Eating healthy and losing weight seems to be a herculean task for many people. In spite of being aware of the harmful effects of eating junk, people tend to eat a great number of unhealthy foods. Food addicts are completely addicted to junk food in the same way as drug addicts are addicted to drugs.
Main Features of Food Addiction are –
Cravings – Cravings can crop up from anywhere. We might be involved in something mundane like working on the computer, watching television or reading a book and all of a sudden, we get a craving for an ice-cream. These cravings are related to the brain’s need for dopamine and are in no way related to the body’s nourishment.
Junk food – These highly processed foods are formulated in a manner so as to give you utmost pleasure, with the right blend of sugar, salt, and fats. Foods like potato chips, cold drinks, burgers etc are prepared in such a way that once eaten, they will always leave a lingering feeling and we will want to eat them again, thus allowing companies to make profits. We cannot eat 1 kg apples or broccoli in one go whereas 1 kg potato chips or fries can be easily eaten.
Stress eating – Whenever we are lonely, bored, upset or stressed we end up ordering food from outside or raiding the refrigerator. We get caught up in this unhealthy cycle where the real reason behind these emotional issues is not addressed. These issues cannot be tackled with food. You might feel good after indulging in this unhealthy eating but that pleasure is purely temporary and does not solve the problem. In the long run, this method turns out to be very harmful.
Completely avoiding junk food may seem difficult as these foods are part of our lifestyle and are easily available. However, once you decide to stop indulging in such unhealthy eating, avoiding gets simpler. It is essential to tackle this food addiction and reprogram your body. The more you are aware of the biological reasons which lead to such eating, the easier it will be to free yourself. Try cultivating other sources of pleasure rather than food. Identify social pressures which lead to such over-eating. Also, eat something healthy before going for any gatherings in order to minimize your later intake there. Most importantly, avoid self-criticism or obsessing over slips. Be kind to yourself during this transition period.