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Her habit had consequences, says Littleton, who started numbing herself with food after the death of her father at a young age. Addiction and obesity both run in families, and experts believe that genetic components account for at least some of a person's vulnerability. If that's the case, we live in an environment perfectly designed to nurture food addiction. Manufacturers now excel at hitting the sweet spot—making us crave more and more of a food. Whether you look outside or inside yourself for the determination to stop your destructive behavior, researchers agree that it's important to recognize that you can change. Also consider the following four questions, suggests Mark Gold, MD, chief of addiction medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine. While it may feel at times like a runaway train, how you eat isn't out of your control, says Susan McQuillan, MS, RD, author of Breaking the Bonds of Food Addiction. Although treatment for life-threatening drug or alcohol addiction generally requires abstinence, an all-or-nothing approach is impossible for food addicts—everyone has to eat.
In order to be satisfied with two cookies instead of an entire bag, you need to change the way your brain sees food on the plate, says Gold.
Next, leave more space on the plate by again reducing the amount of food you serve yourself.
One of the best ways to gain control over your eating is to restore your sensitivity to flavors, says Katz.
One classic tool that weight loss experts use to teach people how to better manage their appetite is the hunger scale.
Despite their best intentions, they repeatedly find themselves eating large amounts of unhealthy foods, despite knowing that it is causing them harm. The truth is… the effects of certain foods on the brain can lead to downright addiction.

Food addiction is a very serious problem and one of the main reasons some people just can’t control themselves around certain foods, no matter how hard they try. Food addiction is, quite simply, being addicted to junk food in the same way as drug addicts are addicted to drugs. Food addiction is a relatively new (and controversial) term and there are no good statistics available on how common it is. You frequently get cravings for certain foods, despite feeling full and having just finished a nutritious meal. When you give in and start eating a food you were craving, you often find yourself eating much more than you intended to.
You often feel guilty after eating particular foods, yet find yourself eating them again soon after. You sometimes make excuses in your head about why you should eat something that you are craving. You feel unable to control your consumption of unhealthy foods, despite knowing that they are causing you physical harm (includes weight gain). After I had been sober for several years, I started to develop an addiction to unhealthy foods. But you have even bigger reasons to quit than some unfamiliar disease in your distant future. It breaks your self-esteem, makes you unhappy with your body and can make your life a living hell (like it did for me).
The truth is… complete abstinence is the only thing that reliably works against addiction. Overcoming food addiction is hard enough as it is, by adding hunger and additional restrictions to the mix you will just make things even harder and set yourself up for failure.
If you end up relapsing and losing control over your consumption again, then you’re not alone.

But if you relapse often, then there really is no point in trying to do it on your own again. But there are several free options available as well, including 12 step programs like Overeaters Anonymous (OA), GreySheeters Anonymous (GSA), Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA) and Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA). If you have this problem, then you have to do something about it now, or it will end up ruining your life.
If you’re interested in my full story and a much more detailed version of the instructions above, then go to this page to read my free e-book on food addiction. Sign up: Evidence-based nutrition tips and a free copy of the e-book, straight to your inbox!
For decades, food-industry scientists have been working hard to figure out how better to hook people, claims David L. High-fat, high-sugar foods may trigger some of the same brain effects as drugs like cocaine or heroin, but their impact isn't as powerful, say researchers, who point out that addicted rats, for instance, will choose cocaine over food. If you get upset when anyone brings up what or how much you consume, it may mean that you are too attached to eating. Besides, some weight loss experts believe that such rigid thinking can make you crave the offending food more than ever.
This can mean getting better at tolerating sensations of sadness, anger, or boredom, rather than rushing to soothe them with food.
This is important and can prevent a relapse when you find yourself hungry and not in the mood to cook. But no one needs to eat sugar, refined wheat flour or any of the modern junk foods that people tend to lose control over.

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