In today’s episode we’re talking about how to identify if you use food in an unhealthy way. We talk about food addiction, how to do know if you might have some unhealthy coping mechanisms and, most importantly, specific implementation strategies to help you overcome these potentially dangerous behaviors.
The Problem: Many of us use food for purposes other than fuel. For some people, that’s ok. For others, they want to make some improvements. I’m not a big fan of defining food addiction in one narrow way. Instead, I encourage people to ask themselves:
- Do you use food? (to cope, to escape, to numb)
- Do you want to change?
- Do you feel like you have control over your food choices at all times?
The answers can provide a lot of insight into your relationship with food and if there might be room for improvement. Life can be much more pleasant (and we can reach our goals much more easily) if we aren’t using food in an unhealthy way and if stay in control of our choices.
Evaluate your relationship with food and ask yourself:
- Do you constantly justify your food choices?
- Are you hiding your indulgences or binges?
- Are you regularly breaking promises to yourself?
- Do you often have intense cravings?
Many foods, especially sugar and processed foods, do have addictive qualities. They trigger the same pleasure centers within the brain that many narcotics trigger.
The Solution: Awareness is a powerful first step. Identify what influences your food choices. It is rarely about food and more often about routines, emotions and patterns of behavior. Begin to study those behaviors to learn your triggers and identify areas for improvement.
- Keep a tracking document. Monitor what you eat, how much, when, your hormonal biofeedback, your emotional shifts and your progress towards your goal
- Identify your triggers
- Consider whether you’re a moderator or an abstainer
- Eat to balance your blood sugar
- Focus on fat & protein at breakfast
- Sleep more (and improve the quality of your sleep)
- Eat less processed food & sugar