I really firmly believe that the way our society has come to interact with food, and even define what is appropriate to eat is just mindboggling when you stop to think about it! Do you think that our ancestors were addicted to refined sugars, processed grains and toxic trans fats?
The average modern-day supermarket has become a toxic minefield!
Often, the lists of ingredients on packaged foods are virtually unreadable. They read like chemistry equations: scientific formulas loaded with artificial chemicals, flavour and texture enhancers, sweeteners, food acids, preservatives, hydrolysed proteins and numbers in the hundreds that refer to god-knows-what. What IS this crap?! If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it! And if you do know what these ingredients really are, well then good on you, you’ll already be avoiding them.
Yep. Artifical flavours, chemicals, laboratory-developed aromas and toxic preservatives. Combine that with the power of modern advertising. It’s addictive stuff.
Modern day processed foods have been shown to be as addictive as drugs and alcohol. The trouble with food addiction though, is that it’s impossible to escape by practicing abstinence, as would be the recommended treatment for other substance addiction. Food is everywhere, and we need it to survive. This fact alone makes it even harder to break a severe food addiction.
My biggest battle in my relationship with food used to be the way I beat myself up over the overconsumption of processed foods. I think that many people, women in particular, are prone to being particularly hard on themselves when it comes to guilt around food and overeating. Once you realize that it’s a chemical addiction you are fighting, it’s easier to forgive yourself for making poor food choices at times.
Something I’m trying to do is make peace with my limitations. I know that I almost certainly won’t be able to stop at just one piece of your standard cake, or just a single white flour/refined sugar cookie. It is honestly easier for me to cut these products out completely from my diet. I certainly don’t adhere to this rule all the time and, I hate to admit it, but I still find myself on the occasional sugar and flour binge. However, it is something that I’m working towards and making progress with all the time. The same applies to even some cleaner foods, while I am still struggling to get my emotional overeating under control. A few foods that I’ve found I can’t yet seem to eat in reasonable quantities are sprouted bread, nut butter, bananas and dried fruits. These are high quality foods that I enjoy and that I would eventually like to reintroduce back into my diet, but for the time being I’m doing my best to keep them out of the pantry. In the meantime, I’m certainly not treat deprived! Surprising, I don’t seem to have the same issues around dark chocolate (thank the lawd!!!!).
One thing that did definitely help me though was to try to, for the most part, cut the processed crap out of my diet, and to make sure I get in plenty of nutrients from leafy greens, fruits and vegetables. I’ve had to change what I’m eating first, and now I’m working on following that with overcoming the pattern of overeating. I’m not going to beat myself up if I’m overeating on clean foods like sweet potatoes or avocados, but recognize that it’s far step from what I was overeating on and is certainly less addictive Progress, not perfection, my friends!