- Feeling like you’re addicted to food doesn’t mean your addicted to food
- Meeting your basic needs stops you feeling addicted to food
- 3 steps to stop thinking about food all the time
For 10 years I was hungry all the time, overweight and sure I was addicted to food.
But when I stopped dieting and started meeting my basic needs, I stopped thinking about food. I lost weight. And I could redirect all that energy into developing the Who Is NOBODY? Program that helps people discover their interests and use them to help others… so much more FUN and meaningful than counting calories! (Like I’d been doing for the entire decade before.)
Why I felt addicted to food
When I realized I was around 10 pounds overweight, I wanted to lose it right away.
But I had no idea how to do it.
So I started reading magazines about how to lose weight.
Soon I had 100’s of diet rules, tips and tricks swimming around in my head.
I thought I was collecting a comprehensive approach to losing weight.
But in reality, these disjointed ideas, like “only eat the white of an egg” left me feeling hungry all the time.
Eventually I’d feel hungry to the point of panic
This desperate state triggered overeating.
Then I’d feel terrible about myself. And wonder where my willpower went. Prior to dieting I’d been such a disciplined person. Very Type A!
So to make up for eating too much, I’d skip a meal…
I was anxious to get back to where I was before I overate.
Soon this series of events became a viscous cycle.
But I didn’t see the pattern.
I just thought I was addicted to food.
And I kept gaining weight.
My weight-loss strategy made me think I was addicted to food
My approach to weight loss was extreme.
I started dieting without educating myself. And I believed everything I read.
I thought weight loss was about restricting. Sticking to a diet!
And I was sure weight loss was all about NOT eating when you’re hungry.
But the truth is that the hungrier you are, the more you think about food.
And because I wasn’t eating enough, I was hungry ALL. THE. TIME.
Soon I was so preoccupied by food, weight and hunger, that eating was always on my mind.
That’s when I started worrying I was addicted to food.
Especially as someone in my family, who I love, had suffered from addiction.
I hated feeling preoccupied.
I didn’t realize weight loss was about meeting your basic needs
Now I understand all my random and rigid weight-loss approaches were stopping me from eating enough of each type of food.
In fact, there were food groups I was scared of and avoided… for years.
I was so focused on calorie counting and eating low-fat food (which got me into eating processed food so I could read the labels on the package) that I forgot each type of food plays a role in keeping us healthy. Then our bodies can function properly; which helps us reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally.
Why you aren’t addicted to food
No matter how many calories you consume,
if you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs
(easily accomplished through balanced meals!)
you’ll feel hungry.
For example, you can eat a big bag of cookies but still feel unsatisfied. Why? Because your body will crave the nutrients it lacks.
You can also get cravings because you’re in the habit of eating certain types of food. For example, maybe you always grab a donut during your morning break. Don’t worry! You can turn unhealthy habits into healthy habits …and stop thinking about food!
So many people think they’re addicted to food
1 in 4 girls in their teens think about hunger 20% to 100% of the time they’re awake.
I was one of those girls.
I’d overexercise and under-eat. Then I’d be starving. Next I’d overeat and feel guilty. And I’d have nightmares about overeating too.
For years I blamed myself instead of my weight-loss method.
I was sure I was addicted to food. I wished I could cut food out of my life cold turkey so I never had to think about it again.
But you have to eat to live. And I loved life.
When I learned I wasn’t addicted to food
In my second year of university I started to realize my preoccupation with food was interrupting my life. Things got pretty bad before this occurred to me. I was so distracted by hunger and caught in the cycle of starving, binging and purging that I never had the chance to stop and think. That’s when I decided to ask for help. And help suggested going back to the basics by eating 3 balanced meals a day.
As soon as I started eating each type of food to meet my body’s energy and nutrient needs, I stopped feeling hungry all the time. And when I stopped feeling hungry, I stopped thinking about food.
That’s when I realized I wasn’t addicted to food!
It was so liberating to think about other things.
For the first time in ages I could actually see, hear, smell and feel things because I wasn’t distracted by hunger.
It sounds so cliche but I LOVED hearing birds chirp as I walked down the street.
I don’t think I’d been “present” enough to take the world in… for years.
Balanced meals are good for your mind and body
When I started eating balanced meals regularly, I also lost the 30 extra pounds I’d been carrying around since high school. This amount of weight is typical of someone who restricts and then overeats. When you ignore hunger signals for long periods of time, your metabolism goes into survival mode. In this state it’s easier to gain weight.
The great news is as soon as you start eating balanced meals regularly, your metabolism starts running normally. In fact, if you eat something outside your routine, like an ice cream cone on a date or a dessert at an office party or chips while you watch a movie with friends… your body will just get rid of the extra energy naturally.
When your body’s in a healthy eating routine, it doesn’t hold onto excess energy for dear life.
It’s important to meet your basic needs while you’re reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating 3 roughly balanced meals made mostly of whole foods:
- gets your body into a healthy routine it LOVES
- boosts your metabolism
- helps you know when you’re full
- is satisfying… then you stop thinking about food
- helps you unlock your HAPPY weight
- gives you headspace to focus on life
Foods that make you think you’re addicted to food
Processed foods are full of added salt, sugar, artificial flavors and coloring, etc. that confuse your body and make it hard to know when you’re full. Whereas whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (that takes longer to break down).
Eating natural food helps you eat less and stay full longer. Then you reach a healthy weight naturally.
3 Steps to stop thinking about food
- Eat whole foods
- Eat balanced meals made of whole foods
- Regularly eat balanced meals made of whole foods
In other words…. STOP grazing on processed, low-fat diet food!
Whether you’re overeating most of the time or under-eating most of the time, adapt your present choices slowly. Building habits gradually makes change natural.
The reason my book is called “It took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds” is because I tried to make dramatic change overnight. Which only got me building unhealthy habits BETWEEN diets.
Don’t start your new diet tomorrow…
Make a couple healthy tweaks to how you’re eating and exercising TODAY
Add an apple to your lunch.
Have an orange and just 1/2 a glass of OJ.
Go for a 10 minute walk after dinner.
…you’ll love finding little ways to improve what you’re already doing. xo
What I ate that made me realize I’m not addicted to food
I was eating so little for the majority of the time, I was happy to make a big jump to 3 balanced meals made of whole foods each day. And I’ve never looked back. Then I slowly started to be more flexible and add variety to my choices.
After under-eating for so long I completely lost the concept of a balanced meal. I forgot how much you can AND SHOULD eat regularly! Here’s a list of what I started eating at breakfast, lunch and dinner, which helped me break the cycle of starving, bingeing and purging.
This song used to make me feel sad. The feeling of addiction is lonely. But it’s that sad feeling that pushed me to ask for help. And that’s when I got GREAT information which made it easy to have more energy, stop thinking about food and lose weight.
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Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it
Are you worried you’re addicted to food? Think of one person you could talk to. They don’t have to have all the answers. They just need to be someone you TRUST.
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