clinical markers of food addiction, you need to take the first step and identify those triggers, once you've done that it makes the whole thing easier :)

  • Thank you very much for your reply, after reading about your story and taking what you said in to consideration I'm learning more towards the binge eating now, I'm not sure I have specific foods that trigger it or if it's just food in general.

    I'm sorry to hear you didn't get much help from your GP, I was thinking about mentioning it but I'm overweight and feel they may think I'm just making an excuse for being fat or something but it has given me a lot to think about, thank you! :)

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