Food Addiction Treatment: Overcoming Food Addiction
Interested in treatment for food addiction? Here are ways for overcoming food addiction and better coping with trigger foods.
Do you need help for a food addiction? Your first stop in getting treatment for food addiction might be a consult with your primary care doctor. Common consequences of long-term food addiction are obesity, eating disordersand diabetes. You don't want to exacerbate any of these or other conditions during your recovery from the food addiction. Talk to your doctor as you plot your treatment course.
Food Addiction Treatment Requires Multi-Step Approach
Others steps for treatment of a food addiction include:
1. Find a counselor or therapist. These professionals can definitely raise your chances of recovery as well. Part of your food addiction is psychological in nature. You have used food as a patch to cover up deeper emotional issues. You don't have to confront these deeper issues alone. (read about: Cause of Food Addiction)
2. Identify trigger foods. For some people, it's sugary foods. Others long for pasta and carb-laden snacks. You can find cheese-addicts, chocoholics, fat-cravers - "trigger foods" differ from person to person. Pinpointing your trigger foods is the first step to recovery (aside from admitting a problem, of course).
3. Slowly reduce amount of trigger foods. Uber-aggressive diets and cold turkey methods usually fail spectacularly, leaving the food addict even more depressed and destructive in eating habits. To succeed, you must adopt a graduated approach. When you feel like you absolutely must have the trigger food, add a small helping of fruit or veggies before you indulge. Do this each time you eat the trigger food or foods, each time adding a little more of the healthy food and eating a little less of the trigger food. Eventually, you will not only associate the healthy food with the dopamine response of the trigger food, but you will ultimately remove the trigger food from your diet.
4. Exercise. For a food addict (as with any addict), trigger foods bring a much-desired high, a rewarding feeling in the body. But you may not realize that exercise can usher in similar highs as well! This makes exercise doubly helpful for a food addict. Not only can it help keep your body fit and healthy, but it can also come to replace the high you miss from trigger foods. Joining a gym will help keep you motivated, as you will get to know others who share your goals.
Overcoming food addiction is not easy, but it can be accomplished. Having a support system in place - a counselor, nutritionist, support group, family/friends - is part of a comprehensive food addiction treatment program.
Last Updated: 20 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD