Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, Valentines Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving are usually challenging times for food addicts.
Every kind of sugary, starchy, fattening food is on display and the temptations never cease. Everyone gives decadent food as gifts and every party is flowing with delicious options.
Most people with food addiction find these foods too hard to resist and they end up packing on several pounds.
If you suspect you might have a food addiction, here are 5 telltale signs:
- You can’t stop eating
If you routinely overeat on foods that you love, and find that, even when you want to cut back, you end up eating more than you planned, you may have a food addiction. Food addicts don’t have the will power that normal eaters have. When they see foods that are high in starch, fat and sugar, they can’t help but indulge. And they can’t have “just one”. Having one bite or one item never satisfies. The ability to control one’s intake is extremely hard, if not impossible, for the food addict.
- You can’t stop thinking about food
Even if you’re able to control yourself at a meal and eat a small amount of food, if you’re addicted to food, your mind will be busy thinking about the foods you want to eat, but cannot. You may plan your binges in advance and spend many hours during work dreaming about the food you’ll buy and eat when you get home. You may pass by the vending machine and fantasize about the items you want to buy, and keep track of the delicious food others are eating. This obsession with food, in whatever form it takes, is a sign of food addiction.
- You hide food, steal food and lie about how much you’ve eaten
Dishonesty around food behaviors is customary for people with food addiction. Because food addicts eat more than others, they are intent on hiding their behavior from others whose judgment they fear. A spouse might go through the fast-food drive-thru and order several burgers to binge eat before they get home. They will lie to the person at the drive-thru window, saying they are ordering for more than one person, in an attempt to escape embarrassment. Hiding favorite foods from family members so no one else can eat it is something a food addict will do, and lying about having eaten the kids’ Halloween or Easter candy happens more often than you might think.
- Go to extreme measures to change effects of bingeing
When someone with a food addiction binges on high calorie food, he or she will often be desperate to erase the weight-gaining effects of that binge. Intense exercise, vomiting, laxative use and starvation are just some of the behaviors employed to lose weight and offset the damage caused by a binge. Gastric bypass surgery, Lap-band surgery, liposuction, medication and street drugs are other methods used when a food addict becomes more desperate to lose weight.
- Your eating affects your life and relationships
One of the most classic signs of any kind of addiction is when the addictive behavior begins to affect one’s life choices and relationships. For example, when a food addict has binges the night before, he or she will feel bloated and self-hating the next day. That is when social plans are canceled and isolation takes over. Food addicts will avoid going to the beach for fear of being seen in a bathing suit. A family whose activities become dictated by the fears and insecurities of the food addict can cause real disappointment and harm. If the food addict becomes morbidly obese, further activities will be curtailed by that family member’s limited mobility. Low self-esteem usually plagues the food addict, so life choices, such as romantic partners, profession, and living conditions are always clouded by the lack of self-confidence of the addict, usually making matters even worse.
If you find that you can relate to one or more of these signs, you may be suffering from food addiction. Take the food addiction QUIZ and learn your personal score.