Help for Food Addiction
Are you are person who struggles with compulsive overeating?
If you are a person struggling with compulsive overeating, or soothing with sugar and salty treats, you know exactly how difficult it can be to take that first step toward a healthier life style.
Many of us ignore what we know about the health risks of indulging in chips, pasta, bread, cookies and ice cream - much like a smoker who ignores the dangers of lung cancer.
Why do we continue to binge on these foods when we know they are not good for us?
Food and sugar addiction hijack the reward center or the pleasure centers of the brain - impulse control or self regulation goes flying out the window! Before we know it, we are zoning out in front of the TV binging on junk food.
Later, we feel shame and frustration for breaking promises to ourselves....again. Why do we do this?
Without going into a science lesson, the nutshell is that this area of the brain is ruled by a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine controls pleasure and is your brain’s “reward” for food, sex, shopping, or anything else pleasurable.
Dopamine has an agenda: it's main job is to keep you 100% focused on obtaining certain things for survival, like clothing, shelter, food and sex. When we are in the process of seeking and obtaining these things, human beings feel a release of pleasure and relief - all of this is the role of dopamine. And, the dopamine generators go full speed ahead when you eat the whole bag of chips or cookies, or the Ben and Jerry's ice cream....when you promised yourself to stop at only one scoop.
So, why is it important to understand dopamine and compulsive eating? Because the same area of the brain that fires up over sugar and gives you that pleasurable rush of dopamine, is the same areas of the brain that responds when an alcoholic downs a drink, or the heroin addict shoots up. Recent studies have shown that sugar can actually be more addictive than cocaine!
Commercials, bill boards, and the fast food industry make sure our dopamine levels are on alert. Our brains are stimulated and hijacked on a daily basis. It can feel like a losing battle for those who are addicted to sugar.
As you have learned, compulsive overeating is often a very challenging cycle to break without support, focus, tools and commitment. Many clients share about the roller coaster of yo-yo-ing dieting, the shame and frustration, the anxiety and depression that is attached to trying and failing to control food binges and maintain a healthy weight over and over again.
If this is your story, in therapy we can team up and move together to heal the "roots to the fruit" in what is hurting you and driving the compulsion to overeat. It is not easy work, but there is hope with food addiction! As one successful client shared in a recent email:
The clients we support who deal with food addiction have learned that it is never really about the food but about learned behavior in attempting to soothe something that is hurting, to calm stress or anxiety, or fill that place of emotional emptiness. Dopamine hijacks the brain until we learn new tools to heal and grow.
Walk Talk therapy is a great alternative to traditional therapy where we take the session off the couch and outside to support your steps toward a healthier and happier you!
If you would like to schedule an appointment at our Glendora, CA office,
or if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us.