Ending the Painful Cycle of Food Addiction

Hamster on a WheelThis guest post is from Jon Stanton of Lansing, Mich. After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Stanton lost 230 pounds by adopting a healthy diet and walking every day.

The psychological pain we experience in life isn’t always on the surface. I believe many of these lived experiences dwell in our mind’s subconscious. To soothe this pain and discomfort, addictive behaviors — including food addiction — can often arise as a coping mechanism.

Self Soothing, Obesity and Depression

I have yet to meet an extremely obese person who doesn’t also struggle with food addiction, negative thinking and depression. While everyone experiences these things occasionally, for those of us who struggle with weight negative thinking and depression are as much of a problem as our fast food culture.

Big and Proud? Don’t Be Fooled

Yes, I’ve seen some of those crazy reality TV shows where people supposedly accept their size and claim loudly and vocally that they are OK with being 500+ pounds. BALONEY!!

I used to make statements like that all the time, “God made me this way – I enjoy food, I’m going to enjoy it right into the grave” and all sorts of other nonsense. People with addictions often live in a false reality that helps them cope with their pain and addictive behavior, but in reality, they are actually denying both.

If you have battled extreme obesity for most of your life, you know exactly what I’m talking about. These thoughts, addictions and coping mechanisms become a vicious cycle that is very hard to break: I hate myself because I’m so huge and ugly, I eat more to soothe my psychological pain, people treat me badly because I’m so fat, I eat more to soothe my psychological pain, I pretend I am happy when I’m really very miserable, I eat more to sooth my pain… and so on. I refer to this as being on a hamster wheel.

Now For the Good News

There IS hope for getting off the hamster wheel once and for all. It’s not easy. For some, therapy is needed, and there is no shame in that. For others, a life-altering event finally jolts them out of their destructive cycle and awaken to the realization that they are actually addicted to food. It takes time and it takes effort, but as the body heals physically it also begins to heal psychologically. There is freedom from food addiction!

Interestingly, our moods and choices about what we eat are greatly impacted by both exercise and the food choices we make. Many of us have heard about the positive impact exercise has on our mood. I haven’t just heard about it – I’ve experienced it. So, I’m here to tell you as a living example, exercise will make you feel better emotionally.

You are also much more likely to make a healthy food choice post-exercise than if you don’t exercise. It doesn’t have to be intense either. Just walking at a brisk pace for 20 minutes or so is enough to release those endorphins.

You Really Can Get Healthy, Too

So what’s holding you back? Nearly 3 years ago, I decided I was tired of living on the hamster wheel. When the doctor told me I was going to be dead by the time I was 50 if I didn’t change my ways, I finally woke up.

Has life been perfect since then? Of course not. Have I had some challenges and relapses…yep, but guess what? I choose to battle my food addiction each and every day. I choose to stay positive, make good food choices, exercise daily and that alone gives me much strength for the battle. YOU can do it, too.

Photo Credit: sualk61



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