Here’s the latest question from a ChooseHelp.com website visitor, and my answer:
Question: “I usually eat out of a drive through on the way home from work. Because of all the sugar and I tend to get hungry an hour or two later, so I have a second dinner with my family again later. I am overweight and my family gives me a hard time about this so I usually hide the fact that I already ate once on the way home from work. It is also embarrassing. I feel very hungry after work and I have a hard time resisting eating. I have tried to switch to snacking on sliced vegetables on the drive home instead but this doesn’t reduce my desires for more satisfying food. I am actually getting concerned because I am really trying to eat less and I can’t. I have an hour or longer commute and if I try to not eat I just can’t stop thinking about eating the whole time. Do I have bad eating habits or an addiction? How can I tell the two apart?”
Answer: “The “snacking on vegetables” idea never worked for me either. After munching on carrots and celery, I felt like I really needed something good, and deserved it too, after putting up with the rabbit food.
An addiction is like a habit that controls you, instead of you controlling it. In fact, some treatment programs for heroin addicts are referred to as “habit management” programs. Habit or addiction, it doesn’t matter what you call your eating problem as much as finding out how to solve it.
I and my clients have had the same problem you have, in spades. A lot of well-meaning people think they know how to solve it and will offer lots of advice and then wonder why you can’t do what they do. They will call you weak-willed or accuse you of not wanting to get control and change. They just don’t know what you are fighting. We do. It makes sense for you to think of your problem as a food addiction, find out more and find out how to beat it.
Prepare yourself to work. People who think solving this problem should be easy with some tricks or tips or that they can get someone else to solve it for them will not get anywhere. You’ll need to do some reading and practice some new state-of-the-art psychological techniques. The solution is complex and few people know of it. However, once you find out what to do, it is entirely solvable.
Don’t feel bad about your addictive eating, all the feelings you have related to it, or the lack of understanding that other people have. You are OK. You can solve the problem. You need to learn a lot more and get to work on it. ”