I’m a food addict. {guest Marci Evans}

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Would you consider yourself a food addict? Do you find yourself trying to abstain from certain foods so you don’t “lose control?” Are you unsure if food addiction is the right way to describe what you’re experiencing? Listen now for some expertise on the latest research and find out more about the truth behind the food addiction model.

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Episode’s Key Points:

  • Holidays like Easter and Passover can bring foods out of the woodwork that we don’t usually eat! (Think: chocolate bunnies, Peeps, jelly beans.) When these foods resurface, because we haven’t learned to make them “neutral” yet, it can feel like we’re addicted to them when they’re finally around.
  • Our bodies don’t need to rely on dieting to find health. In fact, dieting HURTS us, and it can lead to bingeing and an OCD experience with food.
  • Eating is just like peeing!!! When you gotta go, you gotta go, and how much or how little you pee doesn’t matter. But with hunger, there is so much JUDGMENT attached to it. So what if we took that judgment away? What if we treated eating just like peeing? They’re both bodily functions that do just fine on their own without outward policing. So stop judging when you’re hungry, or how much or how little you need to eat to feel satisfied! Eating is like peeing.
  • Marci Evans joins to talk about her expert knowledge on food addiction research!
  • Food doesn’t need to have so much power!!
  • You are NOT alone… your pain is individual, but your experiences with food are so common.
  • What are the first steps to making peace with food when dealing with these problems??
    • Compassion!
    • Challenging food addiction in and of itself
  • The food addiction model is problematic and has many limitations!
    • The term “food addiction” is very poorly defined in the research community.
    • Most 0f the research has been done on animals, not humans, and the research that has been done on humans has had a LOT of mixed results.
    • It fails to consider alternatives to the biological response to food that mimics drug use, such as pavlovian conditioning, the fact that food is meant to be rewarding, or the impact of restraint, restriction, or previous dieting on our pleasure reactions.
  • Food is meant to be rewarding!!
  • The pattern of restriction and restraint that then swings to bingeing can lead someone to think they’re addicted to food… but that might not be the case! Bingeing is often a reaction to deprivation!!
  • Current food addiction research does NOT account for restraint, restriction, or dieting history.
  • Our natural biology REBELS against restraint!!
  • So how do we move beyond the food addiction model?
    • Remember you are not alone!
    • Consider what “healthy” means to you, and make sure it’s BALANCED and SATISFYING.
    • Use resources to support your journey.
    • Notice what’s happening in your body instead of what’s happening in your brain.
  • Once we take the judgment away, we can really listen to what our body actually needs.
  • Our body craves balance!!
  • Remember, healthy eating includes satiety and pleasure! If you deny these parts of eating, you won’t find a peaceful relationship with food.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

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Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

The science behind that post-Easter candy binge


Did you binge on the Easter candy? Before you curse your will power or lack of self-control, consider the science of eating behavior. Using this evidence-based approach may help you experience more food peace in the future.

Don’t blame yourself for the candy binge⎯It’s really Food Habituation

Do you categorize foods as good versus bad? Labeling food this way can set anyone up to feel out of control about what to eat. Food is not an exact science. Rather than considering food as good versus bad, think of food lying on a continuum. This means there is more gray than exact black and white rules.

Folks who categorize foods as good or bad will, more often than not, experience binges on those “bad” foods. Research explains this through the science of food habituation. This type of research demonstrates that the more we’re exposed to a food, the more our brains could care less about it. On the flip side, the more unique and rare the food, the more our brains fixate on it. This promotes intense cravings, and drives us to want to eat the novel food.

Healing Hint: Instead of blaming yourself for the post-Easter candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Are you around this food often? And, if so, do you allow yourself to eat it? If the answer to both questions is “no”, point your finger at your lack of food exposure instead of your lack of will power or self-control.

Don’t blame the food after the candy bingeIt’s really “Food Deprivation

The more we abstain from a food, the more our brains like to fixate on it. How often are we actually around jelly beans, peeps,  or peanut butter filled eggs? No wonder it’s so tough to stop eating them. And, when we avoid the fun food long enough, we often feel guilt-free and give ourselves permission to “indulge”.

Why does “just one bite” often lead to a binge experience? This is the basic law of food deprivation. When we’re around an avoided food, our brains light up with interest — sometimes even as far as obsession. When we finally allow ourselves a bite, it’s often hard to stop.

Some clinicians connect the one bite to binge experience as food addiction. I’ve been keeping up with this research too, yet so far, it’s flawed. Until the researchers take into account food deprivation and habituation, the research means nothing — unless people become robots without free will. To hear more, check out this Food Addiction episode of the Love Food podcast.

Healing Hint: Rather than blaming yourself for the candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Have you been dieting? Have you been limiting the variety in your food choices? Have you been disrespecting hunger? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then point the finger at food deprivation.

Practice unconditional permission to eat

Allowing candy to remain around can help us navigate through different types of food. Is this too scary? You’re not alone.

There’s a way to heal this. It’s called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food, in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues ⎯ this should be the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from the book, Intuitive Eating, by Tribole and Resch. Hear from Evelyn Tribole directly on this episode of the Love Food Podcast. Life changing work is done within the framework of eating intuitively. I encourage you to read it.

Healing Hint: To feel safer during Easter and other holidays, be curious as to why the binge is happening, or happened. When you hear your self-talk blaming your lack of will-power or self-control, consider the science instead. Blame diets, food rules, and body hate. Learning to experience food with self-compassion and trust will help you eat to promote health and peace.

julie_lovefood_secondary_rgbDo you enjoy listening to podcasts and want to ditch diets? Check out mine: it was made for you!