Keep Fit - Stay Healthy - Be Happy
July 14, 2009
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Food Addiction: Signs and Solutions
How much do you love your food? I'm not asking if you sit there and stare at it longingly, that might be a whole set of different issues! But I am asking if food is always on your mind, in a way that stresses you out or makes you anxious?
This is becoming a very common problem. I know you're probably thinking "nah, that's not me", but if you're overly engrossed with what food will do to your weight, then this could be the key factor in achieving your fat loss goals.
The positive side is that if you can identify that you have a food addiction, it becomes much easier to find solutions for it.
How do I know if I'm addicted to food? Try answering these questions (provided by WebMD):
- Do I lack self control when I eat? Does my mind tell me to stop eating but my body disagrees?
- Do I feel guilty after I eat?
- Am I ashamed about my eating habits? Do I hide food and eat it behind closed doors?
- Do I eat when I’m simply upset about something but not hungry?
- Do I eat differently in public than I do in private?
- Do I eat even though I know it will only lead to negative consequences later?
- When I eat, do I feel pleasure and comfort that I can’t really seem to achieve through other means?
- Is my weight adversely affecting my quality of life?
If you answered yes to more than a few, you should seek your health professional's opinion. Especially if you also suffer from mood-swings, insomnia, headaches and depression.
These are very real issues, and if you are affected by them then you should know there is a lot of help available. Your doctor will be able to advise more specifically.
The single biggest thing you should NOT do, is to try and starve yourself. That'll make you feel worse, isn't sustainable and you may end up putting on more weight by giving into temptation and then bingeing. Stay away from fad diets that involve cutting out certain foods altogether.
Here are 7 more tips to help you on your way to over-coming a food addiction:
- Make small changes - if you tell yourself you can't ever have another cookie again, what's the one thing you crave 24/7... cookies! But if you tell yourself that you can have a cookie at the end of the week, you won't feel so desperate to have it there and then.
- De-stock your house - if you have a cupboard full of crisps, chocolate, cakes etc etc, you are more likely to snack on them. Gain control of your kitchen and don't over-fill it with junk.
- Change your scene - if you always walk passed that place that does "the best iced donuts in the world" and you just can't resist, change your route so you don't walk by it.
- Smaller portions - your brain has been trained over time to accept a certain sized portion on the plate is what it takes to fill you up. If this portion is currently a large amount, you can re-train your brain to accept smaller portions are enough to fill you up. You can do this very gradually, and over a few weeks you'll be feeling full with a much smaller portion.
- Balance your hunger - if you wait until you're climbing the walls to eat, chances are you'll eat more and become over-full. Get used to knowing when you start to feel hungry, and eat then.
- Coping with emotional stress - commonly, your love for food is linked with your emotions. You might eat when you feel sad or stressed or angry or bored. Get to the root of why you're not happy and dealing with those situations so that you can tolerate extreme emotions without having to turn to food.
- Exercise - working out releases hormones that make you feel happy, but without any of the guilt that you might have after eating your favourite food. Set a challenging workout goal that really pushes you to feel the exhilaration when you achieve it.
Those tips are from the professionals. I know it's hard to understand food addiction unless you've actually been through it. So here are some bonus tips from people who've been able to manage a food addiction:
- Keep a food diary and record calories, binges, purging etc.
- Write a healthy grocery list before going to the store, and stick to it! If you're tempted by impulse buys, ask yourself "will eating this upset me later?".
- Drink plenty of water or eat an apple before a meal. You'll feel full by eating much less.
- Take a very small pea sized amount of toothpaste and let it dissolve on your tongue after meals. This will put you off eating when you're full.
- Plan your meals. If you get hungry every 3-4 hours, plan ahead with snacks of fruits, nuts, beans, vegetables, green tea.
Tell me if you have anymore questions about food addiction.
Your Friend and Motivator,
P.S. Learn how to make better nutritional choices, check out The Truth about Six Pack Abs - Click HERE.
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