Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are You A Food Addict?

I recently watched a Doctor on TV talking with several people that he described as 'food addicts'. They looked like normal people to me, although they were somewhat overweight. He asked them some questions like:

1. Have you tried but failed to control your eating?
2. Do you find yourself hiding food or secretly bingeing?
3. Do you have feelings of guilt or remorse after eating?
4. Do you eat because of emotions?
5. Is your weight affecting your way of life?

They responded yes to several of the questions and said that they had symptoms including headaches, insomnia, irritability, mood changes, and depression when they tried to stop eating or when they ate too much.

The Doctor explained that people who are addicted to food tend to display many of the characteristics of addicts and alcoholics. Food addicts develop a physical, mental, emotional craving and chemical addiction to food. The characteristics of food addicts can include:
  • Being obsessed and/or preoccupied with food.
  • Having a lack of self-control when it comes to food.
  • Having a compulsion about food in which eating results in a cycle of bingeing despite negative consequences.
  • Remembering a sense of pleasure and/or comfort with food and being unable to stop using food to create a sense of pleasure and comfort.
  • Having a need to eat which results in a physical craving.  

I found the following list of questions online: 

Are you a food addict?
To answer this question, ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.
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 your eating habits or weight?
7 Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
8 Is your weight problem due to your "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?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be a food addict.

On this same show, the aforementioned Doctor had a guest, a second Doctor, who claimed to have previously been a food addict and has since changed her behavior and lost 85 pounds.

She suggested several options in the treatment of food addiction. These include consulting a nutritionist, doctor, psychologist, counselor, or eating disorder specialist. In addition, 12-step groups such Overeaters Anonymous (OA) have meetings in many regions or online. Some tips for avoiding bouts of compulsive eating include:
  • Knowing which situations trigger your cravings, and avoiding them if possible
  • Drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day
  • Exercising
  • Relaxing with deep breathing exercises or meditation
  • Trying to distract yourself until the compulsion to eat passes
So, if I can answer some of those questions with a 'yes', does that mean that I am a food addict and need professional help? Or does that depend on which questions I answered yes to? 


    1. Same question I have, if I answer yes to one or two of them am I addicted?
      We need to eat to survive, which makes me wonder if there are addictions to every thing or doctors who say there are so they can make money on books and shows.
      I often wonder if we need an excuse for our bad behavior or if we really have lost control over our minds and bodies.

    2. Its a awesome post. Choose foods and garnishes that contrast each other this will help achieve a bright and colourful look. However avoid colours that are too loud and ‘in your face’.

      Food presentation

    3. Darbie, you pose a good question: is it possible to become addicted to anything? I do think we need to look closely at our own behavior and thoughts to determine if we are just using it as an excuse to not take responsibility for our own actions!

    4. Samual, good point about choosing colorful foods. Not only do they look more appealing to us, but rich color indicates that the food is rich in nutritional value as well.


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