Are You Overweight and Addicted to Food?

Is food more powerful than your desire to lose weight?

Does food control your life?

Is it almost impossible for you to stop eating once you are full?

Being addicted to food is a strange idea. After all we can’t do without it, can we? So food addiction must be something different from just eating, or just eating a bit too much because that’s, well, that’s just normal.


If you:

  • Eat faster than normal
  • Eat well past the point of fullness
  • Eat frequently when not physically hungry
  • Eat alone or in secret
  • Feel bad or guilty after overeating
  • Feel that you must be different somehow

Then you may have a problem with food that is beyond what most people experience.

If this is you then recognise that losing weight is going to be much tougher for you than it is for others. However, you may like to know that you are not alone in this. There are 12 million people in the UK that suffer from a compulsive eating problem to some extent. Some scientists would like to point to the problem being a genetic disorder, but to my mind if one fifth of the population have the same thing then it’s not really a disorder – it’s normal.

So if it’s not genetic, what else could be causing it?

Genetic? Well sort of

Well it sort of is genetic, but not in a bad way. When you think about it these bodies we appear to inhabit were designed for a very different world from the one they live in now. They were designed as survival machines for life around 100,000 years ago when, if you wanted to eat, you had to go catch an antelope or dig up some roots, or spend all day picking tiny berries. Just finding something to eat used up a huge amount of calories and sometimes food was scarce.

That occasional scarcity of food was what allowed us to develop the ability to carry a surplus around with us in the form of fat deposits. Apart from anything else these helped to keep our bodies warm, and as I mentioned in my book How to Lose Weight Easily, fat burns less energy than muscle so the metabolic cost of carrying it is minimal.

The Sweet Stuff

Survival, back then, was all about the balance between calorie output and calorie input. Sugar is just dense calories; calories are energy; and energy is survival. So we developed a taste for sweet stuff. So much so that we would risk stings and death by climbing trees to raid hives for their honey.

Sweet also came in the form of fully ripened fruit.

There wasn’t a lot of sweet around in the world back then, so what there was, was highly prized and savoured when it was available. Because it was not readily available and life was very physical, a taste for sweet was never detrimental to our health and well-being.

Nowadays everything is sweet. Go to your kitchen cupboard and pick out half a dozen packaged foods. Check the nutrition label, or the ingredients list and I bet most of them will have sugar in some form. If it ends in ose it’s probably sugar e.g. Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Galactose, Lactose, High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), Glucose solids. There’s a whole load of other stuff that’s also sugar but you probably got bored reading that list, so I’m not going to inflict an even longer one on you.

Fat too

Fats are another problem. Fats are compact calories just like sugar. When you mix fat and sugar together it’s heaven to a body that is, basically, an energy seeking device. The problem is the body has only one way of really letting you know that your calorie intake is less than your calorie expenditure and that’s hunger.

When you pay attention to your body’s messages and eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel full, then everything stays nicely balanced. But the body was never designed to work with sugar or fat in everything. The craving for sweet comes from sweet being in short supply – not available in your kitchen cupboard 24 hours a day. Consequently sweet bypasses the hunger control. Usually the warning for eating too much sugar is nausea or vomiting.

They deliberately trigger an addictive response

This sugar-fat thing is taken advantage of by food manufacturers and they carefully balance sugars, fats and chemical flavours to trigger the same brain receptors that are activated by substances like heroin or cocaine. And they do it quite deliberately to get you hooked and to trigger binge eating.

They do it so successfully that 12 million in the UK now have a serious problem and once they get a taste of sweetness, often mixed with fat, it bypasses conscious control and they just keep on eating.

What can you do?

There’s been a lot of research done around this problem, looking at ways to help people, so here are a few tips.

The first thing you need to do, assuming you’d really like things to change, is to stop beating yourself up when you fail to stick to limits you set yourself. 12 million others, in this country alone, are having the same problem. Manufacturers are working hard to ensure that you fail. So if you do fail, just acknowledge that you did your best, and that there is always next time. Failure is not the end of the world. It’s just a temporary setback on the road to being slimmer.

The next is the easiest, and this works with smokers too. Just don’t buy the unhealthy stuff. I know supermarkets are open 24 hours a day but quite often the effort of going out to buy something sweet and fatty is enough to let you off the hook. You may feel uncomfortable for a while but if you have a glass of water or cup of tea or coffee without sugar, then the urge will pass. Pretend that you have a bad habit that you want to get rid of. The way to remove habits is to engage in alternative behaviours and make it difficult to engage in the habit. Eat an apple, or a banana. I know it’s not what the craving is for, but part of the habit is wanting something sweet in your mouth. But fruit, although containing sugars, does not have them as freely available as in, say, a chocolate bar or biscuit. The body has to work harder to extract them and so fruit satisfies you for longer. Once you start to do that regularly you will find that the sweet things you used to enjoy are starting to taste a little too sweet and you don’t enjoy them as much.

One last tip for you. One of the triggers for compulsive eating is the taste in your mouth. You will find it is actually much easier not to start eating than to stop. This is a case where you can’t get away with just one. If you eat one you’ll eat the packet. It’s much easier to say no to the first than to the second, so don’t eat the first.

This is a complex problem and I’m not suggesting this article will solve it for you. But it will help you to make a start and enjoy a little success. If you would like some more help then check out my book How to Lose Weight Easily which has hints and tips on how to go about losing weight without dieting. Or for a more in depth look at how to take control of your mind-body check out Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis which includes a chapter on using self hypnosis to help you lose weight.


Stressed Out? Then Just Eat Yourself Calm

I’m a great fan of using the mind, but when you are stressed out what you want is quick and easy stress-reduction, or maybe just something that gives you a boost. Brain chemistry is involved here, because stressed brains have different levels of neurotransmitters than peaceful brains. My position is that thoughts, beliefs and ideas are the cause of those changes in brain chemistry. But if changing your thinking is too much effort right now – and when you are stressed most things are too much effort. There are things you can eat that can help the brain chemistry along the right path and reduce the impact of stress on the body. This will help you stay younger and live longer.

Vitamin C helps with the reduction of stress, blood pressure and cortisol levels. So eat oranges. They taste much nicer that Vitamin C tablets, and are nicely messy so eating an orange is going to distract you from your worries for the time it takes to eat and wash up afterwards. But if stress is a more or less permanent state of affairs you might want to consider taking a high dose vitamin C supplement once or twice a day. It won’t taste as nice as the orange, but might keep your Vitamin C levels up so the stress symptoms stay under control.

Magnesium is an essential mineral. It’s good for your heart, your blood pressure, and is a muscle relaxant. Apricots are an easy source. Eat them fresh, or buy a packet of the dried sort to keep in your desk. Spinach is another good source of magnesium. You can also find a regular source of magnesium if you switch to eating bread made from whole grain wheat flour. Insufficient magnesium in the diet may be responsible for feelings of fatigue. Fatigue is a cause of stress.

Omega 3 in your diet lowers adrenaline and cortisol, so fish like mackerel, sardines and salmon are good – though probably not ideal for a snack, so make sure you pop some in your basket next time you visit the supermarket and look forward to a delicious meal at the end of a stressful day. If you are a vegetarian a good source of Omega 3 is flax seeds or walnuts. But if you don’t fancy that, as usual you can buy it in a tablet you can pick up alongside the vitamins and minerals. Though research suggests much better absorption into the blood when your Omega 3 comes in food rather than as a supplement.

Potassium is another essential for keeping blood pressure healthy. Bananas are frequently suggested as a plentiful source of potassium with around 450 mg. This is more than the recommended daily allowance, but just in case you don’t like bananas there’s plenty more potassium in beans, potatoes, avocados, and halibut. You can also get in canteloupes, meat, tomatoes, and citrus juice, so oranges give you double your money’s worth.

Vitamins are essential to our health and well-being. They are also good at looking after our bodies when they are subjected to stress. So watch out for vegetables with dark green leaves – full of vitamins and minerals – when you are out shopping. And yes, I know that means you have to cook them, but that helps too because you won’t be eating all of that unhealthy take-away, or pre-packed ready meal junk.

Buy yourself a variety of shelled nuts, and a stack of different kinds of dried fruits. They keep for ages. Then make up a mixture, pop it in a sandwich bag and stick it in your pocket or bag. When you are feeling stressed just tip a little of the mixture into the palm of your hand and munch away on a delicious, healthy snack filled with vitamins, minerals, and sugars to give you an energy boost, without spiking your blood sugar.

Eating your way to peace and tranquillity won’t solve all the challenges in your life, but it might give you a little breathing space and in that space, who knows, you might start to see solutions rather than problems.


Seven Reasons Why Diets Don’t Work

Diets don’t work because they are based on a false premise.

The false premise is that body weight is purely a consequence of the calories you eat and expend. If you eat more than you use the excess is stored as fat. If you eat less than you use, the body burns excess fat to make up the shortfall.This is a mistaken idea.

We have all seen really skinny people who eat like horses and don’t seem any more active than we are. We have all seen overweight people who say they don’t eat very much (we tend not to believe those people). We also tend to believe what we are told. Nothing we are told by the media helps us to lose weight by severely cutting down on calories. Here is why…

The 7 reasons diets don’t work

  1. They are too much effort.
  2. They cause ‘famine’ mode.
  3. They affect mood – and not in a good way.
  4. Thoughts of food predominate.
  5. Diets lose weight not fat.
  6. Exercise is not included.
  7. Unreasonable expectations

1. Too much effort.

21% of people give up on their diet within two months. 45% of people don’t last the year. All that calorie, or syn or point, counting just gets to be too much work and it’s so much easier just to eat what you like.

2.’Famine’ mode.

The body is an intelligent system. It’s intelligence is primarily geared toward survival. When food is scarce it thinks ‘famine’ and lays down supplies of fat; slows down metabolism to conserve energy; and burns lean muscle for its energy needs, because, when resting, lean muscle tissues burn calories. To the body’s intelligence, a diet looks just like a famine.

3. Mood.

The majority of so-called experts regard excess weight as a calorie problem. It isn’t. But it is an emotional problem. Eating is often an attempt to improve mood. Dieting itself can cause social isolation – hence the popularity of slimming clubs. This can lead to low moods, rebellion against the diet, or even depression.

4. Diets keep you thinking about food.

Meals are no longer spontaneous. They have to be meticulously planned. Recipes have to be followed. Specific items need to be purchased – sometimes even specific product brands. Life is no longer about fun and enjoyment. Life is about food.

5. Diets lose weight, not fat.

Weight loss in diets is almost entirely down to muscle loss. This makes it more and more difficult to lose weight each time you diet because bodies are reluctant to release fat – especially quickly, which is the way most people want it. The only way to release fat instead of muscle is to do it slowly.

6. Exercise.

Exercise is essential. Exercise builds muscle. Muscle burns calories – even while resting. Exercise boosts metabolism. Exercise increases fitness, vitality and lifts mood.

7. Unreasonable Expectations

People have surprising expectations of the amount of weight that can sensibly be reduced. If you are 16 stone (224lbs) an initial weight loss goal of 14 stone (196lbs) would be good to aim for. A 2 stone (28lb) success is easily achievable and when maintained for a while will be the place to decide to shift a little more.

Diets just don’t work.
If you want to discover how to lose weight without the rigid discipline of a diet and still be allowed to eat what you want then check out my website here.

Author: Michael J. Hadfield

Source: Hypnosisiseasy