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The Road Bumps to Overcoming Food Addiction

What's standing in your way?

Why do you crave certain foods? What makes you relapse when you are making progress in your personal goals? Let's explore these ideas a little more and see what we can do to overcome the road bumps standing in your way of successful weight loss!


So, why do we have these intense cravings for comfort or junk foods (chips, sweets, fast food, etc.)

Each of us has a brain, and in your brain there is a pleasure center. Whenever you eat junk food, chemicals are sent to the pleasure center in your brain that makes you feel good. However, usually this is only a temporary feel good feeling and will soon leave you feeling unsatisfied and guilty for what and how much you ate. Ever start to eat a few chips and before you know it the bag is almost empty? How did this make you feel?


The chemicals that give your brain the temporary feel good feeling are the same chemicals that are responsible for your cravings, your addiction to pleasurable food. Except when you have cravings you are trying to resist the food, and your brain is going through what's called withdrawal. In withdrawal, the pleasure center in your brain is telling you that you NEED these foods. Therefore, you must retrain your brain to not be dependent on these junk foods by completely avoiding the foods. But it's much easier if you do this one problem food at a time. So, write down your problem foods: the foods you crave, you can't resist, and you feel guilty after eating them.

Then avoid each food in turn until you get unhooked from each one. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings usually last one to two weeks, to reverse this pattern in your brain, so short term goals can really help here! Though it may sound easier said then done, it is possible to overcome these feel good chemicals and the need for them in your brain. You must also learn not to use food to make you feel better when you are sad, stressed, lonely, or bored or you will get re-addicted.


  1. Recognize your addiction and believe you can over come it!

    Self-esteem plays a key role in success. You must believe in your ability to resist temptation and urges, recognizing that there is a chemical reason in your brain why you are having these cravings. No one ever said the road to success was going to be an easy one!

  2. Recognize your triggers and weaknesses (sadness, stress, boredom, loneliness, a bad day, passing by the vending machine at school or a McDonald's on the way home)

  3. Set up a plan to help you resist giving into your brain's pleasure center and get unhooked.

    Make a list of your short term goals, make them realistic and reachable by the end of this week (Ex #1: I will not eat the problem food I'm working on at all; Ex #2: I will drink more water and find other fun activities that will help me stay away from my addiction)

  4. Be accountable for your actions and find someone to help hold you accountable

    Find a parent, friend, sibling, counselor to help you focus on your plan and goals for success and to whom you can be accountable.

    Take responsibility for any slip-ups and learn from your mistakes. Keep pushing forward and don't let one mistake stop you from reaching your goals.

    Make a chart to monitor your progress and see where you can make improvements

  5. Find fun activities that can bring you pleasure and keep you distracted from cravings!

    Hobbies (Reading, fishing, swimming, camping, collecting bugs, shopping; the list is endless!)

    Surround yourself around others who support your plan/goals and will not try to tempt your urges for relapse. When you are struggling with a craving, call a friend.

    Non-strenuous games (Board games, word games, hide-n-seek, etc.)

    Learning a new musical instrument (Guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, etc.)

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