Food Addiction and Weight Loss.
Increasingly the challenges experienced in work mean that many people lead sedentary lifestyles with not enough exercise. At the same time it is all too easy to eat unhealthy fast foods while we are busy with work or because we are too tired to prepare healthy food. What isn’t as well known is that a dangerous addictive cycle can develop in which we gain weight because of lifestyle and food choices. Often part of this scenario involves eating calorie rich carbohydrates, energy drinks, sweets or more alcohol than necessary. It has now been shown that carbohydrates, sweets as well as alcohol are all addictive.
Once our weight goes beyond a certain level the body develops insulin resistance which is part of what is known as a metabolic syndrome in which the body itself starts to turn up hunger signals even if you have eaten enough. This means the body loses the ability to tell the difference between feeling full and feeling as if you have had enough. This causes a number of additional problems that include diabetes, high blood pressure as well as a distressing loss of confidence and reduced self-esteem.
Most people who are overweight have managed to lose weight in the past by dieting but have a problem keeping weight off. The reasons for overeating can be varied. Over-eating and/or compulsive eating can be a way of dealing with emotional upset or stress. Furthermore, we may use food as a reward or to get a “feel good” feeling. Sometimes we may feel energised or uplifted when we eat certain foods (e.g. cakes, chocolate etc.) and find ourselves wanting to experience that feeling over and over again. We may also find ourselves getting into an addictive cycle of eating more and more as a way of maintaining these temporary “feel good” feelings.
We have counsellors and psychologists who are skilled at helping people who suffer from a food addiction to master it and move into a more successful pattern of lifestyle and weight management. We can help people:
identify and resolve the core issues underlying food cravings and compulsions
develop different ways to deal with stress and help them find ways of coping that are non-food related.
focus and develop their emotional strengths and resources and learn ways of breaking their addictive patterns of eating (e.g. over-eating at mealtimes, snacking between meals).
We use a range of approaches including the use of supplements, counselling and emotional support, hypnosis (where appropriate), mindfulness, and therapies designed to address the unconscious beliefs that keep the addictive cycle in place.