Are You a Food Addict?
By Andrew Sokolsky
Andrew Sokolsky, DC, is a weight-loss coach and longtime OPEN EXCHANGE lister featured under Weight Issues.
When comparing the many people that I have successfully coached through my weight-loss program, I have found that clients have a wide range of emotional attachment to food. This influences my approach to helping them. A client's emotional attachment to food often affects the ease with which they lose weight.
I ask my clients to consider whether they use food as an addictive substance. I tell them that when I lost over 100 pounds, it was helpful to my success to admit to myself that I was addicted to food, and that I, like them, have a genetic predisposition to be overweight. Many of my clients initially say that they are not food addicts, but after a more careful examination of their behaviors and thoughts, they reconsider their self-evaluation, whether or not they've received a formal diagnosis.
I have had clients who seem to have a relatively low emotional attachment to food. These clients have either developed unsupportive habits, never learned to eat in a way that supported weight loss, or never learned how to maintain a healthy weight. These clients primarily need Part One of my weight loss plan, which teaches the science of weight loss, and how to set up a step-by-step plan that will allow them to lose the weight that they want to lose.
Part Two of my plan gives clients behavioral modification tools that will allow them to structure their day to maximize easily losing weight, while never feeling hungry. It includes learning how to become aware of emotionally driven hunger, and how to replace overeating with enjoyable and healthier behaviors. It deals with the daily challenges that one faces, and teaches clients how to take immediate and effective steps to reverse behaviors that interfere with healthfully losing weight.
Part Three of the plan allows for an exploration and understanding of a client's deeper self, identifying and understanding the parts of them that support their goals, and the parts that get in the way of achieving what they truly want. It allows for them to truly address the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual challenges that will support them in achieving long-lasting weight-loss success. I have found that the greater the emotional attachment to food, the more necessary it is to explore the inner self as a way of truly understanding ourselves and our addictive behavior.
Recently, I went to a three-hour panel presentation on food addiction that included a psychiatrist, a psychologist and neuroscientist, a medical doctor who is a neuroendocrinologist, a clinical psychologist and research scientist, a journalist who lost hundreds of pounds, and an addiction-specialist medical doctor who runs the largest addiction treatment center in Canada. These powerful and brilliant speakers all supported the fact that food addiction is a reality, and they all demonstrated sensitivity to the challenges of managing food addiction in a society that supports unhealthful eating habits.
As a weight-loss coach and chiropractor, whose orientation is to allow the body to heal itself with as few drugs as possible, I was saddened and disheartened to hear about the many unsuccessful weight-loss strategies that have been tried over the years, including bariatric surgery, and weight-loss drugs, which have had dire side-effects, and few if any long-term benefits.
The good newsand I see this over and over again with my clientsis that people succeed who have a specific, healthful, easy-to-follow plan. A good plan should allow you to choose what you eat and drink, gain insight into the emotional working of your mind and heart, and be accountable to someone besides themselves. This is where I can help. I know the challenges that overweight people face, and I know that healthful and long-lasting weight loss can be achieved!
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