We all crave ice cream or a greasy burger now and again. Giving in to indulgent urges once in a while doesn’t mean you have an addiction. It’s when the cravings are overpowering and lead to disastrous consequences–like massive weight gain, secret binge eating sessions that leave you ill or the feeling that you have no control over yourself–that you know you have a problem.
Food addiction is a relatively new area of science that’s still being investigated, but we do know that it’s a biochemical illness, not mere gluttony. There is help out there, in the form of psychologists specializing in eating disorders and anonymous recovery groups. Medication to regulate the parts of the brain that control hunger are in clinical trials as well.
Now, answer these questions honestly. If you’re answering yes to multiple questions, you might think about getting help.
1. Do you find yourself wanting to stop eating and can’t do it?
2-Do you eat to the point of feeling physically ill?
3. Do you think about food constantly?
4. Are you often calorie counting and find yourself on one diet or another but have no success?
5. Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
6. Do you eat large quantities of food in one sitting?
7. Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
8. Do you binge eat when you’re stressed or disappointed?
9. Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
10. Do you eat in secret?
11. Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have “enough”?
12. Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight but can’t control your food intake?
13. Do you obsessively count the calories you’ve burned against the calories you’ve eaten?
14. Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you’ve eaten?
15. Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?
If you think you may have food addiction, know that you are not alone and you don’t have to suffer alone in shame.