Let’s Talk About Food Addiction

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Let’s talk about food addiction. This has become a very interesting topic to me recently. At first, I was like, “No, I don’t have an “addiction”. That sounded too harsh. But as I read the book, The Hunger Fix by Pam Peeke, MD I knew I needed to face the reality. Many of us do have food addictions. And we are not solely to blame. The food industry uses our instinctual pull towards sweet, salty and fatty foods to make their products so desirable we literally cannot help ourselves from over doing it.

Dr. Peeke suggests to begin addressing food addictions by first detoxing the body and avoiding all added sugar, processed foods, eating out and any trigger foods that you may have. I decided that now was the perfect time to try the Ultimate Reset 3 week cleansing and rejuvenating system. I’ve just made it through the first week and I’m feeling remarkably light and energized. I’ll be sharing more about this cleanse in a future post.

Here’s an excerpt from Bethesda Magazine that explains some of the science behind food addictions:

“Evidence in recent years has suggested that some foods may, in fact, hijack the brain’s reward system in susceptible individuals, much as cocaine, heroin and other drugs do.

Groundbreaking studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans have demonstrated that when people with food addictions are shown pictures of and/or eat sweet, salty or fatty foods, the pleasure centers of their brains light up and stay lit up much longer than in those without an apparent food addiction. The stimulated pleasure center, in turn, triggers an intense desire for more.

“The brain scans were game-changers because they show that regardless of addiction—whether it’s to drugs, food or alcohol—you see the same changes in the reward center of the brain: The total number of dopamine receptors is way down, allowing only a small amount of this pleasurable brain chemical to get through—and thus, people experience less and less pleasure and reward,” Peeke says. “That’s why addicts of any kind need more and more of their substance to even feel a small amount of pleasure.”

When the brain is continuously flooded with high levels of dopamine, she explains, many of the dopamine receptors shut down. As a result, when you do consume the desired food, “you don’t feel as much reward, and it takes more of a hyper-palatable food to actually enjoy the original pleasure you had when your dopamine-receptor population was normal,” Peeke says. “You need six cupcakes to get the pleasure you used to get from one.” Read the rest of the article here.

If you are curious about whether or not you have a food addiction, take this quiz to find out how you rate.

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

List your top 3 foods that you have a hard time stopping one you start. Or the ones that you have a hard time saying no to if they are in your presence, regardless of how determined you are about your nutrition plan. These foods may or may not also be the ones that cause you to thrown in the towel on trying to eat healthy for the day (or week, or month) once you’ve had them.

Think about your attachment to these foods. How do they make you feel after you’ve eaten them? How do you feel when trying to not eat them? How much energy do you spend thinking about and trying to manage these foods in your life? How would life be different if you didn’t struggle with the decision to eat or not eat these foods on a regular basis?


 If you want to more about how I help people get in great shape through common sense, real food nutrition, fun workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home and ongoing support, motivation and accountability from me and a group of peers, contact me for more info! And, take a minute and make me your FREE COACH over at teambeachbody.com!

jenJennifer Oppelt is a Certified Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner – American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Florida (MA37357). Jennifer has added Beachbody Coach to her list of titles as a way to offer more tools to help her clients reach their health goals. Jennifer is happily married and a mother to two children, Alchemy and Ashton. Jennifer loves spending time with family, cooking real food, fitness and is an advocate of sustainable living.

Jennifer specializes in helping new mothers lose weight and regain their energy and vitality. However, she is open to working with everyone and has a true passion for helping others. Implementing self-care routines and developing a positive body image are also important aspects of the healthy lifestyle that Jennifer advocates and encourages to all of her clients.