The four stages to ending a food addiction
Nowhere do the four stages of addiction come into play more strongly than when you resist changing a food-related habit that you self-medicate. For most of us, those foods are instant and easy to come by: bread, drink, dessert, or alcohol. For others it is fatty foods, and a lot of them. You can choose large portions of steak, burgers and fries, huge bowls of salad with globs of dressing. Chunks of cheese may appear as part of your daily food intake.
Whether it’s a bread basket, a huge salad, or a box of cookies, your body takes so much extra time to absorb the extra food – more food than it can burn – that you can’t easily process it. The body wears out. You get tired.
Calories are units of energy. After eating, you want to feel energized, not tired.
Eating more than you need makes you feel like you’re high. This altered state draws the brain away and helps it escape feelings.
Stage One – Resistance to Change
The Program comes in and says, “Let’s not have a drink for every breakfast. Sometimes, choose to have a drink every two or even three days. Soup is a meal. Put down your fork between bites. Weigh yourself twice a day.”
This is a scary thing. You may be thinking that you are comfortable in this old fashioned way. Therefore, a new form cannot be so comfortable. You mistakenly conclude that you will be uncomfortable. You don’t know that this will be the result; You have never tried the new way before; but you resist change even though you know the old method doesn’t work. One component of addiction is that you continue to do what you are doing even with negative consequences.
It is your old addiction brain that resists change by projecting a negative outcome even though you have no knowledge or experience that your projection is valid. Addiction twists your thinking to justify your behavior.
Stage two: reluctant attempts
You join a weight loss group or buy a book and decide, albeit reluctantly, to give it a try. “I don’t want to do this, but I’ll choose a day without coffee. I don’t want to weigh myself twice a day. I don’t want to write down everything I eat. I don’t want to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I don’t want to eat breakfast, but I will because I want to weigh ________ pounds.
Stage three: surprise, I enjoyed it
“I had hot cereal for breakfast and enjoyed it. One day I had the most wonderful soup for lunch. I didn’t think I would like it, but I did. One night I had a cup of hot water instead of tea and it was actually very nice I left food this week and no one died. I told him no thanks to the alcohol at dinner one night and no one seemed to care. “
Stage four: the new shape becomes the comfortable and preferred shape
However, it is important to know that the attachment you seem to feel for certain foods does not depend on how much you love that particular food. Rather, it indicates how addicted you are to falling asleep on that food. Thinking about food, getting food, eating food in a certain way, has become an integral part of his self-medication ritual. The idea of not misbehaving (not receiving your medicine) causes you great anxiety. You eat the item (bread, drink, candy, popcorn, etc.) to ease the discomfort caused by not eating it. Consider skipping coffee and having a headache and then drinking a cup of coffee to ease the discomfort caused by not drinking the coffee. It is like a puppy chasing its tail.
Knowing that there are four stages to breaking addiction will help you be proactive as you travel through stages two and three and move from resistance to change to knowing that the new way is the preferred and comfortable way. This information will separate you from the eating rituals you use to help calm your anger, anxiety, or other uncomfortable feelings or thoughts. Then you can deal with the feelings more directly, more appropriately.