One of the most pronounced themes in the recent 20/20 episode on weight loss, aired on 01/04/2013, was food addiction. Food addiction is a serious condition among obese individuals whose minds find the solution to every problem in eating sugary, unhealthy food. This condition has become so common and widespread that calling it an epidemic would not be entirely wrong. However, no one but yourself is responsible for waging a war against this epidemic because fighting obesity is your personal battle for a healthy life.
Statistics such as every one adult in five being obese in the United States make food addition a huge problem. The interviewees on the show confessed that food addiction had gotten to a point for them, where it interrupted with their lives and caused for them to be shunned them from social circles.
Take Tom for example, who weighed a massive 424 pounds and had been suffering from obesity because of food addiction, since childhood. As an example, Tom shares the way he used to consume 7000 calories worth of food only in one meal and that too before lunchtime! Such a compulsive reaction towards eating your favorite food should ring bells that something is amiss and needs to be treated. Tom’s addiction made it impossible for him to start a family and be happy with his life, so much so that even getting up from the couch became an activity in itself.
Research reveals that food addiction can become even more severe than drug addiction or addiction to smoking because food is all around us and is usually always accessible, as soon as our mind registers stress or discomfort. People who become victims of this addiction use it as a numbing force in times of pain, as Ruby did when her brother passed away and she could not pull herself out of her misery. However, food addiction is not a lost cause.
Attention from dieticians and trainers has resulted in many weight loss regimens to be drafted that serve the need of hundreds of people around the world.
1. Firstly, never try an all or nothing approach when it comes to weight loss. Food is a need and if you deprive your body of what it needs to survive, chances are you will end up being worse off. Complete starving and a ‘no-no’ approach usually increase the cravings for your favorite foods and make dieting a harder process.
2. Clean out all ‘naughty’ foods from your pantry on an urgent basis and stock up your fridge with healthy food alternatives that will satiate you within minimum servings. Portion control and managing the inventory in your kitchen can be of great help when trying to beat food addiction.
3. Try to avoid places or situations that remind you of the addiction you used to have. For instance, avoid going to a certain restaurant where you know that you will not be able to resist overeating. The goal is to learn to eat only when you are hungry instead of munching on food all the time. Your mind may have a hard time accepting these changes but soon it will make peace with the new routine.
4. The significance of exercise cannot be stressed enough, in your own weight loss plan and in the success stories narrated on the episode. It is the easiest route to weight loss, if adopted and integrated into your daily routine. A regular brisk walk in the park will not only soothe your senses, it will also take your mind off food.