Tag Archives: food addiction treatments

What Overeating Is and What Triggers It

This article, submitted by Bright Futures Treatment Center, while not exactly representative of The Anderson Method, presents some very valuable ideas and theory.

Eating is an essential part of life, but it can cause physical, emotional, and social problems when it becomes excessive. This is what is often called “overeating”. Overeating is a common problem that affects many individuals and can severely affect one’s health and well-being. Have you ever found yourself eating beyond the point of fullness or eating even when you’re not hungry? If so, you may be overeating. Understanding the triggers of overeating can help you break this cycle and create a healthier relationship with food. This article will explore and help you understand what overeating is and what triggers it.

What is Overeating?

In this section, we’ll explore the different types of overeating, the causes, and the physical and emotional effects it can have on your life. Overeating is a complex issue that can have multiple causes and affects individuals in different ways. It can range from occasional overeating, such as during holidays, to compulsive overeating. Understanding these aspects of overeating can help you create an action plan to overcome it, no matter the circumstance.

Types and causes of overeating

Overeating can take on many different forms, and it’s important to understand the different types to better address the problem. Understanding the different types allows you to gain insight into the underlying causes and develop a tailored approach to overcome overeating. Here is an overview of what overeating is and what triggers it:

  • Emotional Overeating is a type of overeating triggered by stress, anxiety, or boredom. It’s often used as a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions.
  • Binge Eating is characterized by excessive and rapid eating, often accompanied by feelings of shame and guilt. Binge eaters may eat large quantities of food in a short period of time, even when they’re not physically hungry.
  • Compulsive Overeating is also known as food addiction. It’s a persistent pattern of overeating despite the negative consequences. This type of overeating is often driven by an obsession with food and a compulsive need to eat, even when not hungry.
  • Mindless Eating is another type of mindless eating. It occurs when individuals eat without paying attention to their hunger signals or the food they are consuming. Distractions, such as television or work, or a lack of planning and preparation can trigger this type of overeating.

Physical and Emotional Effects of Overeating

Overeating can have severe consequences for both our physical and emotional well-being. While overeating occasionally may not cause significant harm, chronic overeating can lead to a range of negative health outcomes.

Physical effects of overeating include:

  • Weight gain. Excessive calorie intake from overeating can lead to weight gain, increasing the risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
  • Digestive problems. Overeating can cause physical discomforts, such as bloating, indigestion, and stomach pain. Additionally, it can lead to long-term digestive problems, such as acid reflux, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Chronic overeating can contribute to the development of heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as increase the risk of stroke.

Emotional effects of overeating include:

  • Guilt and shame. Overeating can lead to feelings of guilt and shame. It is even more of an issue if overeating results in weight gain.
  • Depression and anxiety. Chronic overeating can have a negative impact on mental health, leading to depression and anxiety. This is particularly true if overeating is used as a coping mechanism for dealing with negative emotions.
  • Decreased self-esteem. Overeating can lead to decreased self-esteem and confidence because the individual may see themselves as weak or feel guilty about their changes in appearance.

Triggers of Overeating

Do you ever find yourself reaching for food even when you’re not hungry? Or do you feel helpless and powerless to stop eating even when you’re full? If so, you’re not alone. However, it’s important to remember that overeating is not simply a result of a lack of willpower or self-discipline. There are many internal and external triggers that can contribute to overeating, and it’s essential to recognize and understand these triggers to better yourself.

Internal triggers of Overeating

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common internal triggers of overeating:

  • Emotional Factors. Negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, boredom, and depression can all lead to overeating as a means of coping. Food can provide comfort and temporary relief from unpleasant feelings, making it an attractive option when we struggle emotionally.
  • Hunger Cues. Our bodies are designed to regulate hunger. But sometimes, these cues can get off track, leading to overeating even when we’re not truly hungry. This can be due to various factors, including skipping meals, irregular eating patterns, or a diet lacking in nutrients.

External Triggers of Overeating

People often overlook the importance and effect of external triggers.

Some external triggers include:

  • Environmental Factors. Our environment can play a significant role in our eating habits. For example, social pressure to eat at certain times, the availability of high-calorie foods, or someone near us overeating can make us overeat.
  • Food-Related Cues. The sight and smell of food can also trigger overeating, even when we’re not truly hungry. This can be incredibly challenging when we’re surrounded by tempting food options. Or when we’re constantly bombarded with food-related advertisements.

Coping with Overeating

Overeating can be challenging. But with the right tools and strategies, you can take control and find lasting solutions.

  • Identify your triggers. Understanding what overeating is and what triggers it is crucial in managing this behavior.
  • Change your mindset: Focusing on positive thinking can improve your self-confidence, reduce stress levels, and improve mental health. These are just some of the benefits of changing your mindset.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine, such as regular exercise, mindfulness, and proper nutrition, can help you overcome overeating.
  • Seek professional help: A therapist or counselor can provide the support and guidance you need. With their help, you’ll understand what overeating is and what triggers it for you. Furthermore, they’ll be able to help you create a better relationship with food that’ll skyrocket your recovery from overeating.



What to do With Leftovers?

If the picture above is your plan for leftovers, you are courting disaster.

If this is what you are planning to do with leftovers, and you are a food addict like me, you are unconsciously planning to overeat for a week.

When analyzing what went wrong when a client complained about being unable to stop herself from getting up repeatedly at night to eat cookies or chips, I asked her when she got the cookies and chips. She said she picked them up the last time she went shopping. I asked her where they fit in her food plan and when she was planning on eating them. She said had no plans that included cookies or chips and she was not planning on eating them. “They were to have there if I needed them.”

I said, “No, when you bought them, that’s when you planned on eating them for ‘snacks’ which you know is not what we do.” (There is no snacking on The Anderson Method. There are only planned meals and fasting). She had to think about that for a minute and realize that when she bought them, she was unconsciously planning to eat them whenever she felt like it. She had to admit that without realizing it, she was planning on overeating.

She wasn’t conscious of it, but the “inner addict” had a plan to eat cookies and chips for fun at night. Believe me, if you have food in the house, you are planning to eat it, whether you know it or not. You may not know it, but everything in your house is something you are planning to eat sometime. For food addicts, it’s likely to be tonight if it’s not part of one of the meals you’ve planned in the future, especially if it’s not frozen.

What’s your plan for leftovers? If you just fill the fridge, you are inviting a binge, maybe a week of bingeing.

You must plan on what to do with leftovers. If you leave pie or stuffing in big containers in the fridge, your “inner addict” will know they are there and tempt you to go have some …… now.

Plan on what to do with leftovers now. I send dessert things home with the guests, or chuck it down the disposal. I’ve had enough experience to know that if I leave it in the fridge, I’m likely to have trouble. If I tell my self I’m not planning on eating it, I know I’m just kidding myself. There is no room in my non-holiday meal plans for pecan pie.

I put the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes in ZipLoc containers in serving sizes and put them in the freezer. That way, I can have a turkey dinner once a week for a while. I do this with all the roasts I have on the weekends.

I try to send all the dangerous stuff home with the guests. If they don’t take it, I chuck it down the disposal. When the evening is over, there is nothing in the fridge that is not part of one of the planned meals for the coming week. There is nothing in there that is one of my addictive foods that I’ve learned I cannot have in the house.

With years of experience and trial and error, I now have wonderful holiday meals  with every holiday season, and I have an easy time eating healthfully in the days between them. It took a while to learn how to do that and get to the point where it’s easy, but it’s doable.

You can win at permanent weight loss. I will work to make it easier for you with what I’ve learned. That’s The Anderson Method.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

How to Have Happy Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

You may think this is a terrible time of year to be concerned about your weight, but it’s not. In fact, with the right approach, you can eat everything you like, enjoy it more than ever, have no guilt or remorse, and keep from gaining any weight at all! In fact, my clients do all that and lose weight at this time of year!

However, this time of year is just too chaotic and stressful for many people. They just want to survive it. For most people, just avoiding a weight gain this holiday season will be a fantastic success. This is entirely possible, without a lot of anguish, self-denial or guilt, if you follow my list of Holiday Dos and Don’ts. And if you want all the details on how to succeed with permanent weight loss, read my book or listen to my audiobook shown at the right. You can make 2017-2018 the year you solve your weight problem for good!

For everyone, here are my do’s and don’ts for the next few weeks:

Don’t try to diet, discover that you can’t keep to it, and then decide “It’s impossible. I might as well forget about weight control and enjoy everything until after the first.” Giving yourself permission to binge for a month will create a weight gain that will take all of next year to get rid of.

Do pick out six to ten days that you will go to parties, go out to dinner, have Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve and Day get-togethers, and plan on reasonable indulgences those days. Determine to eat like a health nut all the other days. You will be able to, when you have those other days to indulge in. Don’t deny yourself gratification —delay it a bit.

Don’t try to avoid the “bad foods” at parties and dinners. You’ll only feel cheated and want to eat them later, when you’re alone. Plan on the kind of things you’ll want and find out ahead of time what kind of calories are in those things. Remember, there are no bad foods or bad calories in my world.  Also remember, women usually have a “calorie budget” of 1400-2200 a day to maintain an ideal weight, and with a little advance planning, you can fit in just about anything on that.

Do eat light early in the day save your day’s calories for the parties on your party days. If you eat a lot during the day, and then eat a lot at the parties, you’ll feel awful. If you plan ahead and have the bulk of your calories at the event, they will taste better, you’ll have a great time, and you’ll feel great. And, no guilt! You’ll have had just what you loved, enjoyed it, and accomplished your health goal.

Don’t leave it up to the time you are challenged with an offer of a lunch or a pastry, to decide what to do. Have your answer ready before you face the tempter. “No thanks, I’m saving my calories for the parties, so I don’t gain weight this year.”

Don’t beat yourself up and feel guilty when you’re not perfect. Eating too much or giving in to an urge is not a capital crime or a mortal sin. It’s just a mark of humanity. You can get better at self-control as time goes by if you give yourself a break and keep learning about effective methods for change. Be forgiving of your human qualities rather than critical of them.

Do decide that you care about your health, no matter what, even if your behavior isn’t always the best all the time. Never say “I don’t care” even when you slip up. That would be a lie. You do care. Don’t lie to yourself.

Don’t decide to stay home or punish yourself by wearing clothes that are too tight all season.

Do go out and get a couple of nice outfits that are comfortable and have a wonderful happy holiday season. Be reasonable this holiday season and then really get to work, with no distractions, after the holidays.

Don’t punish yourself this holiday season trying to stick to some crazy diet, or feeling guilty about eating good things. Follow these tips, and get a copy of The Anderson Method, paperback, Kindle or audiobook, to learn how to solve your weight problem for good in 2018!

Is Food Addiction Keeping You From Losing Weight?

(First published in The Huffington Post)Corpulent Woman Having Addiction to Unhealthy Food

Have you ever thought of yourself as a food addict? If so, you are not alone.

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do you find yourself craving and eating certain foods even though you’re not physically hungry?

2) Have you tried to have just a bit of something like ice cream or chips and find that you can’t stop, sometimes eating the whole box or bag?

3) Do you think about food constantly?

4) Do you try to cut back or abstain from overeating, repeatedly fail, and feel guilty or ashamed because of it?

5) Are there times when “too much is not enough” and you just can’t get enough?

6) Does your overeating cause you significant problems, yet you continue to do it, and can’t help yourself?

7) Does your eating get worse if you are stressed, anxious, angry or hurt?

8) Do you often feel angry or anxious if you try to limit your eating?

If you answered “yes” to more than a couple of these questions, you are like most of the clients who have come to me for help to lose weight. Like me, they had been told that diet and exercise were the answer to their weight problem. However, they just could not get themselves to diet and exercise for very long, if at all, before going back to their old ways. If they were able to lose a significant amount of weight, it wasn’t long before they put it back on.

Relax. You’re normal. You’re OK. But you might be a food addict.

In fact, it’s normal to be a food addict in America. Approximately 70 percent of us are overweight and 35 percent of us are clinically obese. And it’s not like we want to be. If fact, we spend billions on weight loss because we hate it. Yet we are still overweight and it’s getting worse.

In addiction counseling, there are often disputes with clients about whether or not they are an addict when they swear they are not. When I first started treating addictions, before I solved my own food and weight problem, an old alcohol counselor gave me his definition of an addict: An addict is a person who, when they indulge, it causes problems, yet they continue to indulge.

You see, if a person is normal and mentally healthy, and they find that some behavior is causing big problems in their life, they just stop, or change it so it no longer causes problems. For example, if you discovered that you were suddenly allergic to shellfish or peanuts and got sick every time you had it, you’d stop eating whatever you were allergic to. You don’t keep touching a hot stove.

But addicts don’t stop. They keep drinking or using even when it costs them their job, family and health, even when they try their hardest to stop. They keep smoking even when they know its damaging their lungs, even after they’ve tried to quit dozens of times. That’s the “insanity” and power of addiction. It prevents a person from stopping something they know is killing them. They are powerless. And often the addiction clouds their mind so they live in denial. I had a smoker on oxygen once tell me, “it’s not that bad” when we were talking about his COPD. An alcoholic told me he only had a “touch” of cirrhosis. I had one in jail on his third DUI tell me his drinking was really not a problem. If they were in their right minds and able to exercise their will and self-preservation instincts, they’d quit those addictions in a heartbeat. Normally, if you find that something you do is ruining your life and happiness, you stop. But addictions have a power over a person’s will and even their insight.

In America, we have a food addiction problem. It’s exacerbated by a culture that is in denial about it. We promote eating as a pastime and as a form of entertainment and important part of socializing and networking. We’ve convinced ourselves that enormous portions are normal and that overindulging is lighthearted fun. Meanwhile, the fact is that it is killing us.

I grew up overweight and spent years failing at diets. Like 35 percent of us I was obese, actually way more than obese, and I had every one of those behaviors I listed at the beginning of the article. I often joked about being addicted to Doritos and Oreos, but it was not until I started working with addicts and studying addictions and how to treat them that I realized I really was a food addict. And treating my problem as an addiction with behavior therapy finally solved my weight problem.

If you are a food addict, the routine approach using diets and exercise is not going to solve your problem. Neither will surgery. They won’t change what has to be changed because yours is not a weight problem. It’s a behavior problem, an addiction problem. And it won’t get fixed until you treat it as such.

“Health IQ With Heidi Godman” Examines The Anderson Method


On Monday, 4/15, I was on “Health IQ with Heidi Godman“, her new one-hour talk show, to talk about permanent WEIGHT LOSS and The Anderson Method for Permanent Weight Loss. Joining me were client Rennie Carter, who lost 50 pounds four years ago, and Rita Young, LMHC, who lost 35 pounds and went on to become trained as a provider of The Anderson Method.


Heidi is a highly respected medical journalist, currently the Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, former medical editor for ABC7, and a journalism fellow for the American Academy of Neurology.

Please listen to the podcast by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post, visit her website, WSRQ website, home of Health IQ with Heidi Godman, and wish her success in taking her show into national syndication. The show is broadcast every weekday, 3-4pm EST. If you are in another time zone, you need to account for that.