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Old 04-08-2011, 04:18 PM   #1  
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Default Do you consider yourself to be a food addict?

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?
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:52 PM   #2  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:12 PM   #3  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:27 PM   #4  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:12 PM   #5  
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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.

Last edited by kaplods; 04-08-2011 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:26 PM   #6  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:44 PM   #7  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:49 PM   #8  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:08 PM   #9  
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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).

Last edited by kallismom; 04-08-2011 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:09 PM   #10  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:37 PM   #11  
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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!
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:25 PM   #12  
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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!
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:34 PM   #13  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:51 PM   #14  
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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.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:53 PM   #15  
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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!
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