So obviously we’re all “addicted” to food because we require food in order to survive. It’s something our bodies must have in order to live. But, what if the “food” you’re addicted to is actually causing you to die rather than live? What if you’re addicted to the wrong kind of food? Yes, we all like food that tastes good and is pleasurable to eat. We all prefer cookies over spinach. So, how do you know if it’s an addiction?

I was very addicted to “bad” foods and didn’t really know it. Now that I’ve had to quit them cold turkey, some things have become obvious that weren’t so obvious before. Here are some signs that you, like me, may have an addiction:

  • You like fruits and vegetables. But, when you get hungry, you tend to choose the Twinkie instead of the apple. You go for the frozen entree instead of the salad. A sandwich sounds much better than a chicken breast with rice and steamed veggies. In other words, you like broccoli, but for some reason you seldom choose to eat it.
  • Most of the time, when you get hungry, you prefer to eat out rather than have a home-cooked meal. You find yourself craving Panera Bread and Chipotle.
  • You try to go on diets – eating healthy every day – and find yourself feeling emotionally down and deprived. You have cravings for take out and fried foods that eventually destroy your diet plan.
  • Your favorite foods are bread, sweets, potato chips, or restaurant food.
  • One of your favorite things to do is eat and you plan your social events around it.
  • You eat even when you aren’t hungry, and you don’t stop eating when you are full.
  • No amount of weight gain or medical conditions has been enough incentive to get serious and stay serious about nutrition. You’re sacrificing your health and your looks in order to have freedom to continue eating what you want. Just as heroin addicts are willing to lose everything in order to keep shooting up.

Unfortunately, in our society, convenience and deliciousness are on every corner. Everything is made to be quick, easy, and instantly satisfying. Our willpower is a small, frail enemy of the world we live in. How can we ever stand up to the temptation?

For me, I was forced into a different lifestyle. Well, kind of. I was strongly coerced I should say. I could’ve taken multiple prescriptions to treat my symptoms and probably continued eating what I wanted for a while (maybe). I was pretty bad off so I’m not sure if that was an option. However, that is the choice that many people make. So, what if you aren’t strongly coerced into a different nutritional lifestyle? How do you muster the willpower to make those changes and make them permanent?

I can’t say that I have all the answers, but here are some powerful suggestions:

  • Education – Take the time to truly educate yourself on what’s in your food and what the effect it’s having on your body. This knowledge will make the food less enjoyable. It will increase the repulsiveness of the packaged, processed foods. Think about what the food is doing on this inside. If you were transparent (your skin was clear), how would your life be different? If you could see what the food is actually doing to your insides, how would you live better? For instance, if a smoked could visually see their lungs every time they smoked, they probably wouldn’t smoke for long. Education will help you to envision the insides in such a way that will change your behavior.
  • Accountability – Enlist the help of a friend or coach or counselor. Have someone do it with you or at least hold you accountable. Ask someone, like myself, who lives this way to give you recipes or shopping tips.
  • Set goals – What do you want to accomplish and when? These goals cannot be solely related to weight. Most of us consider our appearance to be a high priority; however, it’s obvious by looking at the world that it’s not a high enough priority to produce permanent change. The goals have to also include a desire to optimize your overall health or overcome a chronic condition as well as increasing the health of your family, children, etc. You need a purpose for doing it. Weight loss is just a bonus.
  • Develop new habits – Make a decision to throw out your regular meals that you make every week. Instead, incorporate new recipes that become your new normal. Things you begin to make every week as a habit. In terms of eating out, make new routines and new habits that allow for more home cooked meals. Learn to take food with you. Learn to plan ahead. Food can’t be an after thought. It has to be something you plan for before you leave the house. I no longer have the freedom to just leave the house and cross the food bridge when I get to it. Before I leave the house I have to consider if I will be gone during meal time and if so I have to plan ahead and take a meal with me. If you want to stick to your nutritional plan, you have to learn to do the same. New habit!
  • Set rules for yourself – How often are you allowed to eat out? When you eat out, what are you allowed to order? When at a social gathering, what are you allowed to eat? How many junky food items are you allowed to put in your cart at the grocery store? Set rules and strictly abide by them else you will mess up.
  • Pray! – Pray for the strength to treat your body as unto the Lord. You are His creation and worthy to be taken care of properly.

I’d LOVE to hear your struggles with this as well as your successes. Please share your favorite tip or suggestion below so that others who read can benefit from it.

Photo Credit: Hindrik S via Compfight cc