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Feeling like an addict

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Old 10-31-2009, 07:33 AM   #1
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Default Feeling like an addict

For anyone who has been addicted to anything else you know what I'm talking about. I quit smoking a couple of years ago and it feels the same. Maybe worse. The irritability creeps in and you think you can ignore it, that itchy twitchy feeling that you need something. So you grab a handfull of almonds. Ya that'll do. Untill it doesn't do at all. So ya grab one of the cupcakes you made for the kids for halloween. They are just the tiny ones. Maybe 100cals. And BAM! you feel better instantly. Of course that is followed by guilt and it's such a slippery slope that before you know it you have had take out for supper and like 3 more little cupcakes.

Every morning I start out perfect. Oatmeal, exercise, healthy snack. It always goes wrong. Somewhere. That feeling. And you think I'll just have this one and then it'll be my last. Tomorrow is always a start over day.

I think i read somewhere that high starch, high carb, high fat foods increase your level of serotonin in like 6 seconds. And on top of that it messes up yor brain chemicals to make you need that serotonin even more. No wonder I feel like this.

I need to detox myself and get my brain juices (technical scientific term) back to normal. I need to find something else to turn to to make me feel better. I mean exercise is good, and I run/walk almost every day, but it doesn't last the whole day and I can't just drop everything and go for a run I have 4 kids. I need a hobby.

Sry bout the vent. Needed to get it out there.
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:02 AM   #2
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I too consider myself an addict. That's why moderation and taking just one bite doesn't work for me. Know it. Accept it. Make peace with it. Taking that one bite leads to disaster. You DO have to detox from the stuff. And you do that by completing avoiding the stuff. Period. No ifs ands or buts. You don't have to give into those cravings. They do pass. They always will. Nothing awful will happen to you if you don't have what you want. You're an adult it's okay to tell yourself no. You need to make mature, responsible, sensible decisions. Work past that initial discomfort. Reach. Stretch. PUSH YOURSELF. It gets sooo much easier. Remember, you're detoxing. The longer you do without it, the less and less you want it. Give yourself this gift.

But again, you've got to push through that initial temporary discomfort. Go beyond what you've already mastered. Don't give into it. Read a book, write, journal, have a hot cup of tea, a cold glass of water, clean the toilets, run in circles, whatever the heck you have to do. DON'T MAKE IT AN OPTION TO EAT THE STUFF. It's off limits to you. Make a vow, a pact, a promise, a commitment - a something. And execute the heck out of it. Make a plan, map out your food and activity schedule IN ADVANCE and stick to it like glue. If you want what you do not have, you must do what you have not done.

Push yourself. Elevate yourself to a new level. Learn. Grow. Prosper. Be all that you can be. It's time.

You can do this. You can SO do this. I'm certain of it.
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:30 AM   #3
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I also consider myself an addict. That being said, I think that you can break the addiction through behavior modification that changes both to your psychology and biology in regards to food. I've managed to do this at this point through very gradual behavioral and food changes. I can eat small amounts of chocolate, cake, cookies, chips, etc. without losing control. I don't even have the desire to eat a lot of any of these things when I have a few bites, and I eat a little of such things everyday now (about 100 calories worth).

I attribute this mainly to weaning myself slowly off of large portions and changing my thinking about how I regard food in terms of enjoying it. A lot of eating is compulsive and an effort to seek the feeling of being full. Putting away a bag of cookies doesn't mean you're enjoying each cookie. It means you're seeking to fill the gnawing emptiness through something you associate with pleasure more than actually getting the pleasure since the first bite or two is the best. After that, you're hitting serious diminishing returns. Of course, this only works once you break the biochemical responses to large amounts of food (in my case through graduated portion reduction).

I liken what I've done as a form of "methadone treatment" for a food addict. Just as heroin addicts can gradually break the hold the drug has on them with methadone, I seem to have broken the hold food has had on me. I might be fooling myself, but right now, I don't have any problems losing control, engaging in emotional eating, or craving junk (at least not now - though I have had those issues for decades - literally most of my life). It helps that I eat whatever I want if I want it, but I eat small portions and often delay gratification if I've eaten as many calories as I think I should. If I want something and don't have the calories, I'll say I can have it tomorrow, and if I still want it, I have it (so, this isn't a way of tricking myself or lying to myself to put off eating a "bad" food). Often, the craving has passed by then though.

This didn't come easy, and it didn't come fast, but it does feel pretty permanent. That being said, I think I'm at the fulcrum of a food balancing act. If I binged, I could easily tip the scales back to being out of control. I just can't say what would happen if I overdid it at this point.

I completely relate to everything you say though. Every feeling you describe is absolutely familiar to me, and I'm very scared that those feelings could come back if I lose control again.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:51 AM   #4
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Another addict here. That is the worst feeling... being stuck in that cycle and unable to break out of it. For me the key was to white knuckle it for a few days until it got easier. At first my brain was SCREAMING for sugar and fat, and I just kept telling myself NO. Now I am okay, over a month with no soda, junk food, etc. I know if I baked cupcakes "for the kids" and had ONE, I would be back in that cycle so I have to be super careful. My kids get enough sugar just from trick or treating and they are not the least bit deprived now that I no longer bake Halloween cakes and cookies for them. I even have a deal with my youngest that she is going to give me most of her candy in exchange for "tickets" towards buying a toy she wants (she'll do a few chores for the rest). And I wont be eating ANY of her candy either...
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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Another addict here.
But I'm going into this with moderation in mind. I want my kids to know that everything is okay in moderation so I need to be able to practice it myself. I'm just trying to make myself knowledgable about calories in different foods and teaching myself when things are worth it and when they really aren't.
I'm trying to eat like a thin person basically LOL. All the thin people I know eat candy and cakes and cookies...they just don't eat ALL the candy and cakes and cookies.
I might lose slower this way, but I'm okay with that.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
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Another addict here. Starting secret binges in my teens and I'm 48 now, so YES I thought it was a habit that could NEVER be broken.

And for some reason, when I read the book Overcoming Overeating by David Kessler, it really made sense to me. I always thought I was addicted because I had dieted too much in childhood, or had psychological issues, or whatever, but reading that book, I realized that the reasons I had gotten started really didn't matter.

I had programmed myself to get that little hit of pleasure. Once I recognized it for what it was, then I started to be able to deal with it better.

I can tell you something that I've been learning over the last 4-5 months.

I am actually teaching myself not to expect ANY reward. Not exercise, not reading a book, not buying myself something. Nothing. I mean, long term, yes, I get myself rewards, but in the moment that I have that feeling of "wanting something" I give myself nothing.

I used Robin's strategy to put the stuff STRICTLY OFF LIMITS. That's an easy rule to follow that doesn't involve a lot of decision making.

Then, I do a lot of self-talk. I tell myself "No, I don't eat that stuff."

But the third thing, the most crucial thing, is that I'm learning to ride out that desire for pleasure.

In every other time I've tried to diet, I've tried to find a way to placate the desire, by eating a sugar free jello, or a little bite of something. I've still obeyed the basic impulse, but just used a substitute. And that NEVER worked for me, and I have thirty years of diets that never lasted more than a week to show for it.

So, now, I just recognize the impulse and wait it out.

And honestly, I don't even get the impulse every day now.... I barely think about food. Sometimes, I actually FORGET TO EAT.

Weird. But true.

I don't know if this will help, or even make sense, but I can tell you that whatever strategy works for you, you REALLY CAN GET PAST THIS. If an unlikely candidate like me can get past it, then you can too.
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:57 PM   #7
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I hear you. I get frustrated with myself too, that I still use food to deal with non food stuff, like stress.

yes, there's that rush from eating the junk food, chocolate, ice cream. And I think you're right, those fats, salts, sugars, etc., make me want to eat more of it. Food science at its most insidious.

I can't help feeling like some of it is just plain old habit. It can be so knee jerk to reach for chocolate when I feel upset. Maybe part of it really is just getting a good hobby, ha. Lots of stuff I do does help, knitting, crossword puzzles, the gym, walks, other interests. I think I need to push myself a little bit harder.

Truth is, with that falling into the non helpful for the cause food choices, once I get through one day, the next day feels easier. Robin has talked about that, giving herself a set number of days of having to stick to it (3 days?).

sometimes I wish I could go to a Biggest Loser camp an just concentrate on the weight loss without having to deal with all the other distractions life throws at me.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:14 PM   #8
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I hear ya. I have made it a priority to up my protein and decrease my carbs. When I eat chips or sweets i want more and more and binge. Now my only carbs are fruit, wraps, my fiber bars and cereal. I cant eat just one, for now I just have to not eat it at all.
I consider my cereal a treat its sweet but has protein and fiber in it. I fight the cravings every day. One day at a time, its taking more mental toughness than I ever thought but this today I have it, and thats all I can expect.

Keep it going, youve done so well girl!
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:53 PM   #9
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Yup. Food addict here too. It may not be recognized as an addiction by the medical community, but food can be a very strong addictive force in my personal experience.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:15 AM   #10
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I too struggle with this, what I can tell you is, just do it, cold turkey, no matter what, do not let it pass your lips. What you will find is that first couple of days, you will need to be extra strong, but after that those cravings will get less and less. You did mention you gave up smoking, that is wonderful, try to draw on that strength, you do have it in you!! rockinrobin said it, so beautifully!!

this is what I know, works for me, I make my food journal out every morning after I eat breakfast, listing everything that I plan to have, for the rest of my daily meals and snacks, ...I'm sticking to those choices, since the less time I spend in the kitchen the better. If it's not in my journal, can't have it. For me I'm holding myself accountable.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:32 AM   #11
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OH yes, addiction, food is one, smoking for me is another. I lost 100 lbs with curves and WW..it took me exactly one year to accomplish this goal. I got sick after being at goal for 6 months that put me in the hospital for 3 months and still am recovering..had strep A, sepsis, all kinds of bad germs..(thank you Bahamas)..that put me back over 100 and then the inability to exercise due to weakness put me at a bigger number than when I started..however, bygones..
What I did was I treated it like I was getting my master's degree (which also took one year), and then to maintain, would be like working after the degree..
I didn't complain, just did what I needed to do, counted my points, went to curves 3x/week...and voila...did feel like I was in recovery and it was the best feeling..Yes, I'm an addict, but I felt like the WW meetings were my AA..
my motto still is "ONE DAY AT A TIME"

We can do this ladies (and gents)
Love this site and am grateful for it for wonderful people that don't make me feel so isolated..

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Old 11-01-2009, 08:09 AM   #12
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You bring up a very important point. Food can be physically addictive. I have been reading more and more about how sugar and salt effect brain chemistry. I spoke to a biologist about this recently and was told the best things I could do for my health (weight included) was to eliminate all salt, sugar, animal fat, and alcohol from my diet. That's it. According to the biologist, humans were not meant to eat this stuff. Look at it this way-- people crave certain flavors, right? That is because these things (salt, sugar, fat, alcohol) are actually rare in nature. Our taste buds actually seek out these tastes. Yes, we need them, but in much smaller quantities than we get them.

Ive also discovered myself that if you do not add salt, sugar, fats and so on, you do not overeat-- why? Because most food is rather boring without those chemicals. In other words, you only binge on delicious food. If you force yourself to eat a bowl of bland beans, you don't want to keep eating. Food is not supposed to be "exciting" it is fuel, not entertainment.

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Old 11-01-2009, 08:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giselley View Post
Ive also discovered myself that if you do not add salt, sugar, fats and so on, you do not overeat-- why? Because most food is rather boring without those chemicals. In other words, you only binge on delicious food. If you force yourself to eat a bowl of bland beans, you don't want to keep eating. Food is not supposed to be "exciting" it is fuel, not entertainment.
I kinda disagree with some aspects of this.

When I was in the throes of my binging days, I'm telling you I could have binged on cardboard. Not so delicious!

This healthy lifestyle that I've adapted could never work if I was eating bland beans or other "boring" foods. How can one stick to plan if they don't like what they're eating???? I simply can not/will not/refuse to eat foods that I don't love, adore and get pleasure from. Everything I eat is exciting, scrumptious and thoroughly enjoyable. *I* still and will always need to get pleasure from my foods. But the thing is, upon giving up the sugar/carb/fat laden foods, my tastes CHANGED. I did detox from those other foods, which woke up my taste buds to the deliciousness of wholesome, nutritious foods. I now crave foods that actually benefit my body. And by the way, I've overeaten them at times too. Many times.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:40 AM   #14
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Holy Smokes Robin, you aren't kidding when you said you make delicious, exciting, scrumptious food! I just happened to read This Thread on the Maintenance Board. All I can say is, can you adopt me?

I think most people are sensitive to highly processed simple carbs. Highly addictive and seductive combinations of sugar/salt/fat are specifically formulated by the food industry to be just that. Addicitve and seductive. I think it was Lay's potato chips that had the slogan "betcha you can't eat just one." And who among us has ever had just one Oreo cookie? Only if it was the last one in the house.

I find that abstinence works best for me with junkie carby food. I am fine with whole grains, potatoes, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, that kind of healthy carbs. But cookies, chips, cake, other sundry crap I adopt a "Just Say No" approach. We need food to live, but we don't need junk food, so that is where I endeavour to draw the line. Not that I am perfect, by any means. And it is not always easy. I don't bring it in the house, so that makes it easy at home. But, what about work when co-workers bring stuff in to share? Like this week a co-worker brought those giant Costco muffins to share. You know, the monster muffins that are more like cake than a muffin. Well, I looked up the calorie and fat count on-line. Can you believe almost 700 calories for the chocolate one and 34 grams of fat. She is a skinny little thing and didn't want them hanging around her house. Thanks a lot! Then don't buy the damn things in the first place! Anyway, I digress. I did not have any of the Monster Fat-laden Evil Cake Muffins. But, it was not easy. The kitchen is right by the photcopier and every time I went to photocopy anything they were in plain view.

Anyway, I think if you are truly addicted to something, as in you can't stop once you start, then abstinence is the only way to beat it. I have never met an alcoholic that can only have just one drink. I do believe that some people are not as sensitive to processed carbs as others and can have them in small quantities without a problem. And that is great for them, and I can certainly see the value in teaching moderation to our kids. But, really, maybe what we should be teaching them is that potato chips are really, really bad for our health so we choose not to include them in a healthy lifestyle.
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:00 AM   #15
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As with many issues with weight loss (and life) there are multiple routes to success for different people. Here I see two main themes emerging regarding these sweet, carby foods: moderation and abstinence. I'll add a third: abstinence most of the time, with rare exception (which I see as a little different from "moderation"). These three options seem to fit with what most successful maintainers are doing.

So, knowing that, I'd encourage you to experiment and figure out which of these options works best for you, given your situation. I know I'm still trying to figure it out! I used to think I could be a "moderation" person, but I'm starting to think that abstinence, most of the time, is the way to go for me. I'm fine with some foods -- dark chocolate for example -- and awful with others -- like cake or ice cream. And with these, I cannot keep them in the house, but I might want to have them outside the house, in limited quantity on rare occasion.

So, it's an ongoing process for many of us! Good luck and please let us know how it's going.
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