What does food addiction look like?

Hey, Daniel here.

Today I want to talk about food addiction…

I grew up addicted to food and I didn’t even know it.

I know what it’s like to feel out of control around food, to promise yourself you’ll “be good” and then watch your hand reach for the ice-cream and eat it, even when you don’t want it, especially then, and the pain of judgment and remorse after giving in.

I know what it’s like to order take-out multiple times on a single night and just eat and eat and eat, and the embarrassment and pain in the morning of having to deal with yourself…not only the way you feel physically, but the judgment. It’s intense.

That’s what food addiction looks like for me.

But what does it look like for you? It’s not always obvious.

Do you eat healthy during the week and go nuts with food on the weekends?
Do you have a little habit of reaching for candy in the afternoons?
Do you “reward” yourself for going to the gym by eating junk food?

Maybe you’re not totally out of control with your eating habits, and yet…you’re not completely in control either.

I believe we’re all addicted to food to some degree or another.

It’s a constant part of our day, a necessity for survival. It’s ingrained in our culture and the way we socialise. Large corporations pump billions of dollars into engineering it perfectly so that you want to eat it over and over and over again.

Plus it’s everywhere! You can buy your packaged drug of choice at any convenience store around the corner. I have about six apps on my phone that can get the most delicious food to me within 15 minutes.

It’s tough being healthy. It feels like a struggle to live a healthy lifestyle when there’s so much stacked against us.

If you’re like the way I used to be, you probably use food to cope or feel better when life gets hard, or when you’re stressed, or because you’re bored and lonely. For many of us, this happens every day, often without our even realizing it.

When I was in college, I used food in the same way that some people used drugs. If I had to stay up late to study for finals, instead of Adderall, I would drink a ton of coffee and eat a ton of food just to keep going.

For some people, their addiction gets triggered at work. Their boss emails them, they feel stressed out, so they run to the snack machine to get a chocolate bar.

I coach executives who spend a lot of lonely nights in hotels. They’re isolated and stressed out, so they stay up all night ordering room service to cope. They don’t talk about it, because their eating habits aren’t exactly ruining their life, but they’re ashamed of it.

For others still, eating is just something to do. They eat when they’re bored, or are procrastinating, or simply to entertain themselves. I have friends who can’t watch a movie without eating. They’ll get a bunch of snacks, turn on Netflix, and make a whole indulgent experience out of it.

One of my clients, Terry, had a lifelong habit of unconsciously bingeing at nights after he’d already gone to bed. He would wake up in the middle of the night, go to his fridge and eat a whole packet of Oreos with peanut butter and milk, and then go back to bed. His whole family knew about it and it had become a joke, calling dad ‘the Cookie Monster.’ They’d joke about it to avoid addressing it as the problem it really was.

These unhealthy eating cycles makes you less effective, overweight, and frustrated. And it shows up everywhere, not just around your waistline: at work, at home, in your relationships.

So now I’m asking you: how is food addiction showing up in your life?

It’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself.

I can teach you how to create new habits to cope with life’s challenges, instead of resorting to food. You can break free from the addictive patterns. You can shed the shame. You can transform your eating habits forever.

But I can’t help if you’re not willing to talk about it.

So let’s talk.

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