100 lb. Club - Do you consider yourself to be a food addict?




OhMyDogs
04-08-2011, 04:18 PM
This question has nagged at me for a while. A lot of people here are or can be controlled by food, and I wondered if you considered yourself a food addict.

I don't. I do not feel owned by food, I feel owned by poor choices. A lot of overweight people battle against the "fast food eating, lazy, fat person" stereotype, but for ME, that's why I am where I am today. Poor food choices (and they were choices, not compulsions), poor choices on WHEN to eat, and a lack of getting off my butt are why I am overweight now. I can walk down the cookie aisle in the grocery store without picking up a thing, same with the chips, and all the other junk and treats. It doesn't phase me and I don't feel at all compulsed to buy. If and when I go off plan, it's never in an uncontrolled manner. I make a clear and concise decision to do so, before touching a single "bad" thing, the next morning I am back on track without incident.

That being said, I fully believe food addiction is a problem for many people.

So I wonder, when you look at your own eating habits, do you believe you're a food addict?


Nebuchadnezzar
04-08-2011, 04:52 PM
I go back and forth on this. I impulsively eat sometimes, but when I shop I don't buy a bunch of bad things. I shop for the right stuff. Yet, sometimes I eat too fast, sometimes impulsively, sometimes emotionally, anxiety...I just don't know. I can't figure out what I am.

geoblewis
04-08-2011, 05:12 PM
Personally, I love food. I love good food. I love cooking it. I love eating what I've cooked. I'm a foodie, and a food snob too! I don't like to eat poor-quality food.

I got fat for a lot of reasons, and one of them was over-eating.

I don't binge. I like to feel full after a meal. I used to graze throughout the day. I used to eat until I was stuffed. I used to start eating when I wasn't feeling hunger, but that was because I am hypoglycemic and a type 2 diabetic and most of the time, I can go for hours waiting to feel hunger, but still be empty and have a physical need to eat.

I have cravings at times, but not that often. I was an emotional eater, but not so much any longer. It just doesn't serve a purpose for me any more. I could easily overeat a single item on my plate if I put too much on my plate. I've learned to only place a single serving. I could overeat a pot of greens! I mean I get excited about a pot of cooked greens dressed with olive oil and lemon juice! They taste so good to me and I have a hard time stopping myself, so I have to set aside the portion I need to have and put the rest away.

Some might think that's a food addict, but I don't see it like that. I don't binge on burgers and fries, candy, fats, pizza, carbs. I just like eatng good food.


xty
04-08-2011, 05:27 PM
I definitely consider myself a food addict.

Im not fat anymore, but I am still a food addict....just one that deals better most of the time than I used to with the addiction.

I think of food way too often, simply cant have most foods in the house because I will binge on them (ex: no Kashi cereal, Ive eaten an entire box in one sitting even though I didnt particularly enjoy it and I was painfully full). There is a feeling of absolutely compulsion and lack of control.

Health has become my life's work, and that is really all there is to it....if I stop being so vigilant it all slips out of control. I dont even just mean my weight, but life just starts to feel out of control. Hiding food, sneaking it, eating several thousand calories in one sitting. Bad stuff. Addict stuff.

kaplods
04-08-2011, 06:12 PM
I don't believe in food addiction, I believe in carbohydrate addiction. If you look at food addictiton, trigger foods are almost never proteins or solitary fats. People don't eat mayonaise out of the jar or butter by the stick or (usually) a whole rotisserie chicken. Binge foods are almost exclusively carbohydrates or the salt/fat/carbohydrate combination described in "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler.

There's a good bit of evidence that all mammals are hard-wired to overeat the salt/fat/carb combination (probably because in the "natural" world, such a find would be a nutritional gold-mine, since in a natural world, calories are in short supply and a source of calories, carbs, fats, and salt would be like winning the natural world lottery).

There's studies that have found sugar more addictive than cocaine (so much so that even cocaine addicted rats choose sugar over cocaine).


I don't know if I'm an addict, but I do know that I have abused and misused food (always carbohydrates and carbohydrate/fat combinations).

So, I look at those carbohydrate foods (especially the intensely flavored sat/sugar/fat combinations) as addictive substances. I think they're addictive for most people. In the past (the more distant past, the more so) such foods were celebration foods, just like alcohol and mind-altering drugs.

The more I look at high-carbohydrate foods as potent drugs, the more respect I give them, and the more control I have over them.

I'm still not sure whether I'll have to abstain for life, but when I look at cheesecake as I would other drugs, I ask myself "what am I wanting to medicate." If the answer is "nothing" maybe I shouldn't be indulging.

I do for the most part stay away from sugar. I try to be entirely abstinent, but sometimes I failed. I'm experiencing PMS and a severe fibro flare right now, and I've been miserable for the past week. Hubby brought me a white chocolate candy bar to "cheer me up." I chose to eat it. It did medicate me - in the short term. I felt better, it soothed my mood. It worked better than the narcotic pain medication. That's kind of scary when you think about it.

I don't regret my choice of eating that candy bar, but I know that if I kept candy in the house, I would self-medicate with far less control. But with a pain disorder, I could say the same about narcotic pain medication. I wouldn't want morphine lying around the house, because I'd be tempted to use it when the pain got bad. Using "just enough" but not "too much" is a danger with any drug, and we respect the power of some drugs, but not the power of sugar.

I'm learning to respect the drug-like properties of some foods, and learning that unless I want the drug-like effects, it's best to eat the least drug-like foods.

There's an often false belief that addicts are made not born. To some degree it's true. Addiction potential is probably genetic. There are certainly addiction-prone and addiction-resistant genetic influences, but almost anyone could become addicted under the right circumstances. It's why drugs like heroine are illegal - because of the addiction potential.

Should sugar become illegal? I don't think so, but I do think that sugar needs to be considered as drug-like as alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Everyone should understand and respect the addiction potential.

The risks seem smaller, because the consequences are less dramatic over the short term. You don't see people lose their job or their family because of a sugar addiction. The consequences are small at first and go unnoticed. Unless you're eating sugar hand-over-fist no one, including you attributes your health issues to sugar. There are those kinds of sugar-addicts, but mostly it's a much more subtle addiction.

I didn't even think I HAD a sweet tooth (except during PMS/TOM) until I started giving up refined carbs, and then I realized how much I was eating. All the sweet/savory dishes I liked such barbecue, empress shrimp, general tso's chickine and other meats in tangy sauce - potatoes with butter, sour cream, onion and bacon...

The more I give up refined carbohydrates and the sat/sugar/fat flavor combinations, the more in control I gain of my hunger and eating.

So it doesn't matter whether or not I'm an "addict" I still have to treat carbohydrates especially sugar as the potent, potentially-dangerous drugs that I believe they are. Just as I do alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.

I don't use nicotine, and rarely use alcohol, maybe three or four times a year (I've never have been a fan of the alcohol-induced drowsiness I experience often after only one drink).

I use caffeine almost daily as a medication for my fibromyalgia.

I find even moderate carb-levels somewhat addictive, so to use the narcotic spectrum as an analogy - an apple might be a tsp of codeine cough syrup, while white chocolate cheesecake might be heroine.

I may never be able to eat white chocolate cheesecake "in moderation."

Will my life be better with or without white chocolate cheesecake?

Right now, it's better. A lot better.

For me, it's a lot easier and more confortable to abstain completely from my food "heroines."

I may always have to. I might be able to include those foods, but I will always have to think of them as drug-foods not just foods. A piece of well-seasoned broiled fish is food (yummy, but just food) but white chocolate cheese cake will always be drug/food. Maybe it will someday become "only" oxycodone or vicodin, but right now it's heroine.

Eliana
04-08-2011, 06:26 PM
Ohmydogs, I'm just like you. I am not and never have been a food addict nor an emotional eater. I AM a boredom eater, however. I am guilty of eating crap when I'm bored and too-large portions. That's how I gained the weight.

I feel blessed never to have experienced the compulsions associated with binge eating.

Arctic Mama
04-08-2011, 06:44 PM
Kaplods, that's probably what is so weird about my favorite foods - I have indeed binged on rotisserie chicken, turkey, steak, and yes, mayo from the jar. I've overdone it on lots of carb heavy foods, too.

And yet, while I have moments of heavy overeating, I don't consider myself a food addict. I continually overate for years, but not generally out of compulsion and not out of control. I actually didn't see tha behavior in myself until weight loss, when I felt overly restricted at moments. Still, it is not a common thing for me, I'm doing okay most of the time :)

I do believe food addiction is real, but I am thankfully not suffering from it.

Sophiyya
04-08-2011, 06:49 PM
When I crave for something (Ice cream), I dont stop to think, I just gotta have it. It is like my brain gets rebooted after I gorge myself with the ice cream. I have noticed that when I am watching a tv show, and food advert comes on, I find salivating and craving for junk. It is not because I love the food, but I am addicted to food big time.

kallismom
04-08-2011, 07:08 PM
I Totally believe that food addiction is Very real. I know it's real because my mother was a food addict until the day she passed nearly 5 years ago. My mother thought that she was addicted to sugar so she switched to artificial sweeteners. The woman could bake like nobody's business. She was mastering baking with Splenda when it first hit the shelves. She would still eat at least half of a cake in one sitting.

She tried Atkins. She would cook an entire pot a sauce with beef, bell pepprs, and onions - and eat almost all of it!

Oh, and in regards to the mayonnaise. She did eat it out of the jar. She's the only person I've heard of (until Arctic Mama) that did it, but she did.

No matter what my mom tried, she always ended up getting her "fix". Sometimes she would literally go months without falling of the wagon, but she would inevitably fall. It was very sad to witness.

As for me, I "mostly" inherited my fathers genetics in terms of food addiction.
He has never had a problem with food. I say mostly because I have displayed some of my mom's characteristics at times eg.planning a trip to the store just to buy a couple of candy bars to eat on the way home, claiming I was going for something else. I have just never been as extreme as my mom.
I have never eaten an entire pizza in one sitting, but I have eaten one throughout the course of a day. Either way, it's still enough to put a pound on my a** in a day.

I did not inherit my dad's metabolism. This is why I am fat, and he has never been. My dad could eat a pizza in one sitting and still not really gain any weight. He would never do that, but he could.

My sister inherited my dad's metabolism, but she also inherited my mom's addiction. She struggled with bulimia for many years. No one knew what she was doing for a very long time. She was always such a rail that we never suspected she would do anything like that. She quit when she lost 11 teeth from the erosion of her enamel at 26.

My brother is also a food addict. He will routinely eat bags of candy, or entire pies. He has also gotten quit heavy in the past few years.

Some people just have extremely addictive personalities. My maternal family is FULL of addictions of all sorts. Thankfully, my dad's gene pool was not that way (for the most part).

Joszac
04-08-2011, 08:09 PM
This is going to be way to much personal information about myself but...I don't feel there is food addiction. I come from a different place than others might though. I have been through horrible withdrawals from alcohol and drugs. Not just cravings and thinking about it all the time but the shaking, sweating, vomiting, uncontrollable muscle movements, blood pressure through the roof, hospitalized for seizures, horrible body pain and you name it. It wasn't in my head it was my bodies dependence on the substances.

To me addiction is something that can cause great harm when you quit. Not just when you're actively doing it but when you quit. I think of my eating problems as more of an obsession. I want or feel the need to stuff myself, for whatever reason, but if I don't I won't be hospitalized or go through bad physical withdrawals for it.

Right or wrong it is my opinion.

Arctic Mama
04-08-2011, 08:37 PM
There are definitely food addicts who go through physical withdrawal. The thing is, food is a legal and easily obtained substance, so one is a lot more likely to satisfy their craving than endure the mental merry-go-round, shaking, nausea, and such that comes from weaning off an addictive food.

It's not quite as dramatic as, say, coming off of heroin, but closer than you might think if you have never experienced it. True food addicts like that are not extremely common, but again, much of that is because we get many of the things we are addicted to, in smaller quantities, in much of our daily diets. It's like nursing the addiction along every day, not a dramatic hit-and-crash scenario.


It's wonderful that you haven't struggled with food addiction, that's a real blessing!

Laffalot
04-08-2011, 09:25 PM
:) Hi Everyone - I can relate to almost all of what everyone has said. I can go along really well for awhile & then suddenly I have such a "craving" for something that I haven't had for ages & usually give into it. I'm not as bad as I used to be though so that's good. I'm really working on that problem. Now that the weather is nicer & lighter later, I can go for a walk to get my mind off it. I found the earlier posts very interesting. Anyway, everyone have a great weekend! :wave:

icedragon6669
04-08-2011, 09:34 PM
Definitely an addict.

When even foods you hate end up being shoved in your gob, you realise its a lot deeper than just will power.
For me its not about taste not about sugar, fat, carbs, I can binge on stupid things that don't have sugar fat or carbs.. its just the physical presence of shoving food in my mouth! And its not just about withdrawal, like a smoker its replacing the physical habit of holding a smoke to ones mouth, I find I go nuts and feel lost most days without food and eating.

Lauren201
04-08-2011, 09:51 PM
I don't consider myself a food addict, either. I've said this before; I actually hate most foods. I'm such a picky eater and it was poor choices that got me where I was. I don't think I've ever binged. I liked to eat until I feel full and I wasn't filling up on the right foods, plus the fact that I was never taught proper nutrition from my parents. I ate whatever tasted good to me and my diet included a lot of greasy fast food, sugary drinks (dr. pepper), pizzas, etc. I didn't eat much candy just fast foods. Lots of bad habits over the years.

Losing my job was actually good for my health because my husband and I couldn't afford to eat out anymore. I had to learn to cook and I wanted to cook healthy foods. I taught myself to eat vegetables and even though I still don't like them I get through it. Being on 3FC has taught me a lot and having access to websites that help you count calories has been a total blessing. It's so easy to track what I'm eating and my workouts and what not.

Joszac
04-08-2011, 09:53 PM
icedragon6669 - off topic but I saw your ticker and at first I thought it meant you weighed 81 pounds, lol.

Great job on the weight you've lost!

icedragon6669
04-08-2011, 10:15 PM
lol, no we aussies are in metric, took me a while to get the hang of pounds! Now I can fluently talk in both! what a great skill eh? (ROFLMAO)

lottie63
04-08-2011, 10:18 PM
I got my fix on deep fried chicken wings, not the kind with breading either so it wasn't a carb thing.

either way, carbs are food, so, meh.

runningfromfat
04-08-2011, 10:21 PM
I think of food way too often, simply cant have most foods in the house because I will binge on them (ex: no Kashi cereal, Ive eaten an entire box in one sitting even though I didnt particularly enjoy it and I was painfully full). There is a feeling of absolutely compulsion and lack of control.

Health has become my life's work, and that is really all there is to it....if I stop being so vigilant it all slips out of control. I dont even just mean my weight, but life just starts to feel out of control. Hiding food, sneaking it, eating several thousand calories in one sitting. Bad stuff. Addict stuff.

This sounds very familiar to me. I would say that I'm a food addict to SUGAR, not really anything else but sugar has done horrible things to me. I used to sneak food all the time and could eat an entire bag of chocolate chips within two days.

I don't believe in food addiction, I believe in carbohydrate addiction. If you look at food addictiton, trigger foods are almost never proteins or solitary fats. People don't eat mayonaise out of the jar or butter by the stick or (usually) a whole rotisserie chicken. Binge foods are almost exclusively carbohydrates or the salt/fat/carbohydrate combination described in "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler.

I'm guessing you've never been to a churrascaria (Brazilian steak house)? ;) Trust me there are people out there that struggle with over eating when it comes to protein. DH CAN eat pretty much a whole rotisserie chicken and really struggles with overeating meat and beans. However, he can easily say not to sugar.

Beyond that I really agree with what you said. Sugar is definitely my demon.

This is going to be way to much personal information about myself but...I don't feel there is food addiction. I come from a different place than others might though. I have been through horrible withdrawals from alcohol and drugs. Not just cravings and thinking about it all the time but the shaking, sweating, vomiting, uncontrollable muscle movements, blood pressure through the roof, hospitalized for seizures, horrible body pain and you name it. It wasn't in my head it was my bodies dependence on the substances.

I'm definitely NOT trying to trivialize your experience. But when I quit sugar that's exactly what I went through. Like I mentioned before I could easily it half a bag of chocolate chips a day. I cut out sugar cold turkey and at the beginning it was insanely hard. I was nauseated and had headaches quite a bit at first and really struggled the first few weeks. It might not have been the same severity but I was definitely having withdrawal symptoms.


I still struggle with overeating. Today, for instance, I had some extra calories left so I picked up some light pringles. I ate a servings worth and really, really struggled to stop there. Pringles aren't even one of my trigger food but being that it was the only thing in the house I was really close to eating the whole can. It's a constant struggle.

mental voyeur
04-08-2011, 10:40 PM
I have started a blog chronicling my journey. I have lost 150 pounds to date, but I am really struggling to lose 60 more. To get to this point and begin struggling so much now, has been pretty demoralizing. But I have come to realize i have a problem with food and that is why I struggle. I can be doing so many other things right, but when the emotions or stress kick in I reach for the food.

I invite you to read my blog, I am hoping to reach other women like me who have had lifelong issues with weight and feel like they may be alone. I am as honest as I can be about what my struggle is really like. my blog is call tiedtobefit and is available at blogspot. I can post a link yet, because I have not yet posted on this site. (this is my first). I hope it helps you know you are not alone in your struggle with this question.

kaplods
04-08-2011, 11:00 PM
To me addiction is something that can cause great harm when you quit.

Technically (by clinical definition) that's not addiction, that's dependence. For example, insulin to a diabetic can cause great harm when you quit. Life-saving steroids for inflammation can cause great harm when you quit. Yet, neither steroid use or insulin use is addiction.

I am physically dependent upon tramadol (which I take for chronic pain). If I quit taking it, I not only experience great pain, I experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Severe nausea, unbearable headaches, irritability. Even if my pain miraculously disappeared, I would still have to wean myself off tramadol. However, I'm not tempted to take more than I need, or to take it for any reason other than pain relief. In the summer I need less, and can spread my doses a little further, so I take less but I couldn't quit cold-turkey.

That's not addiction, even though it is dependence.


I think a better definition of addiction is something that a person finds themselves unable to quit, even though it's causing great harm.

And sugar definitely fits the bill for that definition - even without any physical dependence. Although there are physical dependence and withdrawal issues too, they're just not as severe as for heroine.

With all addiction, there are many degrees of physical and emotional dependence and withdrawal. Caffeine is mildly addictive. You won't die from caffeine withdrawal, but you will get headaches, irritability and other physical effects. There are drugs that cause intense psychological dependence and yet produce few or no physical dependence (marijuana and cocaine were once considered non-addictive because at the common doses there was no physical withdrawal.)

Carb withdrawal is measurable. There are physiological withdrawal symptoms. As with caffeine and nicotine, the withdrawal symptoms aren't going to be as severe as alcohol or heroine - but that doesn't mean that caffeine and nicotine withdrawal doesn't exist - or that carb withdrawal doesn't either.

It's why I don't like the term addiction. It's too easy to lump heroine in with coffee, cigarettes, and bagels. They're not the same, but they all will cause dependence and withdrawal, just to vastly different degrees.

Personally, I'll take a cafeine withdrawal headache over a carb-withdrawal headache any day. Caffeine withdrawal makes me mildly achey and a little tired, with a fuzzy-headed headache. I find carb-withdrawal headaches much more intense with a huge dose of irritability thrown in. It's not all in my imagination, because my husband has learned to recognize the symptoms of carb-withdrawal and will actually pressure me to eat carbs, to make his life easier (that sounds horrible, but I also know that I am normally a very nice and easy going person, but when I'm withdrawing from carbs I can be the ***** from ****. What may seem like "enabling" and "sabotage" to me, seems like self-defense to him).

Now my caffeine intake is fairly modest. I drink caffeinated diet sodas, up to 3 a day - that's still not as much as an entire cup of coffee. On very rare occasions I will take 200mg of caffeine in capsule form (still only the amount of about a cup to cup and a half of coffee).

Now someone who is drinking 8 cups of coffee a day is probably going to have a more dramatic caffeine withdrawal.

Sugar does cause a great deal of harm, and yet we continue to eat it. To the point of self-injury. I think it's safe to say that there are more sugar-related deaths than heroine deaths. Not because sugar is more addictive than heroine (although maybe it is, the research with the lab rats shows that it's more addictive than cocaine), but because the effects don't seem to be "that bad." We can do a lot more damage before realizing the consequences.

I told myself that I was using it medicinally, and to a degree I was. When I asked hubby today, not to ever bring me candy to help me feel better, he out and out refused. He said "I can't not give you what I know will make you feel better." He pointed out how horribly unhappy and mean I was being before I ate the chocolate, and how sedated and happy I felt after eating the chocolate.

I had to admit that he was right. I told him, we're going to have to find another way to help me feel better. We talked about it, and we both realized what that might be, and we decided on physical activity which always makes me feel better, but does no harm. I was in a lot of pain, so the only activity that I could do was the warm water therapy pool.

We're at the low-point in our budget, so we actually had to scrape up the cash (because the warm water pool costs $8 per visit), but I went ot the pool. I'm so glad I did. I feel better and know that the swimming is helping not harming me as the sugar did the night before.

Still sugar is always going to be the fastest, most convenient mood-elevator for me, and both my husband and I both have to realize and remember that the mood-elevation doesn't come without a price, and a pretty heavy one, including "rabid hunger" and all the subtle damage to my body and blood sugar (I'm diabetic on metformin. My blood sugars are usually pretty good, but that can change the minute I start being careless with sugar).


If you look at the harm sugar can cause a person with diabetes (blindness, gangrene, limb amputation) it doesn't explain why anyone with diabetes would ever refuse to give the stuff up. Except in that it's very hard to give up. Even when you know the harm it does, it's still hard to give up.

If that's not addiction, then let's call it something else - but whatever we call it, we have to take it seriously, because it is killing people. It's killing me, and I still couldn't refuse the white chocolate candy bar when it was offerred. How messed up is that?

patchworkpenguin
04-08-2011, 11:05 PM
I feel I'm a food addict. I feel my addictions manifests itself in several ways. If I'm watching TV and see an ad for food, yes, I want to go get some and eat it immediatly, even if I'm not hungry or just ate. Doesn't matter. I eat when I'm bored or to celebrate! I eat to deal with my emotions. Today, I got a text from Hubby saying he had to fly to TX. Mostly, these are day trips but sometimes they turn into unplanned overnight trips. {he works for an airline}. As soon as I read the text I KNEW he was going to be stuck and I felt the compulsion to eat. I was anxious so I wanted to eat to feel better. I mostly fought the complusion, but as soon as he texted me that he was on the way home, the compulsion disappeared! I was hungry by this time but couldn't find anything that I WANTED to eat. Weird!

Nola Celeste
04-08-2011, 11:19 PM
I'm not a food addict. I love food, but I haven't struggled with cutting any of it out of my diet the way I struggled with cutting out nicotine.

My brother died of an overdose of narcotics and alcohol. I admit that it's hard for me to see a twinkie in the same light that I see heroin or oxycontin. Twinkies never robbed me of a loved one, and although over time, they can certainly do some bad **** to the human body, they cannot do it within minutes or hours. They can certainly rob people of health and longer life--but they won't do it overnight and leave family members to discover you cold in your bed one morning. Not without warning.

So while I feel it's possible that certain foods or maybe even food in general is addictive to some people, I'm personally a little uneasy with the comparison. I can understand where it's a useful mindset to have, but after witnessing first-hand the wreckage of drug addiction unto death by overdose, I can't draw parallels between a baked potato and poison.

I respect others' right to feel otherwise, though. It's kind of a touchy thing for me, but I realize that that's MY hang-up, not theirs.

kaplods
04-08-2011, 11:57 PM
I'm not a food addict. I love food, but I haven't struggled with cutting any of it out of my diet the way I struggled with cutting out nicotine.

My brother died of an overdose of narcotics and alcohol. I admit that it's hard for me to see a twinkie in the same light that I see heroin or oxycontin.


I don't think anyone is asking you to see it in the same light as heroine or oxycontin addiction. Personally I think comparing addictions is disrespectful and a waste of time (unless talking only about personal experience).

Although (as I said earlier) I believe more people probably die of sugar than heroine, but it's a much slower, much more pleasant way to go and I would never suggest that sugar addiction is worse than heroine addiction. Though it is probably true to say it kills more people (probably because we do truthfully see it as less harmful). As much of a problem as sugar is for me, I'd gladly take sugar-addiction over heroine-addiction (or addiction to any illegal substance aand most of the other legal ones). I'll gladly take (and do take) a mild caffeine-addiction over nicotine addiction. I'd take nicotine addiction over addiction to any illegal drug. I'd take marijuana addiction over cocaine addiction. I'd take cocaine addiction over meth addiction... but I'd just as soon not have any addictions or dependencies. That's not my situation though, and I have to deal with it (though I'm very glad not ot have ever had any other addictions than the ones I've had).

And as for you finding nicotine being harder to kick than food - that's not necessarily a universal experience. My husband has been far more successful at giving up cigarettes than giving up carbs. I've heard many people in OA many times talk about their substance addictions being easier to conquer than their food addictions. I believe that their experiences are as valid as yours.

It's very common for people with multiple addictions to find one more difficult than another to give up, and while there are some trends, there are no universals. Which ones you find easier to give up, aren't always the ones someone else will find easier to give up. Also the consequences of one addiction may be different as well.

Working in substance abuse treatment, I've even seen people with "severe" addictions to milder drugs and yet only mild addictions or no addictions to harder drugs that they also use regularly. I've met people with a mild marijuana addiction and a severe cocaine addiction, and also people with a mild addiction to cocaine and a severe addiction to marijana.

"Substance of choice" can vary a lot. The difficulty in quitting one over the other, can vary a lot. The number and severity of life consequences can vary a lot.

Just because there's varying degrees of dependence and abuse, and varying degrees of damage from the abuse, doesn't mean that anyone is saying "one is as bad as the other." But "which one is worse" isn't really a very productive conversation.

Unfortunately, we just only have a few words to describe control issues. Dependence, abuse, addiction, impulse-control, compulsive behavor. Those are the words we have. We don't (definition-wise) distinguish (at least not outside of the substance abuse field) between severity and degree of the behavior or of the consequences.

However, even though we don't have words that make distinctions, we definitely do make distinctions. Even legally. It's why the penalties for marijuana are milder than they are for meth and heroine, and why there are no legal penalties for addiction to legal substances such as nicotine, caffeine, food and alcohol (there are no legal penalties for alcohol addiction, unless the law is broken under the influence, or in obtaining the alcohol).

We make distinctions all the time. We know that a "serious" caffeine or nicotine addiction isn't in the same class as a "serious" meth addiction. There is no "mild" addiction to meth (but there are degrees of severity - as with all addictions).


Calling it something else is fine, and I'm all for suggestions. Because I'd rather we talk about sugar (different word for addiction) than decide we can't talk about it because it's not as bad as heroine addiction.

But if we do create a new word for it, then every drug probably should get it's own word too, because it's just as inappropriately insensitive to compare nicotine or pot addiction to meth and heroine addiction. They all vary by degree and consequences.

If we want to call Meth and heroine a class 1 addiction, caffeine a class 9 addiction, and sugar a class 10 addiction. Ok, that would work (if we all understood and agreed upon the rating system). Or we could have 10 different words for addiction. That would be ok too (but again we'd all have to understand and agree upon the definitions of all 10 words).


Talking about "food addiction" on a weight loss site is not the same as going to an AA meeting and talking about your food addiction. Or telling a recovering meth-addict that you know how they feel because you're addicted to potato chips. None of us are suggesting that.

But talking about "food addiction" on a weight loss website and how it's affected our lives (not how it's worse or better than any other addiction) is entirely appropriate.

But what we cannot do is "not talk about it" because it's not as bad as other addictions. It would be like saying that people who use mild narcotics and have never been in trouble with the law, shouldn't talk about their problems because some people have it much, much, much worse.

It needs to be talked about, no matter what we call it.

Trazey34
04-09-2011, 12:05 AM
Nope, not a food addict. Lazy as f**k, yes, food addict, no LOL

I could eat a lot in one sitting but never ate a *whole* pie or cake, never ate anything in secret, never hid wrappers or felt ashamed for eating or for being fat.

I did a little behaviour modification and realized that I was just being a spoiled brat, that it was easier to dismiss it all as an addiction to food that I was powerless over and therefore not to blame. I got over that and got on with my life. Now food is what it is, something delicious and yummy that keeps me alive. I can have a 1KG bag of M&Ms in my house and have a small handful about once a week with a coffee and enjoy the decadence of a real chocolately treat, enjoy it and stop. Enjoy it and move on and not think about it again.

Not to dismiss what people feel is an addiction, but I've worked in detox clinics for so long part of me really takes umbrage at lumping all addictions in together. Seeing someone detox off heroin and literally climbing walls and scraping their skin off with their fingernails from withdrawal compared to headaches and crappy feeling from quitting sugar doesn't seem fair to me.

Joszac
04-09-2011, 12:28 AM
kaplods -That's not addiction, that's dependence. For example, insulin to a diabetic can cause great harm when you quit. Life-saving steroids for inflammation can cause great harm when you quit. Yet, neither steroid use or insulin use is addiction.

I don't come here to be told what I believe is wrong and I, nor have i seen anyone say people can't talk about food addiction. A question was asked and I gave my opinion. It bothers me to have you tell me what my problem was and was not.

A question asked and I answered, clearly stating what I think and not that anyone else opinion was wrong. I'd like to feel I can express myself here and not be told I'm wrong.

kaplods
04-09-2011, 12:49 AM
I don't come here to be told what I believe is wrong and I, nor have i seen anyone say people can't talk about food addiction. A question was asked and I gave my opinion. It bothers me to have you tell me what my problem was and was not.

If you told me that a dog has pointed ears and says "Meow." I'm not disrespecting your opinion by saying "No that's a cat."

I wasn't making a personal attack, or stating that you had no right to your opinion. I was just explaining facts that contradict your opinion.

You have every right to your opinion. You can even feel disrespected for my disagreeing (but no disrespect was meant). Yes, I did disagree with your usage of the word (and still do).

There is a distinct difference between the clinical definition of addiction and dependence. I was just clarifying because I would love for more people to use the correct definition rather than the slang one. If enough people use the slang, the correctness of the usage will change. The distinction is important, so I'd rather that not happen.

"Addiction" is a common slang expression for "dependence" but it's slang - used by non-clinicians because they don't know the difference between the two. I was just trying to explain the difference, not offend anyone. There's no shame in not knowing the difference (most people don't), but it still doesn't make addiction and dependence mean the same thing. They don't and they never will, even if someday they have the same name).


"Addiction" is commonly used when dependence is what is actually meant That's not "opinion" that's using the precise, clinical (non-slang) definition, ans anyone taking a first year college psychology course can tell you. Of course most people haven't taken such a course, which is why I clarified. Not to correct you personally, but to inform anyone who would read the thread - that there's a difference between the two words, and it's an important one.

Clinically "food addiction" is also incorrect. "Complusive overeating" is the more clinically precise and correct term, and people have the right to correct me on that (and the more people who do, the "wronger" I'll be. For now, food "addiction" is another defnition limbo. A lot of people arguing over the definition, and the apropriateness of each).

You're free to use addiction in the less precise, common, "slang" usage (but it's still "technically" incorrect). I gave clinical examples not to disagree with you, but to show the difference between addiction and dependence because the distinction is important and I don't want them to become the same word because the meanings aren't interchangeable. (If enough people called cats dogs, they would become dogs. Dog would be a word used to describe both cats and dogs, but it wouldn't make them the same animal, it would just give them the same name. I'd hate to see that happen to addiction and dependence).

Awesome didn't always mean "good" it used to mean terrifying. Gay used to mean happy not homosexual. And some day dependence and addictions may become the same word, but that would be sad because the distinction is important. Even if addiction and dependence get the same name of addiction, they are and always will be different things. Call dependence addiction if you want, but understand that it's a "different kind of addiction than the one psychologists and substance abuse profesionals use.

"Addiction" is a word in limbo. Enough people use it incorrectly for it to be bordering on a synonym for dependence. If that happens, the discussion only becomes muddier, which is why I prefer the clinically correct word, and why I explain the clinically correct usage of the words and the destinction when I can.

Most people don't understand the difference, but they need to - so that there's less confusion. You have a right to use any word you want. You can call butterflies oranges if you want, and if you get enough people to do it, butterflies will become oranges, but it won't make butterfiles and oranges the same thing it will just give them the same name.

Trazey34
04-09-2011, 01:05 AM
but it just seems you have so obvious an axe to grind that your views seem so skewed at times, militant almost. Maybe you're a recent convert, like a new non-smoker preaching the gospel or something, but the message almost gets lost.

I disagree with you from a clinical standpoint but i'm not going to quote your message and pick it apart line by line, it's pointless and silly. You have your views, other people have their views, and sometimes never the twain shall meet.

It's the internet, agreeing to disagree is a basic survival skill !

Nola Celeste
04-09-2011, 02:00 AM
I very much see it as MY hang-up if I don't use the term "addiction" because to me, it calls to mind something much darker. Other people are going to continue to call it that, and if it makes me grit my teeth a little, well, that's my problem--not theirs.

I had this discussion about using the word "cheating" to describe a brief foray away from one's dietary plan. I hate that word and its implications that eating an off-plan food is "naughty" or that there's such a thing as "bad" food. It rankles me. But that's my cross to bear, not someone else's.

I think defining terms helps (or harms) us in ways that might not be readily apparent. For some, seeing food in terms of disease, disorder, and addiction helps them overcome problematic eating habits that can be every bit as detrimental in the long run as more traditionally recognized physical addictions. For others, pathologizing food actually reinforces weird relationships with it or makes them uncomfortable because of past events in their lives. I fall into the latter camp, but I can't tell the former camp how to speak of what they see and feel.

I certainly don't want to argue over which is a "worse" addiction. That isn't my place, as I haven't been prey to any genuine addiction aside from nicotine. My brother isn't here to discuss how hard quitting was because he didn't get the chance to quit.

Whether there is or is not food addiction, I don't dispute that for some people, it's an effective way of thinking about food. It isn't MY way, but if it's what works for others, that's awesome (in the sense of "good," not in the sense of "terrifying" ;) ). I hate the term irrationally--but I know it's irrational, and I know why I hate the term, and that's not the fault of the people using the term or the concept of food addiction to better their lives. Whether they are physiologically addicted, I don't know--but if their results from thinking of it as such are good, then the net effect is positive.

Would never begrudge anyone anything that made them healthier and happier, and I certainly don't want to be contentious about it. I'll applaud everyone's successes however she comes by them as long as it's in a healthy way--whether it's my way or not.

xty
04-09-2011, 02:01 AM
kaplods - Just wanted to say I really appreciated the well thought out post on the dependence vs addiction...as well as the personal side of the story you shared. Regardless of whether I agree or not, it made me think harder about my perspective.

I am not trying to take sides or anything, but generally I welcome convos that encourage further critical thinking. Not about right vs wrong, but I enjoy being pushed to think harder about a subject :)

kaplods
04-09-2011, 02:14 AM
but it just seems you have so obvious an axe to grind that your views seem so skewed at times, militant almost. Maybe you're a recent convert, like a new non-smoker preaching the gospel or something, but the message almost gets lost.

I disagree with you from a clinical standpoint but i'm not going to quote your message and pick it apart line by line, it's pointless and silly. You have your views, other people have their views, and sometimes never the twain shall meet.

It's the internet, agreeing to disagree is a basic survival skill !

Militant?

That's an accurate assessment, unfortunately.


And it's because I spent over 35 years following the "main stream" opinions, and only got fatter and fatter. I accepted every popular criticism that came my way.
Including the argument that in order to get "so fat" I must have substantial psychiatric problems. If there was any addiction-like component to it, it had to be based on deep psychological trauma (which doesn't explain what changing what I ate made the problem go from omnipresent to almost nonexistent. Or why returning to those foods brought the insanity right back).

Before my "conversion" (and religious conversion is as good an analogy as any), I thought all the "militant" radicals who thought like I do now, were absolutely bonkers.

It took me over a year to even try low-carb after my doctor suggested it, because everything I thought I knew said he was off his rocker. It took a second opinion from a doctor who lost nearly 100 lbs herself, telling me about her husband (also a doctor) who lost over 100 lbs, on a modified Atkins to even inspire me to try it. When I think how close I came to never giving it a shot at all, I shudder.

When my insane "rabid hunger" disappeared on low-carb eating, it wasn't like a miracle, it was more like an alien abduction. It wasn't a single "miraclulous" event entering my life, it was more like being plopped into an entirely different, entirely upside-down reality.

I spent decades trying to discover the "deep psychological problems" that were causing me to feel half-starved and food-obsessed 24/7 no matter how much I ate. The more I ate, the hungrier I got, and it made no sense.

Low-carb changed my life in such an absolutely dramtic way, that I can't help but be astonished by the fact that the reality thought I knew, was absolutely and completely wrong for me.

I don't consider myself a fanatic, because I don't believe my truth is everyone's truth. But I won't stop sharing my truth, and I don't expect anyone to do differently. In fact it's important that every reality is heard, because obesity is not one reality, it's 10,000.

Yes, "aggreeing to disagree" is great, as long as everyone is hearing the opinions on all sides (I almost said both sides, but there are a lot more than two sides in this case. There's thousands and thousands of realities to share). As long as "agreeing to disagree" doesn't mean holding back experiences and opinions that might be important to someone.

I think it better to have everyone disagree than anyone keep silent because they're afraid of disagreement.

Sometimes unpopular opinions do get shouted louder, and even get exagerated in the telling, so that they're heard, and then there's also "devil's advocate" perspective that can creep in. I think if low-carb dieting and the existence of carb-addiction were the "only acceptable" opinions, I'd have a more moderate view and might even "fight for the other side" even though it's not my own.

More and more, I see that all obesity is not the same, and yet it still tends to be treated that way, by doctors and health and weight loss writers. Which means that if you have a type of weight problem that is different than the currently most popular one, you may seek and seek and never find what works for you.

When I realize how close I came to never finding success, just because I didn't consider low-carb diets legitimate, yeah I do tend to be a little overenthusiastic in sharing my experiences. How could I not be?

Oh, no biggie, I just found what I've been desperately searching for all of my life and found it in the last place I would have thought to look! I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew, and do the "opposite," but no big woop. Not like I'd want to share anything so monumental with someone else who could possible be in the same situation (even if they're 1 in 10,000).


Of course I'm "preaching." I'm living a miracle I still don't understand.

I wish I could give someone "rabid hunger" for a day, so they'd know what a miracle having it disappear has been. No one who has not experienced the monumental night-day difference can possibly understand, and I know that, but I can't help but keep trying to explain it. I know it's futile, and it really doesn't matter. Because only the people who HAVE experienced it can benefit from my experience. If you've never felt carb-induced "rabid hunger" my experiences probably don't apply to you. And what I've learned and now believe can't help you. Which means that it doesn't matter how many people disagree and can't relate to me. It's only the people who say "Wow, I've felt like that" who might find a similar truth.

We all have to share, even when we disagree, even when it seems we have an opinion that no one shares and everyone criticises, because our personal "truth" might help someone find theirs. We may each be 1 out of 10,000 - which only means that we need to hear all 10,000 opinions so we find the one that applies to us.

milmin2043
04-09-2011, 02:38 AM
I definitely consider myself a food addict.

Im not fat anymore, but I am still a food addict....just one that deals better most of the time than I used to with the addiction.

I think of food way too often, simply cant have most foods in the house because I will binge on them (ex: no Kashi cereal, Ive eaten an entire box in one sitting even though I didnt particularly enjoy it and I was painfully full). There is a feeling of absolutely compulsion and lack of control.

Health has become my life's work, and that is really all there is to it....if I stop being so vigilant it all slips out of control. I dont even just mean my weight, but life just starts to feel out of control. Hiding food, sneaking it, eating several thousand calories in one sitting. Bad stuff. Addict stuff.

Honestly, I don't care what it's called. However, this post describes me to a "T". Right down to the Kashi cereal. (I admit, hubs is on his way home from second shift as I am typing this, and I asked him to pick some up for me on the way home). :o

Health has also become my life's work and it really is that simple, in my mind. I will always have to fight this. No matter how many books I read, or opinions I agree or disagree with, or shows I watch on the subject. It doesn't matter, I have to make this a life long commitment.

I have posted this before, but I remember, as a very young child, hiding food. I took great pleasure in candy bars and I would hoard them to eat later. I would walk a mile to town when I had extra change and buy as many candy bars as I could get and eat 4 or 5 on the way home. I was not overweight at that time. However, this has been a problem for me as long as I can remember. People here kept talking about Skinny Cow Ice Cream Bars, Sandwiches, etc., and how good they are. I have avoided buying any for a full year until a few days ago. I don't know why I bought them. I saw the industrial sized box at Sam's and felt the compulsion to get them. Holy man they are good. I can't leave them alone. I had to take the remainder and put them in the freezer in our detached garage. That way I will have to work a little harder to have one, and I can make a smarter decision.

I don't know if that's addiction or not. I've been addicted to cigarettes in the past. Gave them up twice and finally quit for good. This deal with food is more difficult for me than that was. At times, food is the only thing on my mind. Either trying not to eat too much, trying to eat the right things, trying not to obsess over my obsession. I'm worn out from thinking about it all.

kaplods
04-09-2011, 02:48 AM
kaplods - Just wanted to say I really appreciated the well thought out post on the dependence vs addiction...as well as the personal side of the story you shared. Regardless of whether I agree or not, it made me think harder about my perspective.

I am not trying to take sides or anything, but generally I welcome convos that encourage further critical thinking. Not about right vs wrong, but I enjoy being pushed to think harder about a subject :)


I think you "get" what I'm trying to say more than anyone else in this thread. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me, but I am suggesting that sometimes "thinking harder" is necessary.

Most of my life (since my first diet at age 5) I've thought of weight loss as simple, and me the biggest idiot on the planet for not getting it (which was quite a mystery since I excelled at most things I tried). And I never understood why something so simple could be so complicated (and I found out it was, because it is complicated).

I kept trying to force myself into a reality I didn't fit into, and wondered why I kept failing. But how do you find a reality that you don't know exists or worse a reality that you believe is a dangerous lie. I knew low-carb existed, but I thought it was not only unhealthy, but dangerous. Of course I never considered it my possible salvation. I ran as far from it as I could.

I stumbled over a couple of things in the last few years, that had I learned when I was 12, instead of in my mid 40's, would have changed the entire course of my life and mostly for the better. I can only say that I can't regret meeting my husband, but so many things would have been better. The only thing that makes it bearable is knowing that it could be much worse - if not for contact with two doctors, I'd be in a much worse place today.

I feel like I've spent years and years bashing my head against a thick brick wall, throwing myself harder and harder against the bricks, getting bloodier and bloodier, only to be shown (after more than 35 years of head-bashing) the location of a window in the wall. I still have to climb the wall and make it through the window, but that's a heck of a lot easier and less painful than trying to make it through the wall using my skull as a battering ram.

Maybe I would have eventually gotten through the wall "billy goat style" but I think I would still much rather take the window, and do wish I'd found the window before I'd done serious brain and body damage (which I hope isn't permanent, though I suspect some of it probably is).