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Food and Addiction


“The obsession had always seemed so petty to me that I could not, at times, bear the idea that my whole life had already been swallowed by this preoccupation.” – Kim Churnin, The Obsession

What is Addiction to Food

Food addiction is characterized by compulsive eating and an obsession with weight and body image.

Signs of food addiction and compulsive eating include:

  • Eating too much despite consequences, even dire consequences to health
  • Being preoccupied with food, food preparation and meals
  • Trying and failing to cut back on food intake
  • Feeling guilty about eating and overeating
  • A cycle of binge starving to control weight
  • Starving the body through fear of weight gain (Anorexia could be a symptom of this)
  • Starving all week and then taking the weekend off
  • Where food and food obsession become more important than family, career, hobbies
  • Bulimia to control weight gain through excess eating (there is more to bulimia than this, since the process of purging itself is also often addictive)
  • Over-exercising to make up for overeating
  • Trying and failing at different diets over and over again
  • Losing weight and putting it all back on – and usually more
  • Not now, tomorrow or Monday morning is a good day to diet
  • Becoming anxious while eating
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Eating too fast and overeating
  • Eating everything on the plate
  • Eating alone due to shame and embarrassment
  • Cannot eat just one cookie or any treat that you really like
  • Bingeing after a diet
  • Awareness that eating patterns are abnormal
  • History of weight fluctuations
  • Withdrawal from activities because of embarrassment about weight
  • Weight problems do not equal food Addiction, but may be a symptom of food addiction.

People with eating disorders often:

  • Have trouble expressing feelings
  • Have difficulty in handling stressful situations
  • Restrict food or overeat as a way to numbing thoughts and feelings

Types of Eating Disorders?

  • Binge Eating Disorder or Compulsive Overeating
  • Bulimia Nervosa (purging through vomiting, taking laxatives or over-exercising)
  • Anorexia

Binge Eating Disorder

A binge eating disorder may be characterized by:

  • Engaging in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing
  • Eating quickly
  • Continuing to eat when full
  • Binge is followed by intense guilt, shame and depression
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Spending excessive amounts of time and thought on food and eating
  • Secretly planning binges
  • Almost always leads to weight gain
  • Repeated attempts to lose weight and then gaining it back

Untreated, this disorder can lead to serious medical conditions

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by:

  • Periods of eating followed by attempts to prevent weight gain through purging behaviors, such as laxative use, vomiting and over-exercising

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Progressive and potentially fatal disorder
  • Characterized by a 15% below normal body weight
  • Intense fear of fat and repeated claims of being fat even when obviously underweight
  • Engaging in purging behaviors in order to maintain low body weight.

Food Addiction and Eating Disorder Coaching

An addiction coach can help you to:

  • Share about your addiction in a safe, non-judgmental space
  • Learn about your disorder
  • Unlock the hidden reasons that are keeping you in active food addiction
  • See the effects your addiction is having on your life
  • Decide what you really want out of your life
  • Set some recovery goals
  • Explore recovery options
  • Make a plan for your life
  • Look at your habits introduce new habits
  • Learn how your thinking can be your best friend or worst enemy
  • Make plans to retake your life
  • Go for success


Please also read about Recovery and Addiction Coaching, More about Addiction, and Addiction SOS

For Life Coaching information please see Life Coaching

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