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Addiction to (Processed/Fast/Junk) Food


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Like many, I laughed at the idea of being "addicted to food" for a long time. But the more I've considered it, the more I've realized: being addicted to certain combinations and kinds of processed foods is quite real. One need only review several Google searches on the topic, as well as statements from physicians and neuroscientists that various combinations of food spike dopamine and serotonin levels pretty high, which, just like cocaine or meth, can lead to tolerance and require more and more of the same to get the same "high".

 

Anyway, I'm here to ask the question: how do you actually BEAT this addiction?

 

I recently finished the book "Fat Chance" by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD. In addition to citing a lot of evidence and discussing quite a bit of science behind this newly-emerging (albeit slowly) notion of addiction to various combinations of food, he claims that the way to beat it is, basically, "eat right and exercise." Well, gee doc, that's a lot of help. While I loved the science in the book (and highly recommend it; you can even get it on Audible if that's your thing), I found the advice for recovery pointless. "Do the thing that you least want to do to make you want to do the thing you least want to do" is not advice: it's circular (anti) logic.

 

Does anyone have any experience with actually recovering from this kind of addiction? I'm interested in actionable information, like techniques, personal experiences, things that helped (and that didn't), and most definitely any supplements or even prescription drugs (legally acquired only, please) that can help reduce one's cravings for high fat/salt/sugar food(s), making healthy food seem more palatable.

 

Willpower alone doesn't beat addictions this strong, especially when some of us have had that crap shoved into our bellies since before we could walk (see "McDonald's" for example). There's got to be a neuropharmacological system of some kind that we can leverage to "invert" the reward system of the brain against junk food and toward healthy food. Finding some mechanism to do that is THE answer to fixing the obesity crisis.

 

Thoughts, anyone?

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My number one suggestion: If you think you have an addiction, please go talk to a medical professional.  You probably should consult a therapist as well as a physician.  Most addictions are a combination of psychological and physical issues, and you may need to be treated in both areas to fully address the problem.

 

If you're asking where to find a reliable, safe pill that makes you stop craving chips and start craving lettuce, you're asking the wrong question.  Such a pill doesn't exist.  They don't make pills that cause people to stop craving porn or MMOs and start craving hugs and good deeds, either.  That's where treatment comes in.  You are going to have to figure out why you hate exercise and compulsively eat (not just why people in general do -- I mean you personally), and learn some different behaviors.  You'll have to thoroughly and repeatedly examine your thoughts, beliefs, actions and habits, and reprogram yourself a little bit at a time.  

 

A counselor can help with this, as can medication, but either way it's still going to take a lot of effort on your part.  And most addicts will tell you, there's no permanent cure.  You will spend a lifetime maintaining your new habits.  Which is fine: having a body is a fucking privilege, not a chore.  Maintaining it is actually pretty fun when you get the hang of it.

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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1 hour ago, Raincloak said:

My number one suggestion: If you think you have an addiction, please go talk to a medical professional.  You probably should consult a therapist as well as a physician.  Most addictions are a combination of psychological and physical issues, and you may need to be treated in both areas to fully address the problem.

 

If you're asking where to find a reliable, safe pill that makes you stop craving chips and start craving lettuce, you're asking the wrong question.  Such a pill doesn't exist.  They don't make pills that cause people to stop craving porn or MMOs and start craving hugs and good deeds, either.  That's where treatment comes in.  You are going to have to figure out why you hate exercise and compulsively eat (not just why people in general do -- I mean you personally), and learn some different behaviors.  You'll have to thoroughly and repeatedly examine your thoughts, beliefs, actions and habits, and reprogram yourself a little bit at a time.  

 

A counselor can help with this, as can medication, but either way it's still going to take a lot of effort on your part.  And most addicts will tell you, there's no permanent cure.  You will spend a lifetime maintaining your new habits.  Which is fine: having a body is a fucking privilege, not a chore.  Maintaining it is actually pretty fun when you get the hang of it.

 

Not only is this the most preachy, condescending response I've seen in a while, it's also the most useless.

  • I never asked anyone where to buy drugs;
  • I never requested or asked for a "reliable, safe pill that makes you stop craving chips and start craving lettuce";
  • If it wasn't obvious, I already figured out "[...] why [...] compulsively eat [the wrong foods]": it's caused by massive desensitization of dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. That was pretty plain from my first fucking paragraph.
The DO make pills that make people stop craving porn, MMOs, and other things as well; they're called dopamine antagonists. In fact, here's a big list, just for you. Why would you make the asinine assumption that I've never even attempted psychological treatment? Whether I have or haven't, first of all, is none of your fucking business. Secondly, it's not your job - or that of anyone else, for that matter - to go off issuing everybody their own personal disclaimer. Either answer the actual question asked - not emitting useless platitudes, but providing actual answers - or just shut the fuck up. Finally, you failed to comprehend the basic problem, not to mention the entire point: sheer physical mass of food isn't the issue as is often implied by terms like "overeating" or "compulsive eating". I don't feel compelled to just eat everything in sight (again, this is obvious from the three adjectives in the big-ass letters near the top of the page that comprise this thread's "subject"), it's specific kinds of foods that all have one thing in common: they all cause an overreaction of the brain's reward center, which leads to higher and higher levels of tolerance over time, thus making regular food inadequate to elicit the same effect and thereby forcing a really fucked up ultimatum: stay fat or endure literally painful withdraw. When you have an actual addiction happening on a neurochemical level, all the therapy and willpower in the world, especially when combined with all the holier-than-thou platitudes you can muster, won't do jack shit but drive an already trapped, mistreated, angry, frightened and cataclysmically depressed human being further into the arms of their addiction. After all: unlike you, it actually makes them feel good.

I've really liked the articles I've read via Nerd Fitness in the past and made this post with the hope that somebody had at least the smallest idea of how neurochemistry and neuropharmacology can interact to drastically alter the way our brains and bodies respond to our environmental inputs, and with such knowledge perhaps they had embarked on an actual science-based approach - as opposed to the obviously failed "bullshit based" approach of "willpower, yay me, my shit doesn't stink, therapy fixes everything!, I'm so great because I think I worked harder than everybody else and that's why I'm awesome! weee!" that obviously doesn't work for over 90% of the poor folks who've been subjected to this toxic elitist bullshit for their entire lives - to solving the fucking problem.

 

And instead, I get this pulpit-based, arrogance-filled regurgitated pyschobabble thrown in my face that actually makes raw feces look useful by comparison.

 

Next time you feel like chiming in, at least have a fucking clue, bring something to the discussion not quite so obvious as "the sky's blue and water's wet", and answer the question asked instead of using it as your own personal pulpit for looking down upon we poor, inferior plebeians in a failed attempt to make yourself feel better about your own obvious inadequacies.

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Oooookay there @falseprophet. I'm going to say this once. Pull that shit again on another member here and I will ban you so fast it'll knock your synapses out of whack. We are a welcoming group here who want to help everyone as best we can, but outright abuse like that will not be tolerated. 

 

@Raincloak offerred advice that you wanted. It wasn't the answer you wanted, but it is not condescending to point out that if you're facing an actual addiction you should seek professional help - because people here are not professionals. And yea. And you definitely asked for a pill to make the addiction go away. Right there in your second paragraph. 

 

I grew up getting fed all the shot you mention. It took time and effort and, yes, willpower, to retrain my habits. That's the whole thing about NF. We are all about changing your behavior, slowly, so giant food cravings can be over come. It might take longer than you want, but it can work with just willpower. Are their techniques that people have that have worked for them? Hell yes. I like calorie counting to modulate my diet. But I have friends who eat hardcore Paleo because that's easier for them. And in both cases, we all built up to that point slowly. 

 

So yea. There's a lot of advice to be shared around here. But being. A dick is pretty much the best way to make sure no one ever helps you. 

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Turns to Ash

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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