About Food Addiction
Although many claim that food as a drug is equivalent to the brain activation present in cocaine or heroin use, this simply is not proven. Music also stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain but no one has claimed that music is addictive.
It would be much more productive to think of food addiction from the perspective of an emotional addiction or desire to use food to avoid difficult emotions. When the avoidance of these emotions have connections to the past, particularly in childhood, they can be very difficult to handle. Eating can be a way to manage, although in an unhealthy way, with these painful and overwhelming emotions.
Over time, the use of food to avoid and replace painful emotions with the pleasure of eating can become very compelling and eventually lead to feeling increasingly out of control with food. It certainly can have the feeling of an addictive energy. However, the problem is not actually food.
There has been much research and case examples of the importance of and even necessary aspect of utilizing intuitive eating to help with eating disorder recovery.
Intuitive Eating is about learning to listen to your body and to trust it with a variety of food choices. For the person with an eating disorder, this often starts with adding in previously forbidden foods and/or allowing yourself to eat what you want without judgement.
If food addiction, like alcohol or drug addiction were true, this approach would lead further to eating the addictive foods. On the contrary, over time, this instead leaves you with greater choice around what to eat and a greater trust with your body. Almost like magic, you no longer feel out of control with food. Eventually, you will easily choose foods not from a place of punishment but from a place of self-care.
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