If you scored a 4 or 5 on the Food Addiction Quiz, you likely have an unhealthy relationship with food. These scores indicate that you answered ‘Yes’ to more than half of the questions. The following explanations may help you to understand why you answered ‘Yes’ to the questions you did, and how those answers may indicate an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you answered ‘yes’ to the following questions, here’s why:
1. Do you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, guilty, or depressed about your physical appearance, your weight, or your eating habits?
2. Do you feel nervous or fearful of what others might think if they discover or observe your compulsive eating habits?
All food addicts report feeling high levels of shame. Shame is the inner experience of being “not wanted.” Guilt is believing that one has done something bad; shame is believing that one is bad. Shame is so painful that it leads to numbing and destructive behaviors, like compulsive overeating, in order to escape the feelings of shame. Without professional help, it is very difficult to be rid of chronic or long-lasting shame, making recovery from food addiction that much harder.
3. Have you ever felt powerless in achieving a healthy weight because you have been unsuccessful in your previous attempts to lose weight permanently?
4. Have you ever tried to stop or limit some aspect of your compulsive-eating behaviors, but have failed in your attempts?
5. Have you ever said, "This is the last time I'll ever do that!" and yet continued to do it repeatedly in spite of the potential consequences?
6. Have your eating behaviors resulted in physical complications such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other life-threatening illnesses?
Food addicts often site their lack of willpower or self-control as the culprit for their failed weight loss attempts, thus contributing to a never ending cycle of dieting that never sustains lasting results. Food addiction has little to do with willpower. Food addiction is about brain chemistry. Eating triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, making food a source of pleasure. Food addicts become addicted to the feelings you get from eating. With time, ordinary pleasures (such as talking with a friend) lose their potency compared to the reward you get from overeating. Eventually, you need to eat more and more in order to feel the same sense of escape or pleasure. This leads to weight gain, and in some instances, significant health complications. When food and overeating becomes one’s primary source of dopamine (as is the case with addicts) choosing to stop is nearly impossible. Food addicts need to work with trained professionals to develop new dopamine pathways and develop healthy coping strategies in order for lasting weight loss to be possible.
7. Do you resort to compulsive or emotional eating to escape from problems, boredom, to relieve anxiety, or to cope with stress?
Depending on the severity of the addiction, many food addicts rely on food exclusively as their primary coping strategy. Indulging in a favorite food(s) is the primary desire when faced with challenging life circumstances. It also becomes the only way you want to celebrate. Food manages not only negative emotions but positive ones as well. This is why food addicts will gain significant weight in the wake of a notable personal challenge, or while on vacation or during the holidays. Learning how to develop healthy coping strategies while decreasing your dependency on food is tough work and requires significant support and guidance.
8. Do you often find yourself preoccupied or obsessed with thoughts about eating or about food?
9. Is it a struggle to stop thinking about food?
Obsession with food can take over your life and create distance between you and those you love. You may find yourself so obsessed with food that it interferes with work or school. As the addiction takes hold, every occasion is seen merely as a food opportunity. Every food commercial or fast food drive-through is a siren calling. Trying to stay committed to a diet or exercise plan with constant, obtrusive thoughts about food is nearly impossible. Retraining your brain takes time and assistance from skilled food addiction specialists.
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Most people who score a 4 or 5 can relate to the following story:
“I know how to lose weight. I’ve gained and lost the same 30 to 50 pounds over and over again. Usually something will happen and I’ll start feeling really terrible about myself…’I’m such a failure, how could I let myself get here? That’s it, I’m going to change this for good!’ Then, I’m awesome at everything for a while; I go to the gym, I count my calories, I track my food, I meal plan - I’m on point! Sometimes for months, I can sustain this. Then something happens…could be something big like a family crisis or something small like the holidays and I start to lose control. Slowly at first but it picks up speed until I’m no longer weighing myself, I avoid the mirror, eat mindlessly and in half the time it took me to lose the weight, I’ve regained it all plus some. Rinse and repeat.”
If this is you, Lifestyle Transformation is your treatment program. Freedom from food addiction requires more than a standard 12 step program or a self-guided video and workbook series. Lifestyle Transformation is the only program that treats the underlying issues you have connected with food.
We will teach you how to break the addiction cycle and experience true freedom from food and weight. We are the only online, clinical treatment program for food addiction where every step is led by highly-trained food addiction specialists.