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Food Addiction / Sugar Addiction Forum
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Avatar universal

Eating too much

Hi, I am a 20 year old female at about 170 lbs on a 5'8" frame. I am athletically built from a life time of sports but I cannot control my eating and sugar. I have tried to restrict and moderate and cut out this or that and I fail. I have even started eating in private but when I am around people I eat healthily. I have taken countless quizzes and researched this and I am positive I am at least addicted to sugar, if not food as well. I turn to both when I am stressed or just a normal day. If I don't have it I get moody, or even feel physical pains: head aches, lack of motivation/energy. I just don't know what to do anymore. I obsess about what to eat and when. I think about food and what I have eaten and what I plan to eat constantly. It has engulfed my whole life. I can't escape it anymore. I don't know what to do.
2 Responses
2169060 tn?1337631232
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL

Hi TooMuchSugar

How you describe yourself makes me think you very well may be a food addict. Have a look at the questions below my response to see if they apply to you.

Even if you are not a food addict, you will be lured by sugary foods. Dr. David Kessler in his excellent book, the End of Overeating, talks about how the food industry deliberately makes food highly palatable so that it will sell. He makes the analogy between the the golden triangle of opiate addiction (Thailand, Burma and Laos) where most opiates are produced - to the food industry. The golden triangle in junk food is: sugar, fat and salt. Any version of this is likely to sell because this combination is extremely energy dense, and will overpower our natural inclination to prefer energy dense foods (like sugar, flour, esp if it has fat in it) over less dense foods like green vegetables. These foods are intentionally made so that it becomes difficult to 'not want them'.

The reason for this is because these highly palatable foods potentiate our neurochemistry of pleasure. Once we eat these foods, our brains get 'high' with the pleasure of the increased neurochemicals.  In a short time, we become tolerant to this excess of neurochemistry that the junk food has created. Our brain does not want us to feel this excess for very long and we will adapt to the increased pleasure by creating more receptors sites. Soon that excess will be the required amount of neurochemicals just to feel normal.  

This is why one piece of chocolate may be enough the fist time you eat it, and it is the most memorable (akin to chasing the dragon with drug use). But most people find that after a week or so, they need more than one piece to feel the same pleasure as that first memorable experience gave them. Once the person has become dependent on the candy - they find that they need to eat more and more to feel any pleasure at all.  And, if they do not eat their desired food, the tolerance that has developed will lead to 'withdrawal' of the pleasure state. The first 'symptom' of withdrawal is craving - you want the food, in fact, you may feel that you need the food just to 'feel normal'. If you don't have it, you might be dissatisfied and irritable- and start to obsess in the way that you have described. Hence, it becomes hard to stop the junk food, even when you know you should not be eating it.

Toomuchsugar, you  may have found that you are now addicted to sugar. Many people are. The way to combat a food addiction is to stop eating the foods that you obsess about, and accept that you will feel withdrawal: this will feel like cravings, agitation, irritability, and you will probably find yourself giving in when you are hungry, angry, tired These are the times that people relapse the most, as with any drug addiction. Do not underestimate the power of this withdrawal. It will undo the person who has the best will power.

The good news is that it only takes about three weeks for cravings to start to subside IF you stop eating junk food completely. Unless you sneak in a few treats here and there (like on a weekend or as a special treat)... which will serve to prolong the cravings indefinitely.  If your addiction has advanced enough, that treat will be enough to make the cravings return even worse that before. You might find that you can 'get away' with eating sugar here and there - this really depends on how advanced your addiction has become. If you find that you simply keep relapsing back, then you will have to stop completely. You can no longer 'cheat', even once in a while.

In some cases, people find that their food addiction is so advanced, that despite all efforts, they keep relapsing. If you find this is the case, you may  need to get more help than just stopping the foods. You may need to follow a special food addiction diet and get community or 12 step peer support. You can find some of those resources on my website: addictionsunplugged.com.

The 20 questions for food addiction:
1. Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn’t?
2. Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
3. Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
4. Do you binge and then “get rid of the binge” through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging?
5. Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
6. Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about you're eating habits or weight?
7. Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
8. Is your weight problem due to you're “nibbling” all day long?
9. Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
10. Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
11. Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
12. Do you eat in secret?
13. Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake?
14. Have you ever stolen other people’s food?
15. Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have “enough?”
16. Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
17. Do you obsessively calculate the calories you’ve burned against the calories you’ve eaten?
18. Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you’ve eaten?
19. Are you waiting for your life to begin “when you lose the weight?”
20. Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?
Copyright © 2000-2010 Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
Avatar universal
Hi-

I looked at those questions and can answer yes to almost all of them. What is there to do?

Thank you so much
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