You have searched through the internet for weight loss tips, fad diets, you starved yourself to misery, and you failed time after time. Somehow you eat even when you aren’t hungry and pounds keep adding up? Gaining weight can happen in a blink of an eye and getting rid of those pounds can seem a struggle that can last for a lifetime. Food addiction might be the root of the problem.
Why is this happening and why do we end up going in circles when it comes down to such a huge problem that we face every single day of our lives? If you, like I, have been trying to break this vicious cycle, keep reading this post! I finally, after many years, have discovered the sad truth when it comes to finding a balance and reaching your fitness goals.
Why starting a diet is so difficult?
People start a diet with a dream of becoming a better version of themselves. I mean, who doesn’t want to look their best in selfies, wear beautiful clothes, look younger and the list goes on and on. The benefits of being on your ideal weight are numerous, and health is one of the most significant even though it isn’t a priority for many people.
Psychological reasons are the most crucial when it comes down to losing weight because it affects people in their everyday life. Being overweight or obese usually brings down your mood and leaves you feeling like an alien among the “normal-looking” humans on the cover of magazines and social media posts.
This way of thinking leads to a vicious cycle, feeling miserable, which makes you reach to junk food consumption only to make you feel good for a moment and leave you feeling more depressed and frustrated.
Dieting isn’t a punishment
The data concerning weight loss is disappointing. 97% of people that lose weight will regain them within two years. Before you get discouraged, think about why this is happening. People generally perceive dieting like punishment.
It is a period in their life that they will have to be miserable and hope for the best, waiting and praying for the day they will wake up with a perfect beach body. But if you treat diet like doing time in jail, well how long can you sustain this depressing reality?
We aren’t taught to eat correctly, either we indulge in junk food or bring ourselves to a near-death experience by following a low-calorie or a fad diet. Why do we have to go to such extremes?
Processed food can be addictive
Yes, you read correctly. Eating can become a food addiction. Especially when it comes down to processed foods and sugary treats. It isn’t your fault that you cannot control yourself when you are around junk food. Food addiction is a real problem. Processed food can create an addiction similar to drug abuse.
It might not be an addiction like alcohol, drugs, or gambling, but when you cannot control your relationship with food, it can get quite challenging. Keep in mind; we need food to keep us alive, unlike the other addictive substances and furthermore processed food is everywhere, socially acceptable, and legal. That is why it becomes challenging to remain in control of your cravings.
Unhealthy snacks are everywhere
The temptation is everywhere. From the moment you pick your coffee at your favorite coffee shop, you get surrounded with muffins, cakes, snacks, and then in the supermarket, the aisles with all the salty and sweet treats.
If you go to a party or out with your friends, try to stay on track when everybody is eating pizza, French fries, cheeseburgers and drinking cocktails. This is a depiction of living hell, don’t you agree? How can you be a saint in these surroundings?
Examples of food addiction symptoms
- Food cravings even after feeling full.
- Hiding food and eating it in large quantities alone.
- Buying and eating large amounts of junk food.
- Feeling guilty after eating.
- The urge to eat processed food is beyond your control.
- Eating becomes a priority in your life. You think about snacks all the time.
- Eating pattern becomes the main focus of your routine, at the expense of your social life, your job, and your family.
- No matter how hard you try to lose weight, you end up failing every time.
Nowadays, the foods that we mostly consume don’t grow on trees, walk on earth, or swim in the sea. Our ancestors fed themselves with pure foods cooked simply. Today eating has become a highly profitable and competitive industry.
Companies struggle to find the best recipe to become the next favorite snack in consumers’ everyday choices. That is why food engineering has evolved in such a huge way, leading to the creation of foods that taste so good and can lead to food addiction.
But it tastes so good
I mean have you ever eaten a potato chip and stopped right after? If you have, you are an exception to the rule. Most of us, real humans, cannot stop eating until we get to the bottom of the bag. The taste is so delicious that it seems to gain control of our mind, we cannot reason, and we end up eating way more than we need but also enjoy.
Hyperpalatable foods are highly processed foods that are engineered in a way to trigger the reward system of our brain that leads to dopamine release. That is why consuming them makes us feel so good. It is a combination of high amounts of sugar, salt, and fat nothing similar to what exists in nature.
Let’s face it; the way we live our lives has become quite stressful. We live in big cities, chasing time to get from one place to another, dealing with many tasks at work, working for long hours only to get home and take care of a family, cook, clean and I stop right here before you have a panic attack.
Also add social media that instead of relaxing us, usually increase our stress levels because at the end of the day, we keep comparing ourselves with the rest of the world and we are left feeling miserable.
Processed food is so convenient
An easy and fast solution to feeling good is to snack on junk food. As soon as the snack hits our taste buds, our lips start singing “Hallelujah.” Is this scene familiar to you? You aren’t the only one, believe me, I have been guilty many times of reliving this exact scene. Well if this type of food makes you happy, why does it seem so strange that we seek it when we feel tired and lost in everyday struggles? This way of dealing with food consumption can only lead to serious health issues and food addiction.
Obesity has become a real threat
According to the World Health Organization, obesity has tripled worldwide since 1975. People are getting fat, and it is also affecting children. Obesity is an epidemic.
The introduction of multiple food choices, mostly unhealthy, has created a massive rise in obesity worldwide. These dietary habits have affected our emotional and physiological health. Heart-disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, eating disorders are only a few of the health risks caused by obesity and food addiction. What is so essential in our life can destroy us.
Eating patterns of the past
Not many years ago families used to sit down and eat together breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wow, it hasn’t been so long ago, but thinking about it seems that it was a reality in ancient history. Eating together with the family, led to communication, it wasn’t only a way to satisfy their hunger. Children weren’t allowed to snack during the day, and every day, they ate freshly cooked food that included real ingredients.
How we eat today
On the other hand, today most of us eat alone, and we do it by grabbing a quick snack on the way to work, eating a burger lunch or a microwaved dinner while watching tv. Everyone seems to live in their timeline that doesn’t coincide with the routine of other family members. Eating has become a solo act, and it is depressing.
Furthermore, everyone chews on something all the time, while doing something else. Playing games on the pc, scrolling through the feed on social media, binge-watching series while binge eating and the list goes on and on.
Eating was a ritual and a way to relax and enjoy the taste of every bite. Now it is a stressful experience that can lead to abusive patterns. If we want to get control of what we eat, we must go back to the basics and learn not only what to eat, but how to eat.
Staying motivated and committed
Although it might seem hard to lose weight, it isn’t impossible, and it doesn’t have to become a struggle in your life. To reach our goal weight, we have first to acquire a healthy relationship with food. Eating quality and healthy meals should make us feel good and that is the way it has to be associated with our brain to lose weight. We have to learn about what we eat and educate ourselves. It is the only way we can acquire the body of our dreams.
Healthy food can be delicious
We have been led to think that eating healthy means to eat tasteless food, but that is far from the truth. Learning to prepare healthy and delicious meals can make the whole process of losing weight quite easy. You can eat almost whatever you want, but you have to know what you put in your body.
Practicing mindful eating is also essential; if you are stressed and eat while scrolling through your Instagram feed, you end up messing with your digestion. Chew your food and enjoy every bite, relax, and see what’s on your plate. Experiment with the colors of your salad, try different recipes, and in the end, understand and enjoy the pure taste of every individual ingredient.
Pick a diet that suits your lifestyle
There are many diets out there that fit different ways of eating. Fad diets, nor extreme calorie restriction can be sustainable. The only way is to follow an eating regime such as intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet, carnivore, or whatever fits your personality and taste. You have to reprogram your mind and body by following an eating pattern for the rest of your life.
Of course, sometimes you can get off track, but when you get used to eating a healthy way, unhealthy foods can lose their appeal. Believe me; if you couldn’t go a day without your favorite snack when you learn to enjoy fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and fish, all processed food won’t feel so tasty. Your body will come alive when you supply it with the nutrients that it needs.
Doing it for the wrong reasons
Beginning a weight loss plan is difficult only if you start for the wrong reasons. If others make you do it, you will fail. If your family, co-workers always comment on your weight, going on a diet won’t be successful because this isn’t a good enough reason for you. It is challenging to start, and no-one can do it for you. But keep in mind that when you’ll succeed no-one can take it from you. It will be a battle won solely by you. People who were morbidly obese found the courage to fight for their life and lose all the extra weight that could potentially kill them.
Get motivated by other people’s success stories
The internet is full of real people who decided to not give up on themselves, found the right reasons, and went through the process of losing the excess weight. It is a physical but also psychological transformation that occurs in the weight loss journey. Some people have been bullied, rejected, made fun of, neglected due to their size. Dealing with that kind of everyday behavior from the people that surround them can easily lead to depression leading again to overeating and food addiction as the only way that can comfort them.
Use baby steps, don’t rush
Even if you aren’t an extreme case, a morbidly obese person, seeing what other people had to go through can only make you realize that you can do it too. Even a small change in what you eat can have a significant benefit and can lead you closer to your goal. One step at a time, making sudden and drastic changes are the recipe for failure.
Self-love can have a massive impact on the process
But it isn’t always the problem the way other people treat us. What is more dangerous is the way we feel and what we think of ourselves. If you believe that you love yourself, you might be wrong. Most of us would hate their friend or their loved one if they treated them the way they treat themselves. Shocking, right?
Feeling worthless, believing you’re inferior, making yourself invisible to other people, does these sound familiar to you? Being overweight makes you think that you should stay in the corner because you don’t fit in with the other people. Would you let another person treat you this way? I hope not. Why do you allow yourself to treat you this way?
Only you can help yourself
No one can love you if you don’t learn to love yourself. There is no-one in the whole world that can make you feel complete. The only one is starring you back when you look in the mirror.
Don’t just go out and buy things for you. You don’t need material things to make you feel good about yourself. Instead, challenge yourself to learn something new. Enjoy learning new skills and do what you dreamed of doing. If you wanted to learn how to dance, to draw, to sing, or whatever you have abandoned. Live your dreams and make them come true, even if they are small things.
Enjoy every moment
Discover the new you, the one that is beneath all the weight and the depression that your eating habits caused you. What we eat isn’t a problem. It is why we eat out of misery, what has gone so wrong to lead us to try to numb the pain with food.
For each person, the reasons are different but finding out why is what can help to start the weight loss journey and keep on track even when things get challenging.
Enjoy life now. Be proud of who you are and the way you look. If you’re waiting to lose weight to feel good about yourself, you won’t succeed. Take a deep breath and start now, no Monday can make a difference. You can do this.