Top ways to cope with your food addiction

People with food addiction may have headaches, insomnia, Irritability, mood changes, depression. These symptoms are relieved by eating the food craved e. g sugar or sugary food/drinks, cereals, bread, chocolate, crisps, biscuits, cheese . Mostly processed carbohydrate which increase serotonin, the feel good neurochemical. People with cravings may have neurochemical and hormonal imbalance that may trigger these cravings.

Here are 14 tips to help you cope with your food addiction:

1. Identify triggers- noticing there's a problem is the first step to recovery e. g food associated with love, comfort, stress, loneliness, boredom, frustration, memories associated with the particular food addiction, anxiety, even just the smell can be trigger.

2. Avoid alcohol that weakens our ability to cope with food addiction

3. Avoid stimulants e.g. caffeine, cigarettes, amphetamines

4. Increase exposure to sunlight 1-2 hours per day

5. Try regular 60 minutes exercise per day, relaxation or deep breathing exercises e, g yoga can help . Regular exercise can replace the high you feel from trigger food.

6. Get enough sleep

7. Check if you are actually hungry by doing a hunger score 0-10 ( 10 being very hungry) if not then it might be thirst.

8. Distract - e.g brush your teeth, chew gum, drink water, usually you find the craving may go away 30-45minutes later.

9. Choose a healthy substitute e. g fruit and diet yoghurt. Try change for life healthy swap ideas.

10. Give in now then but try and be good 80% of the time. 20% is not going to harm you. Moderation is the key.

11. Have regular meals and healthy snacks so that you do not have low blood sugar and develop a physical craving.

12. Find a counsellor who may be able to help you address deeper emotional issues. You don't have to address your food addiction alone.

13. Slowly reduce the addicted food and gradually increase healthy food so that your body is better able to adapt. e. g introduce more filling food low GI from fruit, vegetables, pulses, lentils and wholegrain.

14. Reward yourself when you are 80% successful, reward in non-food way e. g warm bath, outing with your family or friends, Message therapy

For specialised Diet and Nutrition advice seek the advice of a Professional Dietitian and Nutritionist Tabby kabeer

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