Might as Well Face It – I’m Addicted to Food!

… compulsive food consumption may be driven in part by an enhanced anticipation of the rewarding properties of food.*

Ya think??? File that under Let’s-State-the-Obvious.

Seeing a milkshake can activate the same areas of the brain that light up when an addict sees cocaine.*

Finally, an explanation for my Pavlovian response to Dairy Queen commercials. I immediately head to the freezer to get a quick “fix” of ice cream.

Imagine the “this is your brain on drugs” ad using a scoop of ice cream instead of an egg. Does that make Breyers and Häagen-Dazs my personal “pushers”?

Alright already. I get it. I’m addicted to food.

I think about the next meal while I’m eating the current one. I hang out on recipe and food blogger websites like sex addicts troll porn sites. I watch the Food Network for hours on end and never get bored. I envy Adam Richman on Man V. Food because he gets paid to travel around the U.S. and gorge on comfort food. (NOTE: Anything he eats with those dastardly ghost peppers in them is too much even for me!)

What I want to know – what I think all Americans struggling with their weight want to know is – what do we do about it? How do we discover the willpower- the incredible self-restraint- necessary to view food as fuel that is to be eaten in moderation? How do we develop that muscle? Literally change the way our brains work?

How do we avoid feeling angry and deprived because we can’t eat what we want when we want? Which is more realistically to say- as much as we want of anything we want whenever we want it…

Where are the scientific studies about retraining our brains to be satisfied before we’re stuffed? Or the little pills that can medicate our addiction away?

Wouldn’t a methadone-like pill for food addiction be a welcome addition to the pharmaceutical revenue stream? Bet it would bring in more bucks than Viagra sales do…

How do we curb our responses to the unhealthy advertisements battering us day in and day out? Eat this, it’s yummy. Drink this, you’ll be cool and popular. This is the best [insert any high fat snack food name here] you can buy and it’s cheap cheap cheap!

How do we negotiate a world in which almost every social interaction involves food? We eat practically everywhere and for any reason. To celebrate. To grieve. When we’re bored, stressed, lonely or depressed. Every gathering requires food. We can’t seem to watch the Superbowl or the Academy Awards without noshing on something.

I’m confident there are people in the world who do not obsess about food or who obsess about it in a healthy way (chefs? nutritionists? Mrs. Obama?).

I just need to learn their secret. And fast.

* Food Addiction Works Like Drug Addiction In The Brain; Huffington Post; April 5, 2011


About Barbara

Married to Greg, the nicest Greek man in the world. No kids - just two hyperactive Maine Coon cats - Griffin and Harper. Independent consultant. News and political junkie. Diehard social progressive. Movie lover. Book reader. Blog writer. Overweight. Underpaid. Open-minded about everything except closed-minded folks. Occasionally witty. Sometimes wise. Always wise-ass.
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