In the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), binge…
Learning to Eat Normally After Recovering from Food Addiction
Addiction to food is pervasive, which means it can affect people of all ages and cultures, and can involve any variety of food items or food groups. This makes it difficult, though not impossible, to learn to eat normally after recovering from food addiction.
Change Your Way of Thinking About Food
The first step in adjusting to life after recovering from food addiction is shifting your thinking about food. If you switch your mindset from, “I need to eat normally,” to, “I need to eat in a healthy way that fuels my body,” you will take on a more positive attitude toward food. This mindset shift also helps rid your mind of guilt associated with indulging every once in a while. It is not healthy to deprive yourself of everything that you enjoy, although many people wrongly believe that “normal eating” means never touching sweets or salty snacks. Make your recovery about long-term health.
Use Tools to Better Understand Food
Addiction to food is largely characterized by a loss of control. Individuals who are addicted to a specific type of food or an entire food group (such as sweets) often feel as though they have no power to resist the addictive food. In order to regain control of your eating habits, use tools that help you track and better understand your food options and eating patterns.
Calorie tracking apps are often used to help people lose weight, but they can be equally beneficial to people who are striving for control over food addiction. Calorie counting apps provide information about calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fats for any food you want to eat. Understanding the science behind food can help you build a balanced diet and better understand your cravings. Also, food plans can help you prepare for meals throughout the day or week so you are not left deciding “what sounds good” at the last minute.
Understand Your Triggers
An important part of maintaining your healthy eating habits is protecting yourself against the triggers that may cause you to relapse. Stress is strongly linked to eating behaviors as well as addictive behaviors. By managing your stress levels, you can protect your healthy habits. Consider activities such as meditation, yoga, hanging out with friends, playing sports or taking part in other exercise, doing art or engaging in a fun hobby to manage your stress.
Eating is a mandatory part of life. If you suffer from an addiction to food, changing the way you think about food and planning for possible disruptions in your healthy routine can go a long way in protecting you from relapse.
Corwin, R. L. & Grigson, P. S. (2009). Symposium Overview – Food Addiction: Fact or Fiction? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714380/
Food Addicts Anonymous. (n.d.). The FAA Food Plan.
Yau, Y. H. C. & Potenza, M. N. (2013). Stress and Eating Behaviors. Minerva Endocrinology, 38(3), 255-267. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214609/