Food Addiction: A Real Problem for Weight Loss
Since 1971, the idea of a war on drugs has been tossed around, everywhere from Presidential debates to opinion news shows. Partially as a result of that campaign, most people would tell you that drugs are one of the biggest issues we face on the American home front.
What if you were to find out, however, that there is another issue that is even more pressing—an issue of such magnitude that it puts the idea of a war on drugs to shame. Here is a fact to chew on: Obesity is a more widespread issue in the United States than is drug addiction. People from every demographic, from Hialeah to the most northwest peak of our country, are facing obesity. There is a growing body of research that supports the idea that behind the startling rate of obesity, there is an underlying predator at work—food addiction.
Food is a necessity to life, so the idea of eating as an addictive behavior that contributes to obesity is not helpful. However, there are some eating behaviors that are often attributed to an increased risk of obesity.
These behaviors include:
- Eating a diet rich in sugary and high-fat foods
- Regularly eating fast food
- Emotional eating
- Chronic stress or mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and personality issues
In 2010, researchers from the University of Florida Division of Global Tobacco, Alcohol, Obesity and Health Research division found that there is a growing amount of evidence that indicates there are shared neural and hormonal pathways between obese individuals and those who have struggled with drug addiction. While the substances themselves do not bare resemblance, the way that the body reacts to the sight of the substance, as well as the severity and frequency of cravings experienced, do indicate a lot of similarities in how it feels to live with what the researchers are calling food addiction.
Understanding the desire to eat as something prompted mentally, as if by an addiction, is essential for success after weight loss surgery. Having bariatric surgery will physically reduce the amount of food that your stomach is able to comfortably hold at one time. To lose weight, it is important that you eat only when hungry, and that you follow the strict dietary limitations that your weight loss surgeon sets forth. Eating emotionally, either due to stress or cravings, may interfere with your weight loss efforts after bariatric surgery.
The entire idea of food addiction speaks to how essential it is to focus on mental health and wellbeing after weight loss surgery. Having a positive attitude and confidence in your ability to make positive changes in your lifestyle will have a huge impact on your ability to follow through on your weight loss goals.