Every New Year’s Resolution and almost every Monday will start the same: new goals and fresh ambition to once again, eat right, eat less, exercise more and finally lose those unwanted pounds! The day starts off great with a healthy and nourishing breakfast, you make it pass lunchtime without any incidence, and then it happens: The stress and work begins to pile up and take its emotional toll and before you know it, all you can think about is sugary, high carbohydrate, calorie-laden foods. You think, “I’ll just have one” when you reach for that donut or chocolate chip cookie, or even, a bowl of spaghetti marinara. However, it doesn’t stop at one, or two or three…and before you know it you are left with an overly full stomach and feelings of shame, guilt and defeat, knowing that this isn’t the first time and will most likely not be the last time this scenario happens.
If this sounds all too familiar, it may be possible that you are battling a food addiction, where your brain is actually addicted to food making it almost impossible to break this vicious cycle without proper help. According to Dr. David Kessler, professor at UCSF and former commissioner of the FDA, there are more than 70 million food addicted adults in the United States alone, contributing to the obesity epidemic and rising costs of healthcare.
Just like the tobacco industry scandals, the food industry has built addictiveness into our chips and sodas and jumbo burgers. So dieting to lose weight won’t help, since you’ll be back eating it all (and regaining the weight) before you know it – unless you know how to change your brain!
I have spent many years in medical practice, helping to repair the damage done by poor food choices, unhealthy substances, and inadequate medical care to treat it. My approach to addiction is not that of mainstream or conventional medical care. No surprise here! I have been alarmed at the growing problems of addiction in all areas (food, drugs, medications, and activities) leading to a great deal of suffering by those directly and indirectly affected. The way it’s being treated, or not treated, has led me to write and speak on natural approaches to addiction whenever I can. I’m excited to share this information with you, so you can understand how addiction works insidiously on your brain, body, and every aspect of your life, and how you can take back control.
WHAT IS A FOOD ADDICTION?
A food addiction is characterized by an compulsive need to eat despite knowing negative consequences, such as weight gain and damaged relationships. Just like an addiction to drugs or gambling, no matter how much you try to stop your behavior, it usually just keeps happening. Eating triggers a feel-good brain chemical called dopamine that sends reward signals that may override feelings of fullness and satisfaction. This causes eating and overeating to occur without any hunger being present. What’s worse, you slowly develop a tolerance to food and will find that despite eating all that seductive food, it’s not as satisfying as it once was.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A FOOD ADDICTION?
Here are the most common signs and symptoms of food addiction:
-Eating more food than the body can physically tolerate.
-Continuing to eat past the point of feeling full.
-Eating in secret and seclusion.
-Taking extreme measures to obtain food.
-Decreased energy or extreme fatigue.
-Difficulty concentrating, insomnia, restlessness and general irritability.
HELP FOR FOOD ADDICTION
By definition, addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse consequences. Addiction in any form is a disease of the brain.
We know that food addiction is very real and the effects are detrimental to one’s life and ultimate happiness According to WebMd.com, recent experiments in animals and humans are showing that for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food. Therefore, the trick to overcoming addiction is to restore and regulate normal neurotransmitter balance within the brain.
As an expert in the fields of integrative medicine, psychiatry and addiction recovery and author of “The Addicted Brain and How to Break Free”, Dr Hyla Cass knows there are natural solutions to this serious problem, and it’s not just “white-knuckling” it. She has helped many to overcome this by re-balancing their brain chemistry with diet and natural supplements, thinking positively and adopting a healthy mind and mood lifestyle.
Article Author: Hyla Cass M.D. is a physician practicing integrative medicine and psychiatry. She combines the best of natural medicine with modern science in her clinical practice and appears regularly on TV, radio, and has been quoted in many national magazines. A member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Health Sciences Institute and Taste for Life Magazine, she is also Associate Editor of Total Health Magazine, she has served on the boards of California Citizens for Health and the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). She graduated from the University of Toronto School of Medicine, interned at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and completed a psychiatric residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/UCLA. She is the author of several popular books including: Natural Highs, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, and Supplement your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition.
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