• 13Dec

    Understanding Food Addiction

    We not only need food to live, we need food to thrive. Like oxygen and water, food is essential to life. And so, the idea of a food addiction may seem counterintuitive. When was the last time you heard someone mention an addiction to water? Never.

    And yet, millions of individuals struggle with food-related addictions every day. Overeating, starving oneself, purging – these are all addictions referred to in the vernacular as “eating disorders.” Whether the behavior is directed towards overeating in order to achieve the high associated with sugar addiction, purging in order to achieve an emotional release or starvation in order to achieve endorphin highs, addiction is addiction is addiction.

    If you are obtaining any form of biofeedback other than the basic daily nutritional needs, then you are a food addict. Whether you are overweight, underweight or just the right size, if you cannot stop your food-related behavior and feel a pull towards that behavior that feels stronger than you, you are struggling with a food addiction.

    Food addictions are as much an emotional addiction as they are a biochemical addiction. I do not know a single person who abuses food who does not comment on how good food makes them feel. Once the cycle of addiction begins, it is the addictive substance or process that drives all feeling. When an addict does not have her vice, she feels bad; when she does have it she still feels bad.

    In my recently released book, Shades of Hope, I talk a lot about the process of recognizing and admitting to a food addiction; understanding the belief systems associated with food addiction; recognizing and resolving the spiritual harm associated with food addiction; and how to take action and manage the results of healing individually and interpersonally. Each of those steps is vital to recover from food addiction.

    Like all addictions, food addiction is a lifelong journey towards healing. Healing from any addiction is a journey, not a destination. As human beings, we are designed to thrive, and individuals suffering from any addiction can thrive, too.