- 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 following diet rules, tips and tricks and started meeting my basic needs, I stopped thinking about food. I lost weight. And I got my life back.
My weight-loss strategy made me think I was addicted to food
When I realized I was around 10 pounds overweight I wanted to lose it right away. I had no idea how to do it. So I started following diet rules, tips and tricks. These disjointed weight-loss ideas made me feel hungry all the time. Eventually I’d feel hungry to the point of panic. This desperate state triggered overeating. To make up for it, I’d skip a meal.
Why I felt addicted to food
My approach to weight loss was extreme. I started dieting without educating myself. And I believed everything I read. At 14 years old, I didn’t realize weight loss was about meeting your basic needs. I thought it was about determination. I was sure weight loss was all about not eating when you’re hungry. But the hungrier you are, the more you think about food. Soon I was so preoccupied by eating that I worried I was addicted to food.
Now I understand all my random and rigid weight-loss approaches were stopping me from eating enough of each type of food. There were food groups I avoided completely.
I was so focused on calories and eating low-fat food (which got me into eating processed food so I could read the calorie count and fat content on the package) 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. But because I wasn’t eating enough I was hungry all the time. And when you’re hungry, you think about food. It’s always on your mind.
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 change unhealthy habits into healthy habits and stop thinking about food.
I was one of those girls. I’d overexercise and under-eat. Then I’d be starving. Next I’d overeat and feel guilty. I’d have nightmares about overeating too. I blamed myself instead of my method. I was sure I was addicted to food. I wished I could cut food out of my life cold turkey. 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.
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 normal 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 helps you know when you’re full, stop thinking about food, reach a healthy weight and focus on the rest of your life.
Keep in mind: Processed foods are full of added salt, sugar, artificial flavours and colouring that confuse your body and make it hard to know when you’re full. 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
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.
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 eat regularly. Here’s a list of what I started eating at breakfast, lunch and dinner, which helped me break the starve, binge and then purge cycle.
Not an addict by K’s Choice
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 started to get better.
Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it
Are you worried you’re addicted to food? Think of 2 people you could talk to.