What is food addiction?

Kay Sheppard describes it as ‘…the compulsive pursuit of a mood change by engaging repeatedly in episodes of binge eating despite adverse consequences.’ [i]

Go here for a list of questions to assess whether you may be a food addict.


Why does the food plan work?

A weighed and measured food plan is the equivalent of abstinence from alcohol and drugs. You can’t just stop eating in the same way that you can stop using drugs and alcohol. It isn’t enough either to just stop eating binge foods. This is because food addicts have problems with managing volume as well. Weighing and measuring and sticking to a food plan means that sufferers don’t have to judge portion sizes any more. This is essential because their ‘off button’ is broken and appetite means nothing to them. Food addicts eat whether they’re hungry or full. In addition, there must be a good balance between complex carbohydrates and protein. Protein is essential for keeping brain chemistry in balance.


What about intuitive eating?

Despite thirty plus years of knowledge surrounding addiction, many specialists still encourage sufferers to attempt to normalize their eating through learning to eat intuitively. And of course why wouldn’t we all want to eat normally if we could? However, it’s my firm belief that true food addicts (and it’s very likely they would all be shown to have the variant dopamine receptor gene), are simply physically incapable of eating normally because of the way refined and processed foods act on their brain. A weighed and measured plan, free from trigger foods (which tend to be the same for all food addicts), takes away the fear of loss of control.

What about gastric bypass surgery?

It seems like a no-brainer to suggest that surgery to reduce the size of the stomach would be the answer to addictive eating. You simply can’t fit all that food into your stomach. Many food addicts, full of hope and expectation, go through this mutilating surgery, experience the elation as they lose weight initially only to find themselves back to the same weight or higher than before. But now they have other health issues to contend with, not least of which is constant diarrhea and the risk of complications post-surgery. This is because the underlying issue, food addiction, hasn’t gone away as it has very little to do with hunger and appetite. And, while it’s true that those who’ve had surgery can’t binge in the same way they used to, they find other ways, such as non-stop eating of sweets and chocolate so that highly concentrated, high calorie consumption takes over from periodic volume eating.


Where can I find a food plan?

Go here for the latest food plan

[i] (Food Addiction: The Body Knows, 1993, p. 3)

© 2016 Candace Heather