Monday, October 24, 2011

Recognizing Food Addiction in Our Lives

This simple test is surprisingly accurate. Answer yes or no to each question.
  1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have you ever been Annoyed when people have commented on your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty or badly about your drinking?
  4. Have you ever had an Eye opener first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Your score:
Score one point for each yes answer.

If you scored 1, there is an 80% chance you're addicted to alcohol.
If you scored 2, there is an 89% chance you're addicted to alcohol.
If you scored 3, there is a 99% chance you're addicted to alcohol.
If you scored 4, there is a 100% chance you're addicted to alcohol.


Test taken from: http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/addiction-self-test.htm

Let me change this around a bit to properly reflect my true question:

Answer yes or no to each question.
  1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your eating of unhealthy foods?
  2. Have you ever been Annoyed when people have commented on how much you eat or what types of unhealthy foods you eat?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty or badly about your eating unhealthy, yet still feel like you could never give up your indulgences?
  4. Have you ever had an Eye opener when you go to the doctor and they tell you if you do not change your diet, you will continue to have health problems?
I cannot give statistical data to tell you anything definite, but I can tell you that if you said yes to any of these, especially more than one, there is a good chance you are struggling with a food addiction. Growing up, there sadly were many times we had to confront loved ones about their addiction to substances such as alcohol or drugs. But we confronted them because we loved them and they could not control themselves EVEN THOUGH they knew it was hurting their bodies.

One-third of American's are classified as obese (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html).  Diseases related to unhealthy eating and not exercising kills more American's than substance abuse or suicide combined by the plenty. Yet instead of intervening with our loves ones to help them stop consuming substances that WE KNOW are harming them, we worry more about hurting someone's feelings or making them feel judged. The truth is, if we do not intervene out of love, there is a high likelihood that they will not change, and we will watched our loved one suffer greatly at the cost of their food addiction.

Food addictions do not just affect those who are obese. I personally struggle with a food addiction, and when you look at me, you could not tell. I have great difficulty in controlling how much I eat and wanting to eat under stress. Growing up in a family of addicts doesn't help either as the predisposition to addiction is known to be an inherited trait. Ectomorph's who tend to be skinny no matter what they eat can also struggle with food addictions. If they are not eating healthy and exercising, they too will have health related issues, including but not limited to, heart disease, osteoporosis, fatigue and weakness. Too often unhealthiness is associated just with obesity, but it does not matter what you look like, if you are fueling your body with junk, then you will not be as strong as God created your body to be.

(Read my blog on body types at http://adventuresofhealthyeating.blogspot.com/2011/10/tale-of-one-ectomorph-in-family-of-none.html).

The reason I write this today? These are the comments we have been hearing lately:
  • That is what hydrogenated oils are and what they do? Oh well, I just can't give it up, I like the taste too much.
  • I cannot give up my ______, I guess we will just have to die young together!
  • I don't look unhealthy (in reference to not being obese), so it doesn't really hurt my body. (This is coming from an ectomorph who constantly struggles with fatigue, inability to concentrate, has pale, unhealthy gray skin and bags underneath their eyes.)
  • I know the food is causing me to have high blood pressure and I am overweight, but I just like it too much. 
  • From a parent - I don't want my child to feel left out when everyone else is ordering a certain item and they have to order a healthier one, even if it means they gain some weight.
  • My doctor buys this kind of food, and they are a doctor! It must be okay!
Why I do what I do when I don't want to do it.
Hearing those statements from people we know and love, and even those that we don't know so well, breaks our hearts. These statements above don't necessarily mean someone has a food addiction, but it does indicate an unhealthy relationship with food.

You may know someone with a food addiction, or you may be struggling with one yourself and have not realized it until now. You are not alone and there are many resources available out there to help, but you do need help! Struggling with any addiction is not just a physical struggle, but a spiritual battle  as well. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galations 5:22). If we bring our temptations and struggles to Jesus, He will heal our discontentment and bring peace to our lives - food will only temporarily appease our feelings, and in the end, it never solves our problem.

Fighting a food addiction is worth the fight, no matter how much you may feel you are giving up, in the end, you are gaining SO much more. I still eat great tasting food, have more energy and am able to know I am giving my all to ensure I am able to be there for my family. Some things are worth the sacrifice.

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