The Addictions Coach: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Food Addiction Can Be DEADLY! FOOD ADDICTIONS COACH Training AUG 6-7
Food for Thought
Food addiction can be very deadly! We hear about substance abuse and alcoholism all the time; literally someone dies every minute from abusing these chemicals. Food addiction can be just as deadly and leads to all kinds of medical problems, obesity, depression, guilt, shame, and suicide. Living with a food addiction is like starring in a horror movie!
There are several types of food addictions, each resulting in very significant physical and emotional problems. I want to focus on three very serious food addictions here. There are those that suffer from compulsive overeating or binge eating disorder. This individual will eat very quickly and eat past the point of being uncomfortably full. This type of binging is usually followed by a period of depression and feelings of guilt and shame.
Compulsive overeaters generally don’t engage in purging behaviors, laxative use, or fasting. They will eat when they’re not hungry, obsess about food, and fantasize about secret plans to eat alone. Compulsive overeating will almost always lead to obesity and weight gain. Unable to control their food intake, these individuals often unsuccessfully diet. They may lose a few pounds in the beginning, but usually end up gaining weight in the long run. Medical complications come with the drastic changes in weight. The weight gains interfere with work, relationships, and their self-esteem. If this disease is left untreated, it can lead to serious medical conditions including heart disease, clinical depression, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, bone deterioration, stroke, kidney problems, and high cholesterol. Please note that not everyone who is obese is a compulsive overeater.
Bulimia Nervosa can be a very dangerous and devastating problem characterized by periods of binge eating followed by a vicious cycle of trying to stay thin and the compulsion to binge eat again. The individual has feelings of panic, guilt and shame. They try to regain control by vomiting, using laxatives.
Common thinking of someone suffering from Bulimia:
An all or nothing mindset.
Eating until they get or feel sick.
Fear that they can’t stop when eating.
Life is dominated by food.
Obsessive thinking about body image and weight.
Always dieting or binging.
Feelings of depression, shame and guilt.
Dishonesty with friends and family about eating habits.
Purging and taking laxatives to try to lose weight and get control back.
Very secretive about eating.
Eating monstrous amounts of food at one sitting.
Disappearing into the bathroom after meals.
The smell of vomit on person or in house.
The effects of Bulimia can be catastrophic: swelling of extremities, weakness, dizziness, ruptured stomach, acid reflux, loss of menstrual cycle, chronic sore throat, abdominal pain and bloating, eye problems, heart attack, low self-esteem, poor image, depression, and more. Note, not all individuals purge who suffer from Bulimia.
Anorexia Nervosa is a progressive disorder that can be fatal, that is characterized by a fifteen percent below average normal body weight and an extreme fear of fat. The individual feels like they’re fat even though they are very under weight. They establish control and a false sense of power by not eating. They drive out thoughts and feelings in the process and may use diuretics, enemas, extreme exercise, laxatives, purging and other behaviors to try to run from fat and create emotional control. They have a much distorted body image, a horrible fear of gaining any weight, and they refuse to maintain a healthy body weight.
Common thinking of Anorexic person:
Feels power when starving.
Their weight is their self-worth.
They feel fat even when they are skin and bone.
They are in terrible fear of gaining any weight at all.
They lie about their eating habits.
They compulsively purge, exercise, diet when they don’t feel good about themselves.
They feel out of control, lonely, insecure, depression, and fat.
They feel like they have to be perfect at everything.
They feel powerless, but can control what they eat.
They don’t have to deal with emotions.
The effects of Anorexia are life threatening! It can cause heart attack, stroke, weakness, dizziness, stomach problems, menstrual problems, death, kidney problems, and major problems of the entire body! Hair can fall out, teeth can fall out, bones become brittle and break, many, many problems.
Counselors, dieticians, doctors, psychologists, coaches, case managers, and family should all be a part of the recovery team. Food addiction affects the body, mind, and spirit of the individual. They will need to return to a healthy body weight by starting to slowly eat more food and change the way that they think about food and self. A nutritionist or dietician will teach the individual about healthy eating, proper nutrition, meal plans, and how to reach and maintain a normal and healthy weight. A counselor will help the individual to identify the negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and replace them with positive ones. The counselor will also work on emotions and relationships. The doctors will address and stabilize the individual, checking for serious health conditions and hospitalize the patient if needed until they reach a less critical weight. Out-patient can be an option if the person is not in an emergency status.
The exact cause of food addiction remains a mystery! It really depends on the person and the type of food addiction. There is a significant element of emotions to all food addictions: guilt, shame, depression, and low self-esteem. Shame about body image, not fitting in, not good enough, and a need for love and validation is the theme of most food addicts. Maybe that’s why they use the term “comfort foods!” I hope this is food for thought!
©2015 Cali Estes