Are you a Food Addict?
8 Symptoms of Food Addiction
1. Do you experience frequent cravings even when you’re full?
It’s pretty common to experience cravings, even after eating a filling, nutritious meal. For example, you might crave cookies, ice cream, or pie after eating a big dinner consisting of steak, potatoes, and vegetables. It’s important to understand and clarify that cravings and hunger aren’t the same things.
What is a craving?
Craving is when you experience an urge to eat something, despite having already eaten a meal and feeling full. Experiencing cravings is common for most people and doesn’t mean that you have a food addiction. Everyone gets cravings from time to time.
When do cravings become a problem?
When cravings often happen and not satisfying those urges and ignoring them becomes difficult, it can be an indicator of something else. Cravings are not about your body’s need for energy or nutrients — it’s your brain searching for dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain that plays a role in how humans experience pleasure.
Cravings are very common but don’t indicate food addiction. If you get cravings and ignoring or satisfying them is very difficult, this may signal a problem.
2. Eating much more than intended
Eating just a piece of chocolate or having only one slice of cake is impossible for some people. One bite turns into 15, and one slice of cake turns into eating half of that cake. This all-or-nothing approach is a familiar pattern with any addiction. There is no such thing as moderation when it comes to addiction.
Telling a person with food addiction only to eat junk food in moderation is like telling someone with alcoholism to drink in moderation. It’s impossible.
A person with a food addiction will eat much more than the average person.
3. Eating until you feel sick
A person with food addiction may not stop eating until their urges and cravings are fully satisfied. The food-addicted person eats until their stomach hurts, causing them to feel ill.
The food addict eats until feeling excessively full or sick either frequently or all the time.
4. Experiencing guilt about overeating but doing it again often.
Feelings of guilt and negative self-worth occur when a food addict attempts to control their excessive consumption of food. This person may feel that they are doing something wrong, even classifying themselves as a bad, horrible person. Despite these negative feelings, a person with food addiction will repeat this cycle.
Feelings of guilt and a negative self-image are common among food addicts.
5. Making up excuses when it comes to eating.
A person with food addiction finds excuses to give in to their cravings.
For example, it can resemble a person who is trying to quit smoking. They convince themselves that if they don’t buy a pack of cigarettes and instead bum cigarettes from a friend’s pack that they have in fact quit.
Making regular excuses for why it’s okay to overeat is a common issue with food addicts.
6. Repeated failures at setting eating related boundaries
Food addicts often set rules and then fail at sticking too them, resulting in excessive overeating. For example, these rules can be something like having a weekly cheat meal or cheat day or only allowing themselves to eat junk food at parties or holidays.
For food addicts, these rules and food boundaries always fail.
Food addicts have a similar history of failing to keep the boundaries they have set regarding food consumption.
7. Hiding eating from others
People with a history of food addiction often hide their eating from other people. They prefer to eat alone or when nobody is home, alone in their car, or even late at night when their family members are in bed.
Hiding eating is very common among people who feel unable to control their food consumption.
8. Inability to stop eating despite physical problems
The food you eat significantly affects your health in either a positive or negative way. Eating a lot of processed junk food can lead to weight gain, acne, bad breath, fatigue, poor dental health, and many other common problems in the short term. Years and decades of eating poorly will eventually lead to other health related issues like obesity, high cholesterol type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and possibly even some types of cancer.
A person who experiences any of these problems related to their intake of unhealthy foods but cannot change their habits likely needs help.
Unhealthy eating patterns can cause physical issues, but they can be hard to stop for the food addict.
Are you a food addict?
-Have you repeatedly tried to quit excessive eating?
-Have you tried to cut back on your consumption of junk food but are unable to?
If you’ve answered “YES” to both of these questions, it could be an indicator of food addiction. Fortunately, our Vfinity team of caring and experienced Lifestyle Consultants can do a health consultation with you. We offer you the tools to help reduce your cravings, while educating you to learn about your unique body and work towards empowered eating!
Quick Health Survey:
Reflect on your diet, both past, and present.
-What foods or beverages do you find hard to resist?
-Why do you think that is?
*Write these answers down on a sheet of paper or in a journal.
Article first reported on March 23, 2018. Its current publication date reflects an update, including a medical review by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD.