I know a lot of people on the forums have said over and over getting their eating under control is one of the most difficult things they do. People don't understand it's like an addiction when they're saying "One piece of cake won't hurt". They wouldn't think to offer a recovering alcoholic "Just one drink." It's not widely accepted to think of food and our relationship with it as an addiction. So I was surprised to read this interview on CNN with a former (?) Biggest Loser trainer named Brett Hoebel. I'm not familiar with the show but I'm sure some of you are.
This is the part that stuck out to me:
CNN: What's the biggest weight loss or fitness obstacle you see people encounter?
Hoebel: Really, No. 1 is diet. Most people want to think it's a fitness thing or a nutrition regimen, and I'm like, it's a mental and emotional thing.
We are in a society where we're exposed to food so much of the time, and what people don't realize is that food is a drug. Chemicals make up drugs; chemicals make up food. Food is the most over-prescribed drug we have today.
Food is a lot of people's therapy -- when we say comfort food, we really mean that. It's releasing dopamine and serotonin in your brain that makes you feel good. And as you (indulge) more and more and more, it can become a little bit addictive. After you do that for too long, it can no longer be a choice -- you really change the physical structure of your brain and it's going to be harder to quit.
(But) the food addiction is only part of it. The emotional issues are the deeper thing, and if you don't fix that, it's just not going to work.
The frustrating part about the food addiction issue is that you can't just avoid food like you can avoid alcohol or other addictive substances. Sure, you can avoid sugary treats like cake and candy. But those things were never my problem. My problem has always been eating too much of "regular" food. For example, I love almonds. They are a healthy food and, if eaten in moderation, can be a nutritious part of a diet that will foster weight loss. But they are also very high in fat and calories. So, if you eat a LOT of them, you're not going to lose weight. I have the same problem with almonds that some people have with sugar or junk food. If I start eating them, I can't stop. Because of this I have, for the most part, stopped eating them. Sometimes, if I really crave them, I'll buy a bag -- but I will keep them in the trunk of my car so that when I'm at work or home, they are not easily accessible. I have to go out of my way to get them. This has actually helped. Because when I keep them in my pantry or my desk at work, I can go through a 1lb bag in a couple days!
But almonds aren't the only culprit though. I certainly didn't get fat eating a lot of almonds! And when I said my problem is overeating "regular" food, I have to admit that in the past I ate a lot of fast food and junk food. But even if I cut all of the fast food and junk food out of my diet I would still have a problem with my weight because I am a compulsive over-eater when it comes to most foods that I like to eat. The only thing that has helped me is restricting the type of food I eat. I don't eat any grains or starches. Just protein, fats and veggies (and a limited amount of fruit for now). I find that when I do this, I am satisfied with the amount of food. I don't over-eat because I am not eating something that I am REALLY enjoying. I mean, while I like grilled chicken, fish, salads, veggies, etc. -- I am not going to binge on these foods. I will stop when I am full. With other foods, like pizza, pasta, burgers, Mexican food, Chinese food, etc., I will eat beyond the point of being full because I enjoy the taste of the food so much. Then, a couple hours after I am past the point of being full and literally can't eat anymore, I would later resume eating once I could eat again. No sane person would do this to themselves. And there was never any underlying emotional reasons for doing it. It was just my habit. It was my M.O. There is no explanation other than addiction.
04-05-2013, 05:37 PM
I just attended a seminar and it spoke about requiring your brain.
So there was a ton of great information!
Learning how to Focus !!!and paying attention to what you are doing.
Spoke about changing Your Good and changing it . So your reward pathway is something else.
09-01-2013, 02:41 PM
This is point on. I say it from an addict's perspective, too. I've always been fat. I also used to be a meth addict, though. I would "binge" on it. I didn't need it every day, but I did it a LOT on the weekends/special occasions. When I quit meth, I turned to alcohol. I binged on it, too. Like meth, I used it way too much on the weekends and special occasions. Now that I'm clean and sober, I'm at my highest weight ever and battling food the same way. I do amazingly on my healthy eating during the week, but I end up binging on the weekends. I most certainly have an addiction issue. It's the hardest one I'll ever fight, too. Like Joe said, I can avoid drugs and alcohol. I can't just stop eating.
09-02-2013, 10:00 PM
Actually, Joe, there is another possible explanation than habit alone (and perhaps I'm about to tell you what you already know). What you have cut back on in your diet are quick-burning carbs--breads and grains, starchy foods, sweets, fruit, etc. When a carb-sensitive person is hungry and eats quick-burning carbs (like those in fast food), those carbs cause their blood sugar to spike, which triggers their body to release a flood of insulin, which causes their blood sugar then to drop rapidly, which triggers their hunger again, and the process repeats itself. Even after eating to the point of being full, a little while later, the person wants to eat again because their blood sugar has dropped. By eating quick-burning carbs in the past, which you may be sensitive to (some people aren't; their bodies don't release too much insulin in reaction to them), you might have been creating a roller coaster ride with your blood sugar and in turn, your hunger. It may not have been emotional eating, but it wouldn't have been only habit either. Carbs would have been causing a physiological response in you. I've read a lot about this type of response because I have a family history of insulin issues and I am sensitive to carbs. I wish I weren't and as I've mentioned, some people aren't, but it does sound to me like you may be. I suspect that a lot of overweight people have a carb sensitivity, which can lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. I'm not sure that what I'm describing is the same kind of addiction as described in the original CNN interview, since it's talking about the release of dopamine and serotonin and its effect on the brain, and I'm talking about the release of excess insulin and its effect on blood sugar.