Archive | May, 2010

Hello I Am A Food Addict

30 May

Its been a long road to come to the realisation that I have bigger problems than what I eat. If what I ate was the problem then I wouldn’t have a problem anymore. I have been on low calorie diets, low fat diets, low carb diets and many more extreme versions. I have always kept the weight on. My obsession was always with eating food and as much of it as I could.

This has always been the case. I see three classical symptoms in my eating patterns.  (1) I am a bit of a depressive person. I cover my emotions and feelings with external addictions. The major one been food. Everyone has heard of comfort eating right? (2) My second problem is I am fixated with food. When I wake up I think about breakfast, then lunch and then dinner and then for the rest of the night I sit their trying to not eat anymore. I am hungry all the time and if I let myself have free reign over food I put on weight. I tried this with intuitive eating and it did not work. Which leads me to my next issue. (3) I have no control when I eat and can’t stop eating when I start. I seem to eat well past my hunger cues. Even when I am physically full I still want to eat.

Recently, research has begun to shed light into the possible addictive nature of eating modern day food and this can best be explained through binge eating. During binges compulsive overeaters can consume up to 15000 calories, which results in an addictive “high”. This is not dissimilar to the high experienced during drug or alcohol use. Researchers have speculated there is an abnormality of endorphin (feel good neurotransmitters) metabolism in the brain of binge eaters that triggers the addictive process. This is in line with other theories of addiction that attribute it not to avoidance of withdrawal symptoms, but to a primary problem in the reward centers of the brain. For the compulsive overeater, the ingestion of trigger foods causes release of the neurotransmitter, seratonin. Most addictive drugs also increase the release of seratonin producing similar effects.

In this day and age it is hard to avoid foods that cause these triggers. Everyday when I see food I feel overwhelmed to eat it. I would naturally seek the most saltiest, fattiest or carbiest food around. To face this battle with food addiction I definitely need an ally and I think I have found one. Humans never evolved to eat foods high in these substances. Most hunter gatherers ate foods that were low in carbs and salt, moderate fat, but high in nutrients. Im talking vegetables and meat here with occasional nuts, eggs and fruits. Everything in our modern society today is in stark contrast to this – pastries, sweets, dairy, coke etc etc. You only need to watch TV to know what I mean.  But our bodies are not evolved to deal with these foods. It wreaks havoc to our bodily systems.

So today I want to move on from my addiction and I think the only way to do this is to avoid trigger foods and eat a paleo diet. I need to start eating bland food that I am generally not interested in. This diet is very high in nutrients and I need to start seeing food as sustenance and not to get some feel good ‘high’.  I need to disassociate from the intense rewards I get from eating these foods. I believe I will undergo some sense of withdrawal. Researchers have  found that abstinence from addictive food and food eating processes causes withdrawal symptoms in those with eating disorders. There may be higher levels of depression and anxiety due to the decreased levels of serotonin in the individual. Welcome to my journey, and I hope you join me, for my battle on food addiction.