Do you want to lose 10, 30, 50 or more pounds? Have you recently reached your weight loss goal but want to maintain it? Are you willing to dedicate yourself to a healthy lifestyle? Then this blog is for you!

I have lost 118 pounds and have maintained the weight loss for two years. One of the things I have learned during the weight loss process is that it is much easier to reach and maintain your goal weight if you surround yourself with like-minded individuals to support you in the process (whether they be in person or online).

I also have learned that learning as much as possible about healthy living gives you the knowledge and expertise needed to lose weight the “right” way. So this blog includes regular posts, a book list, website list, TV list, video list and book and website of the month. In addition, there is a recipe of the month and product review section. Visitors to Weight Loss Aficionado can just enjoy the site for informational purposes or can comment on posts, ask questions, share resources, their triumphs and pitfalls during the weight loss process.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are You Addicted to Food?

I watched an episode of Dr. Oz this week on food addiction. The main question of the episode was,” is food addiction a real disease?” Dr. Oz stated 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese. He had Keri Gans, Dietician and Neal Bernard, Adjunct Professor on the panel.

Keri Gans, Registered Dietician said no, it’s not addictive. She said the cause of overeating is either a learned behavior or feelings. “How can you be addicted to something your body needs?”

Neal Bernard, MD, Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, George Washington University, said yes food can be addictive. “The brain has opiates that are released when eating certain foods. Some also release dopamine. The same pleasure receptors in the brain are triggered when you eat salty, sweet, and fatty foods as when you take drugs. Certain foods can be as addictive as drugs and alcohol for some people.”

Dr. Oz gave a survey asking the following questions: 
  1. Do you think you are addicted to food? 63% said they may be addicted to food.
  2. Do you think people use the term food addict as an excuse?  48% said yes.
  3. Do you think food addiction is as bad as alcohol and drug addiction? 77% said yes.

Dr. Oz recommended taking the following food addiction quiz to see if you may be addicted to food:

  1. I spend a lot of time thinking about food although I’m not hungry.
  2. I get more pleasure from food than anything else.
  3. When I eat certain foods I eat more than I had planned
  4. I hide food in my car, home and workplace
  5. My relationship with food interferes with my life

Steps he gave to help viewers change their addictive food behaviors include:

  1.  Know your body’s cues and when you truly need to eat.
  2. Wean yourself slowly off addictive foods. Do not go cold turkey. This will increase your trigger points.
  3. Know your trigger time
  4. Know your trigger emotions

If you believe you are addicted to food I  recommend “Overeaters Anonymous”. They wholeheartedly believe there are those that are powerless over food and have a program to help you fight your food addiction. “Overeaters Anonymous is a Fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. They welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively (”

I went to several OA meetings during the first week of December to see what OA was all about. I also read numerous OA pamphlets and books. There are meetings throughout the US and different groups have different focuses (i.e. newcomer, literature study, OA steps), so there is a meeting for almost everyone’s needs. The meetings are especially good for the type of over eater who likes community, fellowship and enjoys sharing in groups. 

If you are not the type of individual that likes sitting in a circle and sharing your feelings, like me, there are also online and telephone meetings available.  You can also read their literature which is phenomenal. When I read the book, "The Twelve Steps and The Twelve Traditions of OA" I was faced with the realization that the cause of being overweight or obese is not “willpower” but can be for many people addiction. 

In closing, I believe that there are a multitude of reasons people overeat. Some overeat because of emotions, some overeat because of learned behaviors, some overeat because they love food and some overeat because they are addicted to food. When you begin your diet journey it is important that you figure out what your reason is. Once you know why you overeat you can move towards fixing the problem!

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