There are different ways to get rid of food addiction. Most people have the habit of eating too much without caring their health. They are unable to maintain their weight.
There is increasing evidence of the close relationship that exists between being overweight, certain psychological factors, such as alterations in mood and the perception of food as a reward, and emotions, motivation or even addictive behavior.
Emotions and moods influence food intake, eating habits and weight gain, and vice versa: the type of diet influences emotional state and resistance to stress.
Stress promotes weight gain because in stressful situations corticosteroids and secrete ghrelin to induce food selection of so- called “comfort” rich in sugars, fats and salt. “This type of food gives us an immediate sensation of pleasure and reward that reduces the sensation of perceived stress and unconsciously reinforces our stressful behavior.
The physical mechanisms that intervene after the consumption of these foods induce them to continue consuming them in addition to favoring a sedentary lifestyle and reinforcing the appetite for comfort foods, available everywhere and at low prices.
“Subliminal and constant advertising, stressful socioeconomic, work and family factors, the prolonged economic and values crisis or lack of time and rush induce sedentary lifestyle and long-term emotional conflicts, giving rise to a cocktail served to increase the weight ”, says the doctor.
In this “obesogenic” environment, the emotional factor seems to explain most of the long-term failures of weight loss programs. Despite the information on diet and healthy lifestyle that reaches the general population through Public Health campaigns, the prevalence of obesity does not decrease.
“We eat for much more than to maintain our physiological, nutritional or survival needs: to share, celebrate, eliminate or mitigate unpleasant emotions or as an immediate reward or reward after an intense day of work. All of this is the key by which we tend to gain weight or not maintaining the lost weight despite consciously knowing how to lose weight.
In addition, maintaining the ideal weight in the long term is very difficult given that we live in a world where they converge: globalization of the Anglo-Saxon way of eating versus the healthier Mediterranean, unlimited availability of attractive and appetizing processed foods, sedentary lifestyle, states emotional situations in which stress and anxiety prevail, a loss of purchasing power that redirects to cheaper and also more unhealthy foods, and hedonism that seeks immediate pleasure and reward.
“Consequently, only 10% of individuals maintain their weight without making a conscious effort”
Tasty food addicts
Recent research has concluded that very tasty foods (comfort) could induce addictive processes. Refined carbohydrates produce more serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and opioids in the brain, leading to sedating and pleasurable effects.
The trait that identifies addictive behavior is that the person is driven to do it despite its negative consequences, as if responding to an inner command, and not by choice. Food addicts tend to use depressant substances (sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, alcohol) or stimulants (coffee, cola or cocaine) in excess.
You can consider yourself a potential food addict if you try to exert severe control over your urge to eat, regardless of how much or how often you eat, or if you feel that food is dominating you.
Neuroscientific studies show that addiction-prone people have low levels of dopamine receptors in certain areas of the brain. Obese people, like those addicted to cocaine, also have low levels of brain dopamine.
Studies have also shown that in people addicted to food the same areas of the brain are activated by the sight of food as in those addicted to cocaine or other addictive substances or behaviors.
The problem arises if instead of using food to satisfy hunger, and taking pleasure in doing so, it is used to try to satisfy legitimate but unmet emotional needs such as feeling loved, safe or not in distress.
7 keys to overcome food addiction
1. Dietary-nutritional aspects: Take foods and supplements that contain dopamine precursors such as tyrosine (in the morning, when we have the peak of dopamine in the brain) and serotonin such as tryptophan (in the afternoon, when we have the peak of brain serotonin).
2. Learn to differentiate between “hunger” and “appetite”: Hunger is the physiological sensation that allows us to satisfy our biological needs, while the appetite involves sensory and emotional stimuli of external and internal origin, and eating habits and numerous socio-cultural aspects influence appetite. cultural
3. Avoid addictive or “comfort” foods: Rich in refined carbohydrates and fats, as foods to alleviate negative emotions (anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, etc.) or to use as a reward or reward. Use exercise, music, talking with friends, a hot bath, etc. as alternatives.
4. Face the difficulties of life in an effective way: We must learn to observe ourselves to identify the problem, the messages that our mind sends us and, assertively, modify the situation that generates discomfort. If this is not possible, learn to distance yourself from the problem, to relativize it, to be positive. To stop our addictive belief system, we must acquire the skills to act in the face of the urgent need to eat and the necessary tools to better manage our emotions.
5. Learn to develop alternative activities to food to face difficult situations.
6. Respect the daily work-leisure-rest rhythm : Apply the 8-hour rule for each of these three areas of life.
7. Respect the triad healthy eating-physical activity-relaxation / stress control : together with a varied diet, dedicate time to physical activity (minimum 30 minutes / day) and relaxation activities (yoga, meditation, acupuncture, ‘mindfulness’ or mindfulness). This exercises helps to get rid of food addiction.