10 Ways to Combat Food Addiction

Sara Suchy Sep 27th, 2012 (updated Jun 9th, 2015)
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Contemplate change
Contemplate change

Like all addictions, food addictions can actually ruin a life.  Usually the destructive process involves a decline in health and fitness levels.  Weight gain and the complications associated with it are the dominant features in a person struggling with food addiction.  The first step in treating food addiction is to contemplate the change and discipline it will take to stop the behavior.  If you don't think you need change in your life it will not happen.

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Find a motivation for change
Find a motivation for change

Find a good reason to change.  Maybe you just had a heart attack and would like to add some years to your life.  Maybe you are tired of feeling sluggish and unhealthy and want to keep up with your significant other, spouse or children.  Find a reason that will make healthy living important and a priority to you.

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Find a suitable substitution
Find a suitable substitution

Substitute foods that you are addicted to with something healthier and consistently replace the unhealthy food with the healthy food.  For example, many people cannot stop drinking soda.  The fizz in the soda can be replaced with a low or zero calorie mineral water.  Dried or fresh fruits can replace sweet snack.  Eventually, you will automatically reach for the healthier options.

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Slow down
Slow down

Over indulging in your favorite foods quickly becomes a mindless act.  Try engaging the mind by eating one Oreo or one tiny piece of chocolate as slowly as possible instead of munching down an entire half of a carton or box.  Mindful eating is known to help promote weight loss.

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Give yourself a break
Give yourself a break

Many addictions are exacerbated by stressful or highly emotional situations.  The best way to combat stress is to find a go-to way of relaxing yourself.  One technique is meditation while other people enjoy yoga or a long run.  Still others will want to listen to relaxing music or simply sit in silence for a bit.

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Recognize your triggers
Recognize your triggers

Addictions responses are usually triggered by something.  Try to discern exactly what that trigger is.  If you are an emotional eater, there may be a specific situation or person who triggers the urge to eat.  A certain place or even activity may also trigger ingesting extra calories.

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Avoid your triggers
Avoid your triggers

Once you've identified your triggers, avoidance is one of the best ways to detour your life around potential relapse.  Avoid the hang outs that have peanuts and pretzels around every corner.  Avoid the co-workers with candy on their desk.  Avoid watching late-night shows that only rile your emotions and drive you to the refrigerator.

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Manage your triggers
Manage your triggers

Some triggers for addiction cannot be avoided, so be prepared.  Have a strategy in place that can keep you from stress eating or eating out of habit.  Keep your mouth busy by chewing gum or drinking water.  Take a walk in the opposite direction of your kitchen.  Prior planning can help prevent you from returning to old, undesirable habits.

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Food addicts anonymous
Food addicts anonymous

There is an 12-step program for people with food addicitons.  If you think you need more than just will power to beat your addiciton, find a meeting. http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/

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Stop purchasing food
Stop purchasing food

Healthy eating habits starts at the point of purchase.  If the food does not land in your grocery cart, then it cannot come home with you.  Limiting access to your favorite food can save you from yourself.