If you feel powerless around food and have found yourself repeatedly unable to resist certain foods or feel like you can’t break the cycle of overeating certain problematic foods, it may be time to seek professional help. An experienced food addiction therapist can provide the support and guidance needed in order to break free from problematic eating patterns and develop a healthier relationship with food.
If you think you may have an unhealthy relationship with food, these helpful therapists will be able to assess your situation and suggest the best course of action for your specific needs. Read on to learn more about what a food addiction therapist is, their services, and how they can help you overcome your problematic eating habits.
What is a Food Addiction?
A food addiction is a compulsion or obsession with eating certain foods. This eating behavior is different from normal intake of food in three significant ways: it occurs at an excessive rate, it is significantly out of balance with other activities and responsibilities, and it causes significant physical or mental health issues.
Food addiction is also referred to as eating disorder, compulsive eating, or emotional eating. While eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder (BED) are primarily focused on the amount of food consumed, food addiction is more focused on the type of food consumed and the specific psychological responses to eating these foods.
Because food addiction is not a widely recognized clinical diagnosis, the specific criteria for diagnosis varies from expert to expert. That said, there are several common threads amongst the various definitions. Most definitions of food addiction involve a persistent craving for certain foods, as well as an inability to resist these cravings.
Food Addiction Counseling
Food addiction therapy often involves identifying and addressing the emotional needs that are being met through your eating habits. By working with a skilled therapist to help you identify the underlying causes of your eating behavior, you can then explore healthier ways to meet those needs.
Generally, food addiction therapy consists of three phases. In the first phase, the therapist helps you to better understand your relationship with food through a combination of questioning and exercises. You will likely be asked to keep a food journal and/or diary, be asked to explore your childhood, and/or participate in one or more specific exercises to better identify your eating triggers.
During the second phase, the therapist helps you to identify your emotional needs and then develop healthier ways to meet those needs without turning to food. For example, if you discover that you eat chocolate frequently as a way to cope with stress, you will learn more effective ways to manage your stress without turning to the chocolate.
In the third phase, you put what you have learned into practice by developing a personalized plan for maintaining your progress.
How to Find a Good Food Addiction Therapist
If you are considering seeking professional help for a food addiction, it’s important to choose a therapist with training and expertise in this area. A good place to start is by looking for a therapist who is a member of the International Council of Eating Disorders Professionals (ICEDP).
The ICEDP is a professional organization that is dedicated to the promotion of eating disorder awareness, prevention and treatment. Another good route is to look for a therapist who has experience working with addictive/compulsive/disordered eating patterns. You can use our therapist search tool to easily find therapists near you who specialize in compulsive eating.
Strategies for Recovering from Food Addiction
There are several basic strategies that may prove helpful in recovering from a food addiction. These tips may also prove helpful for people recovering from any other eating disorder.
– Identify and challenge your eating triggers: At the root of many eating disorders is an inability to recognize and challenge your eating triggers. By identifying your most common triggers and finding ways to challenge them, you can reduce your likelihood of falling back into your destructive eating habits.
– Plan ahead: Planning your meals and snacks in advance is one of the most helpful tools for recovering from an eating disorder. By planning what you will eat, you can help prevent impulsive eating, which is often at the root of an eating disorder.
– Get creative with your food: Eating disorders often involve a narrow view of food and become a way of life. By getting creative with your food and exploring a diverse range of healthy foods, you can break out of this restrictive pattern.
– Find a support network: One of the best ways to stay on track with your eating disorder recovery is to find a support network, whether in person or online. By connecting with others who have experienced similar struggles, you can more easily stay focused on your goals and resist the temptation to fall back into unhealthy eating habits.
If you feel powerless around food and have found yourself repeatedly unable to resist certain foods, or feel like you can’t break the cycle of overeating certain problematic foods, it may be time to seek professional help.
An experienced food addiction therapist can provide the support and guidance needed in order to break free from problematic eating patterns and develop a healthier relationship with food.
If you think you may have an unhealthy relationship with food, these helpful therapists will be able to assess your situation and suggest the best course of action for your specific needs. Start by identifying your eating triggers and then working towards more balanced and healthy relationships with food and yourself.