I hear this in my office quite often: "I am a food addict!". Put another way, compulsive overeating would be the more commonly held term used in a clinical setting to mean just about the same thing. I see quite a few of you in my practice and the hope is to help you unravel this frustrating issue with a three-pronged approach:
1. Bring mindfulness to your eating and your life. This does not mean you can't eat any particular food. It means that the food you do eat is experienced in all of its fullness - taste, smell, sound, texture...all of that. It also means that your awarenss of your hunger and fullness levels will be a part of your daily experience and take center seat to drive your eating decisions (most of them), and your emotional experiences will have more room for processing, ideally with a therapist.
2. Eat great food and enjoy it. Do you really like the food you graze on or eat compulsively under duress? Most clients to whom I pose that question will reply "no" because they don't really remember ever being too picky about the food or really knowing how it tastes. One of my favorite things to recommend a client do is to find a small item of food they like and really, truly experience it. So often you might miss out on the many joys of life - eating is one of them - and when you bring back the flavors and aromas of a truly great meal, you have satisfied more than your hunger.
3. Live your life fully. Who is the person you want to be? If you exercise, are you a gym rat or do you prefer to walk close to water? Have you been thinking about getting back on the tennis court? Where did your creativity go? All of these questions and more are important to address. It may be high time to give your food a per diem role in your life instead of full time, and delegate the answers to these questions to much more effective solutions. In other words, if you want more creativity in your life, try exploring painting or gardening instead of another chocolate chip cookie.
Some of you are already involved in 12-step programs, which complements this work, although it is not required. Others of you have a head full of nutrition and diet knowledge, and really want to connect more with friends and loved ones instead of with food. Not to mention, it may be time to find people in your life who really enrich it instead of putting you down. Whatever the case, as these are just a few examples, you can get started with a complementary initial consultation to find out if any of this makes sense to pursue.
Be well and don't give up!
"You don’t have to be ready to recover from a food addiction, you need only to be willing."