This is a hot topic. And it might piss some people off, but we need to talk about how more and more people are throwing around the “I’m a food addict” line.
Bottom line: I personally believe you can NOT be addicted to something that is ESSENTIAL to life. I know this is controversial, especially with groups like, Food Addicts Anonymous. But, LABELING yourself as an “addict” has extremely negative consequences.
SO, let’s talk a little bit about the word ‘addiction.’ I have worked with many clients and have heard many people lamenting that they are “addicted” to food. Here is the definition: addiction: “a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequence.”
Hmmm...a brain disorder?
Your language creates reality. Plain and simple. What do you immediately think about when you hear or see the word “addict.”? I imagine a junkie on a dirty street corner with no self-control. It’s a NEGATIVE label. What happens when you call yourself a food addict, and then you eat food? You immediately go into self-attack mode. “Oh no. Here I go again. I need to eat. Will I be able to stop? Gosh I wish I didn’t have this problem.” And on and on. And do you know what THAT negative thinking does? Creates a stress-chemistry reaction in your body. Stress equals an increase in cortisol, insulin and more, which signals your body to stop weight loss, store fat and stop building muscle. Kind of the opposite thing you want going on am I right?
Also, when you name yourself as an addict, it takes the responsibility out, and allows you to have a “disease”, rather than looking inward and doing some deeper work on yourself. You become “broken” and you’re in a perpetual war with food. You stay unhappy, a victim and you don’t get better.
Most “addiction” programs follow a model of abstinence. This works GREAT for drugs and alcohol. But you can’t very well abstain from food, without like, dying.
Finally, why does it always seem to be about money? Sadly, the term “food addiction” is being driven by pharmaceutical and food industries and other “helping” professions to turn a profit.
A very wise professor said when speaking on this topic, “the road to health when it comes to eating challenges is about reclaiming one’s power, not to abdicate it.”
Instead of telling yourself “I’m a food addict.” Tell yourself, “I’m learning how to be an eater. I trust my body on my own, unique journey.”
The goal is to be hungry, eat nourishing food, and then move on with your life. You are NOT a food addict. So, RECLAIM your power with food and start LIVING!