I have an addiction to white flour, yes; I know this is a bold statement and that many of you will disagree with me but hear me out. I do have some experience on the subject of addiction, I am a recovering alcoholic and I haven’t had a drink in seven years because I would get black out drunk and do bad things.
How many of you have bought a bag of candy or a pint of ice cream, or whatever your food of choice is, with the intent of just having a little bit and putting the rest away for another day only to eat the whole thing in one sitting and feel so horrible about yourself that you binge for the next week because why not? You already blew it. In the mean time you are bloated, lethargic and just feel gross. You can only feel so gross before you swear you will never do it again only to find yourself in the same situation a month later.
Now not everyone has this problem, my husband for example can have small portions of his favorite foods and then easily put the rest away and not touch it again for a week. He does not get why I can’t do the same thing. If you are like him then I am sorry but this article is not for you, congratulations though.
As a coach through Precision Nutrition I teach my clients that everything can have a place in their diet if and when the time is right, but what if you are like me and there are certain food items that you can never manage to eat in moderation? Is permanently removing a food item that you have a problem with really a big deal? Even if that food causes you discomfort, guilt, shame and has no nutritional value? Is it really deprivation then?
This is just my opinion but when the thought of never eating a certain food again freaks you out you have an addiction. If I told you right now you could never eat brussel sprouts again would you be upset by that? Probably not, now what if I said you could never eat chips, ice cream, pizza etc.? Getting a little anxious feeling now? So how do you stop the cycle?
So how do you know if a food is a problem for you? For me and alcohol it came clear I had a problem when I went on a diet that asked me to give up alcohol for a month, nothing big, I mean it’s not like I drank every day, or even every week. Yet within the first two weeks I had justified a night out to myself and got drunk ( life lesson, if you feel the need to justify something to others or yourself you have a problem, the same goes for hiding what you eat). That was the moment I knew without a doubt I had a problem, I couldn’t even go a month.
After that I got help, I went to meetings and I made sure there was no temptation around me. There were very hard days in the beginning; it is never easy to realize you will never have something again. The longer I went without though, the easier not drinking was and the better I felt. I just never miss it anymore. Now I won’t lie, deciding you have a problem with certain foods can be much harder. For one thing food is all around you and you need to eat to survive, for another people tend not to understand why you would give up a food.
By deciding to eat foods that nourish your body you are empowering yourself, not depriving yourself. Once I made the decision that I cannot have these foods in my house because I could not control myself around them it got much easier. I am in control now, not the cake. There are triggers that make a person more likely to slip though. When you do not plan ahead and have no food prepared, when you are tired, hormonal, or overly hungry and when you are out with others are most people’s biggest triggers.
So if you decide you have a food addiction good for you, that alone is a big step. Here are some strategies to help you.
1. Decide to cut that food out of your life, if you are on the fence you will fail.
2. Choose to eat foods that nourish your body and make you feel good instead of those that don’t, and then you are never depriving yourself of something.
3. Always have healthy prepped food around and try not to let yourself get too hungry.
4. Write down on a card how bad you feel after binging on a food and carry it with you so that when you are put in a situation when you feel like giving up you have something to turn to.
5. Do not bring the food into the house, you may think you are strong enough but you aren’t.
6. Get support, find a friend or loved one to help you when you feel like giving in, find a forum or better yet a coach who has dealt with addiction.
Lastly know that it gets much easier. The longer you empower yourself by not eating something that makes you feel horrible the less you even want that food and the easier it becomes to say no to it. Yes food is more than nourishment for most people and it should be enjoyed but if a food is making you feel bad and holding you hostage than it is time to get that food out of your life.
re some strategies to help you.