Food Addictions ... dah duh dah!!
I want to dive in to a deep subject today...
It comes up so much when I am talking to clients and on free calls with ladies all over the world.
'I'm totally addicted to chocolate'
'I can't give crisps up'
'I try but the biscuits call my name until they're all gone!'
Some spoken in jest, I'm sure, but more likely there's a sense of truth in those statements - and I know from personal experience too that this is the case - food addictions are real and just as real as an addiction to a drug.
The irony is, we HAVE to eat food to survive, where as with other addictions, they can and have to be excluded from our lives in order for us to recover.
So where do these addictions come from?
Below, I'll walk you through my interpretation of food addictions, why they occur and how. Next week, we'll be discussing how to break them down so you can regain control over your relationship with food, if you are feeling the pull of a food addiction.
Addictions often arise as a result of not being able to communicate eloquently your true feelings about negative messages being received with authority, repetition and impact in the past.
This could be as children (which is why it's difficult to communicate effectively), or later on in life and can come in many forms - being told 'you should be seen and not heard', being made to finish all your dinner so you could have a dessert, even though you were full, to witnessing or experiencing a situation that made you think 'if only I could be bigger then I could stand up for myself' are just a few examples.
Right or wrong intentions from these influences, with impact and repetition, these have created beliefs inside of us that we need to be bigger to protect ourselves, or that food is the answer when you are happy, sad, angry, stressed, relaxing. So over time, food becomes our nemesis and saviour, all at once.
Not wanting to stereotype, but it tends to be this way for the majority, boys and men generally filter these beliefs, emotions and thoughts into the environment around them - they may fight or take it out on a punchbag. Girls and women tend to take it on internally, rather than let it out verbally, so it gets stuck inside - where these thoughts and beliefs do the most damage, because the easiest to access outlet for them is food.
Food temporarily softens the anguish, pain, sadness, or heightens the joy, relaxation or celebrations. But once that immediate pleasure is reached, our thoughts soon turn back to pain, in the form of guilt, regret, irritable bowel and tiredness, which forms a vicious cycle of reaching for something that will soften the feelings...food...and so it becomes a repetition - reinforcing the addiction.
Often enough, the foods we find we are addicted to, often lead us back to a time in our lives' when we felt special, loved, valued, good, appreciated...and all the great feelings and emotions associated with that - that's why it is such a good feeling when we reach for them. But that short term gain is leading to long term misery.
Here are a few examples:
Milk puddings, custard, rice pudding: May link to being breastfed as a baby.
Chocolate, sweets: Being treated as a child for being good and well behaved.
Ice cream: Being given it when poorly, 'to make you better' or when having your tonsils out.
Bread, butter and jam: The treat Grandma who you loved so dearly gave you when you visited her.
Pastry, crisps: The party foods you always used to have at birthdays as a child which made you feel special and all the attention was on you.
'Problems arise when we link pain and pleasure to the same things'
I know I have a Food Addiction, what do I do next?
I'm going to run you through some simple DIY strategies to start breaking down your own food addictions and creating changes to your weight, health, confidence and maybe even your aches and pains (hint-refined sugar is a big culprit in our aches and pains!)
On a serious note-nothing you read here will change anything for you, unless YOU change and take action on the words your read and internalise and embody these new actions. They need practice, consistency and repetition to create lasting change!
So let's dive in!
- Firstly identify and become aware of the food addictions you think you are experiencing. Write them down...(it may take you a week of writing a food diary to really remember all the foods that you might be reaching for.)
Work out what you DO want, rather than what you DON'T want. Listen to what you are telling yourself with regards to these addictions; for example 'I can't stop myself eating crisps' and reframe it into an empowering statement of intention, something like 'I can and will eat healthy, succulent snacks.'
Break the addiction cycle. As you become aware of reaching for those food you feel addicted to, STOP. In that moment, breathe in and out three times, in through your nose, out through your mouth, very consciously-feel your ribcage expand, your shoulders move up and down. As you finish those breaths, now ask yourself 'what do I really need in this moment? Food that is going to ultimately keep me unhappy with my relationship with food? Or is there something else that I need, like a hug, a chat with a friend, a drink of water or so I need to address something going on in my life that's lead me to this point?' Listen to what your intuition is telling you and act on it. In that moment, you break the unconscious cycle of a food addiction and you create the space and a choice to do something different-to create a new cycle of positive action instead.
Take time to observe any patterns with your food addiction. Does it occur most when your menstrual cycle is in full swing? Do you act on those cravings when you are stressed? Happy? Unhappy? As you see these patterns, you create understanding and awareness as to where these are coming from and then you can apply some adult perspective and logic to them, that the younger version of yourself could not, and then allow yourself to release these old patterns, that no longer serve you, but hurt you instead. Then choose what you DO want to feel and take action to reinforce that good feeling vibe in it's place.
We are literally only just scratching the surface of a food addiction here, but if it has helped you to understand where some of your struggles may be coming from, then in understanding this, you create an awareness and a choice around whether you want to continue down that same path, or whether you choose to create a new path for yourself.
There are so many strategies I work through with my clients and their food addictions-these are literally just a few, but I hope you can use them, implement them and create transformational change with them, just as I do with my clients!
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear what your food addictions are and how you are breaking them using these 4 steps! I'm a bit of a geek like that-it's the strategist in me! ;)
Alternatively, why not book a free Beat your Food Addictions, Lose Weight, stop Aches & Pains and Get more Confidence Call with me now and let's dive deeper into breaking down your challenges, personally?
Lots of healthy love,
'Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live in.'
P.S. Have you checked out our ever growing new Facebook community, Weight Loss the Holistic Way with Leila Hardy? Head on over and introduce yourself!