Monday, October 15, 2018

Why diets fail: food addiction

I have a food addiction.  I know this and have known this for many years.   I have readily admitted it for many years too.  It’s no secret. The sad part about a food addiction?   It is accepted by society because a food addiction is not illegal.  In fact, it’s embrassed and encouraged (just look at the portions of food we find acceptable at restaurants)  in our society of obesity.  It’s not illegal...but regardless, it is killing its victims.  (Obesity related diseases).   So maybe we need to start really treating food addiction like a real serious problem!

So how does one fix an addiction?

I saw this on Facebook a few days back and it really hit me.

Aren’t we only ‘stopping the use’ when we go on a diet???  A diet is not creating a new life and fixing the underlying’s only treating the symptom!

Years ago I saw a show following patients that had undergone weight loss surgery.  The surgery took away the problem of overeating, but guess what happened to a multitude of the people they followed?  Those people transferred their addictive personality to a different addiction.  Drugs, alcohol, sex....the addiction didn’t go away...they just weren’t latched onto food anymore, they were using other ‘substances’ to fill the void.

Now I’m not saying that everyone that has weight loss surgery is going to turn into a drug addict.  I’m not saying that everyone that simply restricts their food intake will fail.   I’m just saying that we didn’t get to the point of obesity without some major issue....and unless we treat the issue as well as the symptom we will fail in the long run.   And I have personal experience with failure...I lost a LOT of weight and I regained half of it back.  I treated the symptom but not the problem!

Changing and creating a new life is difficult. It’s taking a lot of preconceived notions and habits and running in the exact opposite direction!  It’s changing the norm and distancing yourself from the factors that brought you to the place of obesity.  It’s retraining your mindset to view and see things differently.    It’s creating a life where it is easier to not overeat because the consequences of such behavior will impede you in your new life.    (Need an example?   When I’m running a lot...or hiking a lot, I tend to eat better.  I like those activities and they are easier, less painful and a whole lot more fun when I’ve got my addictive eating problem under control!). It’s a thing of creating a life where eating out is not the sole focus of your day.  Mine used to be.   When I planned out my day  I planned  my activities around food places!!!   I am much better now...It helps that my friends (and Jason) are not as ruled by’s a new lifestyle for me.

We can stop the use of our drug of choice, food....but it’s only temporary....which is exactly why diets fail!!! We need to change our life from the ground up to truly fix the problem of obesity. That means changing how we view we deal with we move and are active....and maybe getting your friends on board with your new you...or finding additional friends that do fit in with the new you lifestyle!  Until we find the new life that does not include a simple ‘take away the problem’ we will certainly fail....just like the drug addict that never changes their lifestyle.